**This 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.**

Chan// Jul 24, 2014 at 1:00 pmIsn’t it true though that it increases your chances by playing the same number each time? I mean if I were to flip a coin 10 times and guess head on all 10 times, isn’t there a higher probability of getting heads at least once. I know it’s 50/50 each time but if you flip a coin 10 times you are bound to get heads at least once. I don’t know the amount of years it would take, but if 100 years went by for a lottery number and it never got picked isn’t it likely to get picked sometime or another using my example. Please respond??

LG// Jul 24, 2014 at 6:43 pmHi Chan,

In short, no

The increase in your chances comes from guessing 10 times NOT from guessing the same thing 10 times. Your chances of being right are exactly the same if you guess heads 10 times in a row, or if you change it every single time.

Heads is likely to appear in 10 flips – but it’s likely because there are only 2 possible results. Repeatedly choosing it doesn’t make it more likely to appear :-). Mathematically speaking, each flip is an ‘independent event’ so what happened before has no bearing on the next flip – so if you were wrong last time, your chances of being wrong are still exactly the same next time.

Chan// Jul 24, 2014 at 7:53 pmYes, I agree… but there is more of a likely hood of getting heads at least once within that 10 times. It would be :

Probability(at least one head in 10 flips)

Probability(not all tails in 10 flips)

1-Probability(10 tails in a row)

1- 1/2*1/2*1/2*1/2*1/2*1/2*1/2*1/2*1/2*1/2

1-(1/1024) = 1024/1024 – 1/1024 = 1623/1024 = 99.9% chance of heads at least once.

With that being said isn’t it likely out of 1 million lottery draws or so ( whatever the number may need to be to get that high of a probability)… to at least get your one combination of numbers at least once. So yeah, you may be wrong and wrong as you guess heads on each time as each time is independent but your likeliness of being correct with your lottery numbers at least once increases as you play many times with the same number in WHOLE.

LG// Jul 24, 2014 at 8:14 pmBut the calculation doesn’t change if you guess 10 heads in a row, 10 tails in a row, heads/tails alternately or any other combination of guesses.

So it’s not guessing the same result that gives you a high chance of being right – it’s purely down to guessing more times.

Chan// Jul 24, 2014 at 8:17 pmIf you were to do a Billion lottery drawings for example. What are the odds that your combo of numbers get chosen at LEAST once. It’s got to be a great likeliness of happening. So wouldn’t it be safe to assume that your odds of getting it right out of many drawings would increase throughout the drawings of that game? What if I play the same numbers through out my life time and for 20 generations after my death. Do you think the likeliness of the numbers is likely to get drawn at some point or another collectively.

Chan// Jul 24, 2014 at 8:51 pmI was stunned to see that someone on here had the same exact question and used the same example as I did with the 10 flips and one heads. I see, the likeliness of getting a winning number picked throughout however many times (drawings) is the same regardless of if you guess the same numbers each time mathematically. It’s amazing as to how the brain can try and convince you based on intuition alone.

LG// Jul 24, 2014 at 8:57 pmBut the point is, you’re EXACTLY as likely if you play the same numbers or keep changing them

The same applies if it’s 10 draws or a billion.

Corne Botha// Aug 12, 2014 at 12:31 pmYou lose patience if you keep the same lottery numbers. Example, I gave up in 2 years time of the same quick pick, than suddenly 5 numbers came up in the third year, that strategy does work, but you must keep patience, even after 5 years.

Daniel M// Aug 18, 2015 at 12:11 amI’m at 15 years – same numbers 2x a week.

Manny// Sep 16, 2014 at 5:35 pmI have purchased ten lottery plays every draw. And used the same numbers since 2009. The odds are in favor of the game. I have only hit 4 out of six once and got a measly 73 dollars. Hit 3 out of six plenty of times. But I might play forever without any results. Luckily I have the spare change to play but the ODDS are in favor of the game.

Dave// Jan 7, 2015 at 10:03 pmI played the same play 3 numbers (689) for 3 years and never missed a day then on July 4th the Third year I didn’t play as I thought they didn’t pick on that Holiday and 689 came in straight.

I quit playing any lottery games right there !

LG// Jan 7, 2015 at 11:14 pmThat’s some bad luck Dave, I feel for you!

It’s one decent reason not to stick to the same numbers all the time, and simply use random picks. Lottery companies like us to have combinations we are religiously/superstitiously attached to, because it makes us play more often (‘you can’t miss a draw or your numbers might come up’). In reality they are only ‘our numbers’ when we play them. But I know it’s hard to ignore what could have been.

If it’s any consulation – Pick 3 is a not a good game choice anyway, so you’re better off leaving that one behind

Daniel Dominguez// Jul 19, 2015 at 12:34 pmYou guys should play twice in every draw, one your same repeated numbers and the second one a random selection.

Daniel Dominguez// Jul 19, 2015 at 12:38 pmAlso I have discovered a list of how many times each number has been drawn, the times some of the numbers have been drawn is greater then others.

If it was only balls floating in a draw machine and they all have the same chance to come out, how is it that some balls have been drawn tens or more times then others that have never come out? Some of them could be lighter in weight.

LG// Jul 19, 2015 at 7:23 pmHi Daniel

Random can (and should!) do things that look unusual to us sometimes. If it was totally impossible to roll a 6 ten times in a row on a dice then there would be something wrong with that dice. It’s very unlikely, but not impossible.

That said, ‘bias’ in the balls or the draw machine is very much a possibility – albeit one that the lottery company are also very aware of too – there’s more discussion on this in the post here.

Stuart// Jul 20, 2015 at 2:01 amI have been playing the lotto for just over 2 years playing the same numbers every time and I recently got 5 straight numbers for $1,600! So your numbers really can come out, it’s just a matter of covering all the numbers and having an even mixture of odd and even numbers. Good luck. Cheers regards Stewy Dalby City Kent UK

LG// Jul 21, 2015 at 12:23 amCongrats on your win Stuart. May the next one be even bigger

An even mix of odd/even doesn’t actually make any difference to your chances of winning though. That’s a myth. You don’t get anything for matching patterns – just the actual numbers drawn.

Miguel// Aug 4, 2015 at 8:25 amHi LG,

What odds should you have to play with some hope?

My current odds are 1 in 339.000 (24 games in a 6/45 lotto). Are they still extremely high?

I play this lotto once a week, should I play 100 games once a month instead? My odds would be 1 in 81.450 (few syndicates have better odds). The only problem: the fun factor, playing once a month is less exciting

LG// Aug 4, 2015 at 5:45 pmEven 1 ticket in the US Powerball or Italy’s SuperEnalotto (both games with extremely tough odds) have some hope. Just not very much.

The fun factor is definitely important. You can’t play these games expecting to win so it should be something you also enjoy. I get into some of this in my tips here.