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Whether It’s Luck or Math, We Really Don’t Get That Much Chance to Win a Lottery

Whether It’s Luck or Math, We Really Don’t Get That Much Chance to Win a Lottery

Do you ever dream about what it might be like to suddenly have millions of dollars? Do you run out to the nearest gas station with your heart aflutter to purchase a ticket when the Powerball jackpot reaches a certain amount? If you are nodding your head in agreement, you are not alone. In 2014, the allure of striking it rich was strong enough to entice Americans to spend over $70 billion on lottery tickets.[1]

As fun as it can be to participate in these drawings, figures from the National Weather Service suggest that you are more than 20,000 times more likely to be struck by lightning than win the MegaMillions jackpot.[2]

Is winning a matter of luck or math?

Lotteries are games of chance. Your odds of winning are determined by a number of factors, including how many winning numbers or combinations you need to get and how many people are playing the game. The greater the number of ticket-holders, the less likely you are to walk away with a chunk of change.

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The odds of winning MegaMillions or Powerball, two of the most well known lotteries, are a dismal 175 million to one.[3] As you can see, winning is a matter of math and luck, and most of the math points toward a lack of luck.

Why do you need to know your chances of winning?

Many people invest in lottery tickets without understanding the odds. In fact, in low-income communities, buying a lottery ticket is often viewed as an investment, a form of entertainment, and a possible ticket out of challenging circumstances.[4] There is a complex set of socio-economic factors that contribute to this perception of lotteries as investments. If you are foregoing setting up a stable form of savings to play the lottery, your chances of coming up empty-handed are high.

How can you increase your chances of winning?

There are a few ways that you can increase your chances of winning should you choose to play. [5]

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  1. Play the right games. When we talk about national lotteries with massive jackpots, your chances of winning become minuscule. Playing a state competition or buying a chance in a smaller competition will increase your odds. Scratch-tickets for smaller games may have lower rewards, but they are also more likely to yield a win.
  2. Participate in second-chance games. Even if your numbers aren’t selected initially, they may come up in a second-chance drawing. To maximize your chances of winning, keep your ticket for the second chance round.
  3. Don’t change your numbers. Even though buying lottery tickets doesn’t require the same skills as sitting at a poker table in Las Vegas, there is definitely some strategy involved in choosing your numbers. Seven-time lottery-winner, expert in how to win the lottery, and author, Richard Lustig, recommends playing the same numbers over and over instead of switching them. He also recommends avoiding “quick picks” and using numbers besides birthdays and anniversaries, which limit the spread of numbers you can use.[6]
  4. You can’t win if you don’t play. Richard Lustig recommends keeping up with the game you are playing. Pay attention to drawings, and play consistently to increase your chances of winning. Every year there are winners who fail to come forward because they didn’t follow up to see if their numbers won.

But still, don’t fall into the gambling trap!

Just like other forms of gambling, the lottery can be addictive.[7] Participants may mistakenly think that because the lottery is sanctioned by the government, it is not as harmful as other forms of gambling. The same risks apply.

If you have a history of gambling addiction, playing the lottery could draw you into unhealthy behaviors. The hope of victory, occasional small wins, and the thought that your big win awaits around every corner drive the lottery.

The most important thing you need to know about playing the lottery is that you need to set a budget before you play and stick to it.[8] Playing the lottery can be fun and harmless, but if you start to use funds you would normally reserve for food or bills to buy more chances, then you’re in dangerous territory.[9]

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Even winning a lottery can’t bring you happiness.

The mathematics behind the lottery show that you are almost always guaranteed to lose. Assuming that you hit the jackpot, there is no guarantee that the windfall would make you a happier person. Numerous studies have shown that lottery winners do not fare well with their newfound wealth.

Even knowing how to win the lottery doesn’t prevent loss. You can use mathematical strategies, and you can follow the advice of successful players, and even this may not be enough. When you play, let it be for the fun of it. Purchase that ticket so that you can have that moment of fantasizing about buying your mother a house or traveling the world. There is always a chance that you could be one of the fortunate few, but even if you don’t have winning numbers, at least you’ll be entertained.

