Lottery Strategies

Anyone who’s bought a lottery ticket has probably asked: are there surefire lottery strategies?

We all know that winning lottery numbers are picked randomly. Most statistics experts will tell you there’s no way to predict which lottery numbers get drawn. UCLA’s professor emeritus of statistics, Donald Ylvisaker, even says that no machine can predict winning lottery numbers— not even the most powerful supercomputer we could invent.

But does that mean we should just buy tickets and hope for the best?


Mega Millions

Is There a Strategy to Winning the Lottery?

Yes and no. When it comes to the question of lottery strategies, there’s one important thing we have to figure out first: What do we mean by “winning”?

Hitting the jackpot is completely different from pocketing an extra dollar — in more ways than one. Just look at the US Powerball. If you calculate your odds of winning the Powerball, you’ll get different results. To win the jackpot, your odds stand at 1 in 292,201,338. But you have a 1 in 32 chance of winning $4 just by matching the Powerball number.

Should You Go For an All or Nothing Lottery Strategy?

First things first: a good lottery “strategy” is realistic, logically sound, and aligns with your goals. And when it comes to “realistic,” an all-or-nothing lottery strategy doesn’t quite fit the bill.

Most lottery strategies aim for any kind of win, not just the jackpot. It’s all about setting a goal that your strategy can reliably hit. After all, consistently matching the full set of lottery draw numbers is an impossible task. But if you’re aiming to win any money at all, then you’ve got a better chance of finding a formula or technique that can work for multiple draws.

Here’s a quick example: Let’s say you buy 38 US Powerball tickets. One simple strategy is to go through the numbers 1-38 for your tickets’ Powerball numbers. Since you’ve covered all possible outcomes, you’re sure that one of your tickets will net you $4.

Sussex University’s Dr. Jon Haigh, for example, has developed rules of thumb to ensure that you get bigger prizes. His method minimizes the chances that someone else picked the same numbers. It doesn’t guarantee a win, but it does mean you’re less likely to split any prize you might get.

No strategy can ever guarantee that you’ll get the outcome you want every single time. But there are ways to make sure that your tickets aren’t always a sunk cost.

Lotto Strategies on YouTube

YouTube houses thousands of tutorials, including lottery strategies. You’ll find videos promising ways to win the lottery — meaning hitting the jackpot consistently. These range from Pick 3 and Pick 4 games to huge lottery games in different countries: the US Powerball and Mega Millions, EuroMillions and EuroJackpot, Australia Powerball, and more.

Lottery Critic’s tip? Take most of these strategies with a handful of salt. Better yet, don’t give them your time at all.

As we keep stressing here, there’s no strategy that will guarantee a lottery jackpot win. Lottery operators go to great lengths to ensure random draws: switching out lottery machines at random, fine-tuning their random number generators, and so on. There are just too many variables for anyone to reliably predict all the winning numbers, all the time.

How to Improve Your Odds of Winning the Lottery

Check out this quick guide on how to effectively increase your chances of winning any lottery. You’ll find real, math-based strategies that could help you improve your game and take home the prize.

How to Win the Lottery Guaranteed

Ensuring a lottery win is no easy feat. For most people, it might not even be possible. But there have been people in the past who beat the system and did just that. After all, winning the lottery is just a matter of statistics.

Read about three instances where superior math skills was the key to winning the lottery. You’ll also find more tips and strategies you could try to help guarantee that win.

Lottery Strategy Books

Do a quick Amazon search and you’ll find tons of books claiming to be in-depth guides to hacking the lottery. Here’s a quick tip: no book can guarantee that you’ll win the next million-dollar Powerball or Mega Millions jackpot. There’s simply no way to swing a lottery’s jackpot odds in your favor.

Does that mean all lottery strategy books are bogus? No, not quite. Like we said previously, not all lotto strategies are built around scoring the jackpot. Some just try to give you some assurance of winning a certain amount, and others just try to help you pick better numbers.

