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How to Play the Lottery Like a Pro

Lottery is big business for states, which collect and pool stakes to create prize pools. A percentage of the total goes as taxes and profit for lottery organizers, while the rest is available for winners. But there’s a catch. The winnings aren’t distributed evenly, with a small number of players reaping most of the prize money. And the jackpots grow to apparently newsworthy amounts because the games are rigged in ways that encourage people to buy more tickets.

A lot of people play the lottery to try to hit a “lucky” combination, such as their birthdays or other personal numbers such as home addresses or social security numbers. This is a bad idea because it leads to selecting numbers that are more likely to repeat than others. The number 7 comes to mind, as it has been a very common choice among lottery winners. But this method won’t improve your odds of winning a jackpot because the chances of a number reoccurring are very low.

Instead, look for a group of singletons. On a scratch card, draw a mock-up of the lottery ticket and mark the spaces where the digits appear only once. When you find a group of singletons, mark them all with a “1.” This technique works best for smaller games, such as a state pick-3, which has fewer numbers and a better chance of winning. However, this method requires some persistence and time. You’ll need to be patient enough to hang around places that sell lottery cards for a while, and talk to the staff.