1. For the lotto. In Canada we have what's called Lotto Max, every Tuesday and Friday. Pick 7 of 7 numbers correctly and win. Numbers range from 1-50. I always let the OLG(Ontario Lottery & Gaming) in-store computer pick my numbers . 3 tickets cost \$5. No one has won for a few draws so it's up over \$70 million for 1st prize right now.

I was watching something on Netflix a few weeks ago and they were talking about Benford's Law(see below). The digit 1 appears more often than any other, followed by 2 and so on. Actually a lot more complicated/involved than that. So I wondered if I could apply this to picking my own numbers for Lotto Max. Worked out that the digits 1-4 appear equally more often than any other, followed by 5, then the others (0 + 6 to 9 equally lowest) . For instance the number 14 would be two digits in the 1-4 range. So I thought I could fill in my own game sheet just using numbers with the most common digits.

It seems the OLG is on to this. As I mentioned, you get 3 sets of 7 numbers for \$5. You can fill out a game sheet but only allowed one set of your 7 picks and the computer generates the other 2. I call BS and I think most people who play are unaware of digit frequency in 1-50 range. I suppose there is a chance the OLG isn't aware and perhaps I should find one of the private lottery sites and let them know. Why we can't pick all 3 of our own 7 number sets seems very strange to me. Intentionally disallowing it should be against the law IMO.

I even went back over the last hundred draws just to prove I'm right.... no doubt about it, thats the way the digits fall. If you take the numbers 1-50 then digits 1,2,3 & 4 appear 14 times each(15 times counting doubles), 5 appears 6 times, 0 & digits 6-9 appear 5 times each. In fact, when I checked results over last year, the digits 1 thru 4 appeared 64% of the time covering all the draws.

*0 (zero) only used for numbers 10,20,30,40,50 not 01, 02, etc.

From Wiki: Benford's law, also called the Newcomb–Benford law, the law of anomalous numbers, or the first-digit law, is an observation about the frequency distribution of leading digits in many real-life sets of numerical data

2.

3. Benford's law applies to leading digits of tables of numbers (like stock market tables). It has no relevance to lottery numbers. These are supposed to be uniform between 1 and 50.

4. Originally Posted by mathman
Benford's law applies to leading digits of tables of numbers (like stock market tables). It has no relevance to lottery numbers. These are supposed to be uniform between 1 and 50.
It only gave me the idea*. Thought maybe there was an advantage for a person buying a ticket with numbers they’ve chosen. Why wouldn’t you pick numbers that contain digits 1 thru 4? Out of 50 numbers only 6 don't have a 1,2,3 or 4. Would it not improve one’s odds, even a little? Not a math guy

*some interesting careers where people use Benford’s Law. One guy uses it to authenticate, or prove an computerized photo is fake.

5. If it's a fair game it doesn't matter which 6 numbers you pick. All combinations of 6 numbers have the same odds.

6. Originally Posted by PhDemon
If it's a fair game it doesn't matter which 6 numbers you pick. All combinations of 6 numbers have the same odds.
Last night’s draw #’s: 11,17,19,22,27,31,40. Somebody won \$70m. Haven’t checked my ticket yet

I’m talking about selecting your own number sets and whether there is an advantage to pick numbers that contain digits 1-4. Three of last nights numbers satisfy that requirement...11,22,31 which would win you a free play for next draw. There are subsidiary prizes for having 3,4,5,or 6 correct numbers. There’s only 20 of 50 numbers that contain digits 1-4 and only six that don’t contain at least one of those digits. So if I select 7 numbers from that pool of 20 do I have a better chance of winning something? Let’s say I get to pick 3 sets of 7. I’m thinking that if I combine a 1-4 digit with another digit not in that range that my chances would lessen. Also think choosing numbers 5,6,7,8,9, 50 are the worst play.

I’m just asking, not totally convinced. Is there a mathematical way to check it? I understand in a random draw that each number has same chance but does that hold true if numbers are drawn one at a time? There’s only so many numbers in the drum and most of them have a 1-4 digit, 20 have two, and 6 none. Odds favour a number with a 1-4 digit to be drawn, don’t know how one can deny that. I was always lousy with numbers anyways.

7. It makes no difference whether you or the lotto machine picks the numbers or which 6 numbers are picked. All combinations are equally as likely to come up. I don't know what else to say to you...

Edit to add: I think your problem is considering numbers that contain another number rather than the whole numbers. The odds aren't based on getting a number "half right".

8. Originally Posted by PhDemon
It makes no difference whether you or the lotto machine picks the numbers or which 6 numbers are picked. All combinations are equally as likely to come up. I don't know what else to say to you...

Edit to add: I think your problem is considering numbers that contain another number rather than the whole numbers. The odds aren't based on getting a number "half right".
Yes. Tried to differentiate between number and digit. The odds are that a number containing a 1,2,3 or 4 being selected are extremely high. (44 of 50). Containing one single digit number or a combo of 1,2,3 or 4 is 40%.... I like those odds. Doesn’t seem right I know, but should I ignore it?

9. It makes no difference as whatever numbers you pick your odds of hitting the jackpot are the same...

10. When I play a Lotto game I get two tickets.. I have a consistent set of numbers I play and then I let the computer pick a set.

11. Originally Posted by GiantEvil
When I play a Lotto game I get two tickets.. I have a consistent set of numbers I play and then I let the computer pick a set.
Here you play your own set of 7 and then computer gives you two more.....\$5

There's another lottery here where you can pick a 6 number set or let computer do it for you. \$3 a set. Both lotteries draw an extra number that you can apply to your numbers however you wouldn't win the big prize if you had all the regular numbers but one. e.g. 6 numbers out of 7 plus bonus # would win you a fairly significant prize but nowhere near the big one.

Had to chuckle 2 or 3 draws ago when 6 of 7 numbers drawn plus the bonus number consisted only of numbers containing digits 1-4, a couple were single digit numbers. (there's 20 of them to pick from) Just luck . Last draw there was only two such numbers drawn.

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