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Lucky lottery lady outed as Stanford University statistics PhD

Topic closed. 74 replies. Last post 5 years ago by martingorgeous.

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July 10, 2010
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Posted: August 9, 2011, 12:21 am - IP Logged

She was called the luckiest woman in the world.

But now that luck is being called into question by some who think that winning the lottery four times is more than just a coincidental spell of good fortune.

Joan R. Ginther, 63, from Texas, won multiple million dollar payouts each time.

First, she won $5.4 million, then a decade later, she won $2 million, then two years later $3 million and finally, in the spring of 2008, she hit a $10 million jackpot.

The odds of this has been calculated at one in eighteen septillion and luck like this could only come once every quadrillion years.

Harper's reporter Nathanial Rich recently wrote an article about Ginther, which questioned the validity of this 'luck' with which she attributes her multiple lottery wins to.

First, he points out, Ginther is a former math professor with a PhD from Stanford University specialising in statistics.

A professor at the Institute for the Study of Gambling & Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno, told Rich, "When something this unlikely happens in a casino, you arrest 'em first and ask questions later."

Although Ginther now lives in Las Vegas, she won all four of her lotteries in Texas.

Three of her wins, all in two-year intervals, were by scratch-off tickets bought at the same mini mart in the town of Bishop.

Rich proceeds to detail the myriad ways in which Ginther could have gamed the system — including the fact that she may have figured out the algorithm that determines where a winner is placed in each run of scratch-off tickets.

He believes that after Ginther figured out the algorithm, it wouldn't be too difficult to then determine where the tickets would be shipped, as the shipping schedule is apparently fixed, and there were a few sources she could have found it out from.

According to Forbes, the residents of Bishop, Texas, seem to believe God was behind it all.

The Texas Lottery Commission told Rich that Ginther must have been 'born under a lucky star', and that they don't suspect foul play.

Thanks to Dave for the tip.

This is an old story, bandied about here before.

It is nothing but harebrained, unproven, speculation, designed to get tongues wagging.

So, the odds of her winning these 4 lottery games is 1 in 18 septillion?  I'm afraid not.  Some idiot multipled together the probabilities of winning each of the 4 to come up with that number.  Just as the probability of flipping a coin heads is 50%, no matter how many times it previously came up heads, so is the probability of winning a subsequent lottery prize of any amount WHATEVER THE GAME WAS DESIGNED FOR, no matter how many games the player had won leading up to that day.

This is an absurd story which does no more than propagate fallacious thinking about probability and lotteries.

The illogic in it is farcical!

"Although Ginther now lives in Las Vegas, she won all four of her lotteries in Texas.

Three of her wins, all in two-year intervals, were by scratch-off tickets bought at the same mini mart in the town of Bishop.

Rich proceeds to detail the myriad ways in which Ginther could have gamed the system — including the fact that she may have figured out the algorithm that determines where a winner is placed in each run of scratch-off tickets."

It wouldn't matter if she had multiple PhDs in all the sciences; the implications of this last sentence are foolish!

"The Texas Lottery Commission told Rich that Ginther must have been 'born under a lucky star', and that they don't suspect foul play."

RJOh made the most compelling observation that anyone should be able to comprehend at 5:27 PM yesterday!

--Jimmy4164

http://www.lotterypost.com/thread/218174

    imagine's avatar - WINGS

    United States
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    Posted: August 9, 2011, 12:58 am - IP Logged

    jimmy4164

    The odds came from a series of mathmatecians that the AP consulted when the original story came out.

    The author consulted a statician who said actually they are much higher.

     

    I think you posted the wrong link.  That thread has been closed for a year.

      jeffrey's avatar - moon
      Hamilton, OH
      United States
      Member #4162
      March 27, 2004
      277 Posts
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      Posted: August 9, 2011, 1:15 am - IP Logged

      This is an old story, bandied about here before.

      It is nothing but harebrained, unproven, speculation, designed to get tongues wagging.

