This is one question I get asked fairly often… “have you ever won the lottery?”
And I do understand why I get asked.
But there is a very good reason why it shouldn’t even cross your mind to ask.
I’ll try to explain why with a quick story.
Bill & Ben Play Dice
Bill and Ben are playing a dice game. You have to roll a 6 to win.
They like to make things a bit more fun, so they are betting on who wins. Each puts in one shiny gold coin every roll, and the first to roll a 6 claims the whole pot.
As we join them Bill is looking very smug. His pile of coins is way bigger as he just rolled five 6’s in a row. And he got all of them on his first roll each game.
Ben knows the dice is just fine because he’s been rolling the same one. But unluckily getting everything but a 6!
Bill Goes For Broke
Now Bill is not quite as stupid as he looks, although pretty close.
So despite having rolled five 6’s already, he knows a pattern when he sees one – so he reckons it’s a dead cert he’ll get another 6 straight off.
So smug faced Bill has a suggestion:
“Hey Ben, I’ll tell you what. I’ll give you a chance to win your money back. Let’s up the stakes big time and put in 50 coins each. But we both get only one roll. If one of us gets a 6, winner takes all. If not, we give it all to charity. How’s that?”
Ben thinks quietly for a moment. He knows all about the law of averages. And as Bill has had five 6’s in a row, the chances of him getting another now are practically zero. Whereas Ben hasn’t had any 6’s yet so must be like 100 times more likely than Smug Bill to get one now.
“Right, you’re on!” says Ben.
And So the Big Stakes Game is On
Smug faced Bill rolls… it’s a 6.
Ben rolls… it’s a 1.
So Bill smugly collects his pile of cash. While Ben attempts to lecture Smug Bill on the law of averages and how he was utterly stupid to have made that bet – even though he won, and leaves with a bulging wallet…
So Which One Was Right?
Who should you trust, Bill or Ben?
Neither of the dozy pair is the answer.
You should listen to the guy telling the story who knows better than both of them! 🙂
Because the fact is, they both had exactly the same chance of winning the pot. The history is totally irrelevant. Every number has a 1-in-6 chance of appearing no matter who rolled the dice, or what they scored before. (Assuming a properly fair dice of course)
The Moral Bit…
The moral of the tale is that you should listen to both the person with the fancy sounding maths, AND the guy who won the jackpot.
But NOT because they have proved anything. You should listen carefully, and apply a dose of reality and fact to the mix. And THEN decide which one is the idiot.
And sometimes it’s both of them.
Which All Comes Back to The Big Question
Meaning, that you shouldn’t listen to anything I tell you without applying your own common sense.
I’m not going to attempt to baffle you with maths and impressive sounding analysis techniques. Nor am I going to show you photos of my Bentley and private jet.
Because none of those things should convince you that I know what I’m talking about.
And if you decide I’m the one who doesn’t know what they are talking about, then I wish you well in a very murky world of crazy lottery systems and complicated software 🙂
Parting Thoughts: Fact or Fiction?
I’ll leave you with a big picture question.
Is it really possible that the lottery companies have missed some secret way to beat the lottery? Despite their huge profit, hundreds of staff and rooms full of techies, geeks, analysts and auditors? Despite there being hundreds of those lottery companies around the world..?
Can their expensive draw machines, that are rigorously tested and audited, really genuinely be beaten by well meaning Dave Genius who wrote some software one weekend that does ‘clever maths things’?
Or be beaten by slick Clive Copywriter who will reveal all if you just buy his $97 book? (But he’s not charging you $97 because he needs the money – oh no, he’s only charging you $97 so you take his incredible system seriously and he can be sure you will put it to use…)
Or could it really just be about having a good overall lottery strategy to maximise your chances of winning. And enjoying playing a fun game whilst hoping that lady luck one day shines on you.
Food for thought?
Pssst, So Have You Ever Won The Lottery…?
Still got that question on your mind eh? I know, curiosity may have finished off a few cats, but that doesn’t always make it go away.
Well, yes, of course I’ve ‘won’. But I’m not going to reveal how much I’ve won because that’s nobody’s business but mine. And it really doesn’t mean anything anyway. Even if somebody claims they have won (careful – it’s very easy to fake!), you don’t know how much they spent on tickets! Because it’s possible to win the jackpot every draw on Pick 3 simply by buying all 1,000 combinations. Yes, you would lose money overall, but you can look like a genius with an amazing system that always wins… and sell that for hundreds… if you have no ethics.
So you won’t find me bragging (publicly or privately) about win rates, amounts or showing pictures of cars or fancy houses. And I strongly recommend you do your best to keep your own winnings as private as possible too – money can do strange things to people you thought were close.