Basic Lottery Playing Strategy
- Study the game(s). Learn what the odds are for any different type of
game, and how
those odds change depending on what the game does.
- Play games that allow you to win enough back to keep you from having to
spend your own money to play. That stresses the importance of playing games
that devote significant money to the lower prizes, offer higher percentage
prize pools, feature bonuses at certain times and pay the true odds on box
- Play games that allow you to track them. That means a game where you can
see a back history of what the game has been doing and compare that to what
it has done. That pretty much eliminates instant games (no history) and
multi-draw keno games due to the frequency of the drawings (usually every
- Look for current patterns and
trends, they are much more important than
historical actions. This will eliminate some balls and highlight others. In
other words, it will narrow down the field. This is what handicapping any
gambling game is all about.
- Current patterns that involve hot digits are much better than cold digit
patterns. Always go with strength in lottery games. After all, how do you
think they got to be hot digits?
- Look for re-occuring patterns and
trends. Though not as important as
current trends, and more difficult to spot, they can yield excellent results
if timed right. This means going back over historical data to try to spot
similar instances to what the game is doing now. Then look ahead a few games. That will give you an idea of what the game may do
- Once you have spotted either a current or historical pattern or trend
exend it into the current game, track it and then play it. But don't wait
too long to play since patterns change rapidly.
- An often asked question is, what number picking system is best? The answer
is ‹ the one that is producing hits at the present time. Some more general
systems work most of the time, others work very well sometimes and a few
work rarely, usually when nothing else seems to be working. Because of the
many variations inherent to all lottery games, any system you can
devise will work, at least in a limited fashion, at a given time. To
paraphrase the old song, the trick is to be "in the right system at the
right time." This will get easier to see over time as you become more
and more familiar with a particular game.
- When you play you will likely have more numbers selected than you can
play. Use a Lotto Wheeling System or Numbers Boxing System to play those
extra numbers. These are explained elswhere on the site.
Basic Strategy for Daily 3 and 4 Digit Numbers Games
Numbers games are simple:
just pick three
or four digits. There are many types of plays and types of
strategies to use for different occasions. Perhaps the most important two things
to remember in these games are: timing the game and the type of bet you place.
- If you use systems to play the numbers games it is a given
that, due to
the cost of playing many bets, you will almost always play boxed bets
instead of straight plays. And since the odds equal the payoffs whether you
bet straight or boxed there is no reason to ever place straight bets, with
the exception of two occasions.
The first of those is the obvious. That is when you are playing a Triple
(3-Digit) or Quad (4_Digit) and must play straight.
The other is the rare occasion where you are almost certain of a particular
number and want to make a killing - bet $10, $20 or more straight on that
number alone. Of course it is wise to never make any individual bet that
will put your winnings over $600. Then the agent can't pay you. Make a lot
of small bets instead.
- The odds and timing for each type of numbers bet are quite different The
tables below will help to demonstrate that.
|Bet Type (example)
||Number Of Combinations
||Percent Of Times Drawn
||How Often It Wins
||1 in 2.7 years
|No Match Box Bet (123)
||3 in 4 days
|Double Box Bet(122)
||1 in 4 days
|Triple St./Box Bet (111)
||1 in 100 days
|First, Middle, Last Pair (123 = 12, 13 or 23)
||1 in 100 days
|Bet Type (example)
||Number Of Combinations
||Percent Of Times Drawn
||How Often It Wins
||1 in 27.4 years
|No Match Box Bet (1234)
||1 in 2 days
|Double Box Bet (1223)
||1 in 2 1/2 days
|Triple St./Box Bet (1112)
||1 in 28 days
|Double/Double Box Bet (1122)
||1 in 37 days
||1 in 2.7 years
As you can see on the two tables above, each type of play for each game has
it's own odds and frequency of occurrence. Armed with the correct
statistical norms and a few months worth of numbers data it is easy to see
how each type of play is performing. Follow trends and patterns - especially
when they are leading towards the statistical norm.
Example 1: If doubles are behind statistically but are now running,
try to catch one of them. If on the other hand doubles have been out 10 days
(3-digit) or 7 days (4_digit) they are also a good play.
Why the emphasis on double boxes? Because they pay twice what a no-match box
Example 2: In the 4_digit game if a Double/Double hasn't shown in two
and a half months and is statistically two times overdue, and the game is
producing more than normal doubles, in a fixed prize state it is a good bet
to play 50 cents on all 45 possible boxed combinations.