      So, the odds of her winning these 4 lottery games is 1 in 18 septillion?  I'm afraid not.  Some idiot multipled together the probabilities of winning each of the 4 to come up with that number.  Just as the probability of flipping a coin heads is 50%, no matter how many times it previously came up heads, so is the probability of winning a subsequent lottery prize of any amount WHATEVER THE GAME WAS DESIGNED FOR, no matter how many games the player had won leading up to that day.

      This is an absurd story which does no more than propagate fallacious thinking about probability and lotteries.

      The illogic in it is farcical!

      "Although Ginther now lives in Las Vegas, she won all four of her lotteries in Texas.

      Three of her wins, all in two-year intervals, were by scratch-off tickets bought at the same mini mart in the town of Bishop.

      Rich proceeds to detail the myriad ways in which Ginther could have gamed the system — including the fact that she may have figured out the algorithm that determines where a winner is placed in each run of scratch-off tickets."

      It wouldn't matter if she had multiple PhDs in all the sciences; the implications of this last sentence are foolish!

      "The Texas Lottery Commission told Rich that Ginther must have been 'born under a lucky star', and that they don't suspect foul play."

      RJOh made the most compelling observation that anyone should be able to comprehend at 5:27 PM yesterday!

      --Jimmy4164

      http://www.lotterypost.com/thread/218174

      where did you study math? sharpen those pencils and try again.Agree with stupid


        United States
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        July 10, 2010
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        Posted: August 9, 2011, 1:16 am - IP Logged

        jimmy4164

        The odds came from a series of mathmatecians that the AP consulted when the original story came out.

        The author consulted a statician who said actually they are much higher.

         

        I think you posted the wrong link.  That thread has been closed for a year.

        No, I'm referring to an earlier treatment of this same Ginther "affair."  When that ridiculous odds number was mentioned before, it was a joke to anyone who knows that the only way to get such an astronomical number is to MULTIPLY the odds of each of the 4 games by each other, which is patently absurd, unless you were predicting IN ADVANCE that you were going to win 4 specific games, IN ADVANCE!!  It's still a joke!  Of course, if you believe that the odds of a coin coming up heads is less that 50% after it's been flipped 10 times heads, then the x septillions number will compute for you!  Has any PhD math professor come forward to own that claim above?

        I stand by my statements above. 

        The link I posted was purposely to my own year old thread, one that needs to be read by all...

          imagine's avatar - WINGS

          United States
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          January 7, 2010
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          Posted: August 9, 2011, 1:30 am - IP Logged

          No professor is named in the article.

          I thought it was the link for this:

          "RJOh made the most compelling observation that anyone should be able to comprehend at 5:27 PM yesterday!"

          What thread are you refrencing, was gonna have a look see, thanks.


            United States
            Member #75358
            June 1, 2009
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            Posted: August 9, 2011, 2:00 am - IP Logged

            I think eveyone is thinking too hard. S**t happens. Even with random distribution of scratch offs, there's bound to be clusters of winners. It's a given, rare, but nevertheless it happens. It looks biased, but it's not. Spread-out randomness will, from time to time experience events where it will cross paths within itself creating clusters or anomolies.  Highs and lows where the lines intersect.

            I knew someone in the Navy, in Key West where I was stationed years ago, who was struck by lightning 3 times years before. S**t happens.


              United States
              Member #75358
              June 1, 2009
              5345 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: August 9, 2011, 2:05 am - IP Logged

              No, I'm referring to an earlier treatment of this same Ginther "affair."  When that ridiculous odds number was mentioned before, it was a joke to anyone who knows that the only way to get such an astronomical number is to MULTIPLY the odds of each of the 4 games by each other, which is patently absurd, unless you were predicting IN ADVANCE that you were going to win 4 specific games, IN ADVANCE!!  It's still a joke!  Of course, if you believe that the odds of a coin coming up heads is less that 50% after it's been flipped 10 times heads, then the x septillions number will compute for you!  Has any PhD math professor come forward to own that claim above?

              I stand by my statements above. 

              The link I posted was purposely to my own year old thread, one that needs to be read by all...

              The coin being flipped 10 times heads you think, may still have a 50/50 chance on the 11th, but what would you personally bet on the 11th?

              No math jargon or any other theories, just answer the question honestly. Thanx...


