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When Do the Powerball Odds Tip?

Topic closed. 12 replies. Last post 4 years ago by KY Floyd.

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HoLeeKau's avatar - YheaShea
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Posted: July 9, 2012, 9:57 pm - IP Logged

A math whiz I used to work with told me to only buy tickets when the odds are likely that the Powerball will be won.  Sure, it is won at lower amounts sometimes, but if you're playing the odds, the smart bet is to play when the odds are that the top prize is more likely to be won.  At that time, half the tickets were selling when the JP was around 50 mil.  But the number of balls and the price has changed several times since then.

Has anyone done the math to know at approximately what dollar level the jackpot has to be in order to sell 88 million tickets?

    RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
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    Posted: July 10, 2012, 2:50 am - IP Logged

    A math whiz I used to work with told me to only buy tickets when the odds are likely that the Powerball will be won.  Sure, it is won at lower amounts sometimes, but if you're playing the odds, the smart bet is to play when the odds are that the top prize is more likely to be won.  At that time, half the tickets were selling when the JP was around 50 mil.  But the number of balls and the price has changed several times since then.

    Has anyone done the math to know at approximately what dollar level the jackpot has to be in order to sell 88 million tickets?

    Ticket sales for MM and PB are available at Lotto Report so you don't have to do any math.

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

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      Morrison, IL
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      Posted: July 10, 2012, 8:41 am - IP Logged

      I don't think the PB game has sold 88 million tickets for any single drawing since it went to $2.  Even at the $325 million jackpot back in February, it sold only a bit over 84 million tickets.

      ---

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        Kentucky
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        Posted: July 10, 2012, 11:12 am - IP Logged

        A math whiz I used to work with told me to only buy tickets when the odds are likely that the Powerball will be won.  Sure, it is won at lower amounts sometimes, but if you're playing the odds, the smart bet is to play when the odds are that the top prize is more likely to be won.  At that time, half the tickets were selling when the JP was around 50 mil.  But the number of balls and the price has changed several times since then.

        Has anyone done the math to know at approximately what dollar level the jackpot has to be in order to sell 88 million tickets?

        MM had three drawings when the amount of tickets sales exceeded the number of combos so all three could be considered "must win" jackpots. But on one of those drawings, March 27, 2012 when 191 million tickets were sold, nobody won the jackpot. The next drawing on March 30, a record 652 tickets were sold and there were three winning tickets.

        When the jackpot becomes a "must win", the odds of winning changes from the odds of one ticket to the number of chances to the odds of one ticket to the total number of ticket sales. Since there were three winning tickets, the odds of winning that jackpot were 3 in 652 million or 217.3 million to 1, which is 24% higher than the 175 million to 1 odds when the jackpot is only $12 million.

        Since they made the change to $2 tickets, PB has never sold 88 million tickets, but as ryanm said, 84 million tickets were sold when the jackpot reached $325 million. Only 33 million tickets were sold when the "shipping 20" won the $241 million jackpot and since even a $325 million jackpot didn't sell 88 million tickets, if you're waiting for a higher jackpot than that, you might not be playing PB very often.

        It looks like because you're using 88 million, you believe that is the "must win" level, but that only gives a slightly under 50% chance the jackpot will be won. For that amount, we can expect to see about 17 five number matches and not enough to guarantee the jackpot will be won.

          HoLeeKau's avatar - YheaShea
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          Posted: July 10, 2012, 2:36 pm - IP Logged

          Ticket sales for MM and PB are available at Lotto Report so you don't have to do any math.

          Thanks, I didn't know about that site.

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            PA
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            Posted: July 10, 2012, 8:24 pm - IP Logged

            How can 88 million, or any number of ticket sales make it so that the jackpot must be won?

             

            The numbers are chosen randomly in the case of quick picks and I know the people who do pick their

            own numbers did not take special care to make sure every single combo was covered.

             

            I really don't know where even 88M comes into play. My best guess at this would be that you would take

             

            56 x 55 x 54 x 53 x 52 (possible combo's for the five white balls drawn from the set of 56) x 46 (one mega ball drawn from the set of 46)

             

            This gives me 21,085,384,320 possible combinations. Just over 21 billion combinations  possible, how does 88 million ticket sales guarantee anything?

             

            Even if 21 billion tickets sold could that guarantee anything? The RNG can produce the same results more then once, people might manually select the

            same numbers more then once....

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              Kentucky
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              Posted: July 10, 2012, 11:17 pm - IP Logged

              How can 88 million, or any number of ticket sales make it so that the jackpot must be won?

               

              The numbers are chosen randomly in the case of quick picks and I know the people who do pick their

              own numbers did not take special care to make sure every single combo was covered.

               

              I really don't know where even 88M comes into play. My best guess at this would be that you would take

               

              56 x 55 x 54 x 53 x 52 (possible combo's for the five white balls drawn from the set of 56) x 46 (one mega ball drawn from the set of 46)

               

              This gives me 21,085,384,320 possible combinations. Just over 21 billion combinations  possible, how does 88 million ticket sales guarantee anything?

               

              Even if 21 billion tickets sold could that guarantee anything? The RNG can produce the same results more then once, people might manually select the

              same numbers more then once....

              "This gives me 21,085,384,320 possible combinations."

              It looks like you multiplied the number of permutations in 56 numbers (458,377,920) by the number of bonus numbers (46) to get your results. You forgot to divide that number by the number of permutations in 5 numbers (5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1) because your ticket doesn't have to match the numbers in the exact order they were drawn. Maybe some players think it's just a coincidence that every line they buy is in numerical order from low to high.

