How to Pick Lottery Numbers

Not long ago, I read an online article titled "How to Pick Lottery Numbers," and I found some astounding claims being made. In one single page of misinformation, I found statements like "successful players have a strategy", "they practice and they win", and "picking winning lottery numbers is a learnable skill".

Are you kidding me?

The person who wrote that page is either ill-informed, or they're trying to sell you something. On closer look, you'll notice they're trying to sell you a lottery how-to guide through a download. They offer the requisite money-back guarantee which may or may not apply, once you decide this person knows nothing about winning the lottery.

Winning the Lottery at Will

How to Choose Better Lottery NumbersThe first thing you have to ask yourself about a person who claims they know how to win the lottery is this: why are they wasting their time telling me? I know for a fact it takes a lot of time to write an e-book, then build a website, then fill up a website up with content (if it the content is nonsense). A lot of time went into convincing you that you need to buy this guy's lotto manual.

But if he claims you need to study, study, study and practice, practice, practice if you want to make big money consistently winning the lottery, then why isn't this lotto guru spending all his time dissecting every lottery game he can. If it's a matter of finding a system and applying the system, then he should be exploiting this knowledge ruthlessly. Instead, he's shilling for chump change trying to get people to buy his electronic book.

At face value, that wouldn't be the case, if he really knew how to beat the lottery.

Quick Pick Lottery Numbers

Many people decide to choose quick pick or auto-pick lottery numbers instead of filling out their own card. The natural question is whether the self-pick or quick-pick option wins the lottery more often.

Actually, there's no significant statistical advantage to either safe-pick and quick-pick tickets. Quick-pick tickets win more often, because more of these are bought. It's simpler and quicker and people eventually decide their system isn't working, so they take the fast and easy option. That doesn't mean auto-pick is better than safe-pick, but you'll find one reason to use this option.

Quick Pick and Jackpots

Quick pick tickets tend to pay off more on the big jackpot amounts, because of an important trend. When you take the random computer selection of numbers and it wins, you're less likely to have those numbers duplicated by someone else. That's because people tend to choose the same numbers when they self-pick.

Imagine you're living in New York City. Let's say you like sports, so you decide to make the numbers of you favorite athletes your self-pick numbers. You might pick Amari Stoudamire (1), Derek Jeter (2), Mark Sanchez (6), Carmelo Anthony (7), Eli Manning (10), and Alex Rodriguez (13) as your self-pick numbers. If this list of low numbers happened to win, it's much more likely these numbers are going to be picked than some random list of numbers, since some other fan of New York sports might select the same list. You'll have to share the jackpot.

The same can be said with birthdays, since these have in common months (1-12), days of the months (1-31), and sometimes even years. If you choose the age of your children, someone else is likely to think about it. There's that famous story where lottery officials suspected fraud when a bunch of random people hit on the same lottery numbers, only to learn they all got the same batch of fortune cookies with the same 6 numbers listed. So the one bit of real strategy advice is to take the autopick option, because you're less likely to have to split your winnings.

Random Number Generators

You can use lottery number tools to select your list of numbers beforehand, if that's still your preference. Keep in mind that there is RNGs and virtual random number generators that don't truly pick numbers at random, so the numbers selected might not be as random as you think. The point being with lottery numbers is that winning is a matter of pure luck, so any one set of legal numbers is just as good as any other set, so far as the odds of winning go.

No one has a formula for winning the lottery. I'd bet a lot of money that person who posted the one article has never won a lottery jackpot. He migth have won enough to claim he has a lottery system--or he might not have. I could claim to be the King of Sweden and that wouldn't make it so. By the way, if you buy that lottery system expert's ebook, I happen to be a Nigerian prince and, if you send me money, I'll pay it back tenfold when I'm restored to my rightful throne.

How to Pick Better Numbers for the Lottery

Someone asked me a couple of days ago how to pick better numbers for the lottery. The answer is that no lottery numbers are better than any other lottery numbers, but I would like to point out something else.

One way to measure a gambling game's return is to look at the expected payback. You can do the math to figure out the mathematical expected return for any gambling game.

The expected return for a lottery ticket is only 50%.

What that means is, over time, you'll only win 50 cents for every dollar you spend playing the lottery.

If you're familiar with a game called keno, then you'll be happy to know that it offers a significantly better payback percentage. According to a survey that Michael Shackleford did in 2001, the keno payback percentages in Las Vegas casinos were between 60% and 80%.

So if you really want to know how to pick better numbers for the lottery, I can tell you. Pick keno numbers instead. Your chances of winning are still infinitesimal, but they're still better than you'll see with any state-run lottery.