DC Powerball is now a statistical gain

I’m a great believer in gambling according to odds.  I don’t play blackjack, though I would if I knew how to count cards well enough to tip the odds in my favor.  I don’t play roulette, or any of the other hosue edge games.  I play poker for the challenge of playing against other players, hopefully, weaker players, where my edge is largest.

And I don’t play the lottery.  Unless it’s statistically an advantage.  Allow me to explain.

If you check out the odds on DC Powerball, you’ll see that the odds of winning are one in 146,107,962.  That means that if you bet a dollar over and over again, you’ll win once every 146,107,962 times.  That one time when you win, you’d need to win at least 146 million dollars and change to make up for all the times you lost.

And then you’d only break even.  But what if you could win more than that?  For example, this week the prize is $290 million dollars.  That makes it a statistical advantage to play the lottery, because you’ll win more money than the odds allow, if you win.  In fact even if you and someone else win, the split will almost cover your odds.

So go blow a dollar on a quick pick, know that you’re actually beating the game.

(And use the random number generator, because it reduces the chances you’ll pick the same numbers as someone else and have to share the prize.  That’s a proof for another entry…)