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mediabrat's Blog

  • mediabrat's Blog has 6 entries (1 private) and has been viewed 10,171 times.
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March 25, 2012, 4:15 am"One In 1000" Results: March 23/24, 2012

Programming note:  Soon we'll have enough results to start doing some analysis, so stay tuned for that.

 

The Mega Millions numbers for March 23 were 6, 17, 19, 20, and 21, with a Mega Ball of 20.  Nobody won the $290 million jackpot, and our simulated 175,000 lines didn't strike gold either.  There were 39 Match 5+0 winners in real life, but in our world there were none.

Here's how our lines fared:

MATCH WINNERS TOTAL PRIZES
5+1 0 $0
5+0 0 $0
4+1 0 $0
4+0 10 $1,500
3+1 17 $2,550
3+0 579 $4,053
2+1 222 $2,220
1+1 1224 $3,672
0+1 2443 $4,886
TOTALS 4495 $18,881

 

In Powerball, more of the same.  The winning numbers for March 24 were 1, 15 ,35, 37, 47, and Powerball 8.  There were no winners of the $40 million jackpot and one second-prize winner.  In our simulation, there were no winners in any of the top three tiers, as usual.

Here's how our 175,000 lines fared:

MATCH WINNERS TOTAL PRIZES
5+1 0 $0
5+0 0 $0
4+1 0 $0
4+0 14 $1,400
3+1 10 $1,000
3+0 506 $3,542
2+1 261 $1,827
1+1 1621 $6,484
0+1 3247 $12,988
TOTALS 5659 $27,241
Entry #6
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March 25, 2012, 4:06 am"One In 1000" Results: March 20/21, 2012

I apologize for getting a bit behind in posting the simulation results.

The Mega Millions numbers for March 20 were 1-4-6-11-14, Mega Ball 30.  Nobody won the $241 million jackpot; as expected, neither did we.  There were an amazing 68 second-prize winners, 21 of them from California.  Our simulated 175,000 lines did not land a second prize, but for the first time since we started doing this, we did win a third prize (two, in fact) by matching 4 white balls and the Mega Ball.

Enough talk, here's the summary:

MATCH WINNERS TOTAL PRIZES
5+1 0 $0
5+0 0 $0
4+1 2 $20,000
4+0 12 $1,800
3+1 17 $2,550
3+0 590 $4,130
2+1 213 $2,130
1+1 1260 $3,780
0+1 2350 $4,700
TOTALS 4444 $39,090

 

The Powerball numbers for March 21 were 32-43-53-55-56 with a Powerball of 6.  There was one winner of the $70 million jackpot and one second-prize winner.  We were not so lucky.

MATCH WINNERS TOTAL PRIZES
5+1 0 $0
5+0 0 $0
4+1 0 $0
4+0 4 $400
3+1 22 $2,200
3+0 493 $3,451
2+1 249 $1,743
1+1 1655 $6,620
0+1 3203 $12,812
TOTALS 5626 $27,226
Entry #5
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March 21, 2012, 12:53 am"One In 1000" Results: March 16/17, 2012

The winning Mega Millions numbers for March 16 were 28-29-43-51-53, Megaball 7.  No one won the $200 million dollar jackpot, both in real life and in our simulation.  In the real world, there were seven Match 5+0 winners.

Here's how our 175,000 lines fared:

MATCH WINNERS TOTAL PRIZES
5+1 0 $0
5+0 0 $0
4+1 0 $0
4+0 13 $1,950
3+1 9 $1,350
3+0 602 $4,214
2+1 196 $1,960
1+1 1332 $3,996
0+1 2411 $4,822
TOTALS 4563 $18,292

 


 

The winning Powerball numbers on St. Patrick's Day were 11-14-49-55-58 and Powerball 30.  The luck of the Irish was not with anyone as there were no winners of the $60 million jackpot.  However, there was one Match 5+0 winner.

Our numbers came out like this:

MATCH WINNERS TOTAL PRIZES
5+1 0 $0
5+0 0 $0
4+1 0 $0
4+0 5 $500
3+1 10 $1,000
3+0 538 $3,766
2+1 254 $1,778
1+1 1661 $6,644
0+1 3276 $13,104
TOTALS 5744 $26,792
Entry #4
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March 16, 2012, 4:52 pmResults for March 13 and 14, 2012

The winning Mega Millions numbers for March 13 were 2-8-30-36-48 with Mega Ball 31.  Nobody won the $171 million jackpot.

... and neither did we.  Our simulation got over 4,500 winners worth almost $19,000.  That's 2.6% of our 175,000 lines "played" and a return of 10.852%.

