5 posts
Odds of winning the big Mega Millions prize

With tonight’s Mega Millions jackpot estimated at $1.28 billion, you might be wondering what the odds of winning are, even if you know the chances are super slim for an individual. (On the other hand, the more tickets purchased overall, the greater the chances that someone in the country wins.) For The Washington Post, Bonnie Berkowitz and Shelly Tan made a playful quiz to test your perception of 1 in...

0 0
Lottery hacking, winning millions

I always love a good lottery hacking story. Jason Fagone for The Huffington Post chronicles the winnings of Gerald and Marge Selbee, a retired couple from a small town in Michigan. It is a story of probabilities, expected values, and arduously buying a lot of tickets to maximize profits. That’s when it hit him. Right there, in the numbers on the page, he noticed a flaw—a strange and surprising pattern,...

0 0
Looking for improbably frequent lottery winners

After hearing the story of reporter Lawrence Mower, who discovered fraudsters after a FOIA request in Florida, a group for the Columbia Journalism Review and PennLive looked to expand on the analysis. Intrigued, we wanted to chart new territory: to find out whether these repeat winning patterns exist across the country. We decided to submit public records requests in every state with a lottery—an adventure in itself given that FOIA...

0 0
Nerdy Powerball FAQ

The Powerball FAQ was most likely written by a slightly annoyed statistician. You'd think the FAQ would be full of legalese and vague statements, but it reads more like notes from the know-it-all in your Stat 101 class. The answer to, “Your odds and probabilities are wrong.”: Are not. Sure, the odds of matching 1 red ball out of 26 are 1 in 26, but we are not giving the...

0 0
Try to win the lottery

The Powerball Lottery is big news in the United States right now. The jackpot sits at $800 million, they draw the numbers on Saturday, and it's likely someone is going to suddenly be rich soon. This naturally comes not long after the Gaming Commission changed the rules last October, which increases the odds of winning something but decreases the odds of winning the jackpot. In case you're not familiar with...

0 0