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# Statisticians search for how to beat the lottery

Feb 20, 2013, 9:26 pm

Insider Buzz: Statisticians search for how to beat the lotteryRating:

You've probably heard the saying: Liars figure, but figures don't lie. Well, it's probably true — the chances of winning a Powerball jackpot is more than 1 in 175-million.  Still, there's always somebody that "thinks" they can beat the system.

Whether it's your wedding anniversary, your birthday, your child's birthday, or the date of another event that's important to you, people typically pick random numbers — as any state lottery official will tell you, every number drawn is completely random.

And while that maybe true, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Statistical Sciences professor — and self professed math geek — Darcy Mays believes, with a database of enough winning numbers, there is at least the "possibility" of seeing patterns develop.  That by no means will guarantee a win, but might up the odds a little, especially in the smaller games — like Pick 3 or Pick 4.

"If you were dedicated, and there really was some pattern that you were finding, you could not get rich — but you could probably do a good supplemental earning."

"I just combine all these frequency — and I just make a list from the most frequent numbers to the least frequent numbers," said Dr. Min Su Kim.

Dr. Kim, professor of statistics at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, doesn't mess with the small games — he's compiled a computer data base of 10 years of winning Powerball numbers and the frequency at which they appear.  If the game is completely random, he argues, all numbers should be drawn at approximately the same rate — but they don't.

The Powerball consists of five white balls and one red powerball.  Dr. Kim says the most frequently drawn Powerball for the past 10 years is 20, followed by 37, 2, 31, and 35.

As for the white balls, the most frequently appearing number is 42, closely followed by 16, 35, 26, and 19.

Dr. Kim admits he is a believer in statistical probability.

"If you pick these numbers, there is more probability to win the grand prize," said Kim.

Not so fast, says John Hagerty, with the Virginia Lottery.

"Every number drawn is completely random," said Hagerty. "As for your odds of winning, they're posted on our website."

Thanks to Coin Toss for the tip.

KFVS

79 comments. Last comment 9 years ago by jamella724.
 Page 1 of 6
 LottoPerroUnited StatesMember #128367May 22, 2012207 PostsOffline February 20, 2013, 9:33 pmI saw this the other day.  But I am a believer in patterns developing.  You just have to jump on it when the best one does.The lottery is NOT a tax on the poor.  By calling it a tax, you are calling it mandatory, which is what taxes are.  But the lottery is NOT mandatory, therefore calling it a tax highly inaccurate.
 JAP69South CarolinaUnited StatesMember #6November 4, 20018886 PostsOffline February 20, 2013, 9:46 pmSounds like those in the news story looking for patterns need to come visit Lottery Post and see what players have been working on for quite some time.Maybe ask questions. Our jackpot strategist will fill them in on a lot of info.The person with the jackpot stats mentioned should have visited USA MEGA and found his frequency stats.Numbers are where you find them.
 BuyLowFloridaUnited StatesMember #61433May 22, 20081228 PostsOffline February 20, 2013, 9:56 pmLike your avatar...."find a penny pick it up and all day long you'll have good luck."
 TorontoUnited StatesMember #135798November 29, 2012417 PostsOffline February 20, 2013, 10:40 pmHe completely misses the fact that there's been matrix changes during that time, making any previous data before the matrix change useless.Imagine that! Nothing above 53 for white balls, only 37 above today's max of 35 [and this new matrix was only about a year + a month ago].Someone really let Dr. Kim teach a statistics class?
 sully1625RingleaderMichiganUnited StatesMember #81738October 28, 200997854 PostsOffline February 20, 2013, 10:42 pmWe are all searching for ways to beat the lottery, I wrote the numbers down Happy National Cheese Souffle Day!
 noise-gate* In hot pursuit of \$ *White Shores- CaliforniaUnited StatesMember #136471December 12, 20126799 PostsOffline February 20, 2013, 10:45 pmThe odds would not be that astronomical if there was a so called " pattern" to winning the lottery. A mathematician once wrote " the balls & machine do not know that the balls are numbered" Once they are spun, its anyone's guess. These guys are chasing smoke.
 mightwinUnited StatesMember #103782January 5, 2011486 PostsOffline February 20, 2013, 10:56 pmQuote: Originally posted by sully16 on February 20, 2013We are all searching for ways to beat the lottery, I wrote the numbers down You probably won't be the only one lol
 TorontoUnited StatesMember #135798November 29, 2012417 PostsOffline February 20, 2013, 11:18 pmYou're better off figuring out the algorithm on scratchers
 RJOh100mid-OhioUnited StatesMember #9March 24, 200120272 PostsOffline February 20, 2013, 11:29 pmQuote: Originally posted by Toronto on February 20, 2013You're better off figuring out the algorithm on scratchersWhen you say "You're", who are you referring to? * you don't need to buy every combination, just the winning ones *
 duckmanJacksonville FloridaUnited StatesMember #23017October 6, 20051103 PostsOffline February 21, 2013, 12:07 amYou can always look back and find patterns that have happened. What is not possible is consistently predicting that a certain pattern will continue or a specific new pattern will develop.
 KolaRookie Time TravelerMilky Way SpiralUnited StatesMember #28944December 25, 20051575 PostsOnline February 21, 2013, 12:21 amQuote: Originally posted by noise-gate on February 20, 2013The odds would not be that astronomical if there was a so called " pattern" to winning the lottery. A mathematician once wrote " the balls & machine do not know that the balls are numbered" Once they are spun, its anyone's guess. These guys are chasing smoke.Hello noise-gate,Its seems then that this mathematician has not kept pace with physics. But before these statisticians go on chasing those higher jackpot games, they could start would the lowly Pick 3 and sit with it a good while. There is high order in it, and lessons learned can progressively be applied to the more "complex" games. The same order will be there with juuuust a smidgen of chaos to makes things interesting."May Your Numbers Be True This Day"KolaMay your numbers be true this day!
 rdgrnr100Grand High Exalted Mystic RulerThe Hall Of The Mountain Kings TennesseeUnited StatesMember #73902April 28, 200915285 PostsOffline February 21, 2013, 12:31 amFinding the winning combination is like finding your soul-mate sometimes.I imagine some never do.Took me a long time to find Sugarbritches. I want to live I want to give I've been a miner for a heart of  gold It's these expressions I never give That keep me searching for  a heart of gold And I'm getting old -Neil Young But now I'm a miner for a pot of gold.And I'm gettin' old.
 TenajCharlotte NCUnited StatesMember #17405June 18, 20054073 PostsOffline February 21, 2013, 3:36 amExcerpt:Darcy Mays believes, with a database of enough winning numbers, there is at least the "possibility" of seeing patterns develop.  That by no means will guarantee a win, but might up the odds a little, especially in the smaller games — like Pick 3 or Pick 4."If you were dedicated, and there really was some pattern that you were finding, you could not get rich — but you could probably do a good supplemental earning."takeemtothebank