Can you win Toto?

Short answer is yes.

Tough but not impossible. First let’s look at the probability of winning Toto.

For a group 1 prize, it is around 1 in 14 millions chance. To put it into perspective, every Singaporean would have to buy around 3 tickets (currently the population is around 5.3) and only 1 ticket is the winning ticket.

As small as the probability may seem, it is actually quite possible. In fact the odds of you being born which is around 1 in 400 quadrillion chance (http://what-are-odds-you) is much smaller than this. And time and time again, it has been proven that even with a very small probability some events still happen.

  • The Birthday Problem (What are the odds of two person having the same birthday in a room of 30 people)
  • Shuffling a deck of cards to be any arrangement would be a 1 in 80658175 * 1^60 chance.

According to the ergodic hypothesis, given an infinite universe, every event with non-zero probability — however small — will eventually occur. Or put another way: given enough chances, even the most unlikely event is certain to happen.
- http://wiki/Improbable_things

Considering this, there are two draws per week and almost every week there will be a winner, there might be a rare case of no winners for the week but generally the prizes do not snowball for more than 2 weeks. If we give a very conservative estimation, there will be two new overnight millionaire in Singapore every month from lottery.

After digging around the internet for strategy in winning Toto, I discovered a few gurus who had given some advice — probably doesn’t work.

  • Buy the numbers that haven’t been opened for the last X amount of draw. This is to indicate that numbers that have been drawn will have lesser probability to being drawn again. e.g. In a coin flip it is a 50/50 chance of heads or tails. If for the past 3 results is head, then the chances of tail being the fourth flip is much higher.
  • Have a strategy in a set of number and stick to it, do not change. This is because the number you’ve bought hasn’t strike yet but is waiting in line to happen some time in the future. And every time if you change the number, your chances of probability will start from zero again. e.g. You play a number guessing game with your friend. There is more chance of the number being guessed if you do not change the number every round — considering the wrong number guessed is eliminated every round.
  • Do no write your own number, use a random number generator or in Toto, its the quick pick. This contradict the above strategy. In this case, the guru believes if we write our own numbers we tend to gravitate it towards numbers that have meaning to us — six is my luckily number, or 11 is my birthday, etc. So having a random generated number, it takes away the human nature of always picking the same number.
  • High tide and low tide. The number balls are randomised in a tank via an air pump, which one number will be picked from. The tides will determine the small difference in gravitational pull towards the balls. Buy a certain number when it is a certain tide. (not sure how this works but thats what the guru says).
  • Rhythm of picking the balls. The timing when the balls are picked can also determine the number, slow-slow-slow-fast-slow-fast, etc. (now this is just random talking)

At the end of the day, (I think) there’re no real ways of figuring out how to win the lottery, it is purely luck. Yes, there might be some mathematical ways to improve your odds but the differences is negligible. It’s fun to buy it but do not pin all your hopes into it (like counting on it as a retirement plan). Having analysed all these, I really do think one day I will win the lottery. :)

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