How To Make Smarter Choices
Picking Lottery Numbers
When it comes to picking lottery numbers, everyone has a different approach. While some people spend hours pouring over statistics, others simply grab a quick pick on the way home from work. How successful you are ultimately comes down to the luck of the draw, but what impact does each method have on your chances?
We've analysed the 5 different approaches to selecting your numbers, and given our verdict on whether or not they make a real difference to your odds of scooping the jackpot.
Because winning the lottery boils down to a lot of luck, most people opt for lucky numbers in the hope of improving their chances. When the odds of winning are millions to one, let's face it, every little helps, right?
In a previous survey conducted by us, we discovered that 74% of lotto participants believe some numbers bring better fortune than others. The most popular numbers were 7, 13 and 23.
Yes, right there beside the lucky number seven, is the number 13 which, with our vast pool of international lottery statistics, we discovered does indeed get selected quite frequently.
Lucky numbers come in all forms of course, with people making their selections based on birthdays, anniversaries, notable days in their lives or numbers that have significance in their cultures.
Lucky Numbers – Our Verdict
Statistically picking numbers that are considered lucky culturally or individually won't have any real effect on the outcome of winning. However, the sentimental value behind these numbers, and innate human superstition means they'll surely remain a popular way of making picks.
Let's Get Statistical
For every dreamer, there is a pragmatist, and if you're the latter opting for numbers based on superstition is probably not up your alley.
Thanks to the global popularity of the lottery concept, there is heaps on info on each and every lottery draw, and amongst that you can find out which balls appear most. There's a problem with is approach, however.
Let's take the most familiar example, the Irish Lotto, which started off as a mere 6/36 game but went through numerous format changes. The most recent of these was in September 2015 when the numbers were increased again, making it a 6/47 game.
Now if you were to look at the most "lucky" numbers you'd find that there was a clear bias towards numbers under 45, and, going farther back in time, numbers under 36.
Statistical Approach – Our Verdict
Mathematically speaking every number in a given lottery draw has the same chance of being picked as any other. Even if, say, the number 12 has been drawn ten times in the past ten draws, it's a coincidence, nothing more.
Indeed the main issue with this "hot number" theory is actually the fact that there are so many other players out there who do believe in it, and therefore will be picking the exact same numbers. And if you pick the same number that lots of ther players pick you're in danger of sharing the jackpot with lots of people.
Consulting The Stars
Horoscopes, dreams and psychics have played a part in many people's lotto predictions since the draws began. If you're a believer in this age-old practice, then it makes sense that you might consult the stars on those magic numbers.
Unfortunately for devotees of the Zodiac, the pseudo-science has been widely debunked, and their ability to predict anything is purely coincidence.
Horoscopes – Verdict
If Jupiter aligns with Orion on the third of next month we can assure you it doesn't mean your ticket is going to come up, sorry. However, it doesn't mean your chances of winning are in any way diminished, so we'll take that as a win.
If you thought horoscopes were bogus, you may be surprised to hear there is something even less helpful to your lotto winning plans. Which is, of course, the huge array of lottery predictions books and software available online.
You'll surely have read the promotional materia beforel; some unsung genius has figured out a fool proof way of predicting next week's lottery numbers from the safety of their bedroom, and for just €25 you could unlock this mystical power, which they are inexplicably sharing.
First off, if you have figured it out next weeks' numbers, why share your jackpot with additional people?
Secondly, those testimonials that are scattered across their website, what are the odds that they're written by the site owner? Hint, they're a lot better than the chances their system is legit!
Systems – Verdict
If someone had figured out a way of genuinely predicting the lottery, this would be something of a breakthrough with much wider repercussions, and wouldn't be hidden away on a murky corner of the internet!
So unless they hand you the predictions from the open door of a modified DeLorean, on their way back to next week, it's a scam.
Keep It Sensible
Our top tip is to use quick picks, generating you a random set of numbers which are mathematically as likely as any other combination. Except if those numbers come up, you are much more likely to claim a larger proportion of the jackpot, if not all of it.
Popular numbers = more players. The more people have their hand in the pot, the less winnings you take away.
Another good winning tip is to join a syndicate, while your potential winnings are diminished, your overall chances of claiming that prize is considerably improved, and these groups have proved highly successful over the years.
With that in mind, perhaps it's time to ditch number 13, push away the horoscopes, and take a new approach to this week's EuroMillions draw.