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Odds of winning a ‘Hamilton’ ticket are bleak, but not as bad as you think

Every day, we get online, look our computers in the screens, aim no higher, summon all the courage we require, then suffer the humiliation of losing our chance to see Hamilton on Broadway.

Despite our better logic, we’ll never be satisfied until our names are finally called for those coveted tickets. And while the odds of winning a Hamilton lottery ticket are rare, they’re not as bad as you think.

Let’s break it down

There are currently two ways to get Hamilton tickets, aside from shelling out hundreds of dollars for nosebleed seats: the live, #Ham4Ham lottery that happens at the theater and the online lottery that opens at 9 a.m. EST on Broadway Direct.

Both ways offer $10 tickets (a Hamilton for a Hamilton), and while the live lottery is a unique experience that any theater lover should experience, those of us with demanding day jobs often opt for the online lottery.

Taking a look at the numbers at first glance, they definitely look bleak. But do not throw away your shot.

According to the Hamilton Lottery FAQ page, over 10,000 people enter the online lottery every single day. But there is reason to hope, because the show gives out 21 tickets every day as well, significantly increasing your odds of winning.

There is one other x factor: each entry can be for either one or two tickets. We can’t necessarily know for sure how many tickets people are purchasing once they win, so we can assume it is anywhere between the two sums:

If 21 tickets are awarded to different, single entries (21 total), the odds of people winning are 476 to one.

If 21 tickets are awarded to 10 two-ticket and one single-ticket entries (11 total), the odds of people winning are 909 to one.

Here is a chart to see how these sums add up amongst other unlikely statistics you might run into in your lifetime, lovingly decorated with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s face to soothe your weary soul:

Image: bob al-greene, mashable

Analysis

Across social media, we joke, cry, complain and sometimes rage about the futility of winning a ticket, but when you look at the numbers, it could be a lot worse.

In plain terms: you should finish that best seller you’ve been working on. However, you can probably relax around vending machines.

If you’re really looking forward to being a game show contestant or writing a great American novel, you should be trying to do that just as much as you’re trying to win a chance to see Hamilton — and the odds, mathematically at least, say you’ll succeed as one of these things.

Or, if you ever hear someone say, “you’re more likely to be struck by lightning that winning a ticket to Hamilton,” you now have clear evidence that that is decidedly not true.

It’s important to keep in mind that just because the odds are stacked against you doesn’t mean you can’t be victorious. People write best sellers, date millionaires, win Oscars and have vending machines fall on them every day.

Even Alexander Hamilton would remind you: the odds were stacks against the Revolution as well. If that doesn’t inspire you to continue putting your name into an online form at 9 a.m. every day, nothing will.

So go ahead, use your apps, charms, positive thinking or whatever rituals you do to keep hope alive, and enter the lottery. Take your shot. History has its eyes on you.

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We'll never be happy until we're finally called for those coveted tickets. But the odds of winning a Hamilton lottery ticket are not as bad as you think.

Hamilton lottery chicago odds

By Elizabeth Greiwe

I have two words for “Hamilton” fans who still haven’t snagged tickets: Have faith.

I’m talking to you, the wide-eyed dreamers who enter the smash-hit musical’s online ticket lottery every day at 9 a.m. The chances of winning $10 front-row or box-seat tickets are slim, but you push through the pain of the daily rejection emails telling you, once again, that “unfortunately, you were not selected to receive tickets.”

But it is possible to win. I know. I did.

The odds of getting a last-minute ticket are greater in Chicago than in New York. Really. The Broadway in Chicago lottery for “Hamilton” raffles off up to 44 tickets every performance day — which is more than twice the number the show offers in New York.

And, of course, the number of people vying for day-of-performance tickets should be lower in Chicago. More than 20 million people live in the New York metropolitan area; Chicago’s metro population doesn’t even top 10 million. That means there are fewer people who could easily make it downtown for a surprise matinee or evening show.

Odds aside, there’s something electrifying about winning a ticket to see this year’s cultural touchstone. It is far more gratifying than the hours I spent refreshing — and cursing — Ticketmaster’s website each time more tickets were released for sale.

And, I’m not trying to gloat (OK, maybe a little), but the lottery win was a gift. It was destiny. I was blessed.

On my way to the show, I relished the chance to skip — sorry, I mean stroll — through Chicago, a city built on the causes that Alexander Hamilton championed: manufacturing and finance. (Um, yes, I’ve become a full-fledged Hamiltonian.) I overheard an ad criticizing Gov. Bruce Rauner and Donald Trump while walking and chuckled to myself. They never would have cut it in the election of 1800 (check the soundtrack).

I scored a box seat, which, for those who aren’t as up-to-date on their 19th- and early-20th-century theater practices, was where theatergoers sat to be seen rather than see the performance. Basically, I couldn’t see the right side of the stage. But I could see the other 1,799 people who were lucky enough to be there. And more significant, I could see every bead of sweat, every solitary tear that rolled down the actors’ faces. The performance felt visceral, real.

For fans who, like me, have plowed through Ron Chernow’s “Hamilton” biography (the one the musical is based on), memorized the entire soundtrack, considered naming their children Hercules and Lafayette, and incessantly peppered friends with Revolutionary War trivia, getting tickets to see the show on a whim is, for lack of a better phrase, a dream come true.

So keep at it, fans. If you’re frustrated, forlorn, take some advice from (musical) Hamilton himself: Do not throw away your shot.

Enter the lottery every chance you get. You may not win — but if you do, it will be an experience that’s, well, revolutionary.

Elizabeth Greiwe edits the Tribune’s Voice of the People.

Hamilton lottery chicago odds By Elizabeth Greiwe I have two words for “Hamilton” fans who still haven’t snagged tickets: Have faith. I’m talking to you, the wide-eyed dreamers who enter ]]>