Amid a time of austerity, state governments have been reliant on lottery revenues to fund a wide array of public projects. Some critics have complained that this represents a hidden tax. Others have worried about the effects on problem gamblers, the poor and the overall social fabric of communities. But many people who play the lottery go in clear-eyed about the odds and the way that the games work. And that seems to help them to avoid some of the most common irrational gambling behaviors.
Whether they choose a specific date like their birthday or try to increase their chances by playing more games, most lottery players employ tactics that they believe will improve their odds. But most of these strategies are either not statistically significant or simply don’t work, says Harvard statistics professor Mark Glickman. Instead, he suggests that you can increase your odds by playing smaller games with less numbers and by using Quick Picks, where the lottery machine randomly selects a group of numbers for you.
But even when you make these calculated choices, you still can’t guarantee a win. That’s because the lottery is truly random. And it’s impossible to have prior knowledge of precisely what will happen in the next drawing — not even with the help of a paranormal creature, if such a thing exists. That’s why mathematics is the best tool for improving your odds. It’s a proven way to increase your chances of winning, but only with a little math and a lot of perseverance.