How to Increase Your Chances of Winning a Lottery: 13 Tips (2024)

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Use clever practices that paid off for past lottery winners to enhance your likelihood of scoring big

Co-authored byMadeleine FlamianoReviewed byJoseph Meyer

Last Updated: June 8, 2023Fact Checked

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  • Selecting Ticket Numbers
  • |
  • Purchasing Tickets Strategically
  • |
  • Choosing Games to Play
  • |
  • Video
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  • Tips
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  • Warnings

ARTICLE

VIDEO

Everyone dreams of winning the lottery, so why not try to get one step closer to your fantasy? Sure, winning a big payday is a long shot, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun playing. We’ll walk you through some basic strategies you can use to improve your chances, from ways to pick numbers to different games you can play. Ready to give your probability of hitting the jackpot a little boost? Review these tips to turn up the entertainment value of playing the lottery and you may just hear your winning numbers one day. Good luck!

Things You Should Know

  • To have a better chance of keeping an entire jackpot if you win it, choose random numbers that aren't close together—others are less likely to pick that sequence.
  • Avoid playing numbers that have sentimental value, like ones associated with your birthday, because lots of people might have the same strategy.
  • Buying more tickets can slightly improve your chances of hitting the jackpot. If you join a lottery group, pool money with others to purchase a large amount of tickets.
  • Remember—every number has an equal probability of being chosen. There is no "lucky" number, so just have fun selecting ticket numbers and see what happens!

Method 1

Method 1 of 3:

Selecting Ticket Numbers

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  1. 1

    Choose from a wide range of the numbers available in the lottery. Most people play common numbers like their birth or anniversary date. Picking those “lucky” numbers might not be the best move since many lotteries include higher numbers other players tend to ignore. There are only 12 months and 31 days to pick from! You’re better off picking a mixed bag of low and high numbers instead of a few that are close together.[1]

    • Think of the odds, too—many people go for numbers that carry sentimental value. Even if you win, you might end up having to share the prize with them.
    • For example, if a Mega Millions ticket requires 5 numbers between 1 and 70, you might play 1, 15, 36, 48, and 63. This is an example of a unique ticket with unrelated numbers that aren't close together—not a lot of people would intentionally pick these.
  2. 2

    Use the “70 Percent Win” formula when adding up lotto numbers. To try out lottery expert Gail Howard’s strategy for finding a winning combination of numbers, make sure the sum of the numbers you play falls within the “70 Percent Most Probable Range of Sums.” Create a range with the lowest sum of all your lottery numbers as well as the highest sum, then choose combos of lottery numbers within that range. Consider a 5/55 drawing:[2]

    • 1+2+3+4+5=15
    • 51+52+53+54+55=265
    • The lowest sum and the highest sum each only occur once. Your safest bet is to choose combinations of numbers with sums that aren’t 15 or 265.
    • Studies suggest that the “70 Percent Range” for 5/55 includes sets of numbers that add up to sums between 104 and 176.
    • If you don’t want to do any complicated calculations or buy any lotto software, just make sure the lottery numbers you add up don’t result in the lowest or highest possible sum for your drawing.

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  3. 3

    Pick different numbers without following a pattern. Since lotteries pull each lotto number from a range of numbers, they won’t be grouped up in any specific kind of order. For example, winning lottery numbers are unlikely to be clustered together as consecutive numbers (i.e., 1, 2, 3) or within the same number group (i.e. 42, 43, 44). If you write down a range of numbers that look random and don’t have an obvious pattern, then you’re on the right track.[3]

    • A winning ticket is unlikely to consist of a pattern like 3, 13, 23, 33, 43. It also isn’t likely to be a short range of numbers like 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25.
    • While a series of numbers may look meaningful to you, like 22, 33, 44, and 55, they’re unlikely to all show up together when the winning lottery numbers are pulled.
    • Mix up your ticket with both odd and even numbers. Although the winning numbers could be all odd numbers, for instance, it's unlikely.
  4. 4

