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Powerball, Mega Millions, Lotto, and Scratch-Off Lottery: Secrets, Hints, and Myths

Updated on February 21, 2018

Have you ever waited for the results of a $500 million dollar Powerball or Mega-Millions lottery only to hear the following statement?

“There were no winners in last nights’ Mega Millions drawing,” That type of statement happens on most TV news or shows such as Today and GMA after Mega Millions and Powerball drawings. But the truth is, there are actually plenty of winning tickets even big winners! Each drawing actually produces an average of seven tickets worth 1 million dollar each, which is 5 of 5 matches without the powerball and many 10,000 dollar tickets which is 4 of 5 matches with the powerball. But it is not reported and may lead people to throw out “winning” tickets. Although the goal of the big drawing is the big 100 million dollar and more win, there is still plenty of wealth in those “non-winning” tickets. So when your local reporter states there are no winners in the next 350 million dollar drawing, double check your tickets before throwing them out. Some people do not check. There are plenty of unclaimed smaller jackpots. Check the lottery websites to see this is true. You could be a millionaire.

There was even reporters and radio jocks tearing up their tickets on the air. Don't follow their lead. Always check them against the winning numbers to make sure there isn’t a $100 or 50,000 or 1,000,000 dollar ticket. The 1 million dollar is 5 matches without the Powerball. The odds of the 1 Million The most important thing is always check your tickets. Wouldn’t even a $50,000 or $100,000 change or improve your life, even if just to pay your bills or take a vacation?

Watch Out For Mistakes or Schemes

The next important thing is to check the tickets from the Powerball, mega millions or state lottery website. This way you are sure of getting the actual numbers and not old dates or misprints. Especially from stores where cashiers use magic markers or pencil to scrawl the numbers. It’s just difficult to read.

Next, if you know you have a major win ticket, don’t take it to the place you bought it. Go straight to a state lottery office. Why? First, they can’t cash anything above a low cash amount, usually around 500 dollars. So why even bother or take a chance something could go wrong.

Watch The Cashier When Cashing Winning Tickets

And that brings up another important thing about your tickets. Do not let the people place you bought your tickets to check your tickets.

What I’ll say next needs a disclaimer because 99.99 percent of lottery agents and cashiers are honest and wouldn’t think of cheating the people who cash their winning tickets. Unfortunately, over the years dozens of cashiers have been arrested for switching big win tickets with 2.00 win tickets or claim the tickets are losing tickets. So if you use the cashier to check, never ask: “Is this a winning ticket?” Giving a low wage worker a winning ticket would create too

much temptation. Know your ticket before you hand it over.

Sign Your Ticket!

Another hint in this regard: Always sign the ticket as soon as you get it. You might think what a time waster. But you’d be surprised how many family feuds or court cases started because a family member grabbed a winning unsigned lottery ticket from a table or dresser.

Next, photograph or scan your big, winning ticket (both side) with your signature. So if any issues later arise, you’ll have proof with a date stamp.

Next Hint

Hold on to the ticket. With everyone in a rush in our world, tickets end up in the bottom of work pants, scrunched up or even in the laundry. How many winning tickets end up unclaimed because clothes washing destroyed them?

Office Pools

Make sure your name is in the pool and you paid for that drawing. Again, there are plenty of court cases because the lady who played for years was locked out because she forgot on the week they hit or didn’t give the pool person the money. Do not be that person. Goodwill goes the way of greed when money is involved. You would think: Well, everyone in the winning pool won millions. We can afford to share with the lady who didn’t play. No. Because there are many other workers in the office who didn’t play.

The Big Super, Mega Power Lotteries. What’s Going On?

In recent years, super jackpots have been created to induce new players to jump onboard. To create the huge jackpots the lotteries increased the odds against winning. The biggest example is Powerbaqll. Before, the odds were 1 in 175 million, still diffiicult to achieve. But now, they added more numbers, decreasing the odds to almost 1 in 300,000,000. That’s is almost the whole population of the United Statees. So even if the whole population of the United States were to play in a drawing, it’s possible there would be no top winner. Why? Because many losing combintinations would be repeated. So even when the whole population would play, it’s possible no Big Jackpot win would be hit. (But of course, there’d be an every increasing pool of ‘lesser’ winners. I would love to be one of those ‘lesser’ winners.

