Winning the lottery is just the beginning

Improving your payout percentage

Under normal circumstances then lotteries are massively –EV as we cannot expect to get back the same amount of money as what we put into them over the long term. For example this can be seen with the odds and pay-out for three numbers in the Lotto draw where it is 54/1 against getting three numbers but yet the return is only £10 for a £1 stake.

However it is when the jackpot becomes very large that the EV suddenly becomes positive. Although it is not automatically correct to look at EV in a lottery situation because even when –EV then any jackpot win represents a life changing sum of money. This is why millions upon millions of people do the various lotteries worldwide. However in certain situations then many people have won the jackpot and still not won millions. You can change your pay-out level in lotteries simply by choosing numbers that other people don’t.

For example in the 49 number lotteries then millions of people select birthdays and so this means selecting numbers from 1-31. So if you select all six of your numbers from 1-31 then your pay-out will be shared by other people almost certainly. In fact it could easily be the case that literally hundreds of people may be sharing the exact same pay-out as you. While you will still win a probable life changing sum of money, you are less likely to win an amount that could set you up for the rest of your life if you happen to be quite young.

Of all forms of gambling activities, why are lotteries so popular? Why do most people prefer to take their chances on lottery tickets instead of other forms of gambling / entertainment? Why is it that, of all kinds of gambling activities, lottery seems to be the game of choice among those who belong in the lower rungs of the financial capability ladder?

The reason for the huge popularity of lotteries among the poor is that it gives them an opportunity to “get rich quick” at a very low cost. Lotteries, unlike card games or betting on horses, require only a small amount of expenditure. The tickets are cheap, you don’t have to understand odds and scores and other figures, and you feel that you have control over it, especially if you are able to select the numbers which you want to be played.

Do lotteries exploit the hopes of the poor? No one can really say, but if the game does that, it is not intentional. Lotteries are games of chance and were organized primarily as fun events. These were not conceptualized to prey on the hopes and dreams of poor people, nor were these designed to be an easy way out of poverty. It is unfortunate that the poor, probably out of sheer desperation (or laziness), see lotteries as tickets out of the dire situation they are in.

Lotteries or their organizers do not advertise or give false promises that are directed towards consumers of the lower income bracket. They are not open only for the poor, in fact, anyone who would want to try their luck can play lottery.

One must always remember that lotteries are games of chance. These are forms of gambling, and at the same time, entertainment. These should never be viewed as quick fixes or instant solutions for financial problems. If you are financially strapped and earn only a limited amount of money every week or month, do not waste it unnecessarily on lottery tickets. The amount you spend for a ticket could have been used for other more pressing expenses (utilities, to buy food). If you can afford to allocate a portion of your extra money on a ticket, then by all means, buy a ticket. Who knows what would happen, right?

Remember, however, that when it comes to succeeding in life, nothing will ever beat good old-fashioned hard work and perseverance. It may be difficult but it will be worth it.

Carl Sampson is an online poker pro and poker ambassador at 888poker

The Language of the Lottery

Here are some terms that you would normally encounter when playing the lottery.

Adjacent numbers – Numbers in a bet that are one digit apart. Example: In the bet 02, 08, 15, 16, 31, 49 – 15 and 16 are Adjacent Numbers.

Announcer – A number or set of numbers that are predictors for numbers arriving in the next draw.

Annuity – A non lump sum lottery payout that is paid to the winner in installments over a period of time.

Antipode draw – A draw result having extreme numbers. Example: 01-02-03-47-48-49 or any set of winning numbers having only numbers at both ends of the lowest or higher possible decades. Example: 01-38-40-42-45-48.

Breakopen – An instant-win ticket where the player tears open a flap to see if the ticket is a winner. Also called Pulltabs, Nevada Tickets, etc. Breakopens are often sold by charities as well as lotteries.

Cash cow – A jackpot winning prize.

Cold numbers – Overdue numbers that appear less frequently than would be normally expected over the last “X” number of draws. “X” is a hotly debated variable among those who predict lottery results.

DN – Abbreviation for the term Designated Number. Used in a lottery wheel. Also referred to as a Power Keeper or Lock.

Double – A Pick 3 or Pick 4 digit number that contains two numbers of the same digit. Example 377.

Double double – A Pick 4 digit number comprised of two doubles. Example 3773.

Exotic numbers – An unusual or infrequently drawn set of numbers.

Group play – A group of lottery players who combine their bets and equally share the burden of the cost of playing. Often referred to as a Lottery Pool.

Hot Numbers – Numbers that appear more frequently than would be normally expected over the last “X” number of draws. “X” is a hotly debated variable among those who predict lottery results.

Lottery draw – The results of a specific lottery outcome.

Lotto – A game of astronomical odds where players select a small group of numbers from a large group of numbers to win prizes of various levels determined by the amount of winning numbers selected. Also known as lottery.

Natural selection – A selection of numbers manually made by a player as opposed to a computer-generated selection.

Odds – The chances of winning the lottery.

Pick 3 Pick 4 Game – A daily lotto game played with four digits between 0 and 9. The numbers can be repeated.

Carl Sampson is an online poker pro and poker ambassador at 888poker

Things to do with lottery winnings

There are many things that a person can do with lottery winnings above and beyond merely spending (or blowing) the entire amount on themselves. The best use of lottery money whether we like it or not is not to use it on ourselves but to give back to the global community in some way.

