Wednesday, November 28, 2012

More Powerball Secrets Revealed!

by Pa Rock
Schemer and Dreamer

Back in August of 2009 when the Powerball jackpot reached an astonishing $138 million, I ran a piece in this blog entitled "Powerball Secrets Revealed!"   It basically suggested that readers for that particular drawing avoid my numbers because they were certain to be losers.  And, sure enough, I was right!

The jackpot in tonight's drawing is an astounding $550 million and will almost certainly be won by some poor smuck who will be ruined beyond repair by sudden wealth and attention.  And again, it won't be me!  (But I do have a few tickets, just in case!)

There is an old saying that a person is more apt to be struck by lightening that win the lottery.  According to some statistics from the Internet (and what a reliable source that is!), an average person has a one in 5,000 chance of being struck by lightening during his or her lifetime.  Those aren't great odds, but getting hit by lightening does happen - especially to golfers who think they can get in another hole or two before the storm gets serious!

The chances of being the big winner in Powerball tonight is one in 175,223,510.    Having the winning ticket is much, much less likely than getting hit by lightening.  In fact, a person is just as likely to be hit by lightening 35,044 times during their lifetime as they are to win tonight's jackpot.   (Either of those outcomes would be guaranteed to put a sizzle in your pizzle!)

Powerball Secret #1:  If you are struck by lightening more than 20,000 times or so, begin to consider buying Powerball tickets.

Powerball has changed over the past few years.  Now there are more white balls, fewer red ones, and the price of a ticket has gone from one to two dollars.  The end results are that big jackpots build up faster, and more fools are separated from more of their hard-earned dollars on a more regular basis.

I let the machine pick my numbers for me, a process that is commonly referred to as quick-pick.  That is a dumb way to do it because, from a statistical point of view, all combinations of numbers will eventually be winners - over the next several hundreds of millions of weeks.  If a person has a set of numbers that they play every week, eventually their combination will win - perhaps eons from now - but if the machine chooses a different set with each drawing, it is likely that a person could play forever and never win the big jackpot.  So that is Powerball Secret #2:  Play the same numbers every drawing!

Here is one more"secret:"  There are now just thirty-five red ball numbers - 1-35.  That means that there are 17 chances that red ball number (the Powerball number) will be even, and 18 chances it will be odd.    Powerball Secret #3:  The Powerball number has a slightly better chance of being odd than it does even.  

Powerball Secret #4:  Odds of winning increase with the purchase of each additional ticket.  While owning one ticket gives a person a one in 175,223,510 chance of winning the jackpot, having two tickets doubles the odds to two in 175,223, 510 (or one in a mere 87,611,755).   People like me who have four tickets for tonight's drawing might want to consider starting the process of clearing out the closets or selecting a skilled financial planner because our chances of winning have quadrupled to an astounding four in 175, 223, 510 or one in 43,805,877.5.

I am also a co-owner (with fourteen of my co-workers) of a set of seventy-five Powerball numbers for tonight's drawing.  That gives us seventy-five chances of striking it rich - although we would have to settle for tens of millions each rather than the big bucks because we are co-owners.  I didn't really want to join an office pool, but wouldn't I feel special if one of those sets of numbers won and I was the only genius in the office who had to come to work the next day!  (Two of my co-workers didn't invest in our get-rich-quick scheme, and the joke is that they will be the ones coming to work on Thursday to collect the resignations!)

Everyone who is in our office pool has a list of the numbers that our money purchased.   One of the interesting observations that I made while reviewing our numbers was that thirty-five of the seventy-five red ball (Powerball) numbers were even and forty were odd.  (See Powerball Secret #3.)

That's all the secrets for this time.  Remember if you win big to pay your taxes, do your own yard work, treat your employees fairly, be kind to the family dog, and do all of your banking in this country - at least if you ever want to be President - and be charitable.

Good luck!

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