How to Increase Your Odds of Winning the Lottery


There’s a longshot chance that you’ll win the lottery. But it’s a lot more likely that you’ll get struck by lightning or become a billionaire than to be one of the lucky few who pulls the winning ticket. And yet, for many people, the lottery is their last or best hope.

There are ways to improve your odds, though. For example, Harvard statistics professor Mark Glickman suggests that you should play random numbers rather than ones that have sentimental value. He says that by playing numbers such as your children’s ages or birthdays, you’re giving other players a higher chance of picking the same numbers.

Another way to increase your odds is by joining a lottery pool. Suppose you have 50 coworkers who each contribute a dollar to the pool. The pool manager then purchases a large number of tickets, which increases your chance of winning by reducing the probability that someone else will pick the same numbers as you.

For some individuals, the entertainment value of playing the lottery may outweigh the monetary cost. That’s the reason they continue buying tickets even though they know the odds are stacked against them. The shabby black box is a symbol of this loyalty to an illogical tradition, just as it is a symbol of the irrationality that can result when old habits aren’t examined critically by new generations.

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