Thanks to the massive prizes available and delays between buying tickets and the actual draw for a winner, the lottery is ideal for players who like to fantasize. What would you do if you won? How would your life change?
But the chances of winning are absurdly small. You have a greater chance of getting hit by lightning than winning the lottery. So, is buying another ticket like standing on a golf course during a thunderstorm? Will you boost your odds by buying more tickets, or are there better ways to improve your odds?
The math behind multiple lotto tickets
In theory, buying more tickets will give you more chances to win. In smaller lottery set ups, for example, a random ticket drawing at your local school or community center, there is a set number of tickets available and buying more of them boosts your chances.
So, if there are 100 raffle tickets and you buy 5 of them, you have a 5% chance of winning compared to a 1% chance of winning with a single ticket.
However, when it comes to lotteries, the math gets a bit more complicated. That’s because there aren’t set tickets sold, but rather a series of numbers that are drawn. Any number of people could pick the same series of numbers that you have, splitting the prize with you.
More than that, the odds of getting the full set of correct numbers are incredibly small. As in, even statisticians say that the number is so vast that it’s hard to visualize for most people.
They try to explain it this way. Imagine sitting in a packed stadium, with a prize given to someone in a seat at random. You can look around the stadium and imagine your odds. Now imagine another stadium, and another, and another few thousand. Even if you had a seat in multiple stadiums, your odds are fairly small.
If you’re playing the Powerball lottery, you need to match 5 numbers, plus the Powerball to win the grand prize. Those are odds of 1 in 292,201,338 according to the Powerball website. Buying 2 tickets gives you odds of 2 in 292,201,338. Even if you buy 100 tickets, your odds are still better for getting killed by a vending machine or getting dealt an opening hand of a Royal Flush in a poker game.
Tips to help you win the lottery
Okay, so buying as many lottery tickets as you can afford isn’t going to give you a better chance of winning the lottery. What does? Here are some top tips from players who have enjoyed multiple lottery wins:
- Play the whole board.
When you’re picking numbers, many people prefer to use birth dates and anniversaries, hoping that special days will be lucky in the lottery. But this means you’ll only play numbers 1-31, leaving the rest of the board empty. By spreading your numbers, you have a better chance of being the only winner, or splitting it with fewer people.
- Be consistent.
You’ve got to be in it to win it, so if you really dream of winning the lottery, be consistent about buying your ticket.
- Stick to a budget.
Sure, winning millions can be tempting, but don’t get carried away buying hope at the expense of being able to afford your rent or food. No matter how many friends are buying tickets or how hyped up things get on the news, your chances remain the same, so don’t get caught up in the lottery fever.
- Try multiple lotteries.
If you want to buy more than one ticket to keep your hopes alive, why not try playing a couple different lotto games? Play the Powerball and Mega Millions, or pick up tickets to smaller lottery games while waiting for the massive payout on the lowest odds games.
This winner bought ONE ticket
Wondering if those tips really work? Well, they did for Lerynne West.
She won half of a $687.8 million Powerball jackpot, getting a split of $343.9 million. She opted for the lump sum payment of $198.1 million, which is generally seen as the best option for any winner who doesn’t have a spending problem.
Before winning the jackpot, she played twice a week when she could afford it. The most she ever won was $150. She didn’t have a strategy or even pick her own numbers, figuring “If I was meant to win it, I was meant to win it”.
So, if you’re a fan of the lottery, why not buy a ticket? It could be your lucky day…