Culture and Society

How do you calculate the odds of winning the lottery?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. The state lottery game with the biggest jackpot is usually Lotto. The game involves correctly guessing which six numbers will be randomly chosen from a pool of balls labeled one through 50. The order in which they're picked isn't relevant - - only that the contestant has all of the correct numbers. To calculate the odds of choosing all six correct numbers, you can multiply the odds each correct choice in succession.

    For example, the odds of picking the first number correctly are 50/6, because on the first choice, there are 50 balls in the running, and you still have six chances to choose the correct number. Once that number is removed, there are 49 balls left and five more drawings. To calculate total odds, just follow this pattern for all six drawings: 50/6 x 49/5 x 48/4 x 47/3 x 46/2 x 45/1 = 15,890,700:1.

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