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Running an office Powerball pool is discouraging

Topic closed. 33 replies. Last post 9 years ago by ArtVandalay.

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Guru101's avatar - rw6jhh
Indiana
United States
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January 7, 2007
1953 Posts
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Posted: March 10, 2008, 8:28 pm - IP Logged

50 tickets is certainly better than 1 ticket, but it still doesn't make a dent in the odds of winning. You're odds are still 1 in 2,922,159. Good luck though.

I'd have to check my stat book, but I don't think the odds are even that good.  Every ticket has the same odds of hitting the jackpot.  So it would be 50 in 146,107,962. 

50 in 146,107,962 is the same as 1 in 2,922,159. We already had this discussion a few months back.   

Gonna win.Big Smile

    RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
    mid-Ohio
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    March 24, 2001
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    Posted: March 10, 2008, 8:43 pm - IP Logged

    For lottery prizes other than the jackpots, some states will only make out the prize check to one person and send him the W-2G form for taxes.   I've read there are ways to get around that but they probably require the advice of a tax lawyer which might cost more than the taxes on a prize that size.

    Each state handle paying lottery prizes differently.  This article is about the NY lottery from http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008802220379


    ....the ubiquitous office pool has points that may take its members by surprise, including how the state Lottery commission pays out winnings on any size prize.


    For one thing, no more than 10 names can be included on the payout checks. And for another, individuals who share in a lottery pool are expected to report their winnings and pay taxes individually on their federal income tax whether the check is made out to them or not.

    "We strongly recommend that groups plan ahead," said John Charlson, director of communications for the New York Lottery.

    The dozen people in the Vits American pool who each contributed toward one of 17 third-place winning tickets for Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing found out the hard way that splitting their $10,000 prize wasn't simply a matter of giving their names to the Lottery Commission and each getting a check for about $600 after taxes.

    Instead, the Blauvelt-based group was told it could choose 10 people for the payout checks and leave out two members who would be paid from what the others received; form a group with a tax number to handle taxes and shares; or let one member get the check, pay the tax and divvy up the winnings to the rest.

    "It's a little disheartening, I think," said Deirdre Ryder, Vits America's managing director and one of the 12 winners. "It is a rare company that does not have groups of employees pooling together money. My employees are disappointed that such a wonderful event turned into a disappointing and problematic issue."

    Ryder has asked the company accountant to advise the winners on the best way to apply for and collect the money. She said she felt the Lottery Commission needed to make its policy on group payouts plainer.

    "Most people that win lotteries might not be educated or have any idea of consequences of not handling it properly. I think the Lottery misleads them," she said.

    Charlson said the rules governing group lottery winnings were based on practicalities and that his office advises winners to speak with a professional before making any permanent decisions.

    Some groups can include dozens of people who each receive a different percentage of the winnings, he said. The Lottery Commission doesn't have the time or staff to figure out multiple winners, their individual checks and their taxes. The commission decided years ago to cap the individual checks at 10 and there are no plans to change that number.

    "The Lottery can't regulate every office pool in New York," Charlson said.

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

      Badger's avatar - adu50016 NorthAmericanBadger.jpg
      Wisconsin
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      Posted: March 10, 2008, 9:37 pm - IP Logged

      I have bought my 1 Powerball ticket for each drawing for quite a while, and have even match 4 white balls a few time. Even though the odds are great, I always felt like someday I might get lucky and win it all, or at least match 5 white.

       

      Now, I am running an office pool (don't worry we have signed legal contracts), and I am buying 50 tickets for every drawing above 50 million, and we have not won more than $7.

      I knew the math of the odds before, but I never really felt the math until now, and it is very discouraging. 

      Guru is correct in his reply about the odds.  The odds of winning Powerball are so  high that no one, even a group pool, can make a significant dent in them.

      Having said that, always remember that someone does win the Powerball jackpot.  Always.

      Me, I buy one ticket and have the same chance as pretty much anyone else.  In fact, there have been jp PB winners that won by buying only 1 ticket. 

