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Forum index » Science and Technology » Math » Probability
Probably an easy question for you guys...
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MS11
science forum beginner


Joined: 11 Nov 2005
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2006 12:02 pm    Post subject: Probably an easy question for you guys... Reply with quote

Hi,

I was having a discussion about the probability of winning the UK lottery
with a friend. She said that if you chose the same numbers that won last
week, you would have less chance of winning this week than if you chose
completely different numbers. I knew this was not true and said so by
explaining that if you rolled a dice and got a 6, then when you roll the
dice again you still have just as much chance of getting a 6 as any other
number. She agreed but then said, but you only have a 1 in 36 chance of
rolling 2 sixes in a row, so how come this doesn't apply to the lottery.
It does I said, the chances of the same numbers coming up 2 weeks in a row
are huge but once one week's lottery has taken place this is no longer
relevant to the next week's and any selection of numbers has as much
chance as any other selection including last week's winning numbers. Why
she asked...can't you just conceptualize going back before last week's
lottery took place to calculate the odds of last week's winning numbers
being the same as this week's unknown numbers and take that as the odds of
this week's being the same as last week's and accept that the odds of
winning this week's lottery with last week's winning numbers is much less
likely than with a new selection? Even though I know this is not the case,
I couldn't explain why. Can someone help please?

Many thanks.

PS. UK National lottery requires matching 6 unique numbers between 1 and 50.

PPS. Neither of us actually play the lottery. Smile Another friend once
said: 'the lottery is a tax on people who are bad at maths', which I think
is rather nice.
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Nigel
science forum beginner


Joined: 03 Jun 2005
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2006 11:44 am    Post subject: Re: Probably an easy question for you guys... Reply with quote

MS wrote:

Quote:
Hi,

I was having a discussion about the probability of winning the UK
lottery with a friend. She said that if you chose the same numbers that
won last week, you would have less chance of winning this week than if
you chose completely different numbers. I knew this was not true and
said so by explaining that if you rolled a dice and got a 6, then when
you roll the dice again you still have just as much chance of getting a
6 as any other number. She agreed but then said, but you only have a 1
in 36 chance of rolling 2 sixes in a row, so how come this doesn't apply
to the lottery. It does I said, the chances of the same numbers coming
up 2 weeks in a row are huge but once one week's lottery has taken place
this is no longer relevant to the next week's and any selection of
numbers has as much chance as any other selection including last week's
winning numbers. Why she asked...can't you just conceptualize going back
before last week's lottery took place to calculate the odds of last
week's winning numbers being the same as this week's unknown numbers and
take that as the odds of this week's being the same as last week's and
accept that the odds of winning this week's lottery with last week's
winning numbers is much less likely than with a new selection? Even
though I know this is not the case, I couldn't explain why. Can someone
help please?

Many thanks.

PS. UK National lottery requires matching 6 unique numbers between 1 and
50.

1 and 49.

Quote:

PPS. Neither of us actually play the lottery. Smile Another friend once
said: 'the lottery is a tax on people who are bad at maths', which I
think is rather nice.

Read the 'probability of same password' thread - the concepts are the same.

NigelH
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MS11
science forum beginner


Joined: 11 Nov 2005
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 11:01 am    Post subject: Re: Probably an easy question for you guys... Reply with quote

Thanks Nigel.


Nigel emailed this:
Quote:
MS wrote:

Hi,

I was having a discussion about the probability of winning the UK
lottery with a friend. She said that if you chose the same numbers
that won last week, you would have less chance of winning this week
than if you chose completely different numbers. I knew this was not
true and said so by explaining that if you rolled a dice and got a 6,
then when you roll the dice again you still have just as much chance
of getting a 6 as any other number. She agreed but then said, but you
only have a 1 in 36 chance of rolling 2 sixes in a row, so how come
this doesn't apply to the lottery. It does I said, the chances of the
same numbers coming up 2 weeks in a row are huge but once one week's
lottery has taken place this is no longer relevant to the next week's
and any selection of numbers has as much chance as any other selection
including last week's winning numbers. Why she asked...can't you just
conceptualize going back before last week's lottery took place to
calculate the odds of last week's winning numbers being the same as
this week's unknown numbers and take that as the odds of this week's
being the same as last week's and accept that the odds of winning this
week's lottery with last week's winning numbers is much less likely
than with a new selection? Even though I know this is not the case, I
couldn't explain why. Can someone help please?

Many thanks.

PS. UK National lottery requires matching 6 unique numbers between 1
and 50.

1 and 49.


PPS. Neither of us actually play the lottery. Smile Another friend once
said: 'the lottery is a tax on people who are bad at maths', which I
think is rather nice.

Read the 'probability of same password' thread - the concepts are the same.

NigelH
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