    Choose the least called numbers in the lottery.[4] If you don’t want to split your jackpot prize if you do win, pick the least called numbers, which other people aren’t likely to include on their ticket. However, if you want to go off of past patterns, consider choosing the most common (or frequently appearing) numbers or the most common primary numbers. [5]

    • Least called numbers in the Powerball: 60, 36, 9, 11, 47, 40, 33, 2, 5 and 46.
    • Most frequently appearing Powerball numbers: 1, 26, 18, 10, 10, 2, 12, 11, 9, 6 and 20.
    • Most common primary numbers in the Powerball: 10, 42, 39, 28, 22, 23, 23, 32, 16, 41 and 26.
  5. 5

    Use quick picks if you’re uncertain what numbers to play. Quick picks don't use any strategy when they're generated, but they can serve as a starting point when you’re new to a game. With a quick pick, the lottery machine selects numbers for you. Many people win this way, although the odds aren’t any different than when you pick your own numbers.[6]

    • Quick picks are random, so you know you will end up with a unique set of numbers no one else is likely to have. It has as much of a chance of winning a single drawing as a ticket you picked yourself.
    • Quick picks save you time, but the machine doesn't calculate odds for you when it automatically prints out your ticket.
    • Keep in mind that the sequence of numbers in quick picks are harder to remember than ones you play all the time.
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Method 2

Method 2 of 3:

Purchasing Tickets Strategically

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  1. 1

    Buy as many tickets as you can to increase your odds of winning. Lottery experts agree that the number one way to boost your chance of getting a winning ticket is to just get more tickets. Even though the probability of winning the lottery is low in general, the greater the amount of tickets you have, the more likely it is that one of these tickets will be the winner. Just remember to play responsibly and to stay within your budget.[7]

    • Some people buy hundreds of tickets and lose. Remember that it's important to stay within your budget, because while the lottery is a fun game, you're not guaranteed to win money (even if you invested a lot of it stocking up on tickets).
    • In the biggest lotteries, an unlimited number of tickets can be printed out for every possible number combination. It’d be extremely difficult to buy enough tickets to dramatically increase your odds of getting a winning ticket.
  2. 2

    Play weekly for a low investment that may have a high return. Many lotteries have a drawing each week. Purchase a ticket before each new drawing in order to give yourself a shot at the jackpot. Harvard statistician, Professor Mark Glickman, pointed out that buying weekly tickets is a great strategy because it’s a relatively low investment (around $2 per week) that can lead to a huge pay off.[8]

    • If you keep buying weekly tickets and the jackpot continues to grow, then you have a greater chance of yielding a profit.
  3. 3

    Join a lottery pool to purchase multiple tickets as a group. Organize a group at your office, school, church, or anywhere else you can find people willing to play. In a pool, or "lottery syndicate," everyone who joins agrees to buy at least one ticket. If someone wins, they split the money evenly with everyone else in the pool. Depending on how many people join the pool, you could accumulate a bunch of tickets without shelling out a lot of your own money.[9]

    • Keep in mind that the odds of a big jackpot are still very remote and, if you do win, you'll have to share the payout with everyone in the pool.
    • Make sure someone trustworthy handles the money and tickets. Keep a photocopy of your ticket and receipt to ensure you have proof in case you win.
    • To protect everyone in your lottery group, create a "syndicate agreement," a formal document that outlines the terms that each member agreed to.[10]
  4. 4

    Play less often if you're planning to chase a big jackpot. Instead of getting a ticket for every single drawing, save up to play for the big prize. If you’re accustomed to playing a game weekly, you could set aside your money until the payout gets bigger. That way, you get to have fun without spending more than you normally would. The extra tickets bump up your chances of winning very slightly.[11]

    • The odds of winning are still low no matter how many tickets you get, but this strategy could be fun for you if you’re really motivated by a big payout. Many lotteries, including big ones like Powerball, have a cumulative jackpot that grows when no one wins.
    • For the best chance of winning money, do this for a smaller game with less participants, like a state pick-3. With bigger games like EuroMillions, your odds will still be very low.
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Method 3