      In the end, if you're meant to win it, you'll win it.  If not, you won't.  Nothing you can do about that jackpot and the odds. 

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

      How can you tell if a politician is lying?

      Answer: His lips are moving.

        grengrad's avatar - nw rogue.jpg
        Raleigh
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        Posted: March 11, 2008, 2:22 am - IP Logged

        You should be doing 50 times better than when you were only buying 1 ticket.

        Winning a $100 or less may be discouraging and matching 5/5 or better may be a dream. but if you ever match 4/4+1 for $10,000 it could be a nightmare.  One person has to claim it and pay the taxes while the pool members may want to split the prize before taxes or after a minimum allowance for taxes.  If the person claiming the win is in a higher tax bracket then he has to depend on the pool members kicking in some extra cash or pay the extra taxes from his share.

        I should be, but I am not. Unfortunately, I am not playing just my numbers for the office pool.

        Our signed agreement gives me control over how funds are dispursed. I am not too worried about $10,000. It is not much money. I would just claim the money, pay the taxes(I would figure out my real tax cost), and then give the group their percentage "under the table".

        $200,000 would be a much bigger pain in the butt, because it is a large enough sum that just handing them the cash "under the table" would be a bad idea, and it would be large enough that the pool would have a real interest in how the money got paid out to them.
         

          sirbrad's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
          PA
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          Posted: March 11, 2008, 2:29 am - IP Logged

          Hate pools, just not worth all the hassle. I will gladly pay $50 in tickets myself before splitting a jackpot 50 ways for $1.

            RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
            mid-Ohio
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            March 24, 2001
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            Posted: March 11, 2008, 3:07 am - IP Logged

            I should be, but I am not. Unfortunately, I am not playing just my numbers for the office pool.

            Our signed agreement gives me control over how funds are dispursed. I am not too worried about $10,000. It is not much money. I would just claim the money, pay the taxes(I would figure out my real tax cost), and then give the group their percentage "under the table".

            $200,000 would be a much bigger pain in the butt, because it is a large enough sum that just handing them the cash "under the table" would be a bad idea, and it would be large enough that the pool would have a real interest in how the money got paid out to them.
             

            Regardless of how you pick the numbers, 50 chances should do better than just one.

            Winning $100 or less may be discouraging but it easy to split up and you don't have to file a W-2G with your tax returns. 

            Winning $200,000 or more make it worth the trouble to get a Form 5754 from the IRS and allows everyone in the pool to pay their own taxes on their share of the winnings. 

            It's those prizes that's over $600 but less than $1,000 per pool member once it's divided that's the headache because you have to file a W-G2 which could increase the taxes of the person claiming the prize by 30% of the prize amount and he can only deduct as a loss up to the amount he claimed as winnings even if he spent more on losing lottery tickets.

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

              ThatScaryChick's avatar - x1MqPuM
              Idaho
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              Posted: March 11, 2008, 10:38 am - IP Logged

              Guru is correct in his reply about the odds.  The odds of winning Powerball are so  high that no one, even a group pool, can make a significant dent in them.

              Having said that, always remember that someone does win the Powerball jackpot.  Always.

              Me, I buy one ticket and have the same chance as pretty much anyone else.  In fact, there have been jp PB winners that won by buying only 1 ticket. 

              In the end, if you're meant to win it, you'll win it.  If not, you won't.  Nothing you can do about that jackpot and the odds. 

              I usually only buy 4 or 5 tickets. Not on every drawing, but when I can. The most I have spent on one drawing was 15 dollars and at the moment I won't be doing that again. The odds are just to high for me. So, I'll stick to buying a couple of tickets.

              "No one remembers the person who almost climbed the mountain, only the person who eventually gets to the top."

                lottocalgal's avatar - Lottery-043.jpg
                CA
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                Posted: March 11, 2008, 11:13 am - IP Logged

                I have bought my 1 Powerball ticket for each drawing for quite a while, and have even match 4 white balls a few time. Even though the odds are great, I always felt like someday I might get lucky and win it all, or at least match 5 white.