To Play or Not to Play. That is the question

The big mega drawings are social events. Whether you win 5 million, 10 Million or 900 million, it will change your life. So for people to stand in line is more of a shared experience, than an actual winning logical process. Seeing TV news vans pull up at your favorite lottery spot is exciting, but won’t necessarily put more money in your pocket.

These big, mega jackpots bring in the newbies and those who rarely play. If you want to play with a big jackpot but with greater odds of winning, there are other other games to play, and you won’t need to stand in a long line.

So if you still like to play for a big win, but with better odds, what to do?

Straight Lotto. Most lottery states have a million dollar draw, but the odds of winning are way much better.

$100,000 Isn't So Bad

There’s the Pick 5. Winning on a straight pick is usually 50,000 to 100,000. Not a bad payday, and for many people, life changing amount, paying off bills.

But Should I Spend My Hard Earned Money?

Unfortunately, the largest percentages of players in state lotteries are lower income people. The hope for something to improve their lives with what seems to be a small amount of money is almost irresistible. But the $20 a week of ‘entertainment’ money adds up, especially if no wins occur or if small wins are placed back into the lottery. Multiplied over a workers life, the money could have been a nice retirement nest egg.

So again, to play or not to play? It would be silly to say not if tomorrow your numbers come up. So occasional play as entertainment and not retirement strategy wouldn’t hurt.

Way to Play: AutoPick or Choose Your Own.

The most winners have turned out to be AutoPick. But there are plenty of winners who have chosen their own numbers. Statistically, it doesn’t matter. For example, the number 1,2,3,4,5, Powerball 6 have equal odds of hitting as any other, although instinctively it doesn’t feel right. The numbers should be spread out. But because there are almost 300 million combinations, it doesn’t matter. So if you’re in a hurry, AutoPick is fine.

Big Problem with Scratch off Tickets.

The most popular alternatives to lotto style games are the scratch off ticket. With games from 500 dollars to multi-million scratch off, the games are fun, quick and you know if you’ve won. But there is one untold issue with the scratch off.

The Big Win Tickets are often already gone. Usually, this happens with games which have been out in the markets for many months. Suppose the game is called ‘The 5 Million Dollar Jackpot’. So the typical scratch off player will think, this will be fun to try. But if you look at the state lottery website you’ll see the 5 million dollar jackpot had already been claimed. So why is the ticket still on the market? Partly because there are lesser tickets to be won. But I believe the state should pull the game if you can no longer win the 5 Million Dollar Jackpot. If the states don’t remove the tickets, then what to do?

Easy. Check out the state lottery you play and examine the page for the scratch offs. You will see the number of available win tickets still out there. You can see the new scratch off games where all the big win tickets are still available.

Again, just as for the lotto style games, make sure you photograph or scan and sign your ticket. A lady friend of mine said she went to cash in a twenty dollar ticket was told it was only a two dollar win. Since we didn’t take a picture and she accepted the word of the cashier, she kept the two dollars, instead of challenging it.

What to do if you do win?

Here is a shocking statistic. 6 out 10 multi-million dollar winners end up bankrupt after a few years. How is this possible? Personal problems before the win, such as drug abuse or other addictions even just spending addiction. Hangers on. Opening a business they always wanted only not able to correctly run it. Legal issues as people around the winner try to grab a piece. And of course, there are the relatives you never seen before until you’ve won.

So what to do? First, continue to live as you have before you’ve won. At least for a while. Appreciate what you have. Many of the things we own are like comfortable old shoes. We wouldn’t throw them away, just because. Also, if you toss everything you own and replace them, it would be an alienating feeling. Successful lottery winners often stay in there same houses or drive the same cars. Look at Warren Buffet. He drives a used car. The other point of this is not to be ostentatious. If your friends and relatives see you living modestly, they would be less inclined to believe you are a wealthy mogul. If your state allows it, don’t publicly announce your win and put your winnings in trust. Enjoy your windfall, but as anything in life, do everything in moderation.

The Lottery is Okay

Before anyone thinks I don’t like the lottery, actually I am a lottery player. But I play in moderation. I enjoy playing and will continue to play. But I’ve learned from my mistakes such as leaving tickets in pockets ending up destroyed. I’ve foolishly stood in lines almost hour long lines to play the big game and lose. I’ve played instant tickets where the big prizes had already been won. But I’ve learned from those mistakes and hopefully the tips I’ve presented will help you. Good Luck!


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