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At times I am commissioned to work on particular projects involving such matters as property investment and taxation.
At other times I create spreadsheets to resolve calculation issues that disadvantage the many. And the many are rarely more disadvantaged than when at the hands of those who run the world’s betting and gaming industries.
For more years than I care to remember I’ve had a love affair with mathematics. And with the introduction and development of the personal computer I discovered the electronic spreadsheet to be the perfect companion for mathematics, providing as it does the unrivalled capacity to process and manipulate complex mathematical and logical formulae with supreme accuracy and at blistering speed.
When it comes to winning money on the lottery the fundamental problem is that the odds are hugely against your being successful.
But then, you probably already knew that! You also won’t be surprised to learn that using 6 numbers to find the winning 6 numbers puts your chances of success at not much higher than vanishing point.
To illustrate the magnitude of the problem let me ask you this: How many possible permutations do you think there are for six numbers?
So, put another way, if there were in existence a lottery with a total number of just six differently numbered balls and your challenge was to predict in which order all six would be drawn the odds against your being successful would be 720 to 1.
But lotteries as we know them have as many as 49 differently numbered balls and, as you will know, what you’re asked to do is to predict which six of them will be drawn. Is it any wonder, then, that you now have odds against you measured not just in hundreds-to-one but in millions-to-one?
And the lottery is just one example of where the betting and gaming industry takes advantage of the Laws of Probability to disadvantage you, the player.
And you should use them to do so, since in the long run simply trusting to luck seldom pays. For every lottery player who wins by sheer luck there are literally millions who do not. And like it or not, the chances of your getting your hands on a lottery fortune by sheer luck alone are virtually non-existent.
So how do you get the Laws of Probability to work for you and to put some of those lottery millions into your pocket?
Well, you could always set about the task of gathering a great deal of information about the lottery – including the results of the past few years’ draws – and then sit down to evaluate it all. You’d need to deduce how many times an event can happen and denote this as ‘x’ ways.
You’d also need to establish how many ways the event could fail and denote this as ‘y’ ways. Then you’d need a formula for calculating success and failure events.
So we can say that if an event can happen in ‘x’ ways and fail in ‘y’ ways and each of these ways is equally likely, then the probability ‘p’ of it actually happening is: p = x / (x + y)
This formula is more often written: p = m / n, which is the probability that any possible event, within any possible context, will happen.
Simply put, ‘m’… Read more…