There’s not a man alive that can’t be replaced by a winning lottery ticket.
Driving home this evening, the deejay on the radio was talking about joining a Mega Millions lottery ticket pool along with a few of her coworkers. She thought it was a good idea to spend a buck and be in a pool to split the $150,000,000 jackpot.
I’ve been playing Mega Millions and Power Ball for many years. I’m in charge of the tickets for our group of five and we’ve been buying tickets for about five years. Last week, I turned in our tickets and was happily surprised to win five bucks. (Five seems to be a lucky number, doesn’t it?)
Yes, you read that right! We won five bucks. I have a little folder with our tickets and our winnings and over the past five years, we’ve won less than a hundred dollars. It costs each of us $15 every five weeks or so, and we just know that one day our ship will come in!
Forbes magazine and plenty of financial professionals say it’s never worth it to play the lottery. Even though there’s a lot to be gained, in general, playing Powerball is still a bad decision because you never get the full jackpot, and chances are you’ll be splitting it, says Paul Dreyer, a mathematician for the RAND Corporation.
One of the “luckiest” people in the nation is Richard Lustig, author of Learn How to Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery. Lustig has won seven lottery grand prizes and perfected his strategy though trial and error. Some of his tips follow:
Picking the numbers is hit-and-miss, of course. If you always pick birth months and dates, like most people do, you’re relegating yourself to less than half the numbers available, 1 through 31. Equally important about including bigger numbers: “If you pick your own numbers and only play birthdays and anniversaries, you’re splitting the pot with 20-40 people. If you spread the numbers out across the whole track, you’ll either be the only winner or will split it with only one or two people.”
Don’t use the “quick-pick” numbers generated from the store’s computer. Even though it seems like every number has an equal amount of “luck,” certain number sets are better than others. “Every time you buy a quick pick, you get a different set of numbers; therefore, your odds are always going to be at their worst in that particular game, whatever game you’re playing.”
Don’t change the numbers. Once you’ve determined which numbers are good, don’t switch them, play them every time. If you buy more than one card, use a different set of numbers. A set of numbers wins the grand prize, not individual numbers. It’s okay to repeat a number or two, but be sure each group of numbers is mostly different so you increase your odds.
And there is my new strategy. We should pick numbers that work for us, play consistently, and we should be winning lots of money. Or perhaps we can just win enough money to buy Lustig’s book referenced above.