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Lottery secrets solved: How one man won with same numbers twice

THE LOTTERY has obsessed populations across the globe for decades. While the odds of winning the jackpot may seem minimal, one man achieved this seemingly-improbable feat twice.

The Health Lottery: How to take part in the draw

Dreams of winning the big lottery jackpot have spurred gamblers to spend their hard-earned cash on it for years. The belief in this type of “get rich quick” scheme has captivated countless people all over the world and is an extremely popular pastime. Despite the odds being heavily stacked against the participant, one man defied those minimal chances of winning to be victorious twice. More than that, the appropriately named Larry Gambles who spent 15 years playing the lottery was able to claim the lottery jackpot using the same numbers.

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Mr Gambles could not believe his luck when the winning lottery numbers matched his for a second time back in 2016.

The retired school administrator, then 65, from Matteson, in Chicago, US, had been playing his state’s Lucky Day Lotto for a decade-and-a-half.

Against all odds, numbers on the back of his school American football and basketball teams jerseys had helped him win again.

The supposedly lucky digits – 01 – 06 – 12 – 14 – 25 – had earned him $ 1million (£804,500), bringing his total winnings to $ 1.1million (£885,000) – after he claimed a $50,000 (£40,000) jackpot nine years before.

Despite it seeming improbable for someone to win the lottery once – let alone twice – some claim there are finely crafted mathematical calculations behind gambling success.

Larry Gambles won the Illinois Lottery twice – winning $1.1 million (£885,000) (Image: ILLINOIS LOTTERY / GETTY)

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People across the globe dream of winning the lottery, leading it to be a popular pastime for many (Image: GETTY)

Mr Gambles could not “believe it paid off again” and claimed to have no secret other than to “ pick your favourite numbers and stick with them”.

He told ABC News: “It worked for me…I equate gambling with dice, cards and casinos. To me, the lottery is just luck.”

But behind every big win on the lottery are even greater mathematical equations, according to LotteryCodex.

While the odds of winning just one time on the Illinois Lucky Day Lotto – which Mr Gambles played – are low, the chances are not as minimal as other lotteries.

For the Lucky Day Lotto, which requires entrants to pick five balls that match those drawn from a 45 ball field, the probability of winning is one in 1,221,759.

According to probability calculator WebMath, this falls short of the odds of being struck by lightning, which has a one in two million chance of occurring .

LotteryCodex claims there is a secret behind winning and that maths can help you play better (Image: GETTY)

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While the Lucky Day Lotto’s odds may seem impossible, it is believed there is actually a slightly better probability of winning that game than in other lotteries.

According to LotteryCodex, the chance of winning the Euro Millions is one in 139,838,159 and the Italian Superenalotto has a one in 622,614,629 chance.

The site explained that part of the secret behind winning is understanding the maths behind the games as “not all lotteries are created equally”.

While it can be easier to win when there is a lower pool of balls for the adjudicator to select from (eg. 45 opposed to 60) and less numbers for the player to select (eg. 5 opposed to 6) – there are more complicated calculations behind a jackpot victory.

LotteryCodex claims that buying multiple tickets for one draw is has better odds than one a week (Image: GETTY)

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These can include ensuring that a near perfect split of odd and even numbers are selected and that, of those odd and even numbers, there is another near-even split of high and low numbers, according to the claims.

LotteryCodex also suggests that instead of a once a week or daily flutter on the habit, players should save their money for larger bulk purchases of tickets as that will increase their odds of winning in that one game.

Illinois winner Mr Gambles was reported to have purchased seven tickets a week – but it is unknown whether he bought them for one specific draw or for lottery draws that occurred each day.

If he had pooled his money to play all seven tickets on one day, he would have had an increased chance of winning, according to LotteryCodex.

Equally, if he had instead played once a month, once a year, or once a decade, with that cumulative amount of tickets – his odds would have increased ever more so, it is claimed.

LotteryCodex also claims that a split of odd and even, and, high and low numbers are important (Image: GETTY)

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He bought seven tickets each week for 15 years – a total of around 5,460 over that time period.

While it is not known how much he spent during that time, if it was $1 per ticket – which is the current price to play – he would have spent around $5,500 (£4,400) on the lottery in total and still made a profit from his $1.1million (£885,000) takings.

LotteryCodex claims that while increasing your odds is important, it is also vital to ensure that the profit margins are high enough to make it worth winning.

For example, if a person was to buy one ticket for every possible winning lottery combination there are only some occasions where a profit is guaranteed.

If there were 14 million combinations but only a £1million jackpot at £1 to play, by this principle, they would not make a profit.

