How Not to Pick Lottery Numbers

Picking Lottery Numbers

Picking the right lottery numbers often results in early retirement and/or a new lease of life. Sadly it’s a rather difficult feat, what with the odds of winning the UK Lotto currently standing at 1 in 45 million.

But in an effort to chase down this impossible dream, many players operate their own hopelessly flawed selection systems. Here are some of our favourites.

Recurring Numbers

At first glance this method seems like a fairly logical strategy: pick numbers that appear most often. Indeed, entire books have been written on the subject.

And, according to various sources, we discovered that 40, 23, 38, 30, 11 and 31 are the most frequently-drawn digits since the UK lotto began back in 1994. Unfortunately, basic theories of probability and the law of large numbers dictate that the chances of them appearing in a winning combination are exactly the same as any other set of six, irrespective of how often they’ve appeared.

No matter who tells you, there is absolutely no way you’re going to improve your odds by using this approach.

Overdue Numbers

This is another wildly popular method that millions of players use week after week. If a number doesn’t come up for a while, human intuition tells us that it will appear sooner rather than later.

Sadly, human intuition isn’t terribly helpful when it comes to playing lotteries, nor is it much good in understanding complex mathematics for that matter.

Instead, it’s the killjoy known as mathematics which reigns supreme in this area. So for the UK lotto, 12, 25, 3, 32, 10 and 48 are currently well overdue.

Nevertheless, the odds of any of them appearing in the next draw remain at 50/50, regardless of how long they’ve been hiding in the shadows. Emeritus professors and scholars have all debunked this particular myth time and again.

Previous Winning Numbers

Believe it or not, picking the same numbers as the previous week’s winning set is a common strategy. This is according to research on the Swiss Lottery which also revealed that players use multiple winning draws for their selections.

While this simplifies the process to a certain degree, it won’t make the blindest bit of difference to your odds of winning. Once again folks, the chances of these digits being drawn are even.

Lucky Numbers

There’s nothing lucky about lottery numbers (unless they come in of course). But this doesn’t stop millions of players choosing digits that they wrongly conclude have been set aside for them by providence.

It’s another flawed approach that’s based on our inability to grasp the concept of randomness. Accordingly, this method results in an awful lot of useless lottery tickets. It therefore belongs in the file named ‘superstitions’, where it should remain indefinitely.

Birthday Numbers

Using the birthdays of friends and family is another cherished technique. But this immediately limits the range of numbers to pick from and also increases the likelihood of you having to share your winnings with other people.

Once again, there’s no mathematical proof that using such a method actually works. You might want to repeat after me: ‘the chances of these digits being drawn are 50/50’.

Avoid Lottery Systems and Books

There are hundreds of systems out there, of which every single one is next to useless. The wheeling system is a typical example and proves quite popular both with individual players and syndicate members.

However just like the others, there is absolutely no proof that it works. Countless websites peddle these dubious systems which are often exorbitantly expensive.

Books on how to game lotteries are also plentiful these days which is sad because it means there are people who really think that lotteries can be ‘beaten’.

But it’s just not true. So avoid these ‘helpful’ books and dodgy ‘systems’ like the Bubonic Plague and save your money for something else.

Short of buying up every single number combination, the way in which you pick numbers has no bearing on your chances of winning. Nevertheless, there are other methods that can improve your chances.