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MS11
science forum beginner

Joined: 11 Nov 2005
Posts: 7

Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 12:02 pm    Post subject: Probably an easy question for you guys...

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. Another friend once
said: 'the lottery is a tax on people who are bad at maths', which I think
is rather nice.
Nigel
science forum beginner

Joined: 03 Jun 2005
Posts: 37

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

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. Another friend once said: 'the lottery is a tax on people who are bad at maths', which I think is rather nice.

NigelH
MS11
science forum beginner

Joined: 11 Nov 2005
Posts: 7

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

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. 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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