Here, we run down some of the most popular lottery strategy books to tell you if they’re worth your while.


Mega Millions

Richard Lustig and Lotto Dominator

Richard Lustig famously won the lottery seven times. He then capitalized on those wins by writing a “book” called Learn How to Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery. The 40-page booklet sells for a hefty $40. It claims to give readers all the secrets behind Lustig’s string of lottery wins.

You can buy a copy of Lustig’s book through these links:

Is Lustig’s book worth your money? Lottery Critic says: no, not really. Check out our quick review of Richard Lustig’s book to learn why.

You might have also seen Richard Lustig’s name in connection with a book called Lotto Dominator. This title also claims to dig into Lustig’s lottery-winning secrets. As it turns out, though, Lustig might not even be the book’s author.

Gail Howard and Lottery Winning Strategies

Gail Howard has written some of the most highly-rated lottery books on Amazon, including Lottery Master Guide and Lottery Winning Systems. Howard even has game-specific books for lotteries like the US Powerball and Mega Millions. All of her books use a similar system, though: lottery wheeling.

Simply put, lottery wheeling helps you systematically generate combinations from a given set of numbers. This ensures that, if you hit a certain number of matches (e.g., you match 5 numbers), you’re guaranteed at least a certain amount or prize tier. You’ll learn more about lottery wheeling later in this article.

It’s worth noting, though, that Gail Howard herself admits she hasn’t hit any jackpots or upper-tier prizes. That’s more than enough reason to take any of her advice with a heavy sprinkling of salt. However, there’s no denying that lottery wheeling does give you better reassurance than just picking any old set of numbers and hoping for the best.

If you’re interested in Howard’s books, there’s no need to buy them all. We recommend going for Lottery Winning Systems if you want to check out her strategies for yourself. In case you want to see all of her books, you should check out her Amazon page for all her lottery books.

Are There Strategies for Picking Lottery Numbers?

Yes and no. There is no perfect formula that will help you find jackpot-winning numbers every time. But there are methods you can use to make smarter choices about the numbers on your ticket.

How to Win: Pick 3 Lottery Strategies

Boxed Bets

This isn’t so much a formula as it is a simple rule of thumb. “Boxed” bets are games that allow matches for winning numbers in any order. Playing boxed bets means it’s easier for you to score a win.

Let’s say you bought a ticket with the combination “123.” If the winning numbers were drawn as “312,” your ticket would still be considered a winner.

Obviously, boxed bets are much easier than “straight” bets that require you to match winning numbers in the order they’re drawn. The good news is that you can also find Pick 4 boxed bet options, if you’d like to level up your game.

If you’re a beginner, or if you’re just looking for an easy win, boxed bets are the way to go. Nothing beats playing a game with better odds to start with.

1 Number Guaranteed

This strategy simply involves picking one number and playing it in 36 possible combinations for all positions (i.e., the number in the first, second, or third spot).

For example, if you pick the number 1, you’d have a list like:

123 012 148
124 013 149
125 014 156
126 015 157
127 016 158
128 017 159
129 018 167
134 019 168
135 139 169
136 145 178
137 146 179
138 147 189

Note, however, that this system doesn’t cover all possible combinations. To do that, you’d need to buy 720 tickets — assuming that no number comes up twice.

However, this strategy does give you a good spread of combinations for your chosen number. You could refine this system further by combining it with Frequency Analysis (which could guide you as to which number to draw possible combinations for) and Positional Tracking (which claims to help you find which position a number is more likely to hit).

Frequency Analysis

This strategy isn’t exclusive to Pick 3 lotteries, but it’s easier to do the fewer numbers you need to match. Frequency analysis simply means tracking previous results to try and spot trends in the winning numbers.

