Should You Quick Pick Your Lottery Numbers?

Are You More Likely to Win If You Choose Your Own Lottery Numbers?

Image of a Lottery Ticket
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When you go to buy a ticket for a lottery like Powerball or Mega Millions, you need to decide whether you want to pick your own numbers or use Quick Pick to let the computer randomly pick for you. But which choice is better? Are you more likely to win the lottery if you choose one method over the other?

The Argument for Quick Picking Lottery Numbers

Using the Quick Pick option has an obvious advantage: it's fast and convenient. If you just want to get in the game and have the chance of winning a lottery jackpot, Quick Picking will have you on your way in seconds. You don't have to think over your numbers and you don't have to spend time filling out the forms.

Another thing that Quick Picks have going for them is that lottery numbers are random, and so are Quick Picks. By trying to outguess the computer by choosing your own numbers, it is possible that you are actually harming your odds.

Furthermore, humans are likely to pick numbers that mean something to them such as birth dates or anniversaries. That means that some numbers are chosen more often than others (especially numbers that fall in the range of 1 - 31, since they correspond to dates). If you win with a commonly-used number, the chances are high that you'll have to split your jackpot.

The Argument for Self-Picking vs. Quick-Picking Lottery Numbers

Many people simply enjoy having the control over the numbers that they buy. They may enjoy remembering a loved one by playing their birth dates or they may have fun playing a lucky hunch or the numbers in a fortune cookie.

Self-pickers also have the ability to avoid the most commonly-played numbers. If all numbers have the exact same chance of being drawn, then you can at least narrow the odds of having to share your jackpot if you win by picking the most rarely-selected numbers, something that Quick Pick won't do for you. Quick Picks won't weight your lottery numbers to give you higher chances of winning the whole pot.

Another thing that Quick Pick can't do is to ensure unique numbers. There is no guarantee that your Quick Picked lottery numbers won't repeat themselves. With bad luck, a Quick-Picker could even end up with two tickets with the exact same numbers on them, a waste of money that wouldn't happen if you choose your own numbers. The Quick Pick is very likely to generate the same random numbers for other lottery players, too.

Some people also believe that they can find a system to crack the lottery. To try your luck with a lottery system like wheeling, analyzing the probability of various numbers being drawn, or following recommendations from lottery software, you need to pick your own numbers.

Quick Picks Versus Self-Picks: Which Are Better?

If there were a clear way to get better chances of winning the lottery, everyone would do it. That there is a debate over Quick Pick versus self-pick debate indicates that there is no clear winner.

If you are going strictly by the numbers, more Quick Pickers than self-pickers win lottery jackpots. According to an article in the NY Times, about 70 percent of lottery winners used Quick Pick to choose their numbers. But then again, about the same percentage of all lottery players (70 - 80 percent according to many news articles) use Quick Pick, so you might not be getting an edge by letting the computer choose for you.

It really boils down to what makes the most sense for you. If you have fun poring over numbers to find a pattern, then coming up with a system might be right for you. If it makes you smile to play your children's birthdays, then play them! Even splitting a jackpot is better than not winning at all. If you just want to grab a few tickets while you are picking up milk at your local convenience store or you want to buy a batch of tickets for your office lottery pool, Quick Pick is also a very solid option.

Most important of all is to make sure that if you do play the lottery, you set a budget that you can afford and never go above it. Even the chance of winning a huge lottery isn't worth blowing your rent or grocery money on tickets.