Thursday, 23 June 2011

How to win the lottery. Part 3: The Scam

Thus concludes the epic trilogy that is "How to win the lottery". If you were wondering, yes there will be a digitally remastered special extended edition, some disappointing prequels and I'm currently working on a 3D version that is bound to be an embarrassment for all concerned.

In Parts 1 and 2 we learnt that if Mr Sucker buys a quickpick every week for fifty years, he will lose about $14,000.

Is there any way that he could increase his odds of coming out ahead? Yes, there is, but before you proceed, I must warn you that each of these techniques brings with it a terrible curse. Enjoy.

Monday, 20 June 2011

How to win the lottery. Part 2: The Payout

Part 2 in a three part magnum opus - or possibly optimus prime - on how the lottery really works, and what you can do to make it work in your favour, if you can, which you can't. Or can you?
Mr Sucker lived a simple life. He loved his family and worked hard to support them. His one vice was his weekly lottery ticket. And the occasional line of cocaine. And the prostitutes, the many, many prostitutes.

But let's concentrate on the lottery, at least for this post.

In Part 1 we learnt that his lifetime chance of winning 1st division was approximately 1 in 262, and that he was guaranteed to win 4th, 5th and 6th division many times. But what I want to know now is how much money will he spend in total, and how much can he expect to win?

The total spend is easy: A standard quickpick each week for 50 years is approximately $20,400 at today's price ($7.85). Calculating the winnings is a bit of a pain in the arse, but here goes. There are two ways: The first is to calculate the average number of times he will win each division, using the odds calculated in part one, then multiply these by the average dollar amount paid out for each division. This sounds hard. Fortunately, there is an easier way. A much easier way. One might call it a piss-easier way. Tattersalls and the Victorian State Government have already done the work for us.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

How to win the lottery. Part 1: The Odds

I like to keep my posts, like my love-making, short and/or sweet, so when this one started ballooning out to Oracian, or possibly John Holmesian proportions, I decided to break it up into a trilogy of geeky maths delights, guaranteed to show you how to win the lottery.

I have bought precisely one lottery ticket in my life. I was fifteen and it was technically illegal. Luckily, I won jack shit.

I gave up, because you'd have to be stupid to buy a lottery ticket. Or so I keep telling myself.

Do you buy lottery tickets? If so, the following conversation may sound familiar to you, especially if your name is Bob.
"Hiya Bob, what brings you to the local newsagent where I buy my pornography."
"Hey Cedric, I'm just picking up my weekly quickpick."
"Tattslotto, eh? Did you know that the odds of winning Tattslotto are more than eight million to one against? Eight million!"
"I think I heard something like that. Still, you've got to be in it to win it."
"Uh uh. Sure, someone will probably win, but, statistically speaking, it is virtually impossible for you to win. You don't buy Powerball too, by any chance? "
"Er, sometimes, if there's a jackpot."
"Fifty five million to one*. Fifty five! Million! Man, you are such a Sucker. You won't catch me throwing my money away on this delusion. Those odds are seriously crazy. Did you know that the chance of getting hit by lightning is only one in 1.6 million? Know anyone who has been hit by lightning? Ha ha! Now, if you'll excuse me, I believe that the latest issue of Brazilians get brazilians is out." 
"Right then. See you later, Prick**." 
Cedric seems like a nice enough guy, and I like calculating big numbers and have as much interest in the goings-on behind the curtains at beauty salons as the next man, but the thing is, those odds are not true - or at least not honest. How could they be? It is a ruse invented by the anti-fun brigade. I mean, c'mon? Multiple people win these lotteries nearly every week.