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Ask Marilyn: Can You Increase Your Chances of a Winning Lottery Ticket?

Irene Heitling of Porto Alegre, Brazil, writes:

Marilyn: How can you increase your chances of buying a winning lottery ticket? You must pick six numbers between one and sixty. Is it best to choose randomly? (I hear that our brains play tricks on us when we try to pick a random number.) Or must you gather every result to analyze what numbers have already won or what numbers are more likely to win?

Marilyn responds:

I'm sorry, but one cannot increase one's chances with any method of choosing numbers, random or not. One can increase one's chances of not sharing a lottery prize by never buying a ticket with birthdate numbers, but this will not increase one's chances of buying a winning lottery ticket. For example, if a birthdate number wins in a particular drawing, no, you didn't have to share the prize: You didn't win anything at all! So one gains nothing by never buying a ticket with birthdate numbers.



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