Playing Tips for Lotto.

You still want to play Lotto? Then read on ...

Minimise your cash outlay

When playing a poor betting game, it is obviously better to wager small amounts so that you lose less. In Oz Lotto for instance you should ideally play one game for a smaller sum rather than play a whole card of 12 games. Of course you have less chances to win, but as previously discussed, if you are gambling to actually win rather than just paying for the fantasy of what it would be like to be rich, then Lotto is bad value and not the way to go.

The somewhat similar game of Keno has better odds than those available in lotto games, though it is still a fixed returns style game in which there is no player skill involved.

Avoid system entries.

(See previous point) Although you can get about a 6% discount, you have to outlay large amounts to get it. In a practical sense it is better to play for just a few dollars with an expected return of 60% than play for hundreds of dollars with an expected return of 64%. Statistically speaking you are losing either way, so the smaller outlay minimizes the damage.

Whilst we recommend avoiding system entries because of the larger dollar outlay, if you wish to ignore our advice there is a point worth mentioning that was brought to our attention by Professor Stephen Clarke from Swinburne University.

In his words, "Because system entries repeat the same numbers on many entries, when a particular set of numbers from a system entry win a certain division, they will also win several prizes from the lower division or possibly of the same division. This means that when a system entry wins something, it is likely to be a bigger total amount because of the multiple wins. Now there is no such thing as a free lunch, so the higher total prize is counteracted by a lower chance of winning something. In short, by choosing a system entry rather than an equivalent number of separate independent entries with different numbers, a player will have a win less often. But when they do win, they win more."

Minimise your time outlay

Don't take it too seriously! Don't waste brain activity and emotional energy trying to figure out a way to beat the system. There are other games which offer a far better chance of this being possible. In Lotto either you will be supremely lucky and win a lot of money, or you won't. Chances are overwhelmingly huge that you won't. The fact that it is possible to win lower division prizes doesn't change the bottom line, a bad return on each dollar wagered.

Don't go overboard just because there's a jackpot

A lot of people play extra Lotto games when there's a jackpot, but in the vast majority of cases the value you are getting is still poor. It is only very rarely (and you would have to be monitoring lotteries all around the world) that sufficient successive jackpots occur to make a syndicated attack theoretically worthwhile. It has however been pointed out to us by Professor Clarke that normal Tattslotto only returns 55% to the player, with the extra 5% usually quoted only returned eventually to the player by way of Tattslotto Superdraws. So whilst you should still not go overboard, if you must spend money on Tattslotto, the Superdraws offer better value as they are mildly subsidised by the normal draws.

Try to pick unpopular combinations

This is really the only positive advice we have to offer on lottery playing strategy. It is so obvious as to hardly seem worth stating, that if you win a prize in any division, you win more if you have to share it with fewer people. Remember, all Lotto combinations are equally likely to win. Many people for some reason find this hard to grasp and if you must play Lotto you should at least try to exploit this.

There are various ways to try and identify combinations that are likely to be unpopular. Here are a handful of statistically unproven, but logical, suggestions.

Avoid combinations that make obvious geometric patterns on the card.

Avoid supposedly 'lucky' numbers like 3, 7, 8, 9, or supposedly 'unlucky' numbers like 13. In fact avoid any numbers that draw attention to themselves, such as 42, chosen by Douglas Adams as the answer to the meaning of life because it is a 'normal' looking number that doesn't draw attention to itself  Self referential humour

Avoid numbers in the range 1-31, as people often use dates to help them choose their numbers.

A final word of advice. Do not buy a commercial Lotto number selecting product. Like the vast majority of commercial gambling aids, these are mostly dubious. The ones that are not outright scams are almost certainly misguided. We are staggered at the number of web sites offering products and advice about Lotto. Some of these are so fanciful they are hilarious. In our Nice Try section we feature some of these, strictly for amusement. The creator of one of the products previously listed in this section actually contacted us and conducted a spirited defence of his system. We now believe him to be sincere, but stop short of agreeing with his methodology.


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