Using Mathematics to Win the Lottery

Lottery Basics

Many of you are probably familiar how lottery works.  A lottery is a game where a smaller group of numbers is chosen from a larger group. If you bet on the right combination, you win the jackpot prize, which is usually staggering.

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Although there is a common concept about lottery, there are variations in different places or countries.  In this post, I will use ours as an example. In the Philippines, as of this writing, we have three types of lottery: 6/42, 6/45 and 6/49. Yes, you guessed it right, 6/42 means 6 numbers are randomly chosen from a set of numbers from 1 through 42. We use the 6/42 lottery in the following discussion. » Read more

A Gentle Introduction to Probability

Sisters’ Dilemma: Who’s going to grandma?

Issa and Ishi go to their grandmother every weekend. Next weekend, however, their mother will be leaving for an important errand, so one of them has to stay home. Both sisters wanted to go, so to decide, they agreed on a toss coin. If the result is head, then Issa will go, if tail, Ishi will.

Tossing a coin would only result to two possible outcomes: a head or a tail. Assuming that the coin is fair, the chance of Issa winning the toss coin is 1 out of 2, or 50 percent. From the context, intuition tells us that the chance of Issa winning is the ratio of the number of outcomes favorable to her (that is getting a head) to the total number of possible outcomes (head and tail). Obviously, Ishi has the same chance of winning. » Read more

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