When the Florida Lottery first came out (a long time
ago) I went down to the local 7-11 and bought myself a lottery ticket,
and I didn't win. That one time got it out of my system, and I haven't
purchased another ticket since. Since then, the lottery has been rather
in the background, except for those Saturday nights when all I want to
do is buy a carton of milk and I have to wait behind 20 people who can't
make up their minds what numbers to play! Give me a break! All
this "Money for Education" B.S. is the biggest bunch of baloney!
My kid has autism, and Florida still ranks 49th out
of the 50 states in funding for kids with disabilities. I can't even
get the public school system in my district to give my kid 2 hours of
speech therapy a week, much less a decent special education program with
trained teachers and aides! Where the hell is all this wonderful money
for "Education"? It's gotta be going somewhere, right? You know
what? I got a funny feeling I know exactly where its going!
Some months ago, a group of developers at my company
started talking about mathematics and lottery picking and so on. One of
the guys, who happens to be an expert developer, started out insisting
that if a certain number or combination came up consistently that this
would have an effect on future "picks". Almost everyone immediately
disagreed, and we launched into a heated discussion about statistics,
the theory of chance, and similar items. The bottom line is that everyone
agreed that a single "draw" of the lottery (provided that the
ping-pong balls haven't been "fixed" in some way) is a non-deterministic,
isolated chance event. This means it cannot be influenced in any way
by whatever happened before, nor can it have any influence on whatever
I guess my buddy who felt that the drawing was deterministic
in some way must have seen the light, because I've never heard another
word about it. Probably saved him some money!
A search on Google for "Lottery Software" reveals
no less than six paid "keyword ads" for lottery software that
runs from $49.95 to as much as $250.00! If you look at some of these
websites, you really have to laugh! There are lots of "testimonials"
like "At first, I didn't think I could learn how to play the lottery.
Then I got the CD, applied the rules, and BOOM!! I won $25 000 at California
Super Lotto! Thanks XXX XXXXX XXXXXXX!"
Wow! And like, if I'm of African American descent, the
Government is ready to give me up to $40,000 - if I just pay you $129.00
for the secret forms, right?
Let's take a look at the real numbers for Florida Lottery
(most other lotto games are similar). The chances of winning any prize
at all in a 6/53 Lotto are slim--let alone an average $10 + -million
jackpot. Even the odds of winning the average $5.00 4th prize for just
three correct numbers are the same as flipping six heads in a row
with a "fair" coin (Hint: if you wanna try this one, better
pay all your bills in advance and stash plenty of food, cause you'll be
flipping coins for a very long time) ...
ODDS OF WINNING
Just in case the numbers didn't make sense on "first blush",
let me bring it home to you by rephrasing the proposition: I have an investment
opportunity for you. It's absolutely fantastic. Here's how
it works: you give me $71.00, and I give you back $5.00. Got the
picture? You are guaranteed that according to my rules, if you give me
$71,000 bucks, I guarantee you'll get back no more than $5,000. Somebody's
winning here, and it ain' t you, pal! To show you how much you can win,
as it takes to get 3 of 6 right - for a big $5.00 prize. Play continuously
if you like, and your cumulative gains, losses, and number of plays to
win each time will be shown. If this doesn't wake you up, I give up!
Listen, if you think some software or system is gonna
help you win, don't delude yourself. It's pure mathematics, plain and
simple. You can have 50 different lottery software programs and the best
"system" in the world, and your chances of winning are exactly
the same as the poor slob standing in line in front of you - that is to
say - , very, very slim.
There is, however, one sure way to win the lottery, although
its probably impossible. You'd have to get everybody else to stay home,
and you'd need enough money to buy every single lottery ticket for that
game. Of course, since it would normally cost you more than you could
ever win, I doubt if it would be worth the trouble. Besides - if you've
got that much money, what the heck do you need the Lottery for? At least
in Las Vegas, you can often get a decent meal for free if you visit the
right casino. So, take it from Uncle Pete and save your money. Bye!
Peter Bromberg is an independent consultant specializing in distributed .NET solutions
Inc. in Orlando and a co-developer of the EggheadCafe.com
developer website. He can be reached at email@example.com