You’re more likely to win an Oscar or be crushed by a meteor than win the lottery.
Yet, millions of Australians rush to buy lotto tickets each year in the hope their lucky numbers will win them the jackpot.
So, how do you win the lottery? Is it just the luck of the draw, or is there a “secret system” most of us don’t know about?
With $60 million up for grabs in Thursday night’s Powerball draw, we spoke to Matt Hart from The Lott who gave us some expert tips to help players maximise their chances of taking home the coveted prize, including researching the entry types and numbers used by previous lottery winners.
How to maximise your chances of taking home the jackpot
1. Use Quick Picks
“Of the eight Powerball division one winning entries so far this year, all but two were secured by Quick Pick entries, where the lottery terminal randomly chose the numbers," said Mr Hart.
“Only two wins have come from a marked entry, where the player marked a coupon with their favourite numbers.”
If you are going to run the numbers, more Quick Pickers than self-pickers win lottery jackpots – 70 per cent of lottery winners used Quick Pick to choose their numbers, rather than choosing their own lucky numbers.
2. Are your lucky numbers really working for you?
Playing your lucky numbers as a strategy to win the lottery is good, as long as you’re not exclusively using traditional lucky numbers, such as seven or three – as a lot of other people will be using them, too.
If you’re going to opt for a lucky number make sure it has personal significance, rather than world renown.
You can even use a number generator to choose for you, so you can truly leave it to the universe (or computer) to decide.
3. Playing ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ numbers
The lottery may be a random game of chance, but many players believe you can increase your chances of winning by choosing "hot" and "cold" numbers.
This involves choosing "hot" numbers that are drawn more often and "cold" numbers which are yet to be drawn to see if they live up to their reputation.
“We’ve even had previous winners tell us they avoid both sets of ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ numbers, instead picking those numbers that aren’t getting any attention,” said Mr Hart.
4. The power of the Power Hit
“Interestingly, three of the Powerball division one winning entries so far this year have been Power Hit entries – an entry type unique to Powerball that guarantees that all-important Powerball number needed to win the jackpot,” said Mr Hart.
The Power Hit entry may only look like one line on your ticket, but it’s actually twenty games which consist of the same seven numbers and each game has a different Powerball number from one to 20.
This means that if you do score the division one prize, you also snag division two a massive 19 times, which will bolster your winnings dramatically.
5. Use Lotto Systems
The Lottery Office CEO Jaclyn Wood said that statistically, the best way to increase your chances of winning a lottery prize is to buy more games; the more games, the more chances to win.
The Lottery Office is Australian-owned, operated and licensed by the Northern Territory Government, with offices in Darwin and on the Gold Coast and allows Aussies to take part in overseas lotteries.
Ms Wood said players that aren’t willing to share their prize through a syndicate can increase their chances of winning through Lotto Systems.
“Lotto Systems allows players to choose up to an additional five numbers in the standard game,” she said.
“One of our new Lotto Systems, the ‘Guaranteed Power’ guarantees the winning Power number for the buyer – just in time for this week’s USA Power Lotto, which has jackpotted to $116 million.”
6. Don’t overthink your lottery numbers
Ms Wood went on to say that players shouldn’t overthink their lottery numbers.
“Numbers are drawn at random in all lotteries, so picking numbers based on birthdays and dates is not going to increase your chance of winning,” said Ms Wood.
“Instead, use quick picks to avoid falling into superstitious thinking.”
7. Join a syndicate team
It’s a known-fact that 20 per cent of all lottery jackpots are won by syndicates. That’s right, one in every five occasions a lotto jackpot goes off around the world is because players have decided to share the win.
Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, The Lottery Office’s Ms Wood said that joining a lottery syndicate is the most cost-effective way to increase your chances of hitting the jackpot.
“Ultimately, the more tickets you buy in a single draw, the more likely one of them is a winner, but there’s no promise that the cost of playing will be fully compensated, so my recommendation for players hungry for a win is to join a syndicate team,” said Ms Wood.
8. Why it's good to be consistent
Ask any mathematician the secret to winning the lottery and their answer will be the same: the numbers you choose don’t matter much, it’s about defying the odds stacked against you.
According to the laws of probability, the probability of your numbers being drawn drops down further the more you play.
This is what being consistent and why you see so many news stories about winners who played the lottery for years before finally winning big.
Which type of lottery ticket is most likely to win big?
It depends on what you’re looking for, but if you want the best odds go with the Saturday Lotto and its smaller cousins the Monday and Wednesday Lotto games.
On the other hand, if you're looking for an all-round lottery game with lots of ways to win, then you will want to buy a ticket for the Australian Powerball, according to the Lott's Mr Hart.
Still not sure which entry to play for this week’s Powerball?
Well, according to Mr Hart, no matter which type of entry players choose, it’s important they have an entry in their hands if they want a chance to win $60 million.
“We’re encouraging people to get in early, either in-store or online, so they have their entry before Powerball draw 1311 closes at 7.30pm AEST on Thursday 1 July.”
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org