Playing the Same Numbers in the Lottery

Many lottery players like to play the same numbers week after week. When asked why they take this approach, the most common response is that the player believes that using the same numbers in some way increases their chances. The popular idea here is that, if a certain set of numbers is played for long enough, those numbers are ‘bound to come up sometime’ even if it takes years.

Mathematically speaking, we know that this isn’t the case. The odds of any set of lottery numbers coming up are exactly the same from draw to draw, so the numbers you played last week will not influence your chance of winning this week. Of course, it could be argued that over an extended period of time, every possible combination of numbers will come up, but this is not guaranteed. Even if it were, if the odds of you winning a jackpot are 1 in 14 million, you would potentially need to play twice weekly for almost 135,000 years to be sure of winning.

That said, there is still something appealing about playing the same numbers from draw to draw. First, playing the same numbers means that we never have to worry about which selections to put on our lottery play slip. Playing the same numbers also means that we can play on a subscription basis – paying for a whole series of draws in advance. And of course, knowing your numbers by rote means that you can check the latest results at any time and immediately know whether or not you’ve won.

Naturally, there are also potential downsides to playing the same numbers. For example, if you forget to enter the lottery for a draw or two, you may feel a little nervous in case your usual numbers happen to come up. It could also be argued that this sense of nervousness will make you feel compelled to play every draw possible so that you don’t miss out on any win that comes along.

Many people choose to play the same numbers based on the ages of friends or family members (most commonly children), and this presents a potential conundrum – namely, what do you do when someone has a birthday? Do you continue playing the numbers as they are or do you change the numbers according to the new ages? Do you play both sets of numbers, and if so, does this mean that you will need to play one more lottery entry after every birthday that comes along?

There are no good answers to these questions, but for the sake of sanity we would suggest that the only sensible way to play the same numbers is to do just that, and avoid adjusting them once you have decided on your initial selections.

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