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According to math, it's not worth risking $2 to play for the $800 million Powerball jackpot

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Lounge' started by AF-Roger, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. AF-Roger

    AF-Roger Affiliate affiliate

    The Powerball lottery drawing for Saturday evening has hit a record-high estimated jackpot prize that was$800 million as of this writing, after no one won the jackpot in Wednesday's drawing.

    While that's a huge amount of money, buying a ticket is still probably a losing proposition.

    Consider the expected value
    When trying to evaluate the outcome of a risky, probabilistic event like the lottery, one of the first things to look at is expected value. The expected value of a randomly decided process is found by taking all of the possible outcomes of the process, multiplying each outcome by its probability, and adding all of these numbers up. This gives us a long-run average value for our random process.

    Expected value is helpful for assessing gambling outcomes. If my expected value for playing the game, based on the cost of playing and the probabilities of winning different prizes, is positive, then in the long run the game will make me money. If expected value is negative, then this game is a net loser for me.

    Read more According to math, it's not worth risking $2 to play for the $800 million Powerball jackpot
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  3. rz3300

    rz3300 Affiliate affiliate

    You could show me formula after formula about how it is worth it to make that two dollar investment, but I would still have to resist because it is just a scientific fact at this point that I am unlucky and I am not thinking that any amount of mathematics can change that one. It is nice to know that for the many people who do buy the ticket, and who do end up wasting that two dollars, at least they had a justified reason for doing so.
  4. Roxabox

    Roxabox Affiliate affiliate

    I bought a ticket just for the hell of it, but I know I have a much better chance of getting struck by lightning while drowning.