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# If you are going to buy 46+ tickets.....

Topic closed. 55 replies. Last post 11 years ago by scorpio.

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New Jersey
United States
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September 4, 2005
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 Posted: February 23, 2006, 10:22 am - IP Logged

Here is how to think of this problem.

Suppose you are going to buy 100 tickets.  You have two options.  One is to buy 100 tickets that all have the same numbers:  Let's say for example you buy 100 tickets that all have the same 5 white balls and the same mega ball: 5, 10, 20, 25, 30 MB: 35.

What are your odds of winning?  What advantage have you accrued for \$100 over spending just one dollar?

Granted, if the drawing comes up 5, 10,  20,  26, 31 MB: 36 you will have won \$700, but if your numbers come up for the big one, you will have 100 shares of the jackpot, which is irrelevant if, as is most likely given modern odds, you are the only winner of the grand prize.  (Very few Mega Millions or Powerball drawings produce more than one winner these days.)

It is true that you cannot raise your odds of winning the lottery on any one ticket.  But you can, if you buy more  than one ticket, say n tickets, it is possible that you will not reduce your odds by 1/n.  The actual reduction may be less than you expect.

Jacksonville Florida
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October 6, 2005
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 Posted: February 23, 2006, 4:25 pm - IP Logged

The odds are the same either way. If you buy all 46 (or 42) mega ball numbers then you are guaranteed of winning whatever the prize is for matching that one MB number. If you are looking at it as an independent game then it in no way affects the odds on the 5 of 5 combinations.

Your odds for winning 5 out of 5 are still the same as stated in the odds chart.

The odds of winning the jackpot (5 plus MB) are still high as stated in the odds chart because the ticket that has 5 of 5 right still only has a 1 in 46 (or 42) chance of being on the same ticket as the one with the correct MB number.

Atlantic Mine, Michigan
United States
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June 23, 2002
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 Posted: February 23, 2006, 6:16 pm - IP Logged

The odds are the same either way. If you buy all 46 (or 42) mega ball numbers then you are guaranteed of winning whatever the prize is for matching that one MB number. If you are looking at it as an independent game then it in no way affects the odds on the 5 of 5 combinations.

Your odds for winning 5 out of 5 are still the same as stated in the odds chart.

The odds of winning the jackpot (5 plus MB) are still high as stated in the odds chart because the ticket that has 5 of 5 right still only has a 1 in 46 (or 42) chance of being on the same ticket as the one with the correct MB number.

"The odds of winning the jackpot (5 plus MB) are still high as stated in the odds chart because the ticket that has 5 of 5 right still only has a 1 in 46 (or 42) chance of being on the same ticket as the one with the correct MB number."

How is that?  Your odds are as high as the chart says for matching 5 of 5.  If you bought one ticket and it happened to have the same bonus ball as the drawing....how is there more than 3.9 million possible ways to match the first 5 numbers?

ONCE YOU HAVE PINNED THE MEGA BALL OR POWERBALL YOU HAVE A 1 in MATCHING 5 WHITE BALLS CHANCE OF HITTING THE JACKPOT.

I still don't understand why this is so hard to understand.  If you pin the mega ball the game turns into a 5 matching 5 game.

Jacksonville Florida
United States
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 Posted: February 23, 2006, 9:54 pm - IP Logged

"How is that? Your odds are as high as the chart says for matching 5 of 5. If you bought one ticket and it happened to have the same bonus ball as the drawing....how is there more than 3.9 million possible ways to match the first 5 numbers? "

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(note: numbers below are rounded)

The odds are still the same. Take Mega Millions for example. In order to insure that you will have the winning mega ball you have to buy 46 tickets (1 for each MB number). Your odds of winning 5 plus MB are 46 out of 175,000,000 or 3,900,000. The same odds as if you buy 46 tickets of any differing combinations.

If you knew in advance what the winning MB would be then you could purchase 3.9 million tickets and be assured of winning the jackpot. But since you don't know the MB number in advance, the only way to guarantee a win is to buy 3.9 million tickets for each one of the 46 numbers (3.9 million times 46).

By purchasing all 46 MB numbers you get these odds on the MB only part of the game: 100% of 1 MB win (\$2.00) and 0% chance of more than 1 MB win. So, by buying all 46 MB numbers you guarantee yourself at least \$2 but you limit yourself to only one possible MB number win in that set of 46 tickets (this is for the MB portion only - this is not including any amounts on the the 5 of 5 part of the game you could win).

United States
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January 23, 2005
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 Posted: February 23, 2006, 10:16 pm - IP Logged

Playing all the bonus balls guarantees at LEAST a \$2 or \$3 win.. but if you only care about the JACKPOT then 46 tickets have the same odds for that and the same odds for match-5. If you want to go after the match-5 level also then don't play the same 5 numbers each line. Also known as the "Archie Herring" or "Seattle" system.

\$42 per drawing is kind of high considering these roll-over more often than not.

