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Lottery number strategies subject of newspaper investigation

New Jersey LotteryNew Jersey Lottery: Lottery number strategies subject of newspaper investigation

The odds are long. The drawings are random. And the house keeps a much greater share of wagers than other forms of gambling.

In sum: The lottery cannot be beaten.

"There is no system that can improve your chances of winning the lottery, period," says Mike Orkin, a California mathematician who has written extensively about gambling odds.

Yet the quest for an ever-elusive winning lottery strategy is alive and well — and for sale.

On a quiet, dead-end street in Denville stands the headquarters of Double-Red Publishing, purveyors of 90 lottery periodicals. The titles range from "Three Wise Men Dream Book Almanac" — a sort of "Old Farmer's Almanac" for numbers players — to a sloppily hand- drawn leaflet titled "Grandma: What Numerology Means to You."

Company officials won't say how much they make selling advice to the luck-lorn. But a visitor to Double-Red's warehouse can only conclude that the brothers who run the business, Ben and Anthony DeSomma, aren't going broke selling copies of "Professor Hitts Number Secrets" for $3 a pop and "Lucky Number Envelopes" for $5.

File boxes are stuffed with order sheets from thousands of lottery ticket retailers nationwide, many of which ply Double-Red's stock via customized magazine racks next to their lottery ticket displays.

"Sometimes, the books just fly off the shelves too quickly and the retailers don't know what to do," says Anthony DeSomma.

He used to run an electronics repair shop in Montclair, but local TV repairmen are getting squashed by the service departments at big- box retailers, he said. Now, the DeSommas are captains of their industry.

"I have people calling me up just to tell me about a new system they're trying, and how they took one of our books and did this and that," he said. "They track this stuff like crazy. For some of these people, the lottery is like a religion."

Like the lottery itself, the lottery advice business has its niches.

A Star-Ledger analysis of five years of lottery ticket sales and winnings found sales tend to be higher in lower-income neighborhoods than in more affluent areas. And the pattern is even stronger for certain lottery games — lower- income ZIP codes buy far more Pick 3, Pick 4 and scratch-off tickets per capita than areas with higher-income households.

Almost all lottery literature is targeted at Pick 3 aficionados, Ben DeSomma said. "Let me put it this way," he said. "You won't sell a Pick 3 book in Beverly Hills."

Each booklet generally falls into one of two camps: analytical and mythical.

There are ersatz statistical analyses that examine numbers that have come up recently in various state lotteries, and advise playing "hot" or "due" numbers.

"If you would like to see how many times the number '123' hit in New Jersey since the lottery began, our Big Clara's Pix&Hit lottery sheet will tell you this," Ben DeSomma said. "There is a higher probability that the numbers which have hit more are a safer bet to play."

Orkin disputes such claims. In mathematical terms, each drawing is "independent," and what happened the day before is irrelevant. In other words, he said, the numbered balls that pop out of the chute have no memory.

At the other end of the spectrum are mystical tomes that instruct readers how to interpret their dreams in ways that might lead to winning plays.

Some titles have been put out by various publishers for decades.

A century ago, when illegal numbers games were taking hold, underground publishers put out "dream books" for players.

The books were inspired by the African "Hoodoo" tradition, a form of mysticism that attached symbolic significance to numbers and were particularly popular among African-American numbers players, said Catherine Yronwode, who runs an occult products store in Northern California.

"Anglo-Americans tend to see dreams in a Freudian way, about what they say about their lives and their relationships," she said, whereas in the Hoodoo tradition, dreams are windows to the future.

The DeSommas sell a number of dream books. "The Three Wise Men" title has been published since the 1920s, Ben DeSomma said.

Dream about cabbage, for instance, and "The Three Wise Men" advises playing 638 in the Pick 3.

One devoted reader is Ron Jackson, a 52-year-old disabled laborer from Bayonne. He pledges his lottery allegiance to Double- Red's "Black Jack Almanac," which lists suggested plays for every date. Jackson's system: Play the numbers one month ahead of the dates in the book.

On an afternoon earlier this year, he was ensconced in his usual hangout, Pyramid Traders on Broadway at 25th Street, the almanac in hand.

He figures he spends $50 a day playing the lottery. "I live here," he said while waiting in line to make some Pick 3 plays.

Thousands also seek advice online. Todd Northrop, a Somerset County resident, runs "Lottery Post," a Web site with 20,000 registered members. The most popular feature: Forums where members post lottery predictions.

On any given day, he said, a member can pick a state and go through lists of lists — numbers that other members believe will come out on that day. It's a pastime that inspires true devotion.

"Some Lottery Post members literally spend hours each day coming up with the right numbers to play and carefully prepare elaborate forum posts designed to highlight the best numbers," Northrop said.

Both DeSomma and Yronwode also sell an assortment of amulets, charms and potions. In fact, Yronwode has written a book about Hoodoo herb magic and sells 180 herb blends in her shop — including a product called "Lucky 13 Lottery and Bingo Oil."

Yronwode insists this is not snake oil: "We make these and we pray over them for you," she said.

Orkin, who has written several books about gambling odds, is among the unbelievers.

