Lottery Guy

Should I Play The Same Lottery Numbers In Every Draw?

June 12th, 2007   ·   Read 76 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

76 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.

  • 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!)

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