Numbers that seem to appear more frequently are called “hot” numbers. Meanwhile, numbers that rarely get drawn are called “cold” numbers. There’s no standard formula for working with hot and cold numbers:

  • Some players will play hot numbers exclusively on the assumption that these will be more likely to come up
  • Some players will play cold numbers instead on the assumption that these are overdue for a draw
  • Others will mix both hot and cold numbers to hedge their bets

It’s up to you to decide how exactly you want to track each number — and what to do with “hot” and “cold” numbers. The advantage here is that you have a certain system for selecting numbers — so you’re not just picking digits on a whim.

There are actually a lot of software programs that promise to do all the tracking and analysis work for you. We’ve reviewed some of these lottery tools here.

Bear in mind, though, that many lottery games take great pains to ensure that draws are completely random. There’s no guarantee that any trends you might have spotted aren’t just coincidences.

Positional Tracking

This strategy adds another layer to frequency analysis. Instead of just tracking how frequently a number comes up, positional tracking also keeps tabs on which positions a number tends to occupy in winning draws.

If you’re serious about this method, though, you’ll likely need to find a software program. Like frequency analysis, positional tracking can get complicated quickly. Even the biggest spreadsheet whiz can’t possibly keep track of 10 different digits across 3 positions.

As with frequency analysis, bear in mind that there’s no guarantee that you’ll find any legitimate trends to capitalize on. The biggest benefit of these strategies is that you get a more organized way of picking numbers than simply relying on pure chance or whim. Simply put, this system reduces your chances of buying a ticket with combinations like “111” or “000.”

It’s worth noting, too, that whether you use positional tracking or your lottery’s Quick Pick, your odds of hitting the jackpot remain the same.

Advanced Pick 3 Strategies

If you are looking for advanced strategies, check out our ultimate Pick 3 Strategy guide which walks you through numerous strategies along with examples.


Mega Millions

How to Win: Pick 4 Lottery Strategies

Lottery Wheeling

This method isn’t exclusive to Pick 4 lotteries. Actually, you could use it for any kind of lottery — as mentioned above, for example, Gail Howard sells books that apply wheeling systems to games like the US Powerball or Mega Millions.

But what is lottery wheeling, and how does it work? Lottery wheeling is all about maximizing your chances with your chosen set of numbers.

Picture this: You buy a few tickets for the upcoming lottery draw. Once the results come out, you realize you’ve got all 4 winning numbers — just not on the same ticket. Sucks, right?

Lottery wheeling helps you solve that problem. Once you’ve selected a set of numbers, lottery wheeling will require you to arrange these numbers in different combinations. You then play all those combinations for a draw. Depending on your lottery wheel configuration, you could be guaranteed to win a certain prize tier as long as your number set includes some of the winning numbers.

Here’s a quick example. Let’s say you picked a set of 5 numbers for your Pick 4 game: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Running those numbers through a simple lottery wheel arrangement would give you something like:

Line Number Number Combination
1 01 02 03 04
2 01 02 03 05
3 01 02 04 05
4 01 03 04 05

And so on until you cover all possible combinations.

There are many possible configurations for a lottery wheel. Some veteran players use grids, others use graphs, and so on. You can find many lottery wheel configurations online for free.

What’s the main advantage of lottery wheels? They can guarantee a minimum prize amount if you get a certain number of matches.

For example, you could have a 6-number system for Pick 4 with a match 3 guarantee if 4 out of those 6 numbers are drawn. This means that, as long as any 4 out of your 6 chosen numbers get drawn, you’re guaranteed a match 3 prize at least.

Of course, no lottery wheel can guarantee a jackpot win — nor can one guarantee that any of your chosen numbers will hit. But lottery wheeling is a good way to ensure that you net a certain minimum amount as long as some of your chosen numbers appear in the winning draw.

Pairs or Doubles Analysis

This method analyzes the probability of two numbers appearing together in a winning draw.

First things first: you can also use frequency analysis and positional tracking systems with Pick 4 lotteries — or any kind of lottery, for that matter. Consider pairs/doubles analysis as yet another subset of these methods.