"Millions of dollars are spent by people who run the lottery games to make sure they're random," he said.

In New Jersey, an accounting firm sends two representatives to witness every drawing. And the bottom line: The lottery pays customers just 55 cents back in prizes for every dollar wagered — far less than other forms of legalized gambling.

"There are weird streaks and patterns that are caused by chance alone, but that doesn't mean you can use that to your advantage for future drawings," Orkin said.

Star Ledger

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46 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by CASH Only.
Page 1 of 4
BobP's avatar - bobp avatar.png
Dump Water Florida
United States
Member #380
June 5, 2002
3106 Posts
Offline
Posted: December 6, 2005, 1:45 am - IP Logged

It's always the people who don't play the game who know exactly why you can't win.  Even random has patterns.  You start with a ballset collection, after a time you find there are hot, average and cold numbers.  When you check them a year later within the life of the ballset collection, you find the hot numbers are still hot, the average are still average and the cold or dead numbers are still doing next to nothing.  When the ballset collection is changed, a portion of the numbers totally change to a different hit rate. 

I notice the part of the article doesn't cover where the numbers come from for the lucky number books.  I've seen them and really wondered if any thought and strategy goes into the picks, or if they are just random picks pretending to be the result of research or mystic picks. 

Also noticed the article doesn't get into the Lottery Post hit rate for predictors . . .

BobP

    bellyache's avatar - 64x64a9wg

    United States
    Member #12618
    March 18, 2005
    2060 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: December 6, 2005, 3:02 am - IP Logged

    Well, I will continue to use the systems I enjoy using regardless of this article. =)

    Dance like no one is watching.

      Avatar
      New Member

      United States
      Member #27790
      December 6, 2005
      4 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: December 6, 2005, 3:03 am - IP Logged

      BobP, what's a ballset collection and how do you know when it has been changed?

        sirbrad's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
        PA
        United States
        Member #22983
        October 6, 2005
        2226 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: December 6, 2005, 3:17 am - IP Logged

        Funny then how ever since I started using my own system that I have won more, and come closer to the BIG jackpots every time I play. I guess that must just be a striking "coincidence." Skeptical  I WILL beat the lottery one day soon, whether it be by luck or skill does not matter to me. The dents I am making are only getting bigger, and Faith moves mountains...

          BIRD's avatar - hiro bird.jpg
          clarkston georgia
          United States
          Member #555
          August 8, 2002
          3348 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: December 6, 2005, 5:31 am - IP Logged

          I guess I need to release my book !

          good press for lp

          spooky soozy 888

          birdshouse.ning.com

          join us at birdshouse

          bird 4=7

            Avatar

            United States
            Member #27625
            December 4, 2005
            88 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: December 6, 2005, 5:35 am - IP Logged

            A steady, consitent play strategy is the first step to lottery success. Utilizing the multi-day feature has worked well for me winning the second prize in the Cash 5 game in my state repeatedly...How? Steady play day after day, all the time...no one else I know plays multi-day consistently. I win more often than they do...logical? As for the BIG ONE, win small first, again and again,,, the BIG HIT is more likely to come your way than to an erratic goofball player. Mathematics? I tried it and I am satisfied. Try it.

              Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
              Chief Bottle Washer
              New Jersey
              United States
              Member #1
              May 31, 2000
              23277 Posts
              Online
              Posted: December 6, 2005, 6:13 am - IP Logged

              It's always the people who don't play the game who know exactly why you can't win.  Even random has patterns.  You start with a ballset collection, after a time you find there are hot, average and cold numbers.  When you check them a year later within the life of the ballset collection, you find the hot numbers are still hot, the average are still average and the cold or dead numbers are still doing next to nothing.  When the ballset collection is changed, a portion of the numbers totally change to a different hit rate. 

              I notice the part of the article doesn't cover where the numbers come from for the lucky number books.  I've seen them and really wondered if any thought and strategy goes into the picks, or if they are just random picks pretending to be the result of research or mystic picks. 

              Also noticed the article doesn't get into the Lottery Post hit rate for predictors . . .

              BobP

              Good feedback.  I did mention the stat boards, and many other things to the reporter.  It turns out that there was a decidedly negative angle towards the lottery, and I'm guessing that my comments would make the lottery seem too fun.

               

              Check the State Lottery Report Card
              What grade did your lottery earn?

               

              Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
              Help eliminate computerized drawings!

                Badger's avatar - adu50016 NorthAmericanBadger.jpg
                Wisconsin
                United States
                Member #1303
                March 27, 2003
                1508 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: December 6, 2005, 6:57 am - IP Logged

                It's always the people who don't play the game who know exactly why you can't win.  Even random has patterns.  You start with a ballset collection, after a time you find there are hot, average and cold numbers.  When you check them a year later within the life of the ballset collection, you find the hot numbers are still hot, the average are still average and the cold or dead numbers are still doing next to nothing.  When the ballset collection is changed, a portion of the numbers totally change to a different hit rate. 

                I notice the part of the article doesn't cover where the numbers come from for the lucky number books.  I've seen them and really wondered if any thought and strategy goes into the picks, or if they are just random picks pretending to be the result of research or mystic picks. 

