What Not To Do While Picking Lottery Numbers

Powerball numbers
Friday March 29, 2019 13:35 pm

The Lottery Lab Staff

Picking your lottery numbers can be a daunting task.  When faced with complex numerical problems, humans tend to seek help from experts or rely on techniques which feel familiar to them.  This tendency can leave individuals vulnerable to con-artists, cause them to behave identically to others, or give them a feeling of regret.  In this article, we list some of the pitfalls you can run into on the way to buy your lottery ticket.

Picking numbers using astrology

If you are a believer of astrology, then it is natural to use astrological hints to pick lottery numbers. There are many people in newspapers, on television, or on the internet who are excited to give you predictions.  They may base their predictions on an individual’s signs or the current sign.  They may make broad predictions about everyone born under a specific sign or they may perform detailed individual analysis based on personal information. But in the lottery, a random drawing machine doesn’t care what the constellations say.

Therefore, when it comes to astrology, there are some important things to remember.  First, be wary of people “guaranteeing” lottery success if you use their predictions.  Be particularly cautious of these prognosticators if they require that you pay them for their predictions.  Second, understand that one or two successes do not make an astrologist a reliable predictor.  Since astrologists make many, many predictions every day about many different lotteries, we would expect that they would occasionally be correct.  Finally, if you are taking “lucky” numbers from a published horoscope such as in a newspaper, bear in mind that many other people may be using the same numbers.  This means that if the numbers do happen to be winners, you may find yourself sharing a prize with many others.

Betting on the numbers you think are lucky for you

Numerology attempts to find a more direct link between our world and numbers.  Some numerologists believe that there are specific numbers which appear again and again in our lives. They believe that their techniques can help you predict your special numbers that are of significance in your life. People believe that these numbers have a “magnetic” power to draw results in your favor.

As with astrology, there are the same three reasons to be wary of numerology.  Never pay for a prediction no matter how successful the prognosticator claims to be.  Also bear in mind that lottery officials are always alert for anything which might influence their games.  A technique that truly pulled results in your favor would harm their business and yet no lotteries have banned the use of numerology.

Using prime numbers

If lucky numbers are not in the stars or in the numerical values of our names, perhaps they are in the mathematical patterns of the numbers themselves.  Common mathematical patterns include the prime numbers, the Fibonacci sequence, and the digits of pi.  It is quite common for people to observe past lottery results and have a pattern “jump out” at them.  They see a familiar pattern and assume that the pattern predicts the lottery results without conducting any in-depth analysis.

First, human brains are wired to detect patterns.  Thus, the fact that we spot part of a pattern in a jumble of random numbers says more about the way we work than the way the lottery works.  Secondly, there is a virtually infinite number of patterns in our world.  The clerk at the auto shop has part numbers memorized, the dentist has patterns of tooth decay in his head, and mathematicians have manufactured numerous patterns.  So, when a pattern “jumps out” at us, bear in mind that it is only one of hundreds of patterns that our minds might recognize.  If you ever do believe that you have found a special pattern, run a simulation with our tools before betting your hard earned money on it.

Finally, there is a specific caution about prime numbers that you should consider.  There are 19 prime numbers between 1 and 69 (the range that Powerball draws from).  That means that over 25% of all numbers drawn will be prime.  This effect is even more pronounced for lotteries drawing fewer balls.  So if you glance at a list of results and see many prime numbers know that that is normal. 

Using pretty patterns to play the lottery

Remember when you were taking a test in school where you had to fill in little circles to mark your answers?  Then you probably remember that some people would fill in the circles in patterns and not bother trying to solve the problems.  People do the same thing with lottery Playslips. To be exact, they pick numbers on the Playslip in such a way that all numbers are aligned horizontally or diagonally. This wasn’t a good way to take a test, and it probably isn’t a good way to pick your numbers.  The reason is that even if the lottery picks those same numbers, you are likely to be sharing your prize with folks who used the same technique.

Using special dates

Many people use dates that are memorable to them to play the lottery. As a matter of sentiments, there is nothing wrong with this technique, but we do suggest that there is a mathematical issue to consider: it can hurt your winnings in the lottery. When you use dates as your number combination, you restrict yourself to numbers between 1 and  31. However, the drawing results are not restricted. Numbers from 32 and above are also drawn. Winning combinations will frequently consist of results that are equally distributed throughout the number field.

with this technique, but we do suggest that there is a mathematical issue to consider: it can hurt your winnings in the lottery. When you use dates as your number combination, you restrict yourself to numbers between 1 and  31. However, the drawing results are not restricted. Numbers from 32 and above are also drawn. Winning combinations will frequently consist of results that are equally distributed throughout the number field.

Changing your number each time you play

Do you find yourself changing your numbers every time you play just to chase the latest “hot number”? Many people believe that it really doesn’t matter whether you play the same numbers over and over or change your numbers every time you play because the draws are random. From a strictly mathematical point of view, they may be right, but what if it matters for another reason?  Imagine the heartbreak of yesterday’s lucky numbers being drawn in tomorrow’s lottery.  Even though mathematicians may tell you that it didn’t matter, the regret you feel would be very real.  

Using a “lottery spell”

You may have already encountered social media posts or messages claiming that they can cast a spell to make you win the lottery. They claim that in exchange for a relatively small amount of money like $200, they will give you 6 lucky numbers which will make you the winner of a multi-million-dollar lottery prize. Aside from the fact that you should never pay someone for lottery “guarantees”, ask yourself this: if the spell caster can do what they claim,  why don’t they cast a spell for themselves and win the million-dollar lottery rather than charging people $200 for their witchcraft? The next time someone approaches you with such deals, report them to the authorities  as scams. Keep your family and friends away from them and do not let them get fooled by scammers.

Playing lottery with the Quick Pick method

This lottery strategy is most suitable for those who feel too busy when it comes to picking numbers. In fact, the majority of lottery winners used this technique which suggests that it is popular (although this doesn’t mean that you get an advantage by using Quick Pick).  The problem with Quick Picks is that they are generated by a computer owned and programmed by the lottery commission.  There is no guarantee that the program is following follows probability theory. Since the outputs of these machines are not public, it is hard to tell exactly how this method works and it would be even harder to detect tampering with this system.

We have given you a lot of things to avoid when picking you lottery numbers and we don’t want to make it seem as if there are no good choices.  Simply be on the watch for con artists, avoid betting numbers that others are likely to bet, and be alert to your brain’s natural tendency to see patterns where they don’t exist.