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    Are There Really Lucky Numbers in the Lotto?

    By Ray S. Hocking

    Have you ever wondered if there are really lucky numbers in lotto or not? We all know that it is purely a random occurrence which ball comes up in the machine every game. And yet whilst we all know it's a game of chance there are numbers that come up more consistently than others.

    Most people have dreamt of winning the lotto at some point in their lives, but for a large proportion of the population that never happens. Several years ago the Powerball jackpot in Australia was $50 million, making it the biggest prize ever offered in any Australian lottery game up to that point in time.

    With that in mind, a media organisation asked a scientist to review past results to see if she could offer some scientific approach to picking the winning numbers and got her to share ideas for making sure you're the only person to win.

    "A great number of players use their own 'lucky numbers' for lotto draws," she explains "more than not these are dates of anniversaries, birthdays or numbers that have personal significance."

    Statistical analysis says the best way to pick winning numbers is to forget 'lucky numbers' and pick your choices randomly. However, it's not a good idea to pick numbers in a line, for example, 15,16,17,18 and 19.

    Most people would assume that consecutive numbers would be a very rare occurrence and therefore selecting these numbers gives them a greater chance of being the sole winner. As it turns out, more people than we think also are thinking along these lines, making a line selection a common thing in terms of numbers selected. Unfortunately this would have the opposite effect should the right line of numbers come up. You would be sharing it with a lot of more people than you'd expect, she explained.

    The scientist offered another tip which is to pick a couple of numbers above 31. Because we are all using birthdays and anniversaries, these numbers aren't as popular, so selecting these gives us a greater chance of being a sole winner.

    At the time, the most often drawn Powerball numbers were 26, 22, 5, 39, 24 and 34. The least drawn numbers are 41, 32, 10, 43, 35 and 20. These may well have changed in the intervening period.

    So even if you were to determine what these numbers are today, the scientist warns people to remember that the game is random. Just because these numbers have come up more in the past, there is no scientific proof they will continue to be "lucky" in the future.

    The most popular number selection appears to be lucky number eight. The number is particularly lucky in Chinese culture.

    The honour of most unpopular number goes to numbers four and 13. In Korea, China, and Japan, as well as in many East-Asian and some Southeast-Asian countries, there is a fear of the number four because phonetically it is similar to 'death'.

    Some Christian traditions also say that at the Last Supper, Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th to sit at the table, and that for this reason 13 is considered to carry a curse of sorts.

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