Lottery Guy

Should I Play The Same Lottery Numbers In Every Draw?

June 12th, 2007   ·   Read 88 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, past results have no bearing whatsoever on future results. They simply can’t. Because underneath 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 play the same lottery numbers every week?

Each draw is a unique, random event. So it actually doesn’t matter.

If you play the same numbers each draw, or change them every week – it makes no difference.

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.

There are some reasons not to pick certain numbers (clue: think popular!), but I’ll talk more about those reasons another time (or you can read about that and lots more in my Lottery Strategy Group).

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

Categories: Lottery Questions · Picking Lottery Numbers

88 Comments so far ↓

  • Robert Howell

    This is what we did, we went to the lottery web site, picked the numbers that came up the most often, and placed those numbers on our lotto ticket each week.
    I may be wrong but if every time you play the lotto using different numbers your odds on winning will be the same each time you play.
    However if you use the same number repeatedly, each time your numbers are not called, the next time there’s a little better chance one of them maybe called.
    I say using your same numbers that did not win, improves your odds on winning later with those same numbers.
    That’s the odds.

    • LG

      Hey Robert,

      Not really. If you think of it like flipping a coin – there’s a 50/50 chance of heads or tails. If you pick tails, and heads comes up, then it’s still 50/50 on the next flip. So even if heads comes up 3 times in a row (or 10 times), your chances of being right on the next flip are still the same.

      There is one caveat here though. We’re assuming a perfectly random coin flip, which is hard to do, so you may have a little better chance with one than the other – but only because of this ‘bias’, not because of what has or hasn’t happened on previous flips. And of course, the same applies to the lottery here too, except they have experts trying to ensure the draw is ‘properly random’. There’s a whole debate about what random is and what you can do about bias, but it’s a big topic (my Strategy Group covers it in much greater detail than I can here).

    • Tommy

      No. Every drawing is random. What if the same numbers were drawn two weeks in a row? If a combination of numbers were never used twice, then choosing the same numbers every drawing would make sense.

  • Daniel M

    I disagree with both of you, is a million ways to lose, all you have to do is win once, play the numbers without fail, it’s only a matter of time.

    • LG

      You’re perfectly entitled to disagree, but you’d still be wrong :-).

      But why not test it for yourself. Use a coin or a dice, run trials, and compare how often you guess correct based on tests of changing and not changing your selection.

  • Will

    Let’s say we use a die and a coin flip for illustrated purposes. With a die chances to roll any number is 1 / 6. With a coin flip 1 / 2. However the likelihood of rolling 6 fifty times in a row or flipping tails fifty times in a row is highly unlikely in my thinking. Therefore since most lotteries like the American Powerball where I think there are 292 million possible combinations and the combinations drawn to date are a small sample of the possible combinations I’d say it is highly unlikely – in similar thinking above – that although a certain combination may have the same chance as being drawn again as the balls have no memory – it is highly unlikely. Play your favorite number til it hits.

    • LG

      Yes, but mathematically it is exactly as highly unlikely whether or not you change your numbers.

      • GTY

        Take roulette for example, there is a 1 in 37 chance for any number. Chances of hitting same number twice is 1 in 1369, and one number hitting 3 times in a row is 1 in 50653… Same applies for lotto or any other lottery drawing.

      • LG

        Yes, but you’re not betting on it hitting 3 times in a row. Even if it just happened twice, it’s still a 1 in 37 chance of it happening again. The odds didn’t change.

    • Eileen Moore

      I agree. I missed a drawing with my favorite number one time, could’ve won $250k. I’m so upset in Mega Millions! I thought my numbers would never come up so I did not play. It was 4 out of 5 numbers plus the Mega ball and I paid for the Megaplier which was x 5. I’m so upset I cried, could’ve had that money $$$.

  • Buddy

    So if it doesn’t matter what numbers you play why has there never in the history of lottery had the same combo picked twice.

    • LG

      Not only has it happened, the same numbers have even been drawn 2 weeks in a row.

      The only reason it hasn’t happened more often is because not many draws have been made yet with any lottery game, especially when compared to the number of combinations that exist. If you only roll a dice twice, there’s a good chance you’re not going to get the same number the 2nd time – but roll it 20 times and you’re going to see repeat numbers.

      So once we’ve had a few million draws on the bigger lottery games then we’ll be seeing repeat combinations a lot more often. (Well, WE won’t see it as we’ll all be long dead by then. Even at 2 draws a week it would take 10,000 years to make a million draws!)

  • Mx2

    I play quick pick more often than not but I do have my own set of numbers.

  • Jonathan

    Speaking of whether or not to play the same numbers. I normally play about 3 lines of numbers on a multi-draw ticket for about a week and then I will get another 3 lines and do the same thing for the next week. My question is does it matter if you use the multi-draw option or not? Can it hurt your chances either way?

    • LG

      Choosing the multi-draw option is no different to buying a ticket with the same numbers for each draw. It can’t hurt.

  • DaleB

    Last week I picked 15 sets of my own numbers. All the winning numbers came up somewhere in the numbers I picked. Not in a jackpot, but I did manage to win $14 from 3 combinations.

    Now I bought 5 chances, all Quick Pick, besides.

    Not a SINGLE number of the winning numbers showed up in the 5 lines of numbers that were quick picks. I wish I had won a bet on THAT happening.

  • Gregory Moore

    The psychic told me the lottery cheats, they have control of what comes out in the lottery. Why will the psychic lie or why will the psychic be wrong?

  • Noel

    Will I be paid double, if I play the same 026 twice for the same draw on the same slip?

  • Stuart Hudson

    I have been playing my lucky birthday numbers for approx 4 years now, and just 2 weeks after I put them on I got 5 numbers for $1600! I keep track of my wins/losses and I am currently $300 down, but I keep positive that one day I will win big. I play extra system 7-8 entries in the big jackpots – it costs more but at least if my numbers do eventually come up I wont have to share it with anyone! I hope this helps you all, good luck, cheers, regards, Stewy Dalby, Queensland 🙂

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