As with both frequency analysis and positional tracking, you’ll be combing through previous lottery results to try and spot trends. You’ll likely need a detailed spreadsheet or dedicated software if you want to be thorough here.

Unlike lottery wheeling, though, pairs or doubles analysis doesn’t come with any kind of guarantees. After all, many lottery operators do their best to make sure that each draw is as random and unpredictable as possible.

How to Win: Pick 5 Lottery Strategies

Odd or Even Number Analysis

This method is all about helping you select a wider number spread for your lottery ticket. The idea is to always bet with a mix of odd and even numbers.

For example, for a Pick 5 game, you might use odd and even number combinations like:

  • 4 odd / 1 even
  • 3 odd / 2 even
  • 2 odd / 3 even

This lotto strategy isn’t exclusive to Pick 5 games, either. You can just as easily apply it to anything from Pick 3 to Pick 6 games.

The great thing about this method is that it encourages number variety. While any number is just as likely to be drawn as another, a varied set — especially one with “higher” numbers like 33, 38, or 42 — makes it less likely that someone else picked the exact same numbers. This means that, if your ticket does win, you have a lower chance of having to split the prize money.

Sector Analysis

Sector analysis relies on one fact: Pick 5 lotteries have vastly bigger number ranges than Pick 3 or Pick 4 games. You’re looking at anywhere from 30+ to 50+ numbers to choose from. Sector analysis divides the number range into 3 different sectors: low, middle, or high.

It’s up to you where you choose to cut off each sector. The “low” sector, for example, could include all the numbers from 1 – 15; the “middle” sector could then cover all the numbers from 16-30; and so on.

From there, the strategy resembles frequency analysis: you go over previous results to try and see which “sectors” are more likely to hit. If you find that the “middle” sector seems to have the most frequent winning numbers, for example, then you might stick to the 16-30 range when it comes to picking numbers for your next ticket.

Like frequency analysis, bear in mind that there’s no guarantee that this method will make you more likely to pick winning numbers.

Scratch Off Lottery Strategies

Looking for a lottery break? Consider playing a scratch-off game instead. Many lottery operators offer scratch cards alongside big-ticket games. Unlike blockbusters like the US Powerball and Mega Millions, however, scratchers lend themselves well to strategizing.

Why? One big difference: every scratch-off game has a predetermined number of winning tickets.

Games like the US Powerball and Mega Millions are unpredictable because the winning numbers are generated at random during every draw. But with scratch cards, the lottery operator has to produce a set number of winners. So the systems used to mass-produce scratchers can’t be completely random.

Simply put: with games like the Powerball, you could buy tons of tickets every day and you still wouldn’t be guaranteed a jackpot win. But if you buy all the tickets printed for a scratch-off lottery, you’re bound to get the promised prizes.

Of course, not all of us have the money to buy all the tickets for a scratch-off lottery. But here are some tips to help make each scratcher ticket worth your while:

Set a budget

First things first: make sure you’re not spending more than you can expect to win. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how much or how often you cash in a ticket — if you’ve gone broke to get those prizes, you haven’t won.

It’s up to you how much you want to spend on scratch-off tickets. Whatever budget you set, though, make sure you stick to it.

Buy multiple tickets

Unlike the bigger lotteries, scratch-off lotteries have a closed ticket pool. There are only a certain number of tickets available per game — so the more tickets you buy, the closer you get to scoring a prize.

Buy tickets from the same roll

Here’s the thing about scratcher games: they’re more heavily planned than number-draw lotteries like the US Powerball and Mega Millions. From the number of tickets printed to the distribution of ticket rolls per store, scratch-off lotteries are designed to entice people to buy more tickets.

For example, each roll will have at least some winning tickets — because people won’t even bother finishing that roll if it only gives an unbroken string of losers. By buying tickets from the same roll, you boost your odds of finding at least one of the winners in that roll.

