How to Win the Lottery
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I’m a lottery addict. I have been since I was a child. I remember when I was approximately 5 years old and learned about the lottery for the first time. I immediately decided that winning couldn’t possibly be that difficult and I set out to help my family win. I set out to deduce the winning combination with a notebook, several colored pens, and a printing calculator. I would then give those number sets to the adults in my life and tell them to play those numbers.
My big sister won with the numbers I gave her. I don’t remember how much, but I do remember that she bought me a new doll.
That was 28 years ago and I haven’t won a damn thing since then. But I still play. And one day I’ll win. Cause I got a system. It just takes time is all.
I sound like a damned fool don’t I? I know I do. And if you’re reading this, I’m guessing you can relate, amIright?
I don’t play draw games much anymore, mostly I play scratch-offs, not because I want an instant win, but because the odds are better. And, I’ll admit it—my standards are lower. I used to dream of winning, like, a gazillion dollars, but now I dream of winning, like, $1,000.
Are you still with me? Do you have any faith at all that I may actually have some words of wisdom to share with you? I’ve just admitted to being a loser after all.
Do you remember when the Powerball was at $500 million? I stood in line behind an old man waiting to buy my tickets for the drawing. He was looking at the scratch-offs trying to decide which ones to buy. Unsolicited, I offered him my advice. “You should buy Powerball tickets, the jackpot is $500 million!” He looked at me and said, “Do you know why the jackpot is $500 million? Because 500 million people have lost!”
Needless to say, he did not buy Powerball tickets.
Here’s the secret—they are no secrets. I’m a loser because the odds are against me. They’re against you too. That’s how this works. There must always be losers. Do not fool yourself into thinking that you’re the exception or that your system is significantly better or that God loves you more.
However you may be able to tilt the odds in your favor, they will always be against you. That’s rule #1—the are odds are against you. Acknowledge this now, keep your feet on the ground and develop a sound financial plan that assumes you will not win the lottery and then be sure to play responsibly.
The lottery is a game, not a financial plan! The odds are against you.
The odds are against you.
Now that I’ve driven home that point, I want to dispel a popular myth.
“You more likely to be killed by lightning than you are to win the lottery.”
That statement is blatantly false. Each year, well over 1,000 people win a prize of $1,000,000 or more, compared to an average of 310 people being struck by lightning. Of those 310, strikes, only 10% percent are fatal. So, your chances of winning the lottery are actually far greater than your chances of even being struck by lightning, let alone killed.
By comparison, there are over 5 million auto accidents with over 30,000 fatalities each year in the US alone. With statistics like that, everyone should be playing the lottery. Ha!
How to Win the Lottery
1. You have to be in it to win it! First, buy a ticket!
2. If you’re playing draw games, sign and secure the ticket immediately. If you’re playing scratch-offs, scratch them as soon as you can, sign and secure big winners, and cash in all winning tickets in a timely manner.
3. Make sure you understand the lottery rules in your state and the rules of the specific game you’re playing.
4. Play games with lower jackpots; the odds are better. Oftentimes, you can at least win your money back; then you can turn around and buy more tickets, further increasing your odds.
5. Always buy your tickets from the same game. Don’t spread your money around to various games.
- With draw-games, the more tickets you have, the better your odds.
- With scratch-offs, you’re more likely to win a little something if your cards are sequential. A little something is better than nothing at all and then you can turn around and buy more tickets.
6. Never buy just 1 ticket. It may only take just one ticket to win, but you can double your odds by always buying 2 tickets. 2 is 100% more than 1. This is especially affordable if you always buy $1 games, like Mega Millions.
7. If you’re playing draw-games, considering buying enough tickets to cover all the single ball numbers, that way you’re guaranteed to win on at least one of your tickets (you have to choose your own numbers this way).
- With Powerball, you’ll buy 26 tickets (enough to cover the single ball numbers 1-26). Then you’re guaranteed to win at least $4. You’ll have to spend $52 initially, but you’re playing to win—so… pittance amIright?
- With Mega Millions you’ll buy 15 tickets (enough to cover the single ball numbers 1-15). Then you’re guaranteed to win at least $1. You’ll have to spend $14 initially.
- If you’re going to take this approach you’re much better off playing the Mega Millions, not only because it’s cheaper, but because the odds are better. (1 in 258,890,850 versus the Powerball’s odds of 1 in 292,201,338)
- Check to see if your state offers an app and lottery ticket vending machines. I live in Indiana, and I can build my playslips via the app and then buy tickets by scanning the barcode at the vending machine. This is much more efficient than manually selecting numbers with pen and paper and then having a cashier feed them into the machine. You can also use the app the check your tickets quickly, easily, & at your convenience.
8. Stay informed about the games you’re playing, this will help you decide which games to play. Check the website for rules, claims, tickets etc.
In Indiana, on the Hoosier Lottery website, I can see how many tickets were purchased and what prizes were won. For scratch-offs, state law requires that Indiana reports how many top prizes have been claimed and how many have yet to be claimed. After all the top prizes in a game have been claimed, the Hoosier Lottery is legally required to pull that game from the shelves. It is illegal to sell tickets in a game that have no top prizes left.
9. If you’re playing scratch-offs, choose only 1 or 2 games to play consistently, that way you can monitor ticket inventory and shenanigans.
If ticket inventory gets low on a game, but top prizes are still available, then fewer and fewer retailers will carry that game, so if you’re willing to go treasure hunting, you can find the few remaining retailers still selling that game, and hopefully, find the winning ticket!
As far as shenanigans go—Indiana likes to roll out more games than most retailers can carry, and then they shuffle around the games at various retailers. This means that a popular game with top prizes still available may suddenly be difficult to find. It’s infuriating to discover that your favorite game is no longer available in your city. I call this shenanigans because they’re manipulating the locations of winning tickets.
Unfortunately, this is perfectly legal. Fortunately, you can use this information to your advantage. If you’re diligently following the games and keeping track of which retailers are selling which games, then you can better guess the approximate location of winning tickets.
Unfortunately, if you really want to chase treasure, you may have to travel. I don’t mind because I just play Pokémon Go on the journey.
10. A lottery pool is a group of people buying tickets together with the intent to increase odds and split winnings. Playing in a lottery pool will help you afford more tickets and therefore increase your chances to win. If you do this, make sure to designate one person as the organizer and be especially sure that all the rules are carefully written down and understood by all the participants. It’s best to create a carefully worded contract that all participants sign before joining the pool. NEVER play in a poorly organized lottery pool!
You can find lottery pool contract samples all over the internet—just Google it. For your convenience I’ve created a simple Lottery Pool Participant Sheet to help with keeping track of each drawing’s participants. Just click and print it out.
Each state has different rules for claiming prizes as a group. Make it a point to educate yourself about your state’s laws before playing in a lottery pool.
Additional Recommend Reading
That’s it folks, your guide to winning the lottery. Always remember to play responsibly and good luck!
Copyright Credit for Image Used to Promote this Post: alexandere17 / 123RF Stock Photo