How to Select Lotto Numbers
Studying how to pick lottery numbers can involve all the mathematical complexities of physics, or can involve a Zen like embrace of simplicity.
Picking lottery numbers can be all about studying lottery trends and the probabilities of which numbers are likeliest to be chosen, for cultural or psychological reasons.
Or you might close your eyes, note the first six numbers that pop in your head at the moment, and mark those on the lottery entry form. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that, since the lottery drawing itself isn’t any more involved. Be your own random number generator.
Winning the Lottery
In either case, winning the lottery comes down to beating astronomical odds, so picking the right lottery numbers is a matter of hope. Having a tiny chance of winning is still infinitely better than having zero chance of winning, so make sure to invest that $1 every time your local lottery has a drawing. How you choose your numbers every time is explained below.
Choose Life Numbers or Vital Numbers
Governments keep track of “vital statistics”, which are the numbers on which important life events happen for you. Vital records include birth dates, marriage dates, adoption dates, and even less pleasant events like divorce and death. You can choose the numbers that are important to you in some way.
Imagine you were born on November 28, 1949. You might take the month, day, and year and make those three of your lottery numbers: 11, 28, 54. Then imagine your spouse was born on April 17, 1953. You might choose those three dates for your other three lottery numbers: 4, 17, 53. Your lottery numbers would be 4, 11, 17, 28, 49 and 53. Of course, if you were born anytime after the mid-50’s, that’s not going to work.
But there are other ways to look at this. You might choose how old you are, how old you were when you “fell in love”, how old you were when you got married. Many people choose vital statistics having to do with their children, such as their ages: 12, 15, 19.
The problem with these numbers are that they tend to fall into certain categories. If everyone chose date of birth, they would be likely to choose numbers between 1 and 31 and numbers between 1 and 12 a lot. You’re literally likelier to choose the same numbers as other people using this option, so you’re increasing your chances of having to split your hard-earned lottery jackpot.
Don’t Follow the Crowd
In that case, you might choose numbers that are less likely to be chosen by people using these methods, such as numbers in the 30’s and 40’s, hoping you get entirely unique numbers. Once again, it’s hard to figure how somebody else arrives at their numbers, so perhaps they choose the ages of they and their siblings – all in the thirties.
Choose Favorite Numbers
One way many people make lottery choices depends on the jersey numbers of favorite athletes. Imagine your favorite athletic stars are Tony Romo, Adrian Peterson, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, CC Sabathia, and Derek Jeter. Your lottery numbers would be 9, 28, 24, 37, 52 and 2. Once again, though, you might want to be a fan of the less popular sports celebrities, since there might be a lot of people selecting Kobe Bryant’s and Derek Jeter’s numbers.
Use Astrology or Fortune Cookie Logic
No, I’m not suggesting you study the numbers that your horoscope or “the stars” are telling you to study. What I’m suggesting is that many newspapers print lottery numbers along with a horoscope, while fortune cookies often have suggested lottery numbers on the back of them. Choose these numbers, if you have no other idea. There’s a danger in this, though.
A few years ago, a suspicious number of people won the lottery at one time. After looking at the buying patterns, the lottery officials were concerned that some kind of illegal lotto ring had been cooked up, and perhaps some means had been developed to guess the lottery numbers or manipulate what those numbers would be. After a small amount of investigation, though, it was learned that all these people had used a fortune cookie’s suggested numbers. They all got the same batch of fortune cookies (which are mass produced). So they all won the lottery together, splitting the jackpot.
Choose Delta Numbers
All of the above seem to lead to people having the same numbers as everybody else. Some people prefer “delta numbers”. That is, choose an interval between numbers (usually between 1 and 15), then select numbers accordingly. For instance, if your delta number was “7”, you would select a beginning number, usually something with meaning or a number you consider lucky for you. Imagine you choose the number “4”. You would then choose numbers sequentially with a space of 7 between each: 4, 11, 18, 25, 32, and 39. If you made 9 your delta number and 8 your lucky numbers, your numbers would be 8, 17, 26, 35, 44, and 53.
Again, what are the chances there’s going to be a sequence of numbers chosen randomly? Probably about the same chance you are going to hit on the numbers with any other six random numbers between 1 and 55.
Study Past Winning Lottery Numbers
Some people study the past winning lottery numbers, thinking they can find a pattern or there are certain numbers that are “lucky” for this particular lottery game. Another option is to find the numbers that are “due”, because they haven’t been selected enough. By studying the past winning lottery numbers and using a spreadsheet, you can quickly find the statistics for which numbers have hit in this lottery in the past. Then you can make your decisions accordingly.
There’s one thing to consider, though: every lottery drawing is separate and different, and every lottery drawing is randomized. Just because the number “33” was chosen last time, that does not mean it is taken out of the pot. Just because the number “33” was drawn last lottery, that does not mean it is any less likely to be drawn this lottery drawing. Each drawing is its own separate event.
Sure, if the numbers were drawn a billion times, the law of averages would dictate that most of the numbers would (more than likely) gravitate towards the average number of wins. But you are not drawing a billion times, and the sample of drawings are involves such low numbers (even at twice a week) that the deviation from the law of averages can be significant, even wildly off.
Choose Random Numbers
So you’re probably as well off picking lottery numbers at random. In fact, many people prefer to use a different set of numbers each time they enter a new lottery contest. While many people play the same “lucky” numbers every single week, others prefer to try a new combination each time. In fact, there’s one method we haven’t talked about that leaves the decision entirely out of your hands, but randomizes the numbers draw quite nicely: the quick pick option.
Take the Quick Pick Option
The “Lottery Quick Pick” option lets the lottery machine select your numbers randomly for you. The lottery ticket machine has a random number generator similar to the ones used by slot machines and video poker machines. The machine prints out a ticket with your numbers on it, you buy the ticket, and that’s all there is to it. No more stressing over which numbers to select.
Don’t Stress Out About Picking Lottery Numbers
In the end, you have to realize that the lottery odds are stacked against you. Most of the time, you’ll lose. The drawing is random, so there’s really no greater likelihood that one lottery number is going to be chosen than any other number. It’s random, so you would be just as well offer selecting numbers out of a hat, as paying $39.95 for an e-book to give you secrets of winning the lottery or tips for picking lottery numbers.
Don’t stess about it. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. The less thought you put into this, the better, in many cases. Imagine you picked 5 of the Megamillions or Powerball numbers right, but you really gave serious thought to whether that sixth number should be an “11” or “12”. Then imagine you selected “11”, but the sixth winning lottery number was “12”. That would haunt you for the remainder of your life. So choose six numbers, fill out your lottery entry form, and delete how you chose the numbers from your brain (you get what I mean). The less you think about it, the better, at least from that point of view.