Although winning the lottery is all about odds, luck and chance, some people have their own special tricks to help take home the jackpot. While some may claim that their method is the best, there is really no one tried and true way that works for everyone.
You can't really predict which numbers will be picked because the draws are completely random (any person or software claiming to know the winning numbers of an upcoming draw is just trying to scam you), but this doesn't mean that you can't increase your odds by playing smart.
While we can't guarantee a win, here are 7 tips that'll help you boost your chances of winning:
1. Join a lottery pool
One surefire way to increase your odds is to buy more tickets, but that isn't necessarily a cheap option and doesn't guarantee a win. Instead of playing solo, consider joining an existing pool or starting your own with your colleagues or group of friends. Not only will you be making a smaller contribution each week, you'll multiply your chances of getting a big payout. Just make sure all the rules are clearly understood by everyone involved so there is no discrepancy if a shared ticket wins.
2. Play the right games
National lotteries such as the Powerball and MegaMillions offer huge prizes at very high odds because they have a broader entry pool. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't play them, it just means that you should also try your luck at state lotteries too. Unlike national lotteries, you'll have to physically be in the state to buy a ticket but the odds are usually lower.
3. Play the second-chance games
Second time's the charm! Don't be so quick to throw away your ticket if your numbers didn't win because there might be a bonus drawing and you could luck out. Back in 2010, a woman took home $120,610.70 after taxes by opting into the second-chance game in the Kentucky Lottery even though her numbers didn't win in the initial draw.
Click on the next page for more helpful tips for playing the lottery including the most frequently drawn numbers.
4. Buy tickets from different locations
Whether you prefer scratch tickets or number-based draws, switching up where you buy your ticket from could make a difference if you win especially when it comes to national lotteries. Some states have higher taxation rates so should take that into consideration before you make a purchase. New York is one of the worst states to buy a ticket in because even if you're just a visitor you're still subjected to a 8.8% New York state tax and 3.87% New York City tax. Your winning ticket is worth the most in Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Tennessee and Washington state, all of which don't tax Powerball winnings.
5. Pick your own numbers
Experienced players will advise you to pick unusual numbers so you won't have to split your winnings, but there are some numbers that have been known to occur more frequently than others despite the fact that every number has an equal chance of being picked.
Lottery websites will have a number frequency charts you can refer to before making your picks. When it comes to Powerball, one of the most popular lottery games in the U.S., 20 is the most frequently drawn red ball number over the last 10 years according to Dr. Min Su Kim, a statistics professor at Southern University. The next most commonly reoccuring winning numbers are 37, 2, 31, and 35.
Jackpot.com looked into 1,500 draws from 15 international lotteries including some in the U.S and concluded that 16, 22, 28, 37, 6 and 3 were the most drawn numbers. So you might want to write this down for future reference.
Past studies have also shown that playing numbers over 31 decreases your chances of sharing the prize money so you while your chances of taking home big bucks aren't higher, if you do win, you'll earn a larger sum. This is because most people play numbers based on special days like birthdays and anniversaries, all of which can't be higher than 31.
6. Do the math
Gambling is one area in life where some of that math you were forced to learn in school can actually be applied with some success. Approaching the lottery from a mathematical standpoint will not only change how you play, it could help you win, after all they say numbers don't lie. Lottery is all about probability so if you can work out which combinations are "bad" and which ones are "good" then you're well on your way to increasing your chances of winning according to lottery expert Jerry Jay Lendlsmith.
7. Stick to the same numbers
When you find a combination of numbers that work for you, whether they're your lucky numbers or from the frequency list, stick to them. Your odds of winning the lottery with your significant numbers are just about the same as with all other number groups so why bother changing it up?
"Never ever, ever change those numbers," lottery expert Richard Lustig told ABC News. If I were you I wouldn't be quick to dismiss advice from Lustig because he is a seven time lottery grand prize winner.
Do you have a special method of playing the lottery?