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The easy tricks that can maximise your lottery winnings

From avoiding the number seven to picking numbers over 31, mathematician Peter Rowlett has a few psychological strategies for improving your chances when playing the lottery

By Peter Rowlett

16 August 2023

A picture taken on April 9, 2018 shows lottery balls used for the rehearsal of the distribution of the Loto lottery on the set of the "Francaise des Jeux" FDJ in Boulogne Billancourt. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP) (Photo by JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images)

JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

WOULD you think I was daft if I bought a lottery ticket for the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6? There is no way those are going to be drawn, right? That feeling should – and, mathematically, does – actually apply to any set of six numbers you could pick.

Lotteries are ancient. Emperor Augustus, for example, organised one to fund repairs to Rome. Early lotteries involved selling tickets and drawing lots, but the idea of people guessing which numbers would be drawn from a machine comes from Renaissance Genoa. A common format is a game that draws six balls…

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