                United States
                Member #81843
                October 31, 2009
                856 Posts
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                Posted: August 9, 2011, 2:08 am - IP Logged

                +
                I think it is pure luck and a coincidence that the winner is a statistician. The only way to beat astronomical odds is
                luck.

                -
                But,… would not the odds for each game stand on their own? If the person plays
                a new hand in a new game are not the odds for that game set? The guy is on a lucky
                roll. Same thing happens to a gambler who goes from game to game in a casino.

                ?
                Why would lotteries distribute winners to just one general area of a state? Are
                those not lucky areas even if a computer
                is used to decide them? Computers do not understand luck.

                ~?!!
                I don’t know about you but septillions is way bigger than I can comprehend,
                therefore I like luck for an explanation. Scru Texas running up a hill; are
                they feeling unlucky???

                ~++
                If all of one's good luck has been given
                to another, I say go for it Mr. G. You did your homework and beat the odds when
                you figured out which bowl the goldfish were in. Random is a beautiful thing.

                !?~?
                The man knew about his game and played to win. His computer will be attacked,
                his phone will be tapped and he is guilty first, without any fact. They will
                look into his debit, credit and cash machine
                activity. If he has a sexy new car with GPS they can paint quite a picture. They
                will want to reconstruct his steps looking for patters because someone wants to
                know HOW to do it. Speculation is all that is needed to raise an
                eyebrow; the man is worth a chunk of change.He cannot keep that if he figured out a way to WIN. Could be some Texas ranger be wanting
                to make a name for himself? Is chuck
                Norris weird?

                 

                JOKER.
                You were in the NAVY?

                  Avatar
                  Phoenix, AZ
                  United States
                  Member #108844
                  April 1, 2011
                  28 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: August 9, 2011, 2:22 am - IP Logged

                  She was called the luckiest woman in the world.

                  But now that luck is being called into question by some who think that winning the lottery four times is more than just a coincidental spell of good fortune.

                  Joan R. Ginther, 63, from Texas, won multiple million dollar payouts each time.

                  First, she won $5.4 million, then a decade later, she won $2 million, then two years later $3 million and finally, in the spring of 2008, she hit a $10 million jackpot.

                  The odds of this has been calculated at one in eighteen septillion and luck like this could only come once every quadrillion years.

                  Harper's reporter Nathanial Rich recently wrote an article about Ginther, which questioned the validity of this 'luck' with which she attributes her multiple lottery wins to.

                  First, he points out, Ginther is a former math professor with a PhD from Stanford University specialising in statistics.

                  A professor at the Institute for the Study of Gambling & Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno, told Rich, "When something this unlikely happens in a casino, you arrest 'em first and ask questions later."

                  Although Ginther now lives in Las Vegas, she won all four of her lotteries in Texas.

                  Three of her wins, all in two-year intervals, were by scratch-off tickets bought at the same mini mart in the town of Bishop.

                  Rich proceeds to detail the myriad ways in which Ginther could have gamed the system — including the fact that she may have figured out the algorithm that determines where a winner is placed in each run of scratch-off tickets.

                  He believes that after Ginther figured out the algorithm, it wouldn't be too difficult to then determine where the tickets would be shipped, as the shipping schedule is apparently fixed, and there were a few sources she could have found it out from.

                  According to Forbes, the residents of Bishop, Texas, seem to believe God was behind it all.

                  The Texas Lottery Commission told Rich that Ginther must have been 'born under a lucky star', and that they don't suspect foul play.

                  Thanks to Dave for the tip.

                  I believe that this lady honestly won this money.  Congratulations to Ms. Ginther & enjoy your money!


                    United States
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                    October 31, 2009
                    856 Posts
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                    Posted: August 9, 2011, 2:26 am - IP Logged

                    I believe that this lady honestly won this money.  Congratulations to Ms. Ginther & enjoy your money!

                    Oh.
                    It was a woman? That is a very strong reason for luck coming into play. No way
                    can a woman be smart enough to outsmart a bunch of texicans. It has to be luck
                    boys, LADY LUCK!


