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This is a question Gambling

Broke the bank at Las Vegas, or won a packet of smokes for getting your tinkle out in class? Outrageous, heroic or plain stupid bets.

Suggested by SpankyHanky

(, Thu 7 May 2009, 13:04)
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Learned at a young age
I learned to beware of lotteries and the like with the example of my uncle when I was but a young colt.
At the time, the local Tattslotto was 6 numbers out of 40, instead of 45 as it is these days. My uncle somehow got in touch with someone who had a system, and needed enough investors to buy enough tickets to take it on. My uncle put in a few thousand, enough for a decent car in those days, and he was nowhere near the biggest investor. A truckload of tickets were purchased from all over the city, with the carefully worked out spreads of numbers to maximise the winnings. The odds were something like 50% chance of a moderate gain, 49% chance of a big gain. If they only did moderately well, or just got their money back, it would all be put in again for another go.
Saturday night rolled around, the numbers were drawn, the team of counters began going through the tickets.
By Monday, it was starting to go wrong.
By Wednesday, they knew it was going really wrong.
By Friday, they'd finished counting, and figured out that one of the worst possible combinations of numbers for their system had come up. The chances of losing that badly were 1 in 2 million. My uncle got back $120 from his few thousand.
(, Tue 12 May 2009, 12:50, 8 replies)
But the lesson there
Is not so much to beware of lotteries as realising that you can't swing the odds in your favour?

Nothing wrong IMO of punting a couple of quid on the lottery each week in the (remote) hope your numbers come up.

But the nature of lotteries (total stakes vs prize fund) is such that even if you covered every eventuality, and even if no-one else played that week, you're on a loser.

The only way it could work is buying up a proportion of tickets and hoping that a combination of the numbers you have chosen comes up - shame that your uncle had to find out the hard way that if they don't, you lose, and you lose big.
(, Tue 12 May 2009, 14:16, closed)
This must have already been
answered - but how many ticket combinations are there in the uk lottery?
(, Tue 12 May 2009, 14:51, closed)
There are
49 numbers and 6 balls, so that's 49^6 combinations. Which is 13,841,287,201 (13.8 Billion) combinations.

So at £1 per ticket even if you won the recent £100M Euromillions you'd still have lost £13.7 billion. Even if no-one else won.

Of course, there are also repeated categories in there (i.e. the 13.8Bn includes 123456 and 654321 as seperate combinations). So it's probably closer to a mere few billion combinations. I'd give you a better answer but I'm at work, sorry!
(, Tue 12 May 2009, 16:25, closed)
but you aren't predicting all 49 numbers, just 6 of them.

Could explain it but it's already been done better than I could do it here:

(, Tue 12 May 2009, 17:03, closed)
Is just as likely to come up as any other set. It's got nothing to do with the numbers printed on the balls, just a combination of six balls at random.

*Edit* I have missed the point somewhat.
(, Tue 12 May 2009, 20:13, closed)
my guess would be
that the people organising it didn't buy the tickets, and kept the money.
(, Tue 12 May 2009, 15:30, closed)
Because that's what I would do.

(, Tue 12 May 2009, 15:36, closed)
you know
that is not a bad idea at all
(, Tue 12 May 2009, 17:19, closed)

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