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Figure the Odds

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by slappy4428, Apr 30, 2010.

  1. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Whenever I go to Tennessee (or any other nearby state but Mississippi for that matter), I buy lottery tickets.
    A hundred bucks worth, for what it's worth -- five bucks on Powerball, five bucks on Mega Millions, for the next 10 drawings.
    I checked my numbers from last night and found I hit four numbers, earning $100. Missed by a mile on the fifth number and the extra ball, so not kicking myself there. the tnlottery.com site listed the number of winners. Yeah, I know the odds are high, but not going to back down. Still....
    Of everyone who played the lottery on Wednesday, there were 15,000 winners roughly.
    Of that, 74 won at least $100 -- 73 won 100 and one person won $200,000.
    Want to know why I play? (at least why I play when I'm nearby?) One day, I might be the guy who wins $200K....
  2. ucacm

    ucacm Active Member


    If you picked #1 and the winning number is #40, you "missed" by the same amount as if the winning number were #2.
  3. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    true.But it was far enough off that I wasn't kicking myself. Everyone who misses by a little bit still stares at their tickets
  4. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    The problem is that you have almost as good a chance of a leprechuan swooping down from a rainbow and giving you a $200K hummer, than you do of winning $200K in the lottery game. You're pissing away good money.

    If you calculate actual odds on those games, they are astronomical. And the vig the states are taking is astronomical (compared to other forms of gambling, which also are losers games by nature, but some at least give a better expected payout). If you correctly pick those numbers, your expected payout should be much higher than $200K. Your expected payout on a dollar is pennies. I always wonder why people intuitively don't see that and realize they are getting say (made up numbers) a 10 to 1 payout on 100,000 to 1 odds. You should stay far away from that sort of rip off.
  5. jackfinarelli

    jackfinarelli Member

    Fundamentally, state-run lotteries are taxes levied on those people who never studied probability and statistics.

    But if you derive enjoyment from playing the lottery and from the anticipation that you may the next $200K winner, then that enjoyment makes the cost of playing worth your while.

    Bonne chance!
  6. Care Bear

    Care Bear Guest

    I love horny leprechauns!
  7. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    Count the number of outs you have. With two cards to come, your odds of winning = totals outs X four.
    With one card to come, your odds of winning = total outs X two.
    This is a loose formula, but it puts you in the ballpark ony given hand. It loses some accuracy as the number of outs gets higher.
  8. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    Whenever we go to Louisiana, my wife likes to pay what she calls idiot tax - 20 bucks for a Powerball ticket. Personally, I think it's hilarious that Mississippi refuses to start up a lottery for some nebulous moral reason, but casino gambling is everywhere. Come to think of it, that's probably the real reason why we don't have a lottery. The casinos don't want the competition.
  9. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    Also, to piggyback on what Ragu is saying, the lottery is for suckers.
  10. ucacm

    ucacm Active Member

    I agree with this post. In essence, all forms of gambling are experiences where you will be a financial loser in the long term (of course, there are some exceptions to skill based games like poker). People should only gamble if they view it as a form of entertainment and do it within their means. Nothing worse than playing $5 blackjack with the miserable fuck that thinks he's a blackjack pro while blowing his paycheck.

    My problem with the lottery is that it's SUCH a ripoff. Of course, in gambling, it seems like the higher the potential jackpot, the worse the house edge becomes.

    For every dollar that is spent on a lottery ticket, roughly 50% actually goes into the prize pool. Then, if you're lucky enough to win the jackpot and want to take the lump sum? Oh, we'll slice approximately half off of the advertised jackpot. Now, you've got your lump sum payment? The federal government will take their 35% of your winnings. Live in a state with income taxes? Oh, that'll be another 3-11% after the state already withheld 50% of the initial lottery ticket price.

    IIRC, the UK and Canada don't tax gambling winnings. Makes sense, because the lottery is already a tax.
  11. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    Top o' the mornin' to ya, lass.
  12. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    I hate that my state justifies the lottery by saying it goes to schools. Well really it doesn't. Because if the lottery makes more money then the state just allocates less to schools. So it all evens out.
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