                      United States
                      Member #75358
                      June 1, 2009
                      5345 Posts
                      Offline
                      Posted: August 9, 2011, 3:02 am - IP Logged

                      +
                      I think it is pure luck and a coincidence that the winner is a statistician. The only way to beat astronomical odds is
                      luck.

                      -
                      But,… would not the odds for each game stand on their own? If the person plays
                      a new hand in a new game are not the odds for that game set? The guy is on a lucky
                      roll. Same thing happens to a gambler who goes from game to game in a casino.

                      ?
                      Why would lotteries distribute winners to just one general area of a state? Are
                      those not lucky areas even if a computer
                      is used to decide them? Computers do not understand luck.

                      ~?!!
                      I don’t know about you but septillions is way bigger than I can comprehend,
                      therefore I like luck for an explanation. Scru Texas running up a hill; are
                      they feeling unlucky???

                      ~++
                      If all of one's good luck has been given
                      to another, I say go for it Mr. G. You did your homework and beat the odds when
                      you figured out which bowl the goldfish were in. Random is a beautiful thing.

                      !?~?
                      The man knew about his game and played to win. His computer will be attacked,
                      his phone will be tapped and he is guilty first, without any fact. They will
                      look into his debit, credit and cash machine
                      activity. If he has a sexy new car with GPS they can paint quite a picture. They
                      will want to reconstruct his steps looking for patters because someone wants to
                      know HOW to do it. Speculation is all that is needed to raise an
                      eyebrow; the man is worth a chunk of change.He cannot keep that if he figured out a way to WIN. Could be some Texas ranger be wanting
                      to make a name for himself? Is chuck
                      Norris weird?

                       

                      JOKER.
                      You were in the NAVY?

                      Yes, I was in the Navy Between December, 1982...... to......December, 1986. It stands for Never Again Volunteer Yourself.....lol


                        United States
                        Member #81843
                        October 31, 2009
                        856 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: August 9, 2011, 3:17 am - IP Logged

                        Yes, I was in the Navy Between December, 1982...... to......December, 1986. It stands for Never Again Volunteer Yourself.....lol

                        Well at least you know what you don’t want to do for the rest of your life. Thank you for
                        your service.

                        Let me say that I am most ashamed of that malcontent so-called patriot (tax weasel)who has very bigoted, racist
                        and  overt islamophobic views. You are much more an American in my eyes.

                        I think the lady is OKAY and she should keep all her money. All this speculation is a
                        reason to take her money away.

                          sully16's avatar - sharan
                          Ringleader
                          Michigan
                          United States
                          Member #81740
                          October 28, 2009
                          40609 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: August 9, 2011, 8:56 am - IP Logged

                          Oh.
                          It was a woman? That is a very strong reason for luck coming into play. No way
                          can a woman be smart enough to outsmart a bunch of texicans. It has to be luck
                          boys, LADY LUCK!

                          How could a woman understand the sum of x minus xbar divided by n-1 squared ? Finding the standard deviation on the bell curve must be a tough one. Understanding the cpk or ppk couldn't possibly come from sitting in a class room and learning it.

                          Did you exchange a walk on part in the war ?

                          For a lead role in a cage?

                           

                                                                      From Pink Floyd's " Wish you were here"

                            jarasan's avatar - new patrick.gif
                            Harbinger
                            D.C./MD.
                            United States
                            Member #44103
                            July 30, 2006
                            5583 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: August 9, 2011, 10:05 am - IP Logged

                            How could a woman understand the sum of x minus xbar divided by n-1 squared ? Finding the standard deviation on the bell curve must be a tough one. Understanding the cpk or ppk couldn't possibly come from sitting in a class room and learning it.


                              United States
                              Member #93947
                              July 10, 2010
                              2180 Posts
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                              Posted: August 9, 2011, 10:29 am - IP Logged

                              No professor is named in the article.

                              I thought it was the link for this:

                              "RJOh made the most compelling observation that anyone should be able to comprehend at 5:27 PM yesterday!"

                              What thread are you refrencing, was gonna have a look see, thanks.

                              Maybe this link will help you understand why I posted what I did earlier this AM...

                              Click HERE and note the date of this posting.