What wins the lottery more often, quick picks or choosing your own numbers? | You asked, we answer
Ever wonder whether you’re better off picking your own lottery numbers or letting the computer do it for you? Turns out you’re not the only one.
As part of the Sun Sentinel’s Sound Off South Florida project, we answer reader-submitted questions on South Florida life, culture and history. One such question comes from reader Wayne Petrucha, who asks, “Winning [lottery numbers], are they quick pick or player fill-in? And is it possible for quick picks to have more than one winner?”
In general, most jackpot winners come from quick picks, in which players opt to have the machine choose their numbers randomly rather than picking numbers themselves. For example, there have been a dozen winning Powerball tickets sold in Florida since 2009. Of them, 10 were quick picks, according to the Florida Lottery.
Of two Mega Millions winners, both were quick picks.
Of the 448 winning Florida Lotto tickets since 2009, 240 were quick picks.
Cash4Life? Nine winners, eight quick picks.
In fact, according to lottery officials, with the exception of the Daily Draw game, every draw game offered by the Florida Lottery has been won by players with quick picks more often than those who opt to select their own numbers.
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But, to quote the line often attributed to 19th Century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, there are three kinds of lies — lies, damned lies and statistics. The problem with citing the statistic that most lottery draw game winners used quick picks is that it’s not on a per capita basis. That is, we have no idea how many players pick their own numbers and how many players opt to let the machine do the picking for them. So it’s impossible to say whether quick picks tend to win a higher percentage of times.
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All things being equal, and assuming that the draw is perfectly random, one set of numbers should come up no more often than another in a given draw, so there shouldn’t be any advantage to picking your own numbers or using a quick pick.
As to whether two players can wind up with the same quick picks, Florida Lottery officials confirm that, yes, this is possible. Just because the numbers are selected once, they’re not cancelled out in the system for everyone else. Theoretically, it’s possible that multiple players could all get the same quick pick, and that quick pick could win the game, meaning all of them would split the winnings.
It’s statistically possible — but you know what they say about statistics.
Do you have a question you would like to see answered? Send it to us using the form below, or click here if you can’t see the form.When playing the lottery should you do quick picks or choose your own numbers? We break down the statistics, based on Florida Lottery results. ]]>