Boy, are you in for a real treat today. I’m about to disclose to you exactly how many lottery tickets you need to buy to guarantee winning the jackpot. Did you hear that? Guaranteed to win! I’m sure you’re interested in finding out how to win the lottery. After all, I’m sure you want to achieve financial independence, don’t you? And what better way to achieve financial independence, than to instantly win millions in the lottery, right? Right!

So, here it is. To guarantee winning the lottery, you will need to buy this many tickets… OK, not so fast. I can’t just give you the answer right off the bat. I want to first tell you a little story.

My Lottery Experiment

This story is a true story. It’s a story about me. I wanted to try a little experiment. I wanted to see if I could win the lottery by buying 1000 tickets (I really did do this; it’s all documented on my lottery blog). That’s 1000 tickets at a dollar apiece. Can you do the math? How much did this experiment cost me? Is your answer $1000? Argh, no! Buying 1000 lottery tickets at $1 apiece does not cost $1000. Are you not a knowledgeable lottery player? If you were, you would have known that a certain percentage of lottery proceeds get paid back out as prizes.

So my initial outlay for the 1000 lottery tickets was $1000. However, I knew that at least some of that initial outlay would be paid back out in prizes. If you know anything about the law of large numbers, you know that it would be virtually impossible to buy 1000 lottery tickets and not win a prize. So, the question was, how much would I win? To get the answer, I had to look at the prize odds and payouts. The actual game that I played doesn’t matter, just the prizes and odds do. Here they are:

Prizes And Odds For my Experiment

  • Match 6 numbers for the jackpot: Odds are 1-in-4,072,530
  • Match 5 numbers plus bonus for a prize of $16,000: Odds are 1-in-678,755
  • Match 5 numbers for a prize of $635: Odds are 1-in-17,862
  • Match 4 numbers for a prize of $28: Odds are 1-in-366
  • Match 3 numbers for a prize of $5 Odds are 1-in-22.5

My Expectations

I won’t explain the math, but I could tell you that with 1000 tickets, I expected to match 4 numbers to win $28 on 2.73 tickets and I expected to match 3 numbers to win $5 on 44.44 tickets. That would give me a total of $296.44 worth of wins. If my expectations were to hold true, my lottery experiment would cost me $703.56 (Not $1000, like you originally thought).

I could also tell you that, even with 1000, I didn’t expect to win the jackpot (I did hope to win it, though). With 1000 tickets, my odds of winning the jackpot were 1-in-4072. Although better than they would have been with just one ticket, those were still bad odds. My odds of winning the second prize of $16,000 were 1-in-679. Still not likely to win that. My odds of winning the third prize of $635 were 1-in-17.9. Those were decent odds; even still, I didn’t expect to win it.

The Result

So what did I win? I matched 4 numbers on two tickets. I also matched 3 numbers on 43 tickets. That gave me total winnings of $271.60. That means that my experiment cost me $728.40. Do you see what happened? Those numbers almost exactly met my expectations prior to the experiment. Why? Because the more lottery tickets you buy, the more likely you are to regress to the mean, meaning that you will win what you are expected to win in the long-run.

You Alway Lose In The Long-Run (Almost Always)

The whole point of this is that, the more lottery tickets you buy, the more you are expected to lose. That will be the case for 99% of people – Guaranteed. Buying lottery tickets, if you don’t go overboard on your spending, is a fun way to have some fun with your entertainment budget, though. But you shouldn’t expect to win. The odds are against you. After all, I did show you how I lost $728.40 after buying 1000 tickets in one draw, right?

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t play the lottery, though. I love the lottery and play it all the time. Just don’t expect to get rich overnight.

Winning The Lottery – Guaranteed

So back to the original question: How many lottery tickets do you need to buy to guarantee winning the jackpot? Well, what’s your favorite game? Powerball? Well, Powerball has 175,223,510 different combinations of numbers that could come up. So, you need to buy just over 175 million tickets to guarantee a win. None of the other lotteries are much easier either. Disappointed? Sorry!

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