Under the 18 million to one odds of winning the lottery would an example be placing one's shoe somewhere between the coasts of the US as representative of one's chance of winning the lottery? Is this an accurate evaluation of odds, or am I doing this wrong?
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Probability Of Winning The Lottery  Don't Waste Your Money
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Just for your information, the probability of winning twice in a row is this number squared which is 0.00000000000006. This is not very useful information except that we can use this formula in reverse to get what we want. The cool thing about probabilities, as opposed to odds, is that the probability of winning is one minus the probability of losing. This leads us to a way of calculating what we want by using a double negative.
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Better chances than you think
Slow down on that math for a second. You are only using the chances of winning the lottery PER TICKET, and most people buy more than one ticket.
We get it, the chances of winning the lottery are horrible. But let's even the playing ground a little. You compare onceinalifetime events with the chances of winning the lottery based on a onechanceinalifetime ticket.
Many people I know purchase $10 of lottery tickets per week. I'll use your statistics:
Chances of being killed by lightning: 2.65 Million to 1
Chances of winning the lottery: about 18 Million to 1 (for state lotteries) up to about 120 Million to 1
So, my friend who buys 10 tickets per week for 30 years buys 15,600 tickets in his lifetime. Waste of money? I suppose. But his chances of winning the state lottery IN HIS LIFETIME are just over 1 in a thousand (about 1 in 1154). In other words, he is more than 2000 times more likely to win the state lottery than get killed by lightning!
His chances of winning the multistate lottery are 1 in 7692. He is still over 300 times more likely to win the multistate lottery than die by lightning.
Math. How does it work?
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Originally posted by jeffrey View PostNice try, but your math is off. If he is buying all 15,600 tickets for one game his odds may be that low, but he isn't. He is buying 10 a week meaning his chances are still 8 million  12 million to 1
His odds may be 1 in 1.8 million for ONE DRAW of his state lottery (because he has 10 tickets, not just 1), or 1 in 12 million for the multistate lottery (with 10 tickets), but we are talking about his LIFETIME chance of winning here.
Think about it. If I have a 1in2 chance of getting "heads" when I flip a coin, don't you think I would have better than 1in2 odds of getting "heads" at least once if I flip it every week of my life? I don't have to flip thousands of coins all on the same day to improve my odds. I can spread it out. It's the same.Last edited by fulano; 09182011, 01:09 PM.
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Is it so wrong to indulge a dream?
Hoping to win the lottery may not be sound financial planning but spending a few dollars to indulge a dream that many of us have is hardly detrimental to one's financial wellbeing. There are strategies that can be used to increase your odds of winning  for example, avoiding games that use 7 balls and playing games that use a low number range. Will you win the 'Big One'...who knows, but even winning a few dollars here and there helps make the dream come alive.
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Originally posted by fulano View PostNope. Odds are the same whether you buy all the tickets at once or spread them out over many draws.
His odds may be 1 in 1.8 million for ONE DRAW of his state lottery (because he has 10 tickets, not just 1), or 1 in 12 million for the multistate lottery (with 10 tickets), but we are talking about his LIFETIME chance of winning here.
Think about it. If I have a 1in2 chance of getting "heads" when I flip a coin, don't you think I would have better than 1in2 odds of getting "heads" at least once if I flip it every week of my life? I don't have to flip thousands of coins all on the same day to improve my odds. I can spread it out. It's the same.
heh  you don't understand odds. The odds are definitely not the same. Think of it this way, If he bought 1.8 million tickets for one game he has a 1:1 chance of winning because he has chosen every number. If he plays 1 ticket for 1.8 million different games, he is not guaranteed a win  in fact his odds are very slim that he will win. Each game is different. Every time you flip a coin you have a 50% chance. If you flip it 10 times, you still have a 50% chance each time you flip.
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Calculating Probability  "At Least One" statements  YouTube
What are the odds of rolling a 2 on a single die? 1/6 = 1 in 6 = 16.67%
What are the odds of rolling a 2 at least one time in 6 rolls? [1  (5/6)^6] = 1 in 1.5 = 66.5%
What are the odds of rolling a 2 on that final roll after you didn't roll a 2 5 times in a row? 1/6 = 1 in 6 = 16.67%
The odds of it happening this time are always the same.
What are the odds of winning an 18 million to one lottery when you buy 10 different tickets? 10/18,000,000 = 1 in 1.8 million = 0.0001%
What are the odds of winning an 18 million to one lottery at least once when you buy 10 different tickets each week for 80 years? [1  (17,999,990/18,000,000)^(80*52)] = 1 in 433.19 = 0.2308%
What are the odds of winning an 18 million to one lottery this week when you've bought 10 unique tickets every week for the past 80 years of your life? 10/18,000,000 = 1 in 1.8 million = 0.0001%
The moral of the story is that if you practiced that strategy of $10/week for 80 years, you'd still only have a 1 in 433 chance of winning 1 time.
You'd have a 99.77% chance of losing $41,600.
And if you play the mega super jackpots...
How to Play Powerball
Odds of winning: 1 in 195,249,054
Odds of winning if you play $10/week for 80 years: 1 in 7510 (0.01%)
Odds of losing $41,600 = 99.99%
Remember, hand sanitizer kills 99.99% of germs.
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You can't win if you don't play
Ok I'm going to play devils advocate for this tread. Sure the odds of winning a jackpot are astronomical!!! But people win all the time. Sure your individual odds are very low. But the higher the jackpot gets more people play. So when a jackpot goes over a say, 100 mil you have millions of people buying 100 of millions of chances thus creates a high probability of someone having the winning combination. There is a small chance of that winning ticket being yours. When a jackpot gets that high it's the actually odds of someone winning will be a almost certain. Say on multi state lotto A the odds are 1125 million of hitting a jackpot. With a jackpot of 100 mil or more you typically have more than 100 million plus chances being bought thus increasing the probability of winning because all of the 125 million possible combinations are being played. I'm closing yeah your individual odds are still a very long the odds of someone winning can be very high!!! And you can't win if you don't play!!! Play responsible and have fun.. I must say even thou I have never won it is fun for the couple of hours before the drawing talking about what would happen if you won. If nothing else the dream of winning is personally worth the dollar chance I pay to play.
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Originally posted by jeffrey View PostYou play decide to play devil's advocate and then get upset when someone points out the other side of the coin? I would suggest not playing devil's advocate if you don't want people pointing out the obvious
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