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Featured photo credit: Flaticon via flaticon.com

Reference

More by this author

Angelina Phebus

Writer, Yoga Instructor (RYT 200)

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Last Updated on May 7, 2021

Productivity Boost: How to start your day at 5:00 AM

Productivity Boost: How to start your day at 5:00 AM

I have been an early-riser for over a year now. Monday through Friday I wake up at 5:00 AM without hitting the snooze button even once. I never take naps and rarely feel tired throughout the day. The following is my advice on how to start your day (everyday) at 5:00 AM.The idea of waking up early and starting the day at or before the sunrise is the desire of many people. Many highly successful people attribute their success, at least in part, to rising early. Early-risers have more productive mornings, get more done, and report less stress on average than “late-risers.” However, for the unaccustomed, the task of waking up at 5:00 AM can seem extremely daunting. This article will present five tips about how to physically wake up at 5:00 AM and how to get yourself mentally ready to have a productive day.

Many people simply “can’t” get up early because they are stuck in a routine. Whether this is getting to bed unnecessarily late, snoozing repetitively, or waiting until the absolute last possible moment before getting out of bed, “sleeping in” can easily consume your entire morning. The following tips will let you break the “sleeping in” routine.

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Relocate your alarm clock.

Having an alarm clock too close to your bed is the number one reason people simply cannot get up in the morning. If your alarm clock is within arms reach of your bed, or if you can turn your alarm clock off without getting out of bed, you are creating an unnecessarily difficult situation for yourself. Before I became an early-riser, there were many times that I would turn off my alarm without even waking up enough to remember turning it off. I recommend moving your alarm clock far enough away from your bed that you have to get completely out of bed to turn it off. I keep my alarm clock in the bathroom. This may not be possible for all living arrangements, however, I use my cellphone as an alarm clock and putting it in the bathroom makes perfect sense. In order to turn off my alarm I have to get completely out of bed, and since going to the restroom and taking a shower are the first two things I do everyday, keeping the alarm clock in the bathroom streamlines the start of my morning.

Scrap the snooze.

The snooze feature on all modern alarm clocks serves absolutely no constructive purpose. Don’t even try the “it helps me slowly wake up” lie. I recommend buying an alarm that does not have a snooze button. If you can’t find an alarm without a snooze button, never read the instructions so you will never know how long your snooze button lasts. Not knowing whether it waits 10 minutes or 60 minutes should be enough of a deterrent to get you to stop using it.

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Change up your buzzer

If you use the same buzzer day in and day out, you begin to develop a tolerance to the sound. The alarm clock will slowly become less effective at waking you up over time. Most newer alarm clocks will let you set a different buzzer tone for the different days of the week. If you change your buzzer frequently, you will have an easier time waking up.

Make a puzzle

If you absolutely cannot wake up without repetitive snoozing, try making a puzzle for yourself. It doesn’t take rocket science to understand that the longer your alarm is going off, the more awake you will become. Try making your alarm very difficult to turn off by putting it under the sink, putting it under the bed, or better yet, by forcing yourself to complete a puzzle to turn it off. Try putting your alarm into a combination-locked box and make yourself put in the combination in order to turn off the alarm — it’s annoying, but extremely effective!

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Get into a routine

Getting up at 5:00 AM is much easier if you are doing it Monday through Friday rather than sporadically during the week. I recommend setting an alarm once that repeats everyday. Also, going to bed at about the same time every night is an important factor to having a productive morning. Learn how much sleep you need to get in order to not feel exhausted the following day. Some people can get by on 4-6 hours while most need 7-8.

Have a reason

Make sure you have a specific reason to get up in the morning. Getting up at 5:00 AM just for the heck of it is a lot more difficult than if you are getting up early to plan your day, pay bills, go for a jog, get an early start on work, etc. I recommend finding something you want to do for yourself in the morning. It will be a lot easier to get up if you are guaranteed to do something fun for yourself — compare this to going on vacation. You probably have no problem waking up very early on vacation or during holidays. My goal every morning is to bring that excitement to the day by doing something fun for myself.

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As I previously mentioned, I have been using these tips for a very long time. Joining the world of early-risers has been a great decision. I feel less stressed, I get more done, and I feel happier than I did when I was a late-riser. If you follow these tips you can become an early-riser, too. Do you have any tips that I didn’t mention? What works best for you? Let us know in the comments.

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