Why not pool together a group of parents from your kid’s school and form a lottery syndicate with them? If you already know of parents who play the lottery just like you do, it would be an easy matter to get them together. Of course, you have to have a different cause this time. Why not play the lottery as syndicate with the ultimate goal of donating your winnings to some educational or co-curricular activity that would benefit your children?

Do you have a friend or family member with a birthday coming up? Why not, in addition to your gift, insert a lottery ticket? It is pretty much the same concept as giving a ticket to charity, you are actually giving a gift with a lot of potential! Of course, it would be great if the friend or loved one you are giving the ticket to is someone who appreciates the lottery. Otherwise, it might not be a good idea.

Now here’s the best idea of them all. This actually didn’t come from me. To be honest, I don’t even know if I agree with it or not. I read it in an article, this guy is suggesting that in addition to your offering in church on Sunday, put in a lottery ticket there. Ok, I get the intention but do you think this is a good idea? I don’t know.

My basic ideas would be to help kids and turn them into better adults by providing them with worthwhile pastimes in inner cities. To stop crime and poverty then we need to give our children a sense of purpose when they are young enough to absorb the teachings.

Carl Sampson is a professional poker player that plays online at

A Day of Infamy: 9/11 in the U.S…..but wonderful news in (appropriately) New York

An estimated $106 million jackpot ($65 million cash) was, perhaps fittingly, won in New York on Friday night, September 11. A single ticket matched all six numbers – the white balls 5, 11, 31, 50 and 67, plus the Mega Ball 14.

The jackpot win is New York’s third Mega Millions jackpot win in 2015, following earlier wins on February 27 ($126 million) and March 24 ($58 million).

Also in Friday night’s drawing, there was a $1 million Match 5 winning ticket sold in Michigan.

The jackpot had been rolling since it was last won in Missouri on July 31. In this jackpot runup, there have been more than 13.5 million Mega Millions prizes won at all levels since July 31, including 12 prizes of $1 million or more.

We’ll let you know who won A.S.A.P.

Birth-dates Yield $3 Million “Bucks”

A Cedartown, Gerogia mother of four has won a multi-million Georgia Lottery prize. Phillis James, 40, is one of two winners each to win a $3 million jackpot prize from the Aug. 17 Jumbo Bucks Lotto with Ca$h Match drawing, having matched all six winning numbers.

With her own lucky combination of family birthdays, James purchased her ticket  in Cedartown.

“I screamed. I was sitting in my car at work while on break,” she recalled. “I was excited.”

Lottery Winner’s Ship Has Come in … Twice [Times $100,000]

Lon Schlekewy, of Virginia, is getting to be a seasoned pro when it comes to winning the Virginia Lottery’s Cash 5 game.

He did it in 2011, and now he’s done it again!

The Norfolk man matched all five numbers in the August 25 Cash 5 night drawing to win the $100,000 top prize. He selected numbers that correspond with important family dates.

His previous Cash 5 win came on July 5, 2011, when he Read more

Special Delivery to Post Office Worker in Virginia: $1 Million

Thomas Kennedy and his wife were returning home from an evening out with friends. Along the way, they stopped at a convenience store in Glen Allen, Virginia. They ended up with some change from their purchase, so they decided to buy a Lottery ticket.

That 20X the Money Scratcher ticket ended up winning the $1 million top prize.

“This can’t be happening,” he recalled saying when he discovered Read more

Keep on Truckin’: Mega Millions Winner is Trucker from Virginia

He won $153 million by playing at a lottery terminal 3 miles (or so) from my house.

There is a huge truck stop near an interstate…and I play there often (I’m not a trucker, in case you’re interested). It was big news around here in Pennsylvania.

Who  won?

Turns out it was Steven Peloquin, of Mechanicsville, Virginia, who claimed a $91.8 million Mega Millions jackpot from the July 21, 2015, drawing. The winning ticket correctly matched all five white balls, 20-30-62-65-74, plus the Megaball, 01. The ticket had an annuity value of $153 million or a cash value of $91.8 million, less 25 percent federal withholding.

Peloquin, a professional truck driver for nearly 30 years, purchased the ticket at Penn 80/Flying J Travel Plaza, 1460 N. Ridge Road, Milton, Northumberland County, while traveling through Pennsylvania for work.

Peloquin didn’t check his ticket for several days.

“I was getting ready to turn in last Saturday night when I went online Read more

$152 Million Winning Ticket Sold at Store 3 Miles From My House

I’ve been blogging about winners for more than 5 years now, but this is the first time I can say that a winning ticket was sold at a store I frequent.

There is a truck stop just down the road and it sold the Mega Millions winning ticket last Tuesday. It wasn’t me.

No one knows who it might have been.

And…since it is a busy truck stop near an interstate highway in Pennsylvania…it could have been a trucker from California…New York, New Jersey, Ohio…etc.

Or it could have been one of my neighbors.

I’ll find out and let you know.



A “Magical” Week Ends with $377,777 Win

A Tallapoosa, Georgia man has collected a hefty prize from the Georgia Lottery just days after accepting a new job. Joshua Holdbrooks, 34, won a $377,777 top prize playing the instant game Lady Luck 7.

“It’s been a magical week,” said the lucky winner, who accepted a new job with Georgia Power. “It’s a new start for us.”

Holdbrooks, a mechanical contractor, said he accepted his new position just four days before claiming his prize.

“I worked all day, and a buddy of mine wanted to take a look at work boats,” he said. “I was thirsty and wanted something to drink, so we stopped for a Mountain Dew.” And then he bought a ticket.

“I almost passed out,” Holdbrooks recalled. “I was scratching as I walked out Read more

keep looking »

Other Sites