How do you choose your lottery numbers? Have you used the same combination or sequence for years and see no reason to change – or are too scared to now in case your winning lines come up? Perhaps you’re one of those players who does prefer to leave everything to chance and play a quick pick or lucky dip every week in the hope that a more random choice will mean you win big.
There is often quite a lot of debate amongst players on how best to go about choosing how you play. So, lottery quick picks or choosing your own numbers – which is best?
Methods of Choosing Lottery Numbers
Many who choose their own numbers will do so based on whether a number is significant to them or not. For instance, you might choose a birthday, wedding anniversary, or house number. Some people, however, will choose their own set of numbers but still keep it very random. There are always statisticians who will be able to come up with reasons why choosing one way to play a game is better than another way, but with the lottery being such a big game of chance – is there really just one concrete answer?
Here’s an example of a win that happened when someone chose very special and significant dates
A Lucky Winner Who Used the Same Numbers…
A 79-year-old man from Gaithersburg won a huge jackpot after a clerical error at the time of his birth meant he seemingly had two birthdates. The man’s “official” birthday was recorded as being 23rd April, however, it was an error and the real date of birth was 21st April.
The player felt that these two numbers were extremely significant for him and played them both in a few different lottery games. He dropped very luckily on the Maryland Multi-Match Draw, when six of the numbers he’d chosen, including his two birthdays, came up, netting him a $1.9 million win!
Speaking after the win he said: “I was scanning the newspaper and flipped to the lottery section first, and when I saw the numbers my eyes just grew bigger and bigger. When I told my wife how much we had won, at first she didn’t believe me!”, he revealed.
After taxes, the couple will take home $1.45 million and are considering their options before they spend any money.
Choosing Your Own Numbers
Of course, this is only one story of good luck, and one story doesn’t mean that it will work in the same way for everyone who chooses to play the lottery in that way. Let’s examine which method could be the right one to choose.
The chances of choosing a magic combination of numbers to win a draw really are quite small. For instance, to play the Powerball using your own choice of numbers and win the jackpot, your chance of winning is about one in over 292 million – so is there anything you can do?
If you play a game like Powerball, statistics show that about seventy percent of the winners who have got a jackpot or some other large sum, have won it through a Quick Pick game, rather than opting to choose their own private set of numbers which might have a significant or special meaning to them.
If you’re just starting to play the lottery and want to up your chances, this might be the best way in – for an initial period at least. But, long term – what are the chances of making playing this way a success?
Well, the answer is, it’s not always that simple. According to how long you’ve been playing lottery games the rules change!
Frequent players increase their chances of winning if they choose the same numbers each time and buy a lot of different tickets. This will generally increase your chances of winning money anyway.
Played like this, it shows that the most frequently played (and won) numbers are 32 and 41. According to stats, these show up around seven percent of the time – so trying to add these into your other combinations might improve your chances slightly.
Bearing that in mind, the odds are still not in your favor to win a big jackpot and they’ll still stand at 292.2 million to 1, so it might not work out for you, no matter how hard you try.
Sometimes choosing your own numbers proves to be the wrong option. One cautionary tale shows this
When Choosing Your Own Numbers Goes Wrong
UK National Lottery player Martyn Tott, missed out on a £3 million UK Lotto jackpot and the reason for this was that he’d failed to store his ticket safely and check his numbers after every draw.
It took six months before his partner noticed that their numbers had come up and that they were the same numbers they use in every draw when an appeal was put out on a local news channel to find the winner.
Despite knowing they’d won, they couldn’t find the ticket anywhere and UK Lottery organizers did indeed confirm that Mr. Tott had owned the winning ticket. They couldn’t pay his prize as he no longer owned it as proof of purchase.
Sometimes changes to lottery rules mean that people who have played the same numbers for years can be affected. Recently, the Mega Millions draw pool has changed from 1 to 46 to 1 to 15, which has confused and upset many players – especially those who had numbers higher up in the draw.
One player from Washington found he would have to replace the number 33 that he has used in every draw for the past three years. There are many players who are now considering defecting to Powerball to ensure they can continue to play the numbers they are so fond of.
The moral of the story here is, if you choose the same numbers all the time – keep your ticket safe and make sure you adhere to lottery rules.
Quick Pick Luck
Using a Quick Pick is still the most popular way of playing the lottery in the USA. So, therefore, it stands to reason that the majority of winners come from buying these tickets. This includes the last three huge Powerball wins and the most recent Mega Millions jackpot.
Their popularity stems from the fact that the numbers are generated totally randomly and the player has a better chance of covering number options. When players opt to choose their own numbers that may or may not have a specific significance to them, they often come from a smaller date range (think about how the calendar works – from 1-31) and often don’t include the higher numbers.
Playing a Quick Pick game means you’re less likely to have to share a prize with anyone, but there is also no reason for any of the numbers to be unique and they might end up being chosen for other players playing the same game too.
In fact, this did actually happen some five years ago in 2013, when the $448 million Powerball jackpot was shared between three ticket holders, two of these had opted for Quick Picks.
Another popular reason for buying a Quick Pick is that it will generate totally different numbers for each draw. This can help build excitement and anticipation for players. Those who play the same numbers every week can often become fatigued, making them less likely to be careful when storing their tickets – as we saw in the strange case of Martin Tott.
It’s true to say then that the odds are split fairly evenly between the two different methods of playing the lottery and it’s pretty much all down to personal choice. The odds say that it’s the same no matter which combination of numbers is picked.
The only proviso should be that if you do decide to choose your own numbers, always keep your ticket in a safe place – preferably the same one, each week, to avoid any danger of losing it should there be a big win.
The lottery is a game of chance and at the end of the day whether you choose your numbers through your own method, or decide to opt for a randomized choice such as a Quick Pick game, ultimately it is all down to the luck of the draw at that particular moment, on that particular day. It could be argued that there is slightly more advantage in using a randomized choice, but it really is negligible and at the end of the day down to whether the game is in your favor or not.
If you felt so inclined you could try and conduct your own challenge by playing two lots of tickets a week – take one Quick Pick lottery game and one with your own numbers, which never change. Play the games for a set period of time, perhaps 12 weeks or so, and see which numbers and games work best for you. Long term you can then decide whether to continue playing one way or another.