              (458,377,920 / 120) = 3,819,816 and (3,819,816 X 46) = 175,711,536.

              and for Powerball:

              (600,766,320 / 120) = 5,006,386 and (5,006,386 X 35) = 175,223,510.

              But I do agree with you that 88 million tickets isn't enough to guarantee a jackpot winner. It would take at the least 35 five numbers matches to produce a guaranteed winner and more likely 55 because the odds of matching the bonus number is 55 to 1. If we round it off to 40 five number matches, it would be 200 million ticket sold or $400 million in ticket sales.

              Only 1 out of every 217.3 million tickets matched the winning numbers on MM's record breaking one drawing sales.

                HoLeeKau's avatar - YheaShea
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                Posted: July 11, 2012, 2:47 pm - IP Logged

                I don't think the number of ticket sales can ever guarantee a jp winner.  Even if 350 million tickets are sold that's no guarantee.  But the odds tip in favor of it being won when over 50% of the possible combos are sold.


                That said, as has already been mentioned in this thread, it appears as though the PB jackpot is won most often before the odds say it is probable.  So if I want to play at all, I'll have to buy tickets based on some other random event.  Like when my palms itch, or when I find a lucky penny.

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                  PA
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                  Posted: July 11, 2012, 3:42 pm - IP Logged

                  But how can selling ANY number of tickets gaurantee a certain percentage of possible combo's were actually sold?

                   

                  The only way I could see this happening is if by some means of a absurdly organized method people from all over the united states pool together

                  and assign numbers that they will manually pick so that those numbers are played for sure? Otherwise the lottery could sell one billion mega millions tickets

                  and still not have sold 50% of the possible combinations. They could have also sold over 80%.... but you can't know for sure.

                    Jonusl's avatar - Lottery-029.jpg
                    Galena,MO
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                    Posted: July 11, 2012, 3:57 pm - IP Logged

                    LOL ,I dont play PB very much,cuz i never win,ive won in the state of mo 30 bucks one

                    time over the last 10 years or so,i usally when i do play,before $2 bucks,,mabe a couple tickets a week,but rarely ever even get the PB,how can i better my odds of winning anything?.wo lol buying $20-50 bucks worth of tickets.QP's? my own  numbers ? i did come close one time using my own numbers had 2 of 5 # right,and was one off on 2 other white balls and 3 off on PB.

                    The Dream Master says:Keep on dream'en,Dream'in of a win.........Because Dreams do come true Dance

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                      Kentucky
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                      Posted: July 12, 2012, 12:20 pm - IP Logged

                      I don't think the number of ticket sales can ever guarantee a jp winner.  Even if 350 million tickets are sold that's no guarantee.  But the odds tip in favor of it being won when over 50% of the possible combos are sold.


                      That said, as has already been mentioned in this thread, it appears as though the PB jackpot is won most often before the odds say it is probable.  So if I want to play at all, I'll have to buy tickets based on some other random event.  Like when my palms itch, or when I find a lucky penny.

                      The "over 50%" point should happen when enough five number matches are sold to match at least 18 bonus numbers. The probability is there should be one five number match for every 5,153,633 tickets sold so at the very least that would require ticket sales of 92,765,394. Ticket sales reached 84.7 million on 2/11/12 and the jackpot was won, but since then the highest amount of sales in one drawing was 33 million. If you're waiting for ticket sales to reach 88 million before buying another ticket, you won't be playing very often.

                      "So if I want to play at all, I'll have to buy tickets based on some other random event."

                      The amount of ticket sales only shows that a jackpot is more likely to be won, but it doesn't make any one set of numbers more valuable. When PB raise the price of a ticket to $2, there is a way to get more payoff value out of one set of numbers by using Powerplay. For a $6 bet, you can get three chances to win $1 million or two chances to win $2 million. Because of the huge odds against us, it's more likely that if we win, it will be just matching the bonus number and two chances to win $14 is better than three chances to win $4.

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                        Kentucky
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                        Posted: July 12, 2012, 12:51 pm - IP Logged

                        LOL ,I dont play PB very much,cuz i never win,ive won in the state of mo 30 bucks one

                        time over the last 10 years or so,i usally when i do play,before $2 bucks,,mabe a couple tickets a week,but rarely ever even get the PB,how can i better my odds of winning anything?.wo lol buying $20-50 bucks worth of tickets.QP's? my own  numbers ? i did come close one time using my own numbers had 2 of 5 # right,and was one off on 2 other white balls and 3 off on PB.

                        "how can i better my odds of winning anything?."

                        You can guarantee winning something by playing 35 lines by using each of the bonus numbers, but that only guarantees winning $4. Betting $70 knowing you'll probably lose $66 isn't a very good bet, but as I just told "Harry Caray", you can win more when you do match something by using Powerplay.

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                          Posted: July 16, 2012, 10:14 pm - IP Logged

                          A math whiz I used to work with told me to only buy tickets when the odds are likely that the Powerball will be won.  Sure, it is won at lower amounts sometimes, but if you're playing the odds, the smart bet is to play when the odds are that the top prize is more likely to be won.  At that time, half the tickets were selling when the JP was around 50 mil.  But the number of balls and the price has changed several times since then.

                          Has anyone done the math to know at approximately what dollar level the jackpot has to be in order to sell 88 million tickets?

                          Your coworker may be good at math, but he's an idiot. Your chances of winning th elottery depend only on the odds of the game and how many chances you have. Losing when somebody else wins the jackpot offers absolutely no advantage over losing when the jackpot rolls. In fact, the latter is usually better, because you're left with a chance of winning a bigger prize the next time around.


                          Assuming a random distribution, selling 50% of combinations requires selling about  107 million tickets. Since people playing "lucky numbers" that are usually from the calendar skews the results it would normally take somewhat higher sales.