This tip uses a similar logic: by buying tickets in one go, you buy tickets from the same batch. That makes you far more likely to score one of the winners in that batch.

By contrast, buying a ticket a day might sound nice, but it won’t help: you might be getting tickets from different rolls, which dilutes your odds of scoring winning tickets from each one.

Join second-chance lotteries

Many lottery operators run second-chance games for losing scratch-off tickets. What’s great is that your odds will likely improve if you join a second-chance lottery.

Why? Well, for better or worse, massive games like the US Powerball and Mega Millions tend to be more popular — so there are fewer scratch-off lottery players to start with. Better yet, only a fraction of those players even bother to join second-chance games. You’ll be competing against a much smaller pool of players.

Many US state lotteries offer a variety of scratcher games. Each state operator handles these games differently, though. Here are some state-specific tips to help you scratch your way to those wins:

Florida (FL) Lottery Scratch Off Strategy

Track the top prizes

The Florida lottery website provides a tally of how many winning tickets were printed for each prize tier. Better yet, the site also keeps an updated record of how many winning tickets have been claimed.

That’s amazing information to have! It lets you gauge which scratch-off game is a better use of your money: the more winning tickets still available, the better.

Once you’ve picked a game, this information also gives you a good picture of your chances. Maybe all the top prizes have been claimed — so you know not to expect a jackpot, for example. Or maybe a long-running game still has many unclaimed high-value prizes. Since many tickets have already been bought, you have fewer duds to wade through while you hunt for those winning tickets.

Check the scratch-off game schedule

Speaking of game durations, the Florida lottery ends games quarterly. There are no specific dates for when each game ends, but at least you have an idea of which games might be on their way out soon.

Why is this important? As demonstrated in the previous tip’s examples, your odds can also be affected by how long a scratch-off lottery has already been running. If it’s a new game, more of the prizes are up for grabs — but more of the losing tickets are still in the mix, too. On the other hand, long-running games with lots of top prizes left are ripe to be won.

Missouri (MO) Lottery Scratchers Strategy

Join Points for Prizes

Missouri is one of the state lotteries with second-chance promotions. To enter, you have to sign up online for a program called Points for Prizes. You can do that through the Missouri State Lottery’s website.

What’s neat is that you can earn rewards points just by registering your losing tickets. You can then exchange those points for all sorts of prizes. And if any second-chance promotions do roll around, your scratch-off tickets automatically get entered.

What is the best strategy to win the lottery? Are there any lottery strategies that actually work? Lottery Critic tries to answer all these questions. Read on to learn more!

Lotto Strategy — The Half Lie, The Whole Truth, and What Works

Edvin Hiltner
Mar 5, 2019 · 31 min read

Winning the lottery takes a whole lot of extraordinary persistence. So for a lottery player, it’s better to play with a lotto strategy than no strategy at all.

And from what appears to be sensible to undoubtedly whimsical, all kinds of hopeless approaches abound.

In 2004, Cynthia Stafford started using the law of attra c tion to win the lottery. It’s not an ordinary story. She meditated on the exact amount of $112 million jackpot prize (as she claimed) and visualized the feeling of winning it. Three years later, she won the lottery and took home the exact amount she had dreamed of winning.

Various lotto gurus and book authors quickly took a ride on Stafford’s story and got people to start embracing the law of attraction.

Because if it works for Stafford, it should work for everyone else. Right?

It’s simple. Coincidences, improbability, rare events, and miracles do happen every day, and math has an explanation for that.

Of course, we will talk about the math side a little later.

But first of all, let me clarify that I am not against the use of a visualization technique to achieve whatever we want in life because, for one thing, it brings a positive impact on us. And it’s free.

However, many stories we hear every day teach us that people achieve success through hard work, schooling, perseverance, proper planning, and by applying time-tested strategies. So visualization alone hardly makes a breakthrough.