I've played less tickets with a strong bonus ball algorithm and have gotten multiple matches that way. One time I got 3+1, 2+1, 1+1, and 0+1, on the same drawing, on less than 10 tickets.

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alexandria, VA
United States
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December 19, 2005
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 Posted: February 24, 2006, 9:33 am - IP Logged

The odds are the same either way. If you buy all 46 (or 42) mega ball numbers then you are guaranteed of winning whatever the prize is for matching that one MB number. If you are looking at it as an independent game then it in no way affects the odds on the 5 of 5 combinations.

Your odds for winning 5 out of 5 are still the same as stated in the odds chart.

The odds of winning the jackpot (5 plus MB) are still high as stated in the odds chart because the ticket that has 5 of 5 right still only has a 1 in 46 (or 42) chance of being on the same ticket as the one with the correct MB number.

"The odds of winning the jackpot (5 plus MB) are still high as stated in the odds chart because the ticket that has 5 of 5 right still only has a 1 in 46 (or 42) chance of being on the same ticket as the one with the correct MB number."

How is that?  Your odds are as high as the chart says for matching 5 of 5.  If you bought one ticket and it happened to have the same bonus ball as the drawing....how is there more than 3.9 million possible ways to match the first 5 numbers?

ONCE YOU HAVE PINNED THE MEGA BALL OR POWERBALL YOU HAVE A 1 in MATCHING 5 WHITE BALLS CHANCE OF HITTING THE JACKPOT.

I still don't understand why this is so hard to understand.  If you pin the mega ball the game turns into a 5 matching 5 game.

I have not been on here in a while.

Your math is incorrect. MM and PB are not independent games. You are being clever by half and underestimate the intelligence of the lottery commisions and the millions of smart Americans who play these gaames in 32 or 12 states.

If you could reduce the odds down to 1 to 4 million (odds less than the average 6/49 state game) by buying 42 or 46 tickets with different power or mega balls, I guarantee you MM and PB will not experience one roll!!   That would defeat the purpose of the game, wont it?

Atlantic Mine, Michigan
United States
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June 23, 2002
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 Posted: February 24, 2006, 9:49 am - IP Logged

No it wouldn't defeat the game.  Because the normal player buys only 1 - 5 tickets.  They don't spend \$40+ on lottery tickets for a drawing.  When they do, like in the lastest powerball drawing...they sell \$160,000,000+ worth of tickets and it is won.  That is what the lottery wants to happen.  If people were spending \$46+ per drawing that jackpot would be huge all of the time.  But that isn't that way it works and the lottery knows that.

United States
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September 17, 2003
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 Posted: February 24, 2006, 9:53 am - IP Logged

You're understanding of these games and odds are incorrect. Odds in Megamillions are roughly 1:175 million. This is made up of two discrete events. The white balls (5 numbers 1-56) with odds about 1:3.8 million multiplied by another independent event, the Mega ball (one nuimber 1-46). This is how the odds are calculated in this type of event. Eliminating one event (the megaballs) only leaves the 5/56 game. It's not that hard once you think about it awhile. In games with only one event (a 5/49 or a 5/56 game) there are very little ways of lowering the odds without purchasing a very large number of tickets. Maybe calculating out the odds of these dual event games correctly will help with seeing the reduction in odds.

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alexandria, VA
United States
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December 19, 2005
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 Posted: February 24, 2006, 9:59 am - IP Logged

No it wouldn't defeat the game.  Because the normal player buys only 1 - 5 tickets.  They don't spend \$40+ on lottery tickets for a drawing.  When they do, like in the lastest powerball drawing...they sell \$160,000,000+ worth of tickets and it is won.  That is what the lottery wants to happen.  If people were spending \$46+ per drawing that jackpot would be huge all of the time.  But that isn't that way it works and the lottery knows that.

If the odds could be lowered to 4 million, the millions of normal players who would ordinarily buy only 1-5 tickets would shell out \$46 or \$42 for a shot at \$15 million and the jackpot would be won everytime

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alexandria, VA
United States
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 Posted: February 24, 2006, 10:16 am - IP Logged

You're understanding of these games and odds are incorrect. Odds in Megamillions are roughly 1:175 million. This is made up of two discrete events. The white balls (5 numbers 1-56) with odds about 1:3.8 million multiplied by another independent event, the Mega ball (one nuimber 1-46). This is how the odds are calculated in this type of event. Eliminating one event (the megaballs) only leaves the 5/56 game. It's not that hard once you think about it awhile. In games with only one event (a 5/49 or a 5/56 game) there are very little ways of lowering the odds without purchasing a very large number of tickets. Maybe calculating out the odds of these dual event games correctly will help with seeing the reduction in odds.

You say they are discrete games.

Did the winners of the recent \$365 million jackpot present a different ticket for the 5 of 5 and a different ticket for the mega ball?