                 

                Now, I am running an office pool (don't worry we have signed legal contracts), and I am buying 50 tickets for every drawing above 50 million, and we have not won more than $7.

                I knew the math of the odds before, but I never really felt the math until now, and it is very discouraging. 

                Here's something for folks to think about.

                I always felt that winning the lottery is 25% luck and 75% fate/destiny (i'm still not sure of the system percentage yet). That being said, what does that mean in terms of  office pools?  I mean everyone wins together right? So does that mean that fate had to place all of the those people in the same company and  had to have the right mix of participants for the exactl draw date, not to mention the exact set of numbers on the ticket for the exact draw.  So  in an office pool situation everyones fate/destiny/luck has to co-exists with everyone else's at the precise moment (including employement location).

                Things that make you HMMMMM.....

                I know this is some weird stuff to think about at 8:00am in the morning but hey It gives me a break from stressing over Monster.comParty

                  RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
                  mid-Ohio
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                  Posted: March 11, 2008, 1:23 pm - IP Logged

                  Here's something for folks to think about.

                  I always felt that winning the lottery is 25% luck and 75% fate/destiny (i'm still not sure of the system percentage yet). That being said, what does that mean in terms of  office pools?  I mean everyone wins together right? So does that mean that fate had to place all of the those people in the same company and  had to have the right mix of participants for the exactl draw date, not to mention the exact set of numbers on the ticket for the exact draw.  So  in an office pool situation everyones fate/destiny/luck has to co-exists with everyone else's at the precise moment (including employement location).

                  Things that make you HMMMMM.....

                  I know this is some weird stuff to think about at 8:00am in the morning but hey It gives me a break from stressing over Monster.comParty

                  Some folk think other folk are just naturally lucky and being in a lottery pool with them increases their chances of getting lucky too.

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

                    JackpotWanna's avatar - squiz

                    United States
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                    Posted: March 11, 2008, 1:40 pm - IP Logged

                    Hang in there.  Make photo copies before each drawing and give them to each player. GL

                      Avatar
                      New Member
                      Fayetteville, Arkansas
                      United States
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                      March 2, 2008
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                      Posted: March 13, 2008, 9:58 am - IP Logged

                      Coin Toss,

                      In Ohio Rolling Cash5 (5/39), matching two numbers pays $1 and the overall odds of a win are 1:9 per ticket.  Buying one ticket your odds of winning a prize are 1:9 or close to nothing and buying 50 tickets your odds of winning a prize are 50:9, not 50 x 0.   

                      The odds of winning in any of several ways with multiple tickets in a single drawing can't be calculated this way. If it could, then a 1/9 chance of winning with 1 ticket would mean all you had to do to guarantee a win would be buy 9 tickets; and that's not true. In the Ohio Rolling Cash5, there are 510136 different losing combinations in any drawing; so, in order to guarantee a win, you'd have to purchase 510137 tickets, each with a unique combination.

                      I'm sure there is an easier way to make the correct calculation, but I have not yet found it. I did come up with one that works, but is too unwieldy to use for 50 tickets. I've used it with up to N=5 and with N=9, just to show the difference between the two approaches. If anyone knows an easier way to deal with large numbers of tickets, I hope they will share it with me.

                      My calculation uses the following formula:

                      Chance of winning with N tickets = 1 - [ C (L, N) / C (T, N) ], where T = the total number of unique combinations possible (575757) and L = the total number of those combinations that do not win in one of the 4 stated ways (510136).

                       

                            N  N x 1/9  Precise  Actual
                            1  0.1111  0.1140  0.1140
                            2  0.2222  0.2279  0.2150
                            3  0.3333  0.3419  0.3044
                            4  0.4444  0.4559  0.3837
                            5  0.5556  0.5699  0.4539
                            9  1.0000  1.0258  0.6635

                       

                      The first column shows what you get by multiplying the rounded ratio of 1/9 by the number of tickets. The second column uses the same basic approach, but multiplies the precise ratio by the number of tickets. The third column shows the actual odds of winning with multiple tickets. 

