Increase your odds of winning Georgia scratch off tickets by following these 5 strategies
The Georgia lottery games, like Cash 3, Cash 4, Georgia 5, and of course the multistate Powerball and Mega Millions, are all games of chance.
The only way to really increase your odds of winning the lottery jackpot is to purchase more tickets. The more lottery tickets you buy, the better your chances of winning.
The Georgia Lottery Instant Games, also known as scratch offs, are different.
The GA Lottery offers dozens of instant games at any one time. And the types of games, ranging from $1 to $30, change often.
For example, the newest games are the $1 Million Super Cash, Fat Cat/Lucky Dog, Lady Luck 7, and Summer Cash.
None of these games are truly games of chance.
To emphasize this point: The Georgia Lottery drawings are a game of chance because the numbers are drawn randomly – without human intervention. The Georgia Lottery Instant Games are not like the lottery drawings because a lottery official must decide the number of total tickets to print, the number and amounts of winning tickets, and where the winning tickets are sold across the state. The purpose of each decision is to make the game more appealing and keep players coming back.
Even how winning tickets are dispersed in a given roll is often not random to make sure there’s not a long list of losers.
And the Instant Game tickets themselves are carefully crafted, and not random.
“Near winners” are produced, where a ticket will have nearly all of the matching numbers or symbols needed to win, to entice players to keep playing.
So, yes, the Georgia Lottery Instant Games have a method to their madness. The challenge is to figure it out.
A story in Wired Magazine explains how a geological statistician living in Toronto, Mohan Srivastava, discovered a pattern to how the tickets were printed.
“The tickets are clearly mass-produced, which means there must be some computer program that lays down the numbers,” Mr. Srivastava is quoted in Wired. “Of course, it would be really nice if the computer could just spit out random digits. But that’s not possible, since the lottery corporation needs to control the number of winning tickets [otherwise it could go bust]. The game can’t be truly random. Instead, it has to generate the illusion of randomness while actually being carefully determined.”
Mr. Srivastava’s discovery will no longer work on most (probably all) instant game tickets. However, the concept of “illusion of randomness” remains relevant.
Instant lottery scratch-off games best strategies
Here are 5 strategies to increase your odds of winning the Georgia Lottery Instant Games:
1. Buy all your instant game tickets from the same roll at the same time.
You can assume there are at least a few winners in every roll of tickets. Every time you get a losing ticket, you reduce your chances of losing by one ticket.
Do not buy different games. If you buy a new ticket from a different roll, the pool of losing tickets is much larger and your chances of getting a winning ticket goes down.
2. Don’t play everyday. Rather buy in bulk.
Building on tip #1, the odds are better if instead of buying one ticket every day for a week, you spend the same amount and buy 7 tickets at one time. Better yet, purchase your monthly allotment of scratch offs during on visit. Buying 30 tickets at once is much better than buying one a day.
3. Let others buy the losing tickets.
If you’re able to and have the time, hang around and watch others play. If you see a prolonged losing streak from a specific roll, your chances of getting a winning ticket increase because scratch-off tickets are sold with a guaranteed number of winners and losers in each pack.
You could also make friends with the cashier who could keep track for you.
4. Have the retailer’s computer check your losing tickets.
This isn’t about improving your odds necessarily, except that after scratching off 10, 15, or 20 tickets, it’s easy to miss matching symbols or numbers.
5. Strategically plan your play using math and a spreadsheet
Most scratch-off games publish on their websites the odds for each instant cash game. Many will often post prizes that have already been won for each game.
If you do nothing else, at least be sure to check the appropriate website to see which games still have top prizes available.
Now to really improve your odds, let’s do a little math (there’s a spreadsheet at the end to make it easy).
We start with a simple concept: When tickets are sold and prizes won, the odds of winning change.
For example, if a game has sold many tickets, all or nearly all the top prizes could have already been won, so the odds of you winning that $1 million went from very small to virtually zero to perhaps zero if all the top prizes have been claimed.
However, sometimes the odds swing in your favor.
Again, simplifying the math for the example, let’s say 50% of the tickets have been sold but only 25% of the prizes have been claimed. Naturally, your odds of winning have gone up, or swung in your favor, by 50%. This would be a game you should play.
In reality, the odds never swing this much. In fact, most of the time, the odds vary only slightly. But a slight move in your direction can help and a few times, you’ll find significant swings that can make a worthwhile difference.
We’ve created a spreadsheet you can use to do the math for you. All you need to do is check the game’s website and fill in the numbers.
Here’s how the spreadsheet works for a single game:
Unfortunately, Georgia is not very forthcoming with its odds.
The Georgia Lottery website publishes the odds for all its games. But it only publishes how many of its top prizes have been won. (Other states, like the California Lottery website provides a great deal more information.)
But we can still determine some additional odds.
We used the Georgia Lottery Fast Bucks $20 game as an example.
You can find the numbers for the game here: https://www.galottery.com/games/instant-games/instant-games/34233-fast-bucks-1163
We plugged the numbers we know into the spreadsheet, which is really just column A and B.
Since we know 1 of 2 top prizes have been won, the spreadsheet will calculate automatically the rest for columns C, D, and E. And this tells the odds of winning $50 (6%), $40 (10%), $30 (6%), $20 (10%) – yes, the Georgia Lottery officials made it easier to win $40 than $30.
Unfortunately, the rest of the spreadsheet isn’t very helpful without knowing more information like how many of the other prizes have been claimed.
You can use the spreadsheet for other games.
Here are the complete directions for using the How To Win Scratch Offs spreadsheet.
Bottom line, don’t just walk into a store and purchase a few random tickets, unless you really don’t care and just want to have fun. But if you want to improve your odds, these strategies do help.
Download instant lottery scratch-off games spreadsheet
Click to view the spreadsheet: https://goo.gl/EVnhC1
To download the spreadsheet to your computer, click the menu File, then Download As.
Note, this is a Google Doc so you won’t risk getting viruses or other crap you get if you download strange files or those ending in .exe.
Let me know what you think below.