The plain and simple fact is that whether we play 4 tickets or 1000 tickets our chances of winning first prize in Lotto have not improved beyond a 99.99999% chance of losing. More than 99% of the many thousands of websites devoted to Lotto can be ignored as they do not acknowledge that and the following incontrovertible facts that apply in each and every draw of a Lotto game.
- The goal for any Lotto player is to maximize the chances for the set of tickets or lines played to get any prize. In constructing such a set no bias should be introduced to get a lower prize at the expense of getting a higher prize or multiple win lower prizes which means paying subset combinations should not be repeated, the full pool of integers should be used and coverage should be maximized but not necessarily optimized.
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- The winning combination whether it be five or six integers corresponds to one line in the set you play unless you've repeated lines. Improving your chances of getting the winning number can only be done by playing more distinct combinations (or lines, tickets or blocks). What this means is that with first prize odds so high playing an expensive number of lines, say, 1000 makes no significant difference to your 1st prize chances of winning - stick to a regular small amount a bit above the minimum entry, say, one panel or around 18 lines. It's all up to Lady Luck for 1st prize and those that say different are con-artists.
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- The paying subset prizes in the set of numbers you play if repeated reduce your chances proportionately of getting a single win subset prize in the short term, which is the way most of us play Lotto. In the very long term this would even out, if not too excessive and be helped if you play the same numbers.
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- You have a better chance of getting a subset prize if all the integers (the pool) applicable to the Lotto game you are playing are in the set of numbers you play. If you play just a few integers of the pool and repeat a paying subset then your prize may be higher when you do get it but it will not be as frequent. If you are a regular weekly player then some years you may do quite well but other years get a third only of what is expected.
Using a 6/49 Lotto game as an example but where the principles apply to other Pick 6 or Pick 5 games such as Euromillions or Megamillions and restricting the Pool to say 12 integers and playing a cover or wheel that repeats the subset Threes twice which can be easily done manually in 22 combinations of six (ie lines) but keeping the Fours unique gives a Yield over 1000 plays (ie 45 draws) of only 17.6% compared to 23.6% using the full pool, unique CombThrees and progressive next best play coverage lines. Random Selections give a yield of around 21.6%. The difference in Yield can be over 9% against using lesser pool Covers or Wheels - see comparison table here.
Usually a con-artist trick is used of quoting the prize table for the reduced Pool cover but where the guarantee does not apply to the actual Lotto game played eg 6/49. In his advocation of using Covers or Wheels with either single or multiple prize guarantees for Lotto games with a larger pool Professor Iliya Bluskov is proved wrong. Moreover his comparison of stating that Random Selections have no guarantee and his lesser Pool Covers do is infantile and begs belief because the guarantee is lost on a larger Pool Lotto game.
A Cover or Wheel with Guarantee is by definition the minimum number of lines to play to ensure the nominated prize is obtained in the Lottery game played and for a 6/49 game for a CombThree prize this is 163 lines. It does not give the best Yield or Percentage Return and is even inferior to Random Selections. THE GUARANTEE THAT APPLIES FOR A COVERING OR WHEEL WITH LESS THAN 49 NUMBERS IN ITS POOL DOES NOT APPLY TO THE 6/49 GAME AND GENERALLY IT IS INFERIOR BOTH TO RANDOM SELECTIONS AND MY FULL POOL, UNIQUE PAYING SUBSETS WITH NEXT BEST PLAY COVERAGE METHOD.
Playing a lesser Pool Cover or Wheel with Guarantee in the Lotto game of your choice does not improve your chances of success. The origin of this pathetic deception began in Eastern Europe. (Bluskov was born in Bulgaria and obtained his first B Sc in mathematics at Plovder University in Bulgaria) In the USA this nonsense is promoted by the likes of Gail Howard with her numerology, history and filter nonsense and rests on the implausible foundation that a few numbers can be singled out as being more likely to be randomly picked in the next draw. That Iliya Bluskov a practicing Professor of Mathematics at the University of Northern British Columbia and specializing in Combinatorics should pander to and embrace this occult nonsense is a disgrace; I know of no other mathematician of note that agrees with him in applying lesser Pool covers to Lotto games with a larger Pool and claiming this is beneficial to the lottery player. In fact some of his colleagues make it a point to mention that Covers do not necessarily give the best YIELD.
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- The only way you make a calculable difference to your chances of winning a subset prize after applying items 2, 3, and 4 is to increase the coverage. If your game paid on getting 3 integers (a Three) correct then the set of numbers you play can be designed such that as many as is possible of the potential winning numbers will have a Three which is in your set. This should be done only to the extent where your chances of getting a multiple or larger prize are not prejudiced.
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- Lotto Payouts are based on the relevant, specific odds not on the chances of some characteristic associated with the numbers occurring which is not paid on. While winning numbers with a different makeup such as odds and evens, sums, high-medium-low and indexes occur to a greater or lesser extent unless they are paid on by the lottery operator they are irrelevant and occurrence will be simply proportional to representation.
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- Every Lotto draw is an independent event where all the parameters are reset and every integer has an equal opportunity to be picked. What has previously occurred (the history of draws) has no bearing on subsequent draws and for all intents and purposes is irrelevant. If you randomized the previous, say, 28 draws of a Lotto game and played it and then compared it to randomizing 28 draws, say, 100 games prior to the draw, there is no significant difference in the percentage return for the more commonly occurring lower prizes. More than 99% of the activity on the web concerning Lotto is about using the history of the draws for a particular Lotto game to erroneously narrow down the possibilities and can be dismissed because of this.
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- The only Strategy Play that works is to limit the number of draws, say to six, you participate in after an actual or virtual win using a playset as described above or for Pick 3 as in my Pick 3 Base Numbers. The improvement is about 10% so you could break even playing Pick 3 in 50 State games at 25¢ per game on line at 5Dimes where 90% is returned but for Jackpot games the return for the lower prizes is too low to bridge the house margin of around 50% to 70%. Pertinent questions are whether it is worth the effort for so little return and the risk that when you check one of the virtual plays you find it would have won a major prize.
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- To summarize use the full pool, don't repeat payable subsets and maximize coverage of the winning Fives or Sixes for the lowest paying subset. Sets of numbers to play where the above criteria have been applied are available at LottoToWin for a modest $5.00 subscription per year. The improvement is only about 5% on Random Selections but can be massively more compared to System plays (all combinations for a reduced Pool) or Covers or Wheels based on a reduced Pool and with heavy repetition of the paying subsets.
Colin Fairbrother