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What are the odds of this lottery ticket?

October 4, 2007


Answer: Pretty good and pretty bad.

You see, once in a while I’ll play Lotto6/49. It’s a Canadian game, doesn’t pay like the US lotteries, but I enjoy it. Sometime’s when I’m around a lotto machine, I’ll have an extra $2.00 and lust longingly after whatever jackpot amount they post in front of me. I’ll then turn to the man and say “Quick-pick, 6/49, no encore”.

That’s it. That’s my chance. I’m in, and so far, my odds of winning are way better than a few minutes ago. What was a 0% chance just became a .000000009% chance.

A “Quick-Pick” is a quick ticket that a machine prints. I don’t have to circle my numbers, fill in an examination, or anything. The computer picks 6 random numbers, from 1 to 49, and spits them out on a ticket.

It’s all so easy, and happens within 5 seconds. So I thank the man, he tips his hat, and I walk out to find something to do on a Monday night.

The numbers get chosen on Wednesday and Saturday nights. Wednesday night, and I was ready. Ready to whisk my wife and I away to a life more than ordinary.

7 numbers are chosen. 6 regular numbers, and 1 BONUS number.

So I checked out the LottoLore for the latest numbers. Here’s what the prize layout was for that night.

Wed, October 3, 2007 – Lotto 6/49

3 17 18 24 31 32 Bonus 42
Prize Matches Amount Winners
1st 6 “$15477335.00 “ 1
2nd 5 + Bonus “$90932.00 “ 5
3rd 5 “$1428.10 “ 263
4th 4 $51.90 ”13709″
5th 3 $10.00 “222912”
6th 2 + Bonus $5.00 “135753”

So, as you can see, I only got 1 number. That’s so bad, I’m not even on that spreadsheet above. Here’s how I feel about the prizes:

  • 6th – great.
  • 5th – kinda worse than 6th, cause it ain’t much more.
  • 4th – hey, I’m not gonna argue with 50 bucks.
  • 3rd – well, alright!!! A couple of grand would be PERFECT
  • 2nd – WOW! That’s like winning double, cause you gotta slam that down on the mortgage, thereby saving probably just as much interest over the 10 years of payments
  • 1st – buy a new house, buy whatever you want!

I was wafting in disappointment, staring at the screen, and allowing my eye to wander down the page. I spotted a previous draw. Here’s what it was:

Sat, September 8, 2007 – Lotto 6/49 3 8 16 20 24 25 Bonus 23


Anger. Fiery red flames. Flared nostrils. That bloody machine had sold me an almost duplicate set of number to a recent winner.

That was a 5-number matching ticket on September 8th.

So, the next time someone asks you if those “randomly generated numbers” are indeed, random, you won’t have a good enough answer, but you’ll be able to say, “I read this blog once…”

7 Comments leave one →
  1. pranajules permalink
    October 5, 2007 12:16 am

    I hear ya! And you make a very interesting point in your expression of how you feel about the prize structure. You can actually study the odds for all Ontario games (the scratch ones, anyway) and pick which games have the more appealling odds to prize size ratio that most appeals to YOU! For example, If you would be content with $5,000 considering the odds would be greater to win this amount than to win $50,000 dollars, then you can play the games with the most of THESE prize amounts taking into account the ticket price (range from $1-$20).
    Check out:

  2. realworldnumbers permalink*
    October 5, 2007 2:34 am

    I completely agree. As a matter of fact, I’m starting to think that Lottario might be a better game. The benefit is a better distribution of prize categories. Plus, for a buck, they’ll give you an extra play! Congratulations, you’ve just doubled your odds.

    Take a look at these prizes:

    Prize Matches Amount Winners
    1st 6 $344,146.70 0
    2nd 5 + Bonus $7,500.00 1
    3rd 5 $463.00 57
    4th 4 $22.70 1,937
    5th 3 $5.00 30,266

  3. realworldnumbers permalink*
    October 5, 2007 2:34 am

    Oh yeah, and the problem with playing instant games is that only a given number of tickets in a series are winners. Therefore, you could be buying a ticket to which there is ZERO possibility of a prize.

  4. JohnnyDangerous permalink
    October 5, 2007 4:18 pm

    The real question here is: How well does the division of the total prize pool correspond with the decreasing odds of winning each successive prize?

  5. realworldnumbers permalink*
    October 27, 2007 7:48 pm

    See this article for prize distribution vs. odds.
    What make Lottario better…

  6. Elizabeth permalink
    March 23, 2008 7:19 am

    Hello Lotto,

    looking for quick pick lotto or computer pick my lotto numbers as it will be 5, or 6, 7 numbers for powerball or any lotto thanks,Elizabeth is that free or let me know !

  7. July 10, 2013 9:24 pm

    We are a group of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme
    in our community. Your site offered us with useful info
    to work on. You have done a formidable process and our entire neighborhood can be grateful to you.

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