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

  • Israel to send 1M coronavirus vaccine doses to Palestinians in exchange for future delivery

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM -- Israel said Friday it will transfer around 1 million doses of soon-to-expire coronavirus vaccines to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for a similar number of doses the Palestinians expect to receive later this year. Source
  • India switches rollout policy but still short of vaccines

    World News CTV News
    NEW DELHI -- Starting Monday, every Indian adult can get a COVID-19 vaccine dose for free that was purchased by the federal government. The policy reversal, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week, ends a complex system of buying vaccines that worsened inequities in administering the shots. Source
  • Iranians vote in presidential poll marred by disqualified candidates

    World News CBC News
    Iran began voting Friday in a presidential election tipped in the favour of a hardline protege of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, fuelling public apathy and sparking calls for a boycott in the Islamic Republic. State-linked opinion polling and analysts put hard-line judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi as the dominant front-runner in a field of just four candidates. Source
  • Universities and colleges wrestle with mandating COVID-19 vaccines for return to campus

    Canada News CBC News
    Andrew Mrozowski just graduated this week from McMaster University's political science program, but the editor-in-chief of the school's student-run newspaper has already turned his mind to the fall semester. Presiding over The Silhouette's staff of full-time undergrads, Mrozowski says the Hamilton, Ont. Source
  • Canada's largest transplant centre slowly marches toward normal after weeks of 'wasted' organs

    Canada News CBC News
    Last July, Sarah Frazer learned she had two years at most before she would need to replace her failing kidneys. "I was 23 at the time — a 23-year-old girl sitting in a physician's office in Toronto General, being told, like, 'You need to find a new kidney,'" recalled the law student. Source
  • Outrage over developer's plan to buy single-family homes reveals a Canadian fixation

    Canada News CBC News
    In the current overheated dog-eat-dog race to buy a home in Canada, we probably shouldn't have been shocked by the wave of outrage triggered by a big property developer's plan to buy thousands of detached family homes and rent them out. Source
  • Binge or watch live? Viewing habits change as pandemic recedes

    Canada News CBC News
    Adjust your calendars accordingly, Wednesday is the new Friday. According to Disney. The studio recently announced that it will begin releasing all its original series on Wednesdays. Home to many popular Marvel and Star Wars episodic series, Disney+ kicked off the move with the recent launch of the god of mischief's own series, Loki. Source
  • Let me be that person you know in a wheelchair, so we can all think about how to be more inclusive

    Canada News CBC News
    This First Person article is the experience of Codi Darnell, a Vancouver mom who uses a wheelchair due to a spinal cord injury. For more information about CBC's First Person stories, please see the FAQ. Source
  • How do you make concrete more environmentally friendly?

    Canada News CBC News
    Hello, Earthlings! This is our weekly newsletter on all things environmental, where we highlight trends and solutions that are moving us to a more sustainable world. (Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Thursday.) This week:How do you make concrete more environmentally friendly?Returning Indigenous lands has ecological benefitsHow scientists mapped a deadly Himalayan glacier flood Source
  • Police smash couple's living room window with armoured vehicle in drug raid that finds nothing

    Canada News CBC News
    Police were doing surveillance on someone Joshua Bennett knew, working up a case she was trafficking drugs. They observed her at Bennett's rural property, northeast of Calgary, on consecutive days in late March of last year. Source