How to boost your horrible odds of winning the Powerball

It's not easy to beat astronomical odds like those involved in the US $1.5-billion Powerball, but a repeat lottery winner says there's a way you can improve your chances to win Wednesday night's draw.

See Full Article

No, you don't need to pray, maim a rabbit or steal a horse's footwear. The real secret is to not be too sentimental with your number choices, according to Richard Lustig, author of "Learn to Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery."

Lustig, who claims to have won seven lottery grand prizes, says many people make the mistake of playing numbers based on sentimental calendar dates, like birthdays or anniversaries. This strategy limits your potential number range to 1-31, in a Powerball draw that uses numbers 1-69.

"In Powerball, you have to pick five numbers from 1-69," Lustig told CTV News Channel on Wednesday. "So (calendar number players) are not even playing numbers 32 through 69, so they're actually decreasing their chances of winning."

Lustig said the best way to approach the Powerball draw – particularly for Canadians who are buying tickets south of the border – is to select a wide range of numbers.

"Spread it out over the spectrum of numbers you have to choose from," Lustig said.

In Lustig's book, he outlines several strategies to improve your lottery-winning chances over the long-term. His top three tips are:

  1. Don't buy lottery "quick picks"
  2. Always play the same numbers (because last week's winning numbers are less likely to be drawn again)
  3. Play consistently

Lustig says he's won "millions" using his method, but he cautions that even if you win, it's very easy to spend all your winnings and be left with nothing. "I don't care how much you win, that money can run out," he said.

Lustig advises any lottery winner to pay off all debts first, invest in a good accountant or financial planner second, and then have fun with the money, once those two things are taken care of.

For Lustig, that "fun" means not working, and doing the things he loves. "I play the lottery and have fun," he said. "Watch TV, play video games."

You still don't stand a chance

But while Lustig may make lottery-winning sound easy, statistics professor Jeremy Rosenthal says it's not even worth buying a ticket.

In fact, Rosenthal says the odds of your winning the Powerball are so astronomically high, you've got a better chance of dying in a plane crash, being struck by lightning or being elected prime minister.

"It's just unbelievably unlikely that you're going to win," Rosenthal told CTV News Channel.

Rosenthal points out that there are about 292 million possible number combinations that can come up in tonight's draw, making the Powerball about 20 times more difficult to win than Canada's Lotto 6/49.

Rosenthal says that when it comes to Lotto 6/49, "It's so unlikely to win, you shouldn't even buy a ticket." But with the Powerball, that advice is even more apt, he says.

"I know the probability so well that I don't even have any reason to hope," said Rosenthal, who has not bought a ticket for the jackpot.

He also shot down the notion that somebody, somewhere has to win, and that person could be you.

"It's not true that somebody's got to win, because it could be nobody wins and the jackpot rolls over," he pointed out.

That was the case last week with the Powerball. And if tonight's draw does not produce a winner, the money will again roll over to another round, until it is won.

"At some point, somebody will win, and yes, it could be you," Rosenthal admitted. "But as a probability person, you have to think: well, not just 'could,' but what are the odds?"

One in 292,000,000, apparently.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Saudis say they will reopen Yemen's main airport, port for humanitarian aid

    World News CBC News
    The Saudi-led military coalition fighting against the Houthi movement in Yemen said Wednesday it would allow aid access through the port of Hodeidah and United Nations flights to Sanaa airport. The coalition closed all air, land and sea access to Yemen earlier this month following the interception of a missile fired towards the Saudi capital. Source
  • National inquiry into MMIWG community hearings LIVE

    Canada News CBC News
    David Cassidy, former Partridge Family teen actor, dead at 67 Source
  • Search resumes for dog-walker missing in Coquitlam, B.C.

    Canada News CTV News
    A dogwalker and three dogs remain unaccounted for in Coquitlam, B.C., after rescue efforts were scaled back overnight due to weather concerns. Annette Poitras, 56, has been missing since Monday afternoon, when she was out walking trails with her own dog and two others in the Coquitlam area on what has been described as an otherwise routine day for owner of the dog-walking business Annette's Doggie Daycare. Source
  • British budget: Precious few goodies as post-Brexit reality will slow growth

    World News CBC News
    Britain's treasury chief has outlined cautious spending plans to a nation bracing for the shock of Britain's departure from the European Union amid a steady worsening in economic forecasts. Philip Hammond revealed Wednesday a deteriorating outlook, as a slowing economy and stubborn deficit mean there is little money to increase public spending in the face of demands from teachers, firefighters and the military. Source
  • Six-year-old girl kills deer under Wisconsin's new hunting rules

    World News CTV News
    MILWAUKEE -- A Wisconsin kindergartener is among the first youngsters to bag a buck under a new law that eliminates the state's minimum hunting age. Lexie Harris, 6, is no stranger to the woods. Source
  • Father stabbed to death was protecting friend: family

    Canada News CTV News
    A man who was stabbed to death in a Calgary home last week has been identified as a Humberto (Robert) Panameno, a father of four who gave his life to save another, according to his family. Source
  • U.S. declares 'ethnic cleansing' against Rohingya in Myanmar

    World News CTV News
    Rohingya Muslims, who spent four days in the open after crossing over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, carry their belongings after they were allowed to proceed towards a refugee camp, at Palong Khali, Bangladesh, Oct. 19, 2017. (Dar Yasin/AP) Source
  • Kim Kardashian, Rihanna call for release of child sex slave jailed for murder

    World News CTV News
    Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and Cara Delevingne are among a number of celebrities championing the cause of former teen prostitute Cyntoia Brown, who at 16 was sentenced to life in prison for killing a man who paid her for sex. Source
  • Liberals' tax proposals still need work despite changes, critics insist

    Canada News CBC News
    A coalition of industry associations says Bill Morneau must make more changes to the controversial tax proposals he first unveiled last summer to ensure he addresses deep, persistent concerns in the small-business community. The group, which came together in recent months as a vocal opponent of the finance minister's tax-reform plan, is urging him to go further — beyond the adjustments he made to calm an uproar that dogged him for months. Source
  • Closing arguments over destruction of gas plants records to be heard today

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Closing arguments are set to be heard today at the Toronto trial of two former senior political aides accused of destroying documents. Defence lawyers will be pushing the Ontario court judge to acquit David Livingston and Laura Miller. Source