People must not forget to check the difference between reality and fantasy or check the distinction between possibilities and impossibilities. For always, taking action is what takes you to where you want to go.

As for the lottery, when a magical button is not available, mathematics remains the only strategy that works. (see The Lottery and the Winning Formula According to Math)

Now, with all the stories of people winning through the quick pick, psychic prediction, tarot card, horoscope, hot and cold numbers, and even a ghost, I think it’s high time we debunk the myth and expose why these things happen, right here, right now.

The law of attraction is perhaps the latest one that’s been added into a long list of superstitions.

And mind you, there’s a lot more to come. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Let’s discuss all these lotto strategies one by one.

By the way, you shouldn’t miss the last item (item #30). In that section, I will discuss in detail the mathematical method that will catapult you to lottery success.

Let’s begin with the first one first.

1. Using the Law of Attraction (a.k.a. LOA) as a Lotto Strategy

Can you use the LOA to win the lottery?

Well, LOA may be good for you in other aspects, but when it comes to the lottery, LOA doesn’t work.

A website dedicated to promoting LOA had an article that attests to the ineffectiveness of LOA as a lottery strategy.

If you think about it, a rare event like that of Cynthia Stafford’s case would be an unlikely event to happen.

You should not be surprised at all. Unusual events, coincidences, extraordinary events, and miracles could also occur.

David J. Hand, an emeritus professor of mathematics and senior research investigator at Imperial College London, explains that even events with minuscule probability can certainly occur. He described this unusual event as the Improbability Principle.

Professor Hand writes:

A set of mathematical laws that I call the Improbability Principle tells us that we should not be surprised by coincidences. In fact, we should expect coincidences to happen. One of the key strands of the principle is the law of truly large numbers. This law says that given enough opportunities, we should expect a specified event to happen, no matter how unlikely it may be at each opportunity.

First, a large number of lottery draws take place around the world time and time again which quickly add up to a vast number of opportunities for many unusual things or even miracle to happen. It will be surprising if we don’t see unusual events to occur.

Countless supporters of LOA dream of winning the lottery, and it’s not surprising if one of them comes up as a new jackpot winner one day.

The fact is that the more LOA supporters do it, the better the odds that one of them will become a millionaire through the lottery. Then if people hear news about a supporter who won the lottery, many think that LOA works. Apparently, availability bias and confirmation bias are at work in the world of lottery.

People only count the stories readily available in the recent news and ignore the tales of many LOA supporters who lose.

Professor Hand cited some examples of unusual events that occurred in the lottery:

On September 6, 2009, the Bulgarian lottery randomly selected the winning numbers 4–15–23–24–35–42. Then four days later, the Bulgarian lottery randomly selected the same set of numbers as the previous draw, which caused a media storm at the time.

On October 16, 2010, the combination 13–14–26–32–33–36 were drawn, which is the same numbers that were previously drawn a few weeks earlier on September 21. This event caused people to think that the lottery was fixed.

The North Carolina Cash 5 lottery produced the same winning numbers on July 9 and 11, 2007.

In 1980, Maureen Wilcox bought tickets for both the Massachusetts State Lottery and the Rhode Island Lottery. Unfortunately, though, her ticket for the Massachusetts Lottery matched the winning combination for the Rhode Island Lottery. And another ticket for the Rhode Island Lottery matched the winning combination for the Massachusetts Lottery.

You would think that there could be something fishy, but in reality, what occurred was mathematically probable.

Stafford’s story (if true as she claimed) was another example of the Improbability Principle.

Of course, if you want to visualize your way to winning the Mega Millions as Cynthia Stafford did, why not. In that case, you would need a truly large number of opportunities for your wish to occur.

Winning the lottery takes a whole lot of extraordinary persistence. So for a lottery player, it’s better to play with a lotto strategy than no strategy at all. And from what appears to be sensible to… ]]>