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How to Win Big at Lotto

Lotto retains its place as Lotterywest's most popular game. Twice in the last year, John Henstridge of Data Analysis Australia appeared in the media to talk about Lotto. The first time was on Channel 9 News. The second was on Liam Bartlett's talk back session where John answered questions from many listeners who called in.

It is natural to want a way to win such a game but unfortunately the news is not so helpful. The way the game works is that any set of numbers you choose has the same probability of being drawn. Apparent trends or runs in the numbers are no more than random quirks.

However all is not lost. While you cannot change the chance of having the winning ticket, you may be able to affect how many people you have to share the prize with. If you choose numbers that few other people do then when you win you are more likely to have the prize pool to yourself. The problem is to know what other people are choosing. Since many people use birthdays or other dates to choose their numbers, avoiding numbers between 1 and 31 (and even more so between 1 and 12) has been suggested. But if too many people follow this suggestion then these same numbers become the best to choose!

December 2003