Here's the full breakdown:

MATCH WINNERS TOTAL PRIZES
5+1 0 $0
5+0 0 $0
4+1 0 $0
4+0 11 $1,650
3+1 15 $2,250
3+0 612 $4,284
2+1 214 $2,140
1+1 1269 $3,807
0+1 2430 $4,860
TOTALS 4551 $18,991

 


The winning Powerball numbers for March 14 were 1-8-41-46-59 with a Powerball of 24.  Nobody won the $50 million jackpot, including us.  We did, however, come away with over $23,500 spread over almost 5,350 winning tickets.  In terms of percentages, that's about 3.1% of the lines "played" and a return of about 6.72% of the $350,000 "spent" on those lines.

Here's the full breakdown:

MATCH WINNERS TOTAL PRIZES
5+1 0 $0
5+0 0 $0
4+1 0 $0
4+0 1 $100
3+1 10 $1,000
3+0 206 $1,442
2+1 149 $1,043
1+1 1396 $5,584
0+1 3587 $14,348
TOTALS 5349 $23,517

 

** I did mention in my introductory post that I wasn't going to be posting the numbers files for space reasons (the files themselves are 3 MB each, and pasting the numbers directly into the blog would be insane), but if anyone wants to review them, just let me know and I'll send them over.

Last Edited: March 16, 2012, 4:54 pm

Entry #2
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March 14, 2012, 4:35 amThe "One In 1000" Project -- Introduction

A recent discussion on the Lottery Post forums centered around whether you could improve your odds of winning a lottery jackpot by buying more tickets.  Long story short, it came down to semantics; it depended on how you defined the terms "odds" and "chances" and on how much weight you place on mathematics.  The correct answer is:  You do increase your chances and reduce your odds with each ticket you buy.  (I prefer to replace "increase" and "decrease" with "improve" so that it's clear what's going on.)  However, since the odds of a single play winning either the Mega Millions or Powerball jackpot are approximately 1 in 175 million -- or 0.00000057%; that's 57 one-hundred-millionths of one percent -- your odds improve so insignificantly that it soon becomes a question of how much money you're willing to spend on one drawing with little effect on your actual chances of winning.

During the course of the discussion a question was raised:  If buying more tickets really does improve your odds, why don't you see people (or groups) with sufficient resources from purchasing enough tickets to reduce their personal odds to 1 in 1000?  There are a few answers:

  • Logistics.  Assuming a lottery terminal can print one ticket per second, it would take over 48 hours to print the approximately 175,000 tickets necessary to get the odds down to 1 in 1000.  And that doesn't even include the amount of time needed to either run all those play cards through the terminal or program it to print off 175,000 tickets.  It's improbable, maybe impossible, and maybe even illegal for one person to accomplish this on their own, and it's unlikely that you could assemble a group large enough to pull it off.
  • Cost.  It would cost $175,000 to buy your stack of Mega Millions tickets and $350,000 if you're playing Powerball, and that's assuming you don't add on the Megaplier/Power Play.  Granted, the premise states that you have enough money to do this, but still, it seems a bit mad to drop that much coin on one drawing.  And that doesn't even take into account...
  • Math.  Okay, so you've improved your odds from 1 in 175,000,000 to 1 in 1000.  Sounds good, right?  After all, your state's Pick 3 game has those odds of winning the top prize and people win that all the time.  Not so fast.  There's still a 99.9% chance that you will NOT win the jackpot!  Man, that stinks!  You spent hundreds of thousands of dollars buying lottery tickets with only a 0.1% chance of hitting the big one?  Ouch!

And that's where we come in.  So it's still highly unlikely that you'll win a Mega Millions or Powerball jackpot even if you buy 175,000 tickets at once.  But I got to thinking:  If you could reduce your odds to 1 in 1000, how much money can you win on average?  I was pretty good at math in high school, but I have no idea if it's possible to figure this out mathematically or where I would even start. So the other option is to actually do this and see what happens.  Clearly I don't have the ability to accomplish this in the real world, but I do have the ability to simulate it.  I'm a computer programmer, so I wrote a program that would generate 175,000 unique lines for each game and then check those numbers against the actual numbers drawn.

It would not be feasible to post all 175,000 lines for each drawing and the number of balls matched per line, but I will post a summary after each set of drawings (Tuesday/Wednesday and Friday/Saturday) detailing how many matches we had and how much "money" we've won.

(DISCLAIMER: The "175,000" and "175 million" numbers used are approximate.  The actual odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 175,711,536 and the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 175,223,510.  However, for our purposes it's enough to round that to 1 in 175,000,000.  Buying 175,000 lines would actually reduce your odds to 1 in 1004.07 for Mega Millions and 1 in 1001.28 for Powerball.  Again, for our purposes, 1 in 1000 is sufficient, and it makes the math a little easier.)

Entry #1
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