Lottery Guy

Should I Play The Same Lottery Numbers In Every Draw?

June 12th, 2007   ·   Read 103 Comments...

same lottery numbers every drawThis is one of those lottery questions that can make your head spin. Should I play the same lottery numbers or change them? It can turn your brain inside out if you overthink it…

If my numbers haven’t come up yet, surely they are more likely to in future, so I should stick to playing my selected numbers right?

If I keep changing my numbers isn’t that like two lots of numbers changing, making it even harder to win?

Sounds plausible. But sometimes we can overanalyse a problem!

The fact is, mathematically speaking past results have no bearing whatsoever on future results. Why would they? Because underneath all those lovely numbers… it’s just balls.

(Even if they seem to make those pretty patterns when you really, really look for them…)

They’re just little round balls bouncing around inside a draw machine. And those balls have no memory. They aren’t all polite and considerate, and therefore take it in turns to be drawn! They don’t know or care about the ‘law of averages’.

So is it better to keep playing the same lottery numbers every week?

Each draw is a unique, random event. So it actually doesn’t matter (but keep reading below because that’s not the whole answer).

In pure maths terms if you play the same numbers each draw, or change them every week – it makes no difference at all.

Because each set of numbers always has exactly the same chance of being drawn. And each draw is a single unique event. Simple as that.

So if you like the the numbers you have chosen, by all means keep them and play them every time. It won’t do you any harm.

But equally, if you like changing your numbers once in a while, or every single draw – feel free, because that isn’t going to hurt you either.

Two Things To Note However…

Firstly, creating perfect randomness is not easy (just ask a programmer). That’s why I said ‘mathematically speaking’ about 3 times :-).

So if you are choosing certain numbers because you think they are a little bit more likely to appear than others – for real physical reasons – then you will probably prefer to stick with those numbers. At least for a time. (You can learn about this kind of thing and lots more in my Lottery Strategy Group).

Secondly, there are some reasons to avoid picking too many of certain types of numbers (clue: think popular!), but I’ll talk more about those reasons another time.

Got a lottery question you’d like answered? Either add a comment below, or submit your question here.

Categories: Lottery Questions · Picking Lottery Numbers

103 Comments so far ↓

  • Dj No Doz

    I’ve done research and played same sets of 10 tickets. Well I play Texas lottery, Cash 5. It’s $1 per set, each ticket you pick 5 numbers. I usually spend $10 per draw. My luck has been to buy at least 10 tickets per draw. That is a total of 50 numbers to pick. I play the same set of numbers for each draw. All 10 of them. I’ve never changed. It’s been about 4 months playing. I haven’t ended up in the negative. My advice is make sure none of the sets have the same number. Make sure all 50 numbers are unique. It seems to be my most successful strategy. I tried to pick birthdays and anniversaries etc. Basically special dates but sometimes them dates or ages could be the same number. It didn’t work well. So just pick as many sets as you can afford and use as many of the numbers available in the drawing. That’ll give you a chance at every number and now you have to leave the rest to luck. Which is getting it in the right row all together. If you can’t afford but one ticket, don’t play. You’ll for sure have low low low chance of winning since you didn’t play the remaining numbers not even once. Im no expert but, just my opinion. Good luck everyone! God bless

    • LG

      I wouldn’t recommend just ‘playing all the numbers’. Yes, it guarantees you get them all somewhere (which feels useful), but they will be spread all over your entries making you no more likely to actually win anything than just playing quick picks.

      As you’re playing multiple combinations, why not look into wheeling? Just choose a good wheel with the right kind of win guarantee for the game. Don’t just pick any old thing online though, as there are lots of bad wheels out there. Bluskov’s book for 5 number games is good.

      I’m not really surprised that picking special dates didn’t help. If you think about it, why would it? What about those dates meaning something to you would make them any more likely to be drawn? Instead because so many people use this approach to picking numbers, it actually means you are more likely to pick numbers that are the same as someone else – which can mean sharing the jackpot with a lot of other people if you do win (depending on the game).

      Finally, one ticket has a chance of winning, no ticket has zero chance of winning. That’s a vast difference 🙂

  • Lucky brotha No.5

    I’m not 100% sure but I don’t believe that the same jackpot winning numbers have ever come up twice. If that is the case, does that not mean that your numbers will come up eventually?

    My lotto tactic right now is to play the same rows for a week. Each row looks similar to the other but with slight tweaks, numbers repeating at times. My theory is that there is no point in playing loads of different rows with loads of different numbers. The result of this is that you see winning numbers spread out and not giving you a financial win. By using the same numbers I reckon I will have a better chance of winning something.

    I would love to hear your view on this.

    I will write up on how this went for me. If I win, you guys will know.

    • LG

      The exact same numbers have come up again in some games, and it will happen more often in time (bear in mind most games have only ever had a few thousand draws yet have millions of combinations). There has even been a case of the exact same numbers repeating in the very next draw – that was back in 2009. In pure maths terms playing the same numbers won’t increase your chances of winning though.

