I Married a Statistician: Pt. II ( OR a Question of BINGO!)

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(Click to enlarge)

I persist in the occasional practice of buying lottery or scratch off lotto tickets despite regular feedback from my statistically savvy spouse that I have a snowball’s chance in Hell of ever winning.

Here’s how he explains the probability to me:

Your odds of winning the 5 of 5 California lottery as well as the mega number are less than 1 in 175,000,000
Your odds of winning 5 of 5 lottery are around 1 in 4,000, 000
Your odds of winning the super lotto 5 of 5 plus mega number are 1 in around 40,000, 000
In other words, you are never going to win, and this is a waste of money.

“Okay. FINE,” I say. “I’ll buy ten tickets then.”

He says, “In actuality that will not increase your odds of winning.”

“What do you MEAN?” I say, “If I buy 1,000 lottery tickets, this won’t increase my odds of winning the Lottery at ALL?”

His answer, “Mathematically yes, Actuality, no.”

You see, this is where I start to get peevish with these math n***s, I mean people, they’re so, equivocating……

Anyhoo, back to the subject of BINGO.

I recently bought 5 Lotto tickets. Upon scratching off the first ticket, I was able to ascertain that this card required more than the usual determination of whether I got a winning, $5 -$5 -$5 combo or, better yet, the lucky $50,000-$50,000-$50,000 combo, which I know I’m gonna get really soon since the odds are in my favor.
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This matching three numbers type of computational activity is already stretching the outer limits of my most advanced mathematical capabilities.

This card had actual numbers, in COLUMNS, that required CALCULATIONS, plus additional WEIGHTING FACTORS!

See sample cards: (click to enlarge)
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Due to religious and ethical considerations, as I have explained before, I do not partake in such mathematical misadventures, and leave all of this type of questionable activity solely to my savant spouse.

So, I left the five tickets on his desk after he went to bed, with a nice post-it-note, asking him to figure out whether or not I (we of course) had won.

In the morning I found five of these sheets on my desk, along with a nice note attached saying:

“Please don’t buy these types of tickets anymore.  They are too difficult to score. Your odds of winning $20,000 are 1 in 600,000.  If you buy one of these tickets every week for 10 years, your chance of winning will be 1 in 8,000 and you’ll spend $15,600 for this chance. And by the way, you lose.”


Well. Clearly I did.

But, on the other hand……

I didn’t have to spend 45 minutes figuring this out now, did I?

He really does take all the fun out of gambling though.

Here is how the California Lottery doesn’t explain to you the probability of your winning their games: (in case you think my husband’s explanations are convoluted)

Odds and Available Prizes

Prizes Odds 1 in Total # of Winners
$20,000  600,000    46 15 31
$1,000     300,000    92 30 62
$500         60,000       460 192 268
$100         1,091 25,300 10,201 15,099
$50           632 43,700 17,501 26,199
$40           414 66,700 26,689 40,011
$30           333 82,800 33,598 49,202
$25           194 142,600 56,103 86,497
$20           125 220,800 85,671 135,129
$15           125 220,800 89,059 131,741
$10           125 220,800 85,861 134,939
$9              100 276,000 111,134 164,866
$8              56 496,800 190,363 306,437
$5              17 1,600,800 616,991 983,809
$4              14 2,042,400 777,826 1,264,574
Ticket       13 2,208,000 837,018 1,370,982

I must admit though, living all these years with a math whiz, has really improved my probabilistic abilities.

'According to our research 56% of the 34% of people responded to the 48% of questionnaires sent out thought the statistics were meaningless.'
‘According to our research 56% of the 34% of people responded to the 48% of questionnaires sent out thought the statistics were meaningless.’

Which gives me a great idea……..

Let’s form a pool!  If we all go in together and buy 500 tickets this will really improve our odds of winning!!!

Who’s in?

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