Method 3 of 3:

Choosing Games to Play

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  1. 1

    Invest in smaller lottery games with less numbers to choose from. When the jackpot climbs for the world’s biggest lotteries, most people forget about the smaller games. These games often have better odds and are more likely to pay out. Look for games that pick from a smaller set of numbers or fewer balls. The main trade-off is that these games pay less in prize money than the most popular games.[12]

    • Regional lottery games have better odds than big games like Powerball and Mega Millions. For example, try a state pick-3 game. You only have to pick 3 numbers to win instead of 5 or 6.
    • The less numbers a game has, the less combinations there will be, so you're more likely to select a winning sequence.
  2. 2

    Purchase scratch cards for a quicker and simpler way to play. Many regional lotteries offer scratch-off games. These cards are instant and have better odds of awarding money than big lottery drawings. While the payouts tend to be on the lower side, you could still win a big cash prize if you’re lucky.[13]

    • Scratch cards are quick and accessible. Most lottery commissions have a number of different games to play. You could get cheap cards or play pricier games with bigger prizes.
    • A typical scratch card offers 1:5 odds at best, meaning that 1 in every 5 cards is a winner. This could mean winning a prize of $1 USD or a big jackpot. It depends on the game.
  3. 3

    Check your tickets for alternative ways to win. Everyone has their eyes on the jackpot, but many lottery games offer smaller prizes as well. Read up about the rules of the game. They are typically posted on your ticket or on the lottery’s website. Instead of assuming you lost, double-check your ticket and you might notice a fun surprise.[14]

    • For example, Powerball offers 9 ways to win. You can win a small prize by picking the number on the red ball. You could also win by picking 3 or more white ball numbers.
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Expert Q&A

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  • Question

    Is it possible to create a crowdfunded lottery pool? For example, can I host a lottery that has a $1 million lottery prize and in which the cost to participate is $10? Once I've reached the jackpot amount, I would make sure that no one else can enter in order to keep the odds the way they were when everyone was doing pitching in.

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    Our goal at wikiHow is to deliver trustworthy articles that engage our readers and meet their informational and emotional needs. For 15 years, we've committed to our step-by-step teaching model, and we continue to refine our content to create the best how-to experience on the Internet. We’ve helped millions of people solve problems, learn new skills, and feel supported in the ordinary and complex moments of life.

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    Expert Answer

    While that's certainly a creative idea, only the government can legally run a lottery. Individuals and companies are not able to operate these types of events. Alternatively, you can host a raffle and give out prizes. Check out Chance2Win.org for the raffle laws in your area. The main difference between a raffle and a lottery is that a raffle must always have a winner.

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  • Question

    What is a "Luck Zone"?

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    A "Lucky Zone" is a really fun and interesting opportunity in which the Texas Lottery allows players to enter non-winning scratch tickets in order to win prizes other than money, like a luxury hotel experience or a dream getaway.

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  • Question

    So, I went to the convenience store and bought a scratch card for the chance to win $2 million. When I scratched off my card, I earned nothing! Why did this happen?

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    Expert Answer

    We're sorry to hear that the odds weren't in your favor that time! While some types of scratch-off tickets have a wide pool of prizes to offer, it's also important to keep in mind that about 10% of games have zero prizes left because convenience stores can continue selling scratch-off tickets even when all winning tickets have already been sold. You can go to a state lottery website and see which games have zero prizes remaining, then opt out of participating in those. Everyone here is hoping you score big if you decide to give scratch-off cards another go!

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      Tips

      • Get winning tickets redeemed as soon as possible. The best way to do is by going to a redemption center in person, although many lotteries allow you to mail the ticket through certified, insured mail.[15]

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      • Lottery games are all about probability, and understanding probability can help you determine whether or not to play.