                Also noticed the article doesn't get into the Lottery Post hit rate for predictors . . .

                BobP

                Good feedback.  I did mention the stat boards, and many other things to the reporter.  It turns out that there was a decidedly negative angle towards the lottery, and I'm guessing that my comments would make the lottery seem too fun.

                Gee, it was a decidely negative article?  Big surprise, huh?

                When they start out with

                In sum: The lottery cannot be beaten.

                "There is no system that can improve your chances of winning the lottery, period," says Mike Orkin, a California mathematician who has written extensively about gambling odds. ...that's kind of telling.

                And let's not forget, bumblebees cannot fly.  That's a fact. Science says so. It's impossible. Therefore, every time you see a bumblebee, remember.....they beat the odds.

                ============

                How can you tell if a politician is lying?

                Answer: His lips are moving.

                  bellyache's avatar - 64x64a9wg

                  United States
                  Member #12618
                  March 18, 2005
                  2060 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: December 6, 2005, 11:30 am - IP Logged

                  It's always the people who don't play the game who know exactly why you can't win.  Even random has patterns.  You start with a ballset collection, after a time you find there are hot, average and cold numbers.  When you check them a year later within the life of the ballset collection, you find the hot numbers are still hot, the average are still average and the cold or dead numbers are still doing next to nothing.  When the ballset collection is changed, a portion of the numbers totally change to a different hit rate. 

                  I notice the part of the article doesn't cover where the numbers come from for the lucky number books.  I've seen them and really wondered if any thought and strategy goes into the picks, or if they are just random picks pretending to be the result of research or mystic picks. 

                  Also noticed the article doesn't get into the Lottery Post hit rate for predictors . . .

                  BobP

                  Good feedback.  I did mention the stat boards, and many other things to the reporter.  It turns out that there was a decidedly negative angle towards the lottery, and I'm guessing that my comments would make the lottery seem too fun.

                  Gee, it was a decidely negative article?  Big surprise, huh?

                  When they start out with

                  In sum: The lottery cannot be beaten.

                  "There is no system that can improve your chances of winning the lottery, period," says Mike Orkin, a California mathematician who has written extensively about gambling odds. ...that's kind of telling.

                  And let's not forget, bumblebees cannot fly.  That's a fact. Science says so. It's impossible. Therefore, every time you see a bumblebee, remember.....they beat the odds.

                  They started out the article negative, so it wasn't a surprise that it would stay that way. I doubt however, that it will change many peoples minds who play the lottery.

                  Dance like no one is watching.

                    Avatar
                    Amarillo/Austin
                    United States
                    Member #1424
                    April 25, 2003
                    696 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: December 6, 2005, 12:27 pm - IP Logged

                    Journalists are obligated to treat the lottery the same way they treat flying saucers and Big Foot.  No reason to put your credibility on the line when you can get a good article out of it.  Believe me on this.  I was in the newspaper business for 29 years. Just consider the source.    Clown

                    Orangeman                                                           

                      cps10's avatar - Lottery-004.jpg
                      The Carolinas - Charlotte
                      United States
                      Member #21627
                      September 12, 2005
                      4138 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: December 6, 2005, 1:32 pm - IP Logged

                      Amen. I have to agree with the one poster - Faith moves mountains. If you are determined to do something, generally you can see it through. I haven't beaten the lottery yet, but does that deter my efforts? A resounding NO! I think it's possible to create a steady income playing the numbers games. I think it's also much tougher to win the big ones, but heck, it happens every day, doesn't it?

                        RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
                        mid-Ohio
                        United States
                        Member #9
                        March 24, 2001
                        19831 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: December 6, 2005, 1:59 pm - IP Logged

                        Two hundred years ago you didn't have to be a scientist to make the statement "what goes up must come down" because that's how it had always been.  A hundred years from now someone may say a hundred years ago, you didn't have to a mathematician to make the statement "a lottery can't be beaten" because that how it had always been.  This reporter writes about what has always been when most of us lottery players are dreaming of what will be tomorrow.  We may never find that winning lottery strategy, but if we win the big prize once we won't care and the search will have been worth it.

                        RJOh

                         * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
                           
                                     Evil Looking       

                          cps10's avatar - Lottery-004.jpg
                          The Carolinas - Charlotte
                          United States
                          Member #21627
                          September 12, 2005
                          4138 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: December 6, 2005, 2:11 pm - IP Logged

                          And perhaps that winner will come from me buying a ticket in Springfield OH ;) to rub it in the in-laws face...hahaha

                            konane's avatar - wallace
                            Atlanta, GA
                            United States
                            Member #1265
                            March 13, 2003
                            3333 Posts
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                            Posted: December 6, 2005, 2:49 pm - IP Logged

                            Todd, congrats on the mention of Lottery Post ... wish they'd printed more but we're learning that reporters make/slant the news how they want it to be delivered.........

                            They missed one important fact ....... every person who wins money playing any lottery game effectively beats the lottery. 

                            It's done every day in every state Cash 3 on up to MM and PB.  Just because a person may choose to reinvest their winnings back into more tickets makes them no less a winner. 

                            Good luck to everyone!