odds of winning powerball with multiple tickets

As the Powerball jackpot tips over $600 million, let’s remember the time Fox News gave the worst lottery advice ever

The best piece of financial advice for playing the lottery is probably to not play the lottery, but in 2016, Fox News offered a very questionable suggestion for would-be gamblers.

Early that year, the Powerball lottery hit a jackpot of over a billion dollars for the first time. Amid the media mania surrounding the massive prize, liberal media-watchdog group Media Matters tweeted a screenshot from a “Fox and Friends” segment advising a simple strategy for maximizing your chances of winning the lottery: Buy as many tickets as you can afford.

This is technically true. Buying more lottery tickets does increase your chances of winning the lottery. In Powerball, there are 292,201,338 possible tickets. Buy one ticket, and you have a one in 292,201,338 chance of winning the jackpot. Buy two tickets, you have a two in 292,201,338 chance. And so on.

Even though buying more tickets technically increases your chances of winning, buying as many tickets as you can is probably a really bad idea.

The first problem is that your likelihood of winning is still incredibly low, even if you buy a bunch of tickets. Your odds of being struck by lightning in the next year are about 120 times higher than a two in 292,201,338 chance. Buying 10 tickets and giving yourself a 10 in 292,201,338 chance still leaves you about six times as likely to die in a plane crash as you are to win Powerball.

An even bigger problem is that this is a monumentally terrible idea from a financial perspective. Assuming you take the lump sum, which you likely should, and factoring in taxes, each one of those tickets has a negative expected value, meaning that each lottery ticket represents a likely loss of money. Buying more tickets, then, just increases the amount of money you’re likely to lose.

Buying a ton of lottery tickets, while making your chances of winning the jackpot marginally better, is a terrible “strategy.”

According to Media Matters, Fox News suggested that one should buy as many lottery tickets as one can afford. This is probably a bad idea.

Does Buying Multiple Lottery Tickets Increase Your Odds of Winning?

Thanks to the massive prizes available and delays between buying tickets and the actual draw for a winner, the lottery is ideal for players who like to fantasize. What would you do if you won? How would your life change?

But the chances of winning are absurdly small. You have a greater chance of getting hit by lightning than winning the lottery. So, is buying another ticket like standing on a golf course during a thunderstorm? Will you boost your odds by buying more tickets, or are there better ways to improve your odds?

The math behind multiple lotto tickets

In theory, buying more tickets will give you more chances to win. In smaller lottery set ups, for example, a random ticket drawing at your local school or community center, there is a set number of tickets available and buying more of them boosts your chances.

So, if there are 100 raffle tickets and you buy 5 of them, you have a 5% chance of winning compared to a 1% chance of winning with a single ticket.

However, when it comes to lotteries, the math gets a bit more complicated. That’s because there aren’t set tickets sold, but rather a series of numbers that are drawn. Any number of people could pick the same series of numbers that you have, splitting the prize with you.

More than that, the odds of getting the full set of correct numbers are incredibly small. As in, even statisticians say that the number is so vast that it’s hard to visualize for most people.

They try to explain it this way. Imagine sitting in a packed stadium, with a prize given to someone in a seat at random. You can look around the stadium and imagine your odds. Now imagine another stadium, and another, and another few thousand. Even if you had a seat in multiple stadiums, your odds are fairly small.

If you’re playing the Powerball lottery, you need to match 5 numbers, plus the Powerball to win the grand prize. Those are odds of 1 in 292,201,338 according to the Powerball website. Buying 2 tickets gives you odds of 2 in 292,201,338. Even if you buy 100 tickets, your odds are still better for getting killed by a vending machine or getting dealt an opening hand of a Royal Flush in a poker game.

Tips to help you win the lottery

Okay, so buying as many lottery tickets as you can afford isn’t going to give you a better chance of winning the lottery. What does? Here are some top tips from players who have enjoyed multiple lottery wins:

    Play the whole board.

When you’re picking numbers, many people prefer to use birth dates and anniversaries, hoping that special days will be lucky in the lottery. But this means you’ll only play numbers 1-31, leaving the rest of the board empty. By spreading your numbers, you have a better chance of being the only winner, or splitting it with fewer people. Be consistent.

You’ve got to be in it to win it, so if you really dream of winning the lottery, be consistent about buying your ticket. Stick to a budget.

Sure, winning millions can be tempting, but don’t get carried away buying hope at the expense of being able to afford your rent or food. No matter how many friends are buying tickets or how hyped up things get on the news, your chances remain the same, so don’t get caught up in the lottery fever. Try multiple lotteries.

If you want to buy more than one ticket to keep your hopes alive, why not try playing a couple different lotto games? Play the Powerball and Mega Millions, or pick up tickets to smaller lottery games while waiting for the massive payout on the lowest odds games.

This winner bought ONE ticket

Wondering if those tips really work? Well, they did for Lerynne West.

She won half of a $687.8 million Powerball jackpot, getting a split of $343.9 million. She opted for the lump sum payment of $198.1 million, which is generally seen as the best option for any winner who doesn’t have a spending problem.

Before winning the jackpot, she played twice a week when she could afford it. The most she ever won was $150. She didn’t have a strategy or even pick her own numbers, figuring “If I was meant to win it, I was meant to win it”.

So, if you’re a fan of the lottery, why not buy a ticket? It could be your lucky day…

Will you boost your odds by buying more tickets, or are there better ways to improve your odds? The experts at share their top tips. ]]>