COMMENT: Defying the 6/58 Odds

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 06 Oct) — You are on your last 50 pesos. What will you do with it? Buy bananas or bet on lotto 6/58? Hitting the P900-million jackpot may be worth missing your favorite lacatanor tundal. Prospecting is fun.

I got curious when I stumbled upon the September 14, 2018 draw of lotto 6/58. The jackpot prize – P602,502, 930! No winner. I followed the draws. The October 5, 2018jackpot or eight draws after – P903,290,152, still no winner. The jackpot had increased by P301,787.216  — on the average, P37.723,402between draws. Between October 2 alone (7thdraw from September 14) and October 5, the increase was P53,711,832.

It can only be asked: How many million Filipinos, many if not most must be poorhave placed a bet on the current Lotto 6/58 with the avid hope of winning P900 million? If no one hits the jackpot in the next three or four draws, the jackpot can soar past one billion. WOW!

Millions are avidly hoping to be instant near-billionaire or billionaire. But what are the odds against their winning?

We asked Google: How many combinations  of six numbers can 1 to 58 make using each number 58 times?

The odds:  48.92 billionth,if the winning is determined strictly by the sequence the six numbers are written by the bettor; but since the winning six numbers may come in any order, the chances are better:67.945 millionth.

According to Google

(After presenting the mathematical factors to determine the odds, Google explained how to figure out the odds. We are quoting below Google’s explanation as is).

So, to figure out your odds of winning, multiply together all of the fractional odds of picking a given number correctly, as stated by the redfractions above.

1/63× 1/62× 1/61× 1/60× 1/59× 1/58= 1/48920775120 

So, at this point, your odds of winning are 1 in 48920775120. But, since you can choose your winning numbers in any order, your chances of winning are somewhat better than this. Your chance betters by the number of different ways that a sequence of 6 numbers can be written down, which for 6 numbers is 6! (6 factorial) or 720. Divide 48920775120 by 720 to account for this, to get 67945521.

In other words, there are 720 different ways that the 6 numbers you choose can be filled out on your lottery ticket–if you choose your 6 numbers correctly, any of these ways will make a winning ticket.

That’s it! You have a

1 in 67,945,521

chance of winning the lottery you described.

Here are some other odds for the sake of comparison:

  • You have about a 1 in 2,000,000 chance of being struck by lightning.
  • A pregnant woman has a 1 in 705,000 chance of giving birth to quadruplets.
  • Someone eating an oyster has a 1 in 12,000 chance of finding a pearl inside of it.

Now, lottery odds can be pretty incomprehensible. How can we possibly have any “feeling” for the number 67,945,521? To help you with this, here’s a little experiment you can try to “get a handle on” what a 1 in 67,945,521 chance really means.

  1. Get a piece of rope or string, that’s 85 feet long.
  2. In a wide open area, arrange the rope or string in a circle, end to end, the best you can.
  3. Get a single grain of sand or dirt (use tweezers!) and place it anywhere you wish inside the circle.
  4. Get a second grain of sand. Close your eyes, and “disorient” yourself as to where the grain of sand is that you placed inside of the circle (have someone spin you around or something!).
  5. While you’re inside the circle, drop the second grain of sand from 1 foot up.
  6. Your chances of hitting the first grain of sand with the second is roughly equal to the odds of “1 in 67,945,521.”
  7. If the rope’s length mentioned in #1 is a little unreasonable, for every foot above the circle that you drop the second grain of sand, you can reduce the length of the string by the same amount. For example, if you dropped the second grain of sand from a ladder 10 feet up, you’d need a length of string that is 10 times shorter than the one in #1, or a 85/10 = 8.49169 foot long piece of string.

Good luck! And sorry to say that the only way to increase your chances of winning is to buy more tickets!Choosing birthdays, your age, addresses, years, phone numbers, etc. does not help at all!


To Google’s parting words, we add:  To be 100 percent sure of winning, buy all the67,945,521 combinations, which means investing P1,359,474,284.17 – that is, P20 per combination plus 20 percent tax on bet.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Patricio P. Diaz was editor in chief of the Cotabato City-based Mindanao Cross and later the Mindanao Kris before returning to General Santos City. You may email him at [email protected])