Atlantic Mine, Michigan
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 Posted: February 24, 2006, 10:42 am - IP Logged

But people don't shell how that much for \$15 million.  Thats the thing with lotteries, they as just as pshcyological as they are montary.  The huge jackpots is what gets peoples attention and that is when they buy more tickets.  That is why it is always won after getting huge attention.  And if people were spending \$40+ when the jackpot was at \$15 million the jackpot would never be that low.  But people don't buy those amounts at that low level.

Please explain to me that if you buy all the mega balls (spend \$46) that your odds are not 1 in 3.9 million.  Explain that to me and you will find that I am right.

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alexandria, VA
United States
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 Posted: February 24, 2006, 11:17 am - IP Logged

But people don't shell how that much for \$15 million.  Thats the thing with lotteries, they as just as pshcyological as they are montary.  The huge jackpots is what gets peoples attention and that is when they buy more tickets.  That is why it is always won after getting huge attention.  And if people were spending \$40+ when the jackpot was at \$15 million the jackpot would never be that low.  But people don't buy those amounts at that low level.

Please explain to me that if you buy all the mega balls (spend \$46) that your odds are not 1 in 3.9 million.  Explain that to me and you will find that I am right.

Look at it this way. One of the 46 different numbered tickets you bought has a 1 in 3.9 million chance of winning the jackpot. You WILL win the mega ball, that is all. The 5 of 5 AND the 1 of 46 are not independent, discrete events.

Take it from someone who took probability theory in graduate school at Yale.

Jacksonville Florida
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 Posted: February 24, 2006, 1:03 pm - IP Logged

But people don't shell how that much for \$15 million.  Thats the thing with lotteries, they as just as pshcyological as they are montary.  The huge jackpots is what gets peoples attention and that is when they buy more tickets.  That is why it is always won after getting huge attention.  And if people were spending \$40+ when the jackpot was at \$15 million the jackpot would never be that low.  But people don't buy those amounts at that low level.

Please explain to me that if you buy all the mega balls (spend \$46) that your odds are not 1 in 3.9 million.  Explain that to me and you will find that I am right.

The chance of the one correct MB ticket out of the 46 tickets winning 5 plus MB is 1 in 3.9 million...but which ticket out of the 46 will that be? That is the key - you do not know which of the 46 tickets that will be.

Since you don't know in advance which of the 46 tickets will have the correct MB, the odds of winning are still 1 in 175,000,000 on each ticket (or 46 out of 175,000,000 if you buy 46 tickets).

I think part of the confusion comes from the perspective that since you have bought all 46 MB numbers that that somehow reduces the odds to better than 46 out of 175,000,000. It doesn't overall.

Buying the 46 tickets in advance does not tell you which one will be the MB winner and which one you should bet 3.9 million on.

The only way to get the 3.9 million to 1 odds is if you know in advance which ticket will have the MB and then bet 3.9 million on that particular ticket.

The only way to guarantee a win is to bet 3.9 million on all 46 tickets and then we are back up to the orginal odds.

Jacksonville Florida
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 Posted: February 24, 2006, 1:08 pm - IP Logged

A simpler way to put it is this:

You have before you 46 tickets, each with one of the MB numbers 1 thru 46.

Look at the tickets: One of those 46 tickets has a 1 in 3.9 million chance of winning the jackpot 5 plus MB.

Which one will it be?

To gurantee a jackpot win and that you pick the right one out of the 46 you will have to bet 3.9 million on all 46 tickets.

With that we are back to the original odds.

Atlantic Mine, Michigan
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 Posted: February 24, 2006, 1:44 pm - IP Logged

This doesn't make sense.  How if I buy 46 tickets each with a different mega ball does that not reduce my oods to 1 in 3.9 million.  No matter what Mega Ball comes up...NO MATTER WHICH ONE...I have it.  I am not playing against the mega ball anymore.  No matter what outcome comes from the drawing it doesn't matter to me because I covered all possible outcomes.  I have a 1 in 1 chance that I will match the Mega Ball.  Now all I have to do is match the first 5 white numbers.  Since one of my tickets already has the mega ball I don't have to considered those odds of matching the mega ball anymore.  I already have it.  Now the problem is with me matching the five white balls.  Since there is only 3.9 million ways those 5 white balls can come up those are my odds of winning the jackpot.  I have the mega ball already because I covered all the possible mega balls that there are.  Now the luck of the draw only depends on what 5 white numbers come out.  Now by playing these numbers I gauranteed myself a 1 in 1 chance of winning at least \$2 and a 1 in 3.9 million chance of hitting the jackpot.  I am not saying you are gauranting yourself a jackpot win I am saying you have a 1 in 3.9 million chance of winning the jackpot.

Take for instance the lottery told us that the next Mega Ball is going to be 17.  Well ok we know the 17 is going to come out so we go and buy a ticket with MB 17.  Wow our odds of hitting the jackpot are now 1 in 3.9 million.  If we went out there and bought all 3.9 million combos that are possible with MB 17 we would win the jackpot.  This is what I am saying.

How is this wrong?