                      There is no actual difference between the two approaches where N = 1. However, as N increases, the proportional difference between the results of the two approaches grows larger.

                      The balls have no memory.

                        Avatar
                        Baton Rouge, LA
                        United States
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                        May 7, 2004
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                        Posted: March 13, 2008, 9:14 pm - IP Logged

                        I run a combination Lotto/Powerball pool in my office and we haven't won the big one yet, but we have won alot of small prizes like $3, $4, $7, etc.  This does happen fairly often, so I guess we're doing OK.

                        I currently have 8 people in the pool, and we each put in $4 every payday(2 weeks).  What I do is buy a mix of multidraw tickets for Powerball and Lotto for the next 4 drawings.  When we win small prizes, we keep them until we make it to a multiple of $4, then we buy extra tickets.

                        The last run of the pool won $10 so I took a vote to try something different.  The Louisiana Lottery is running a raffle game called the Millionaire Raffle with only 300,000 tickets being sold.  The top prize is $1 million, with 5 $50,000 prizes, and 500 prizes of $500.  The members voted overwhelmingly to try a Millionaire Raffle ticket.  We'll know on April 15 if that choice paid off.

                        The run we just finished won us $3, and since I had $1 left from a previous run, I'm going to add another Powerball ticket.  With Powerball being where it is now, I hope this works. 

                        We use some quickpicks and some numbers selected by the group, to give us the best of both worlds.  I wouldn't get discouraged with your office pool, just keep trying as we are.

                        Good luck.

                        Prisoner Six

                        "I am not a number, I am a free man!"

                          mylollipop's avatar - Trek STLOGO6.png

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                          Posted: March 14, 2008, 2:21 am - IP Logged

                          I have bought my 1 Powerball ticket for each drawing for quite a while, and have even match 4 white balls a few time. Even though the odds are great, I always felt like someday I might get lucky and win it all, or at least match 5 white.

                           

                          Now, I am running an office pool (don't worry we have signed legal contracts), and I am buying 50 tickets for every drawing above 50 million, and we have not won more than $7.

                          I knew the math of the odds before, but I never really felt the math until now, and it is very discouraging. 

                          We tried a pool once, but the moral got low when there were small winnings very far and in between.  Now, if I decide on a pool, it will be for a jackpot of $200,000,000.00 with no more than 20 people in the pool.  I think that would keep the excitement going and more people likely to hang in there for the big chance!

                            Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
                            Clarksville
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                            Posted: March 21, 2008, 4:43 pm - IP Logged

                            If they are concerned about winning, then maybe they need to play a game with lower odds.  As in the previous posts, 50.00 on PB is not much.  I know there are some pools here where people buy literally hundreds of dollars worth of tickets and still they don't win.  The main thing is is that you have to play to be IN IT!  Maybe instead of quickpicks, come up with your own set of numbers to play.  wheel them and play the same thing every draw.  that way if they fall, you will win something..

                            If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

                            You never know when you will get another hit.

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                              Baton Rouge, LA
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                              Posted: March 21, 2008, 5:19 pm - IP Logged

                              If they are concerned about winning, then maybe they need to play a game with lower odds.  As in the previous posts, 50.00 on PB is not much.  I know there are some pools here where people buy literally hundreds of dollars worth of tickets and still they don't win.  The main thing is is that you have to play to be IN IT!  Maybe instead of quickpicks, come up with your own set of numbers to play.  wheel them and play the same thing every draw.  that way if they fall, you will win something..

                              In my pool, we play both Powerball and Lotto and bought a $10 Millionaire Raffle ticket with our previous winnings.  We buy Powerball for the big prizes, Lotto for the better odds.

                              As for our numbers, we play a combination of numbers we pick and quickpicks, again to balance things out a little.

                              We've won a few dollars here and there, but we keep trying.

                              Prisoner Six

                              "I am not a number, I am a free man!"