Why try to time the exotic plays? Consider this:
- In fixed prize states each Double/Double usually pays about $800 for a
$1 boxed bet.
- In fixed prize states a boxed Triple pays about $1,200 for a $1 bet.
- In the numbers games current patterns and trends are at least as important
as they are in lotto, and due to the smaller number field, a whole lot
easier to spot. They are much more important than historical actions - so
follow them. I like to look at these games as a possible ten digits in
either three or four positions (first digit, second digit, third digit and
in the four-digit game, fourth digit). By breaking them down like this it is
possible to see what any digit is doing individually, and in each position (for those occasional straight
- I also like to see them
graphically, like you can with the day_by_day
charts in our weekly publications.
Basic Strategy for Lotto Type Games
The astronomical odds in any lotto game are your toughest obstacle. They are
so high that no matter what we do, we can't bring them down to a manageable
size (a few hundred to one). The best we can do is to reduce them to a
thousand or more to one instead of hundreds of thousands or millions to one.
This can be done if you follow a few simple strategies:
- You must study the game in even more depth than the numbers
Learn it's ins and outs. Learn what you can do to effect the odds, and
how those odds change depending on what the game does.
Here's a simple example:
The odds of winning a N.J. Pick-6 Lotto jackpot are 9,366,819 to 1, per
dollar bet. The N.Y. Lotto 54 jackpot odds are a staggering 12,913,583
to 1, per dollar bet. Sounds like you have a better chance in the N.J.
Now, let's look at what happens to the odds for the same two games when
you play $2. In the N.J. Pick-6 game the jackpot odds are cut in half by
playing the second dollar and drop to 4,683,410 to 1.
In the N.Y. Lotto 54 game they drop to only 3,228,396 to 1 - because you
get two plays for a dollar in New York.
Now which is the better game...
- In big lotto games, but not five-digit lotto games where there are no
jackpot rollovers, the jackpot itself can also be used to lower your
odds. If the odds are 12 million to one, wait for the jackpot to equal
the odds per dollar bet. What I mean is that if the jackpot grows to
$12_million dollars you are in essence playing a 1 to 1 game. The odds
of winning now equal the risk of losing. If the jackpot grows to
$25_million you are now ahead of the game's profit and loss by two times. This is usually about as high as you can go because when jackpots
climb to stratospheric levels they are generally, though not always, won
by multiple winners.
- Play lotto games that allow you to win enough in lower_tier prizes to
keep you from having to spend your own money while you are in quest of a
jackpot. Lotto games that have too much money devoted to building up the
jackpot (front_loaded) and possess only token lower prizes should be
avoided. A rule of thumb for lower tier prizes is that odds of hundreds
or less to one should pay from $10 to $50. Odds of several thousands to
one should pay a hundred or more dollars and odds of over 20,000 to one
should pay a thousand or more dollars. You can never count on a jackpot,
but you will win numerous lower prizes over time - and these should be
able to pay at least part of the bill for your play.
- Look for current patterns and
trends, they are much more important
than historical actions, and follow them. For instance, if you can spot
it will help you to narrow down the lotto field. By reducing the number
field you are lowering the game odds.
- numbers repeating at regular intervals
- numbers that come out rarely
- numbers groups that are hot
- odd and even or high and low groupings
- numbers that pair together
- Historical patterns and trends are also sometimes
very difficult to spot in the large lotto number field. If you do find
something familiar, look ahead a few games and see what general pattern
occured. There is a good chance that a similar pattern or trend will
occur again, so consider that when deciding on this week's numbers.
- When you have gotten the number field down to 10 to 20 numbers you are
ready to play. Yes, I know you can't play 10 or 20 numbers at your local
lottery agent's machine, and simply filling out bet slips with all of
those numbers randomly included will offer you no guarantee of winning
What you need is a system for playing your numbers, and this problem has
been addressed by some very competent mathematicians. What they have
developed are "Wheeling Systems" that allow you to play many
numbers in the proper order to guarantee a win.
Some "Simple" Lotto Advice
Getting ahead in a big lotto game - six of practically anything
(39 - 54) - isn't easy. But remember what the Navy Seabees, who carved airfields
out of coral islands in a week during WWII, used to say: The difficult we do
right away. The impossible takes a little longer. To succeed in these games you
need a basic strategy. Here it is.
- Decide which game to play.
