We have all dreamt of winning the lottery at some point in our lives. But which lottery gives you the best odds of winning, and how can you actually get a fair shot by increasing your odds?
Gaming expert Francisc Csiki from online casinos comparison service CasinoAlpha has revealed a fascinating guide to the likelihood of winning lotteries available to play in the UK. He also shared some top tips that could up your chances, including what numbers to pick.
You might be surprised to learn that secret numbers don’t work, nor does playing the same numbers on every lottery ticket you buy. Here’s everything you need to know about increasing your chances of winning the lottery in the UK.
What lottery should you play for the biggest win?
EuroMillions provides the biggest jackpot, but choosing the winning numbers is unlikely. This is generally the case for all options: a high maximum prize is counterbalanced by low odds. For the EuroMillions, for example, there is a 1 in 139,838,160 chance of winning the jackpot but a 1 in 13 chance of winning any amount of payout.
What lottery should you play for the best chance of winning?
For your best chances of success, the People’s Postcode draw is the go-to game – an option further recommended considering the high revenue margin donated. Participants can play in daily, biweekly, and monthly draws, with jackpots of £1,000, £30,000, and £7.9 million.
The daily draw awards the money to one winner in 20 postcodes, and the Saturday and Sunday draws provide the award to a player in one postcode. The monthly draw money is spread among one postcode area’s participants.
What are the chances of winning each lottery?
- Health Millions: maximum prize: £5m, maximum winning odds: 1 in 79,453,500, any payout chance: 1 in 3
- Lotto: maximum prize: £5m, maximum winning odds: 1 in 45,057,474, any payout chance: 1 in 9.3
- UK Powerball: maximum prize: £4.2m, maximum winning odds: 1 in 79,453,500 any payout chance: 1 in 9.3
- Lotto Hotpicks: maximum prize: £350,000, maximum winning odds: 1 in 834,398 any payout chance: 1 in 10
- Millionaire Maker: maximum prize: £1m, maximum winning odds: 1 in 1,900,000 any payout chance: 1 in 10
- EuroMillions: maximum prize: €220m, maximum winning odds: 1 in 139,838,160 any payout chance: 1 in 22
- Set for Life: maximum prize: £10,000 a month over 30 years, maximum winning odds: 1 in 15,339,390 any payout chance: 1 in 15
- Health Lottery: maximum prize: £250,000, maximum winning odds: 1 in 2,118,760 any payout chance: 1 in 16
- EuroMillions HotPicks: maximum prize: £1m, maximum winning odds: 1 in 2,118,760 any payout chance: 1 in 22
- Thunderball: maximum prize: £500,000, maximum winning odds: 1 in 8,060,598 any payout chance: 1 in 29
- Free Lottery: maximum prize: £100,000, maximum winning odds: 1 in 10,737,573 any payout chance: 1 in 29
- Irish Lottery: maximum prize: €2m minimum, maximum winning odds: 1 in 10,737,573 any payout chance: 1 in 29
How to increase your odds of winning the lottery - which numbers to pick, how many tickets should I buy?
There are some general tips and tricks that will help your chances of winning, no matter what draw you enter. More crucially, some common practices will actively hinder your already small chances of getting any payout.
For starters, lucky numbers do not help. While you may think these numbers to be very personal to you, there is a big chance that you share your lucky numbers with thousands of other players.
Additionally, lucky numbers, dates of birth or other such combinations usually cover a small range of possibilities. You are essentially lowering your likelihood of getting the right match alone. To increase your chances:
- Do not choose birthday numbers, common strings (1,2,3,4,5,6), or “lucky numbers.”
- Since many will do just that, pick double digits higher than 31, as they will not be included in birthday tickets.
There is a secret to drawing the best numbers, based on Arin Zargarian’s 2020 paper on the statistical analysis of Powerball winning numbers.
Essentially, Zargarian went back and checked all the hit frequencies for the game balls beginning in 2010. He found two numbers with a multiple hit frequency: 21, with a 43% greater chance, and 23, with a 58% greater chance. Therefore, statistical data indicates that you may want to choose 23 and 21 on your ticket.
Remember that playing the same ticket in subsequent draws does nothing. Lottery draws are independent and random events, and that means that they do not influence each other.
Many sense that if a combination came up in last week’s draw, it would not do so this week, but this is just as likely as any other string of numbers. Fortunately, even though playing the same ticket will not increase your chance of winning, it will not decrease it either.
Buying more tickets helps - if you play multiple ticket variations in the same draw, you will have a better chance. If each ticket has a 1 in 100,000 probability, buying ten tickets with different combinations gives you a 10 in 100,000 likelihood or 1 in 10,000. This still does not considerably lower the probability but gives you a better chance.
The last tip is to always remain level-headed. Don’t fall into the rabbit hole of lotteries and master plans for the next big draw. The odds of winning should show that your actual chance of getting something is slim, no matter your approach.
You should not obsess over the results or treat them as anything more than a pastime and most importantly, knowing how to stay in control is vital in any gambling activity.