For years now, a red number “20” ball has been whirling around in an enclosed Powerball kettle, patiently waiting to make a lucky ticket holder a millionaire.
To date, that red ball has been the most popular to pop out the kettle. In fact, it’s also the second most common number of the five white balls selected in almost every Powerball drawing, along with the numbers 26, 32, 16 and 42.
So, this has got us thinking. Is 20 your favourite number? Is it one you’ve noticed often if you prefer the quick pick option?
In fact, how do you choose your Powerball numbers week in and week out?
Some winners and experts say that if you want to avoid splitting a big Powerball jackpot with anyone else, stay away from quick pick tickets. Random picks do exactly that – leave the system to randomly choose numbers for you.
With the help of a random number generator (RNG), five numbers between 1 and 69 are produced along with a Powerball between 1 and 26.
The downfall with RNG-picked numbers is that it’s pretty much impossible to get duplicate sets of numbers. So, even if you decide this is the draw you’re going to purchase 20,000 tickets for, there’s still a 50/50 chance of coming across repeat sets – amongst almost 300 million potential combinations.
Here’s another spanner – federal and state governments along with lottery officials actually have an interest in selling duplicate tickets.
Even if you’re not putting your entire savings into this week’s tickets, you’re still better off picking your favourite numbers instead.
Most players cluster their number choices (think birthdays, anniversaries, the day you brought your dog home). Quick Pick, on the other hand, doesn’t let you avoid common numbers. So, if you pick all common numbers, and then those from random picks, you are far more likely to share the pot.
While Powerball doesn’t publish the distribution of numbers that players choose, you can take a look at the drawings and their jackpot winners. Of course, Powerball also publishes every draw’s numbers. By taking a look at both sets of numbers over a course of time, you can subset the number combinations that won Powerball jackpots compared to those that didn’t.
Take a good look, and you’ll see that there are distinct patterns in the numbers players pick. They play special dates, ages and even fortune cookie numbers.
What’s more, when you pick your own numbers, you have more control over your entries. Use whatever method you like to come up with your combos, and you’ll find those numbers may just come up more often than random picks.
Play your chosen numbers regularly, and you’ll also have more flexibility when entering multiple Powerball draws.
In other words, if you want to play for a month in advance, you can choose the same numbers for every draw. It makes it easier to check your numbers, but it also means you can choose the same numbers for every draw, different ones, or a mixture.
With Quick Picks, you’ll end up using the same numbers for each and every draw you play in advance.
Sure, the numbers might come up, but you know what the chances are!
Whether you’re superstitious and want to stick to special numbers, or you’d prefer to leave your fate in the hands of random picks, the choice is really yours.
Overall, frequent Powerball players have a better chance of winning when you dedicate yourself to the same number combination for every draw and buy a number of tickets at a time. It’s estimated that two numbers occur around 7 percent of the time, with 32 and 41 being the most common winners.
Every number combination has a chance of winning. It’s not a case of quick picks or favourites winning the most. It’s all really down to your preferences and a hefty dose of good luck.
What numbers will you play this week?