Concentrate on that game alone. Other games will only distract you, so while you
are working on your game of choice forget about any others. There will be time
for them later.
- Track the game.
Use any of the columnists, statistics and charts in Lottery New$ to help you get
a feel for how the lotto numbers behave. Or use your own set(s) of statistics to
develop your own system.
Some people use systems as simple as seeing whether hot or cold balls are coming
up at the present time. Others compare predictors who are hot. Still others
cross_compare predictors with some of the statistics. And some systems are way
more complicated and compare balls' frequency of hits, patterns of hits,
groupings, etc., over long periods of time. One thing they all have in common is
that they are looking for repeat patterns and trends. And since these games
change regularly, almost any method of selection can work at some time. The
trick is to get the right method at the right time.
One thing you can do to help spot the current trends and patterns of a lotto
game is to try several different methods of selection for each drawing. Select
two, three or more different sets of numbers using different
methods. When you
compare how each method did, you may be able to spot some that are more
promising than others.
Then the next week try combining or modifying your more promising systems. Pick
your numbers for the next drawing using these systems.
For the next drawing repeat the process. Keep doing it until you are comfortable
with the results. That doesn't mean that you won't play until all six numbers
appear in your system. It means that you are seeing regular occurrences of four
or five numbers in a field of eighteen to twenty selections and three numbers in
a selection group of fourteen to sixteen numbers. When you can do that, you are
ready for the big leagues. And let me urge you to play right away after you spot
a trend or pattern, because they usually don't hang around long.
- Narrow your
Nobody I know can whittle down a set of fourteen to twenty lotto numbers into
six. But you may be able to eliminate a few of your numbers by going over them
one more time, or two times, or three times, etc. This is time well spent, since
the fewer numbers you play the less it costs or the better the coverage you can
- Decide how much you can afford to
spend. Remember, never play more than you can afford to lose. Next month's rent or
mortgage has to be paid along with all those other pesky bills, and your family
really does need food on the table.
- Use a Wheeling System To Play.
Once you have a budget to play with look at which wheeling systems you can
afford. It's simple math to do this. Let's say that you narrowed down your
selections to fourteen numbers. Check what wheeling systems are available for
playing that many numbers. I personally love to work with Gail Howard's wheels
because they are simple to use and the most reliable available. The index of her
book "Lotto - How To Wheel A Fortune" breaks down all of the wheeling
systems into the important facts: the win guarantee (4 of 5, 5 of 5, 4 of 6, 5
of 6, etc.); the type of system (full, abbreviated or power number); the amount
of numbers it covers; and the number of games required to play it. You never
even have to look at a system unless you are going to use it.
One rule of thumb for a wheeling system is that the more numbers it covers, the
more it costs. The second rule is that the better the coverage (higher prize
guarantee) the more it costs. That's where your budget comes in.
- Have patience...
Don't expect to win the jackpot the first time out with your system and wheel.
Anything's possible, but even with systematic play big jackpot wins are unlikely. What you want to do is to begin winning some smaller
prizes. That way
you can let the game pay for itself while you constantly improve your system
until you are within striking range of a jackpot win. With a little luck and a
good system, it can happen.
Going after four-digit exotic bets can be like money in the
bank, and one of the few ways to play the numbers games and actually have the
odds in your own favor (statistically speaking). People who play a number pulled
out of the air, seen on a lisence plate or (god forbid) play a quick_pick are
bucking 2 to 1 odds of just getting their money back - to say nothing about
coming out ahead!
The reason that I say you can play with the odds in your favor on these exotic
bets is this: In the four-digit game a Triple (example: 8889) will statistically
show up every 26 days and there are only 90 possible ways to play it boxed. A
Double/Double (example: 8899) should come in every 37 days and there are only 45
ways to play all the Double/Double combos in the game, boxed.
Look for situations when a Triple or Double/Double is overdue by one or two
times it's normal frequency. Whenthis occurs, and you see the normal patterns of
the four-digit game start to change, or "shift," it is a wise idea to
start playing all or some of the combos looking for that missing exotic. That is
the key to finding them, and that is why I am often able to predict them within
a two-week span.
In most states, Triples pay in the ballpark of $600 for a 50¢ boxed bet and
Double/Doubles pay around $400 for a boxed bet. As you can see, there is no need
to go after the exotics straight. You could play 50¢ on all the Triple combos
for $45 per day or all the Double/Doubles for only $22.50 per day.