      It sounds like you’re on the verge of discovering wheeling systems? These are a way of organizing a pool of selected numbers so that they provide certain guarantees (e.g. match 3 of your pool, win at least a match 3 prize etc). I’d recommend having a look at Bluskov’s book – I think you’ll like it 🙂

      • Lucky Brotha No.5

        Lol, not really surprised my little theory is a well known number trick. I just don’t believe in that playing the same numbers doesn’t give you a better chance. Let me explain why. I searched a set of numbers to see if they have come up. There were weeks where one or two came up and sometimes nothing. Eventually the numbers were actual winners. If I were to choose different numbers every week, I would keep dodging numbers that would definitely come up.
        I look at it like this, you can get winning balls like this:

        -low numbers 2, 4, 5, 16 18,
        -loads of teens, 20, 30s, 40s or 50s.
        -mixed low-high and low-mid

        There’s a few more but you get where I’m going. If you pick your numbers and stay with them, you will hit them. As I said, I will stay with my “wheeling” method and same number technique and tell you how it goes. I only got one number from 4 rows on Saturday night, I’m expecting an improvement tonight.

      • LG

        Not really. Think of it like rolling a dice. If you roll a 1, that doesn’t make 1 more, or less, likely next time. There’s still 6 sides on the dice – so it’s still just as likely to come up again as anything else. So stick with 1 or go with 3, and your odds are still 1-in-6.

        That’s the simple maths view. But it isn’t easy (possible?) to build a perfectly random machine, so things gets a little more complex if you take that into account – but that’s a whole different story.

  • Grace Osabu-kle

    Hello lotto guy,
    I have a lotto number for lotto 649 that i used to play on and off. I did not play last week and 5 of the numbers came up. Should I keep playing those numbers or should I change them at this point.

    • LG

      The fact most of them came up last week does NOT in itself make them any more or less likely to come up this week. So the answer really depends on why you chose those numbers in the first place.

  • Grace Osabu-kle

    Hello Lottery Guy,
    I asked you in an earlier conversation that if 5 out of the 6 numbers I play for lotto 649 has come up in a draw, is it okay to keep playing the same numbers or should I change them. The numbers are from a quickpick I bought last year July. I used to play them on and off. I did not play them last 2 weeks and 5 of the numbers showed up. I love those numbers but I am now confused now that 5 out of the 6 numbers have shown up.

    • LG

      Think of it this way – if you roll a dice and get a 6, does that mean your chances of rolling a 6 again are now less likely?

      [Answer: No, because there are still 6 sides on the dice so your chances of another 6 are exactly the same. Assuming a perfectly random dice.]

  • Sherry

    The Florida lady who was one of the winners of a large Powerball jackpot said she had been playing her numbers for years, before they finally came through for her.

    I say… hang in there! Maybe sooner or later those numbers you have been playing will come up 🙂

  • Ray

    If what you say is true, then in 38 number roulette your chance is 1/38. But your chances of the same number showing twice in a row is 1/38^2 or 1/1444. So which is it? 1/38 0r 1/1444? If it’s 1/1444 then you’re better off by far using the same number repeatedly.

    • LG

      Let me answer it a different way :-). Your chances of picking ‘the same number twice’ are exactly the same as ‘picking any number followed by any other number’.

      But if you want to put maths to it…

      Say you pick number 1 twice in a row. Your odds of picking correctly are 1/38 on the first go, and 1/38 again on the second go. So the odds of being right BOTH times are 1/38 x 1/38 = 1/1444.

      Next, you pick number 10 followed by number 20. Your odds are 1/38 of getting number 10, and then 1/38 of getting number 20. So again, your odds of picking right both times is still 1/38 x 1/38 = 1/1444.

      So unless you have a reason to believe a certain number has a better chance of coming up then it doesn’t make any difference at all 🙂

      • Ray

        Then randomly picking any number is the same thing as playing the last winning number again which makes your overall chances, over the two games, 1/1444; the second game is the one actually played so your overall actual chance is 1/1444 even with each game being 1/38.

        What is the likely percentage of success if you repeatedly use the same number for 38 games?; 100 games?; 200 games?

        What is the likely percentage of success if you repeatedly use a new random number, for each game, over the same number of games?

        Does the percentage increase, stay flat or decrease?


        What you are advocating is the same as saying, “if you are lost in the woods and you want to be found, it doesn’t make any difference if you hug one tree or wander around aimlessly hugging trees at random you’ll be found just as quickly either way.” Or in combat saying “it’s just as likely that you will be hit if you stay low and keep moving or if you stand up and stand still”.

        Since you and many others advocate that it doesn’t make any difference one way or the other, but there are also many advocates that say that it does make a difference, using the same numbers until won is a reasonable technique.

        Let’s agree to disagree.

      • LG

        I think the key point you’re missing is that each draw is a unique event. There is no dependency between them. (Your original question was about being right twice in a row)

        So ‘the one actually played’ is always 1/38, no matter what has gone before it, no matter if you repeat your choice or not. How can it be any different, either way you are still choosing 1 out of 38 possible results?

        Sure, there are many people who advocate that this is wrong, but that’s only because they don’t fully understand the math 🙂

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