Despite the supposed science behind lottery victories, it appeared for Mr Gambles anyway that luck was truly on his side – as he did not appear to play with a set tactic in mind.

For him, whether it was sheer dumb luck, an extremely fortune choice of numbers or some greater belief behind it all, it appears he was destined to become a winner, not only once but twice.

THE LOTTERY has obsessed populations across the globe for decades. While the odds of winning the jackpot may seem minimal, one man achieved this seemingly-improbable feat twice.

The national lottery numbers: what have we learned after 20 years?

You are almost as likely to have been married to Katie Price as you are to win the jackpot, 20 is the least drawn number and 10,000 people are picking 1,2,3,4,5,6 every single week

Winners of the national lottery from the last 20 years. Photograph: The National Lottery/Camelot/PA

Winners of the national lottery from the last 20 years. Photograph: The National Lottery/Camelot/PA

Last modified on Sat 25 Nov 2017 08.47 GMT

The first national lottery draw was on 19 November 1994. Here are the stats behind the numbers of the first 20 years.

13,983,816

There are 13,983,816 different ways to select six balls out of 49, which is why the odds of winning the lottery are said to be “one in 14m”. That is less likely than a fair coin landing on heads 23 times in a row (1 in 8.4m), and slightly more likely than a randomly selected person in England having been married to Katie Price (1 in 17.7m).

20

The lottery is 20 years old, and 20 is also the number that has appeared the fewest times. It has only been pulled out of the barrel 204 times, while the most common number 23 has come up 266 times. But this is exactly the variation we’d expect from random draws. If all numbers came up exactly as frequently, that would be a sign of foul play.

£720,152

This is the smallest jackpot yet and it occurred quite recently, on 13 August 2014. It’s a massive drop from the biggest ever jackpot, on 6 January 1996 of £42,008,610. Even more disappointing, the smallest ever jackpot was won by two people, so they had to split the pot and take home a “mere” £360,076 each.

133

The most people to win the same jackpot was 133 – they all picked the numbers 7, 17, 23, 32, 38 and 42 on 14 January 1995. It’s hard to imagine the emotional rollercoaster of thinking you have won the £16,293,830 jackpot only to end up with 1/133 of that total: £122,510.

Katie Price. Photograph: Eamonn McCormack/WireImage

55.5p

For every £1 you spend on national lottery games, you will win just over 55p on average. You can work this out from the performance reports of the Camelot Group, which runs the national lottery. In the first half of this financial year it sold £3.47bn worth of tickets and handed out £1.93bn in prizes. Of the remaining money, £868m went to good causes and the rest to things such as government duty, retailers’ commissions and running costs.

£2,078

For the first 1,856 draws, it only cost £1 per entry and for the 111 draws since 5 October 2013 it has been £2 per ticket. So playing every week since its inception would have cost you a total of £2,078. But using the average winnings from above, that means you will have won around £1,153.57 in prizes, a total loss of £924.44 (47p per draw).

10,000

It is estimated that in each draw, 10,000 people choose the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Of course, numbers that form a nice pattern like this are as likely as any other combination, so they are in no way reducing their chance of winning. But given most jackpots are around the £4m mark, if those numbers do come up, everyone will walk away with £400 each.

The price of a national lottery lotto ticket was increased to £2 in 2013. Photograph: Alamy

4, 15, 23, 24, 35, 43

The Bulgarian lottery uses the same run of numbers from 1 to 49 as the national lottery in the UK, and on 6 September 2009 the winning numbers were 4, 15, 23, 24, 35 and 43. This was completely unremarkable until exactly the same numbers were drawn again on 10 September 2009. At which point, it was still unremarkable. People demanded an inquiry into draw fixing, but with so many lotteries around the world, some of them will occasionally have freaky matches. Even the most unlikely results happen at a very predictable rate.

39

Currently, the number that has not been seen for the longest is 39, which was last drawn on 9 July 2014, over 100 days ago. But that does not make it any more likely or unlikely to be come up in the next draw. Despite what several online scams and get-rich books claim, every lottery draw is completely random and independent from all previous results. Expecting certain numbers to be “due” is called the “gambler’s fallacy”. There is no way to increase your odds of winning.

• This article was amended on 17 November 2014. In the section headed “55.5p” the figures for Camelot’s ticket sales, prize outlay and charitable donations were all given as 1000 times lower than reality. In addition, the country where the same numbers came up twice was Bulgaria, not Belgium. These errors have now been corrected. The article was further amended on 19 November 2014 to correct the date of the first national lottery draw.

<strong>Matt Parker:</strong> You are almost as likely to have been married to Katie Price as you are to win the jackpot, 20 is the least drawn number and 10,000 people are picking 1,2,3,4,5,6 every single week ]]>