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      • If you want to play the same numbers every time you buy a ticket, remember that all lottery drawings are independent from each other. You’d have to be extremely consistent to benefit from a lucky coincidence.

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      Warnings

      • Gambling is a serious issue that can lead to significant financial problems. Spend what you can afford, and if you need help, contact an addiction hotline like 1-800-522-4700.

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      • Buying a lottery ticket is illegal unless you are an adult. The exact age you need to be depends on your country's laws, but typically you need to be at least 16 or 18 years old to play.

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      References

      1. https://www.casino.org/blog/does-buying-multiple-lottery-tickets-really-increase-your-odds/
      2. https://www.smartluck.com/bestsums.htm
      3. https://www.casino.org/blog/does-buying-multiple-lottery-tickets-really-increase-your-odds/
      4. https://news.syr.edu/blog/2022/07/28/odds-of-winning-latest-mega-millions-prize-math-professor-has-answers/
      5. https://www.cbsnews.com/chicago/news/powerball-jackpot-one-billion-the-most-common-numbers/
      6. https://www.syracuse.com/lottery/2016/01/lottery_expert_calls_powerball_a_scam_tells_players_to_avoid_quick_pick_tickets.html
      7. https://www.news5cleveland.com/news/e-team/how-you-might-be-able-to-increase-your-chances-of-winning-the-lottery
      8. https://www.casino.org/blog/does-buying-multiple-lottery-tickets-really-increase-your-odds/
      9. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/23/pitfalls-of-joining-the-office-powerball-pool.html

      More References (6)

      About This Article

      How to Increase Your Chances of Winning a Lottery: 13 Tips (38)

      Reviewed by:

      Joseph Meyer

      Math Teacher

      This article was reviewed by Joseph Meyer and by wikiHow staff writer, Madeleine Flamiano. Joseph Meyer is a High School Math Teacher based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is an educator at City Charter High School, where he has been teaching for over 7 years. Joseph is also the founder of Sandbox Math, an online learning community dedicated to helping students succeed in Algebra. His site is set apart by its focus on fostering genuine comprehension through step-by-step understanding (instead of just getting the correct final answer), enabling learners to identify and overcome misunderstandings and confidently take on any test they face. He received his MA in Physics from Case Western Reserve University and his BA in Physics from Baldwin Wallace University. This article has been viewed 4,843,223 times.

      200 votes - 58%

      Co-authors: 62

      Updated: June 8, 2023

      Views:4,843,223

      Categories: Games of Chance | Lotteries and Scratchcard Games

      Article SummaryX

      To increase your chances of winning the lottery, it’s best to choose a wide range of random numbers. Add up your sets of selected numbers and pick sets that add up to somewhere between 104 and 176, since these are statistically more likely to win. Avoid following a pattern or choosing numbers that have a special meaning for you, since numbers that are grouped together or follow a pattern are less likely to win. If you’re not sure how to pick, buy a quick pick ticket where random numbers are selected for you. To improve your odds, buy as many tickets as you can. Pick lotteries with a low ticket cost and frequent drawings, such as those that have drawings one or two times a week. You can also try joining a pool where lots of people chip in on tickets, then share the jackpot if someone wins. For tips on how to strategically choose lottery ticket numbers, keep reading!

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      Reader Success Stories

      • How to Increase Your Chances of Winning a Lottery: 13 Tips (39)

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      How to Increase Your Chances of Winning a Lottery: 13 Tips (2024)

      FAQs

      How to Increase Your Chances of Winning a Lottery: 13 Tips? ›

      Avoid following a pattern or choosing numbers that have a special meaning for you, since numbers that are grouped together or follow a pattern are less likely to win. If you're not sure how to pick, buy a quick pick ticket where random numbers are selected for you. To improve your odds, buy as many tickets as you can.

      How to win the lottery tips and tricks? ›

      Aside from purchasing multiple lottery tickets with different number combinations, there is no way to increase your chance of winning the lottery with one ticket, Clotfelter said. However, it can help to let the computer pick your numbers instead of choosing them yourself.

