Millions of people try their luck on big lottery games like Powerball every week. Often, we wonder what the odds actually are that you'll choose the winning combinations. Now, experts can analyze past numbers to see which ones are most likely to help you strike it rich.
"It's a form of entertainment, an escape, a way to dream," says Kimberly Chopin with Louisiana Lottery. For some, the games are much more. Everyone seems to have their own set system, a way to win.
"I think if you play the same numbers, it increases the odds," says Steve Johnson. He is someone retailers would call a "regular." Whether pumping gas, picking up a snack or some smokes, Johnson is guaranteed to take a chance.
As freely as these numbers roll, so do the odds that someone's lucky numerals will pop up.
"The odd ratio is pretty small - 1 out of 146 million. It's almost impossible to win," says Dr. Min Su Kim.
Dr. Kim teaches statistics at Southern University. This self-proclaimed realist says with the chances of a win so slim, Powerball is not the way to go for him.
"I learned statistics and probability, so I'm a rational person (laughter)."
Johnson says he's laughing all the way to the bank. He recently won $500 back-to-back, one week after the other.
The Powerball drawing consists of five white balls and one red Powerball. Dr. Kim went back 10 years and found the top 5 numbers that have won millions of dollars for thousands of people. Dr. Kim says the most frequently drawn Powerball number for the past 10 years is number 20. It is followed by 37, 2, 31, and 35.
As for those white balls, the most popular is number 42. It is closely followed by 16, 35, 26, and 19.
"If you pick these numbers, there's probably more probability to win the grand prize," Dr. Kim says.
Kimberly Chopin of the Louisiana Lottery warns that just because some numbers have won big bucks in the past for others that does not mean they're going to do the same for you.
"Every number has a equal chance of being drawn. No number more likely to come up," she says.
There are still those who believe otherwise.
"It works. It worked for me. I'm playing on Lotto money now," Johnson says.
As for Dr. Kim who is deeply rooted in his Asian traditions, shelling out some cash for tickets would have to follow a dream about pigs.
"A pig represents good fortune," he says.
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