« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Rob Kupec, Forum Communications, Published November 27 2012

Are certain numbers better for winning the big Powerball?

FARGO - No one won the Powerball drawing over the weekend. That means a record jackpot of $425 million, now increased to $500 million, will be up for grab on Wednesday.

Besides that very large amount there are some interesting numbers behind Powerball drawings.

There's been a steady flow of Powerball purchasers at the M&H in Moorhead. The largest seller of lottery tickets in northwest Minnesota.

"This is my very first ticket I ever bought," said Mary Jo Cayle.

There is a 1 in over 175 million chance that one of these number combinations is the winning one.

"It's just the slight possibility, the slight possibility and then everything I could buy after that," Cayle said.

There have been 13 jackpot winners from the land of 10,000 lakes, ranking it fourth in the nation, three in South Dakota, and none in North Dakota. Indiana's had the most with 19.

"I usually do the quick picks, I tried putting my own numbers but it didn't seem to matter," said Powerball player Mark Faleide.

Of winning tickets 70 percent of them were quick picks. But that's because most tickets are sold this way.

For those of you picking your own numbers, here's a few stats.

In the last 6 months the number 56 has come up the most, 9 times while the number 12 has been a no show, the only number not drawn. But don't let that influence your choices.

"It's completely random, so what's chosen, it does not depend on what the next thing that's chosen," said Minnesota State University Moorhead math professor Tim Peil.

Piel uses the Powerball to help teach probability at MSUM. He says the worst numbers to pick are the combo 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 not because it is less likely to come in but because so many people play that, you would likely have to split the jackpot multiple times.

As part of Piel's class, one of his students made a Powerball simulator, so let's see if I play a million times how many wins I'd have.

I end up with no jackpots, two $5,000 wins, 129 $100 wins and a lot of small winners. And my losses are twice this $857,000 number because the Powerball has gone to $2 since the simulator was made.

But even with the low odd the professor will be playing.

"What my wife and I do is she'll probably pick up the ticket and the reason is it's kind of, you buy one ticket and you dream," Piel said.

So back at M&H the tickets still go.

"You know everybody would like to retire," Faledie said.

If you win on Wednesday, your lump sum take home would likely be just under $200 million.