      How do I increase my chance of winning the lottery? ›

      To better your chances of winning any lottery, you have to buy more tickets, he said. The more tickets, the more chances of choosing the right combination of numbers.

      What is the best lottery number picking strategy? ›

      Uncommon and Varied numbers

      The key to this strategy is simple. Review the past several draws, make note of those numbers, and pick different ones! Also, vary the numbers chosen by not selecting two numbers within the same group or not selecting those that end with the same digit.

      What is the formula for the lottery algorithm? ›

      Understand the calculations involved.

      To find the odds of winning any lottery, divide the number of winning lottery numbers by the total number of possible lottery numbers. If the numbers are chosen from a set and the order of the numbers doesn't matter, use the formula. r ! ( n − r ) !

      Who won the lottery 14 times? ›

      In the 1990s, Romanian-Australian economist Stefan Mandel and his small team entered the lottery and won. Over and over and over again. The feat, of course, wasn't achieved through having a really lucky set of numbers.

      Is there a pattern to win the lottery? ›

      Can you spot patterns by studying winning lottery numbers? Glickman also debunks the idea that studying past lottery number winners can help you spot patterns. “There is no pattern,” he said. “It's entirely random.”

      What are the 6 most common winning lottery numbers? ›

      The most frequently drawn winning numbers from the main barrel are 17, 7, 11, 2, 3 and 9, while the least frequently drawn are 33, 15, 34, 31, 26 and 1. The most frequently drawn Powerball numbers are 19 and 2, while the least frequently drawn Powerball numbers are 14 and 16.

      Is there a formula to win Powerball? ›

      There is no wrong way to choose Powerball numbers. There's also no magic formula to pick the winning numbers.

      Has anyone ever won Mega Millions with Quick Pick? ›

      11. $536 Million (Indiana) On July 8, 2016, an Indiana couple won this mega jackpot after buying 5 Quick Pick tickets on a road trip. The winning family was able to remain anonymous by accepting their prize through a law firm in the state.

      How to win lottery mathematically? ›

      There is only one known way to ensure winning the jackpot. That is to buy at least one lottery ticket for every possible number combination. For example, one has to buy 13,983,816 different tickets to ensure to win the jackpot in a 6/49 game.

      Is there a way to predict winning lottery numbers? ›

      There is no such thing as a winning formula because lotteries are games of chance. There is no strategies which can give a player a better than average chance of beating the odds.

      Which number wins the lottery most often? ›

      Most common main numbers
      • 10: Drawn 63 times.
      • 3: Drawn 62 times.
      • 17: Drawn 60 times.
      • 46: Drawn 59 times.
      • 14: Drawn 59 times.
      • 31: Drawn 58 times.
      • 64: Drawn 58 times.
      • 8: Drawn 57 times.
      Mar 20, 2024

      What is the secret to playing the lottery? ›

      How to increase your chances of winning? The unsurprising short answer is, buy as many tickets as you can within reason. That's according to Mark Glickman, a senior lecturer of statistics at Harvard University.

      What is the best strategy for Lotto? ›

      How To Win The Lottery
      1. Play the Right Game. ...
      2. Look for Less Popular Lottery Games. ...
      3. Wait for the Jackpot to Stack Up. ...
      4. Don't Ignore Second Chance Lottery. ...
      5. Avoid Consecutive Numbers. ...
      6. Go Beyond 31 & Pick 'Rare' Numbers. ...
      7. Buy Multiple Lottery Tickets Within Your Budget. ...
      8. Form a syndicate.

      What numbers are most likely to win the lottery? ›

      If you plan to play the drawing, do you have numbers in mind? A new study reveals the lottery numbers you should play to win big: The number 28 is drawn most often across all lotteries, with an average frequency of 201.4. The numbers 16 and 39 are second and third, with average frequencies of 200.6 and 199, ...

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