12 Nov2010


Really, I did. :)

Not the jackpot, but 3rd prize…

The current jackpot for the Mega Lotto is climbing north of PHP420 million as I write this. The chances of winning it are roughly 1 in 28.9 million, and if press reports are to be believed, despite the prize money, and tens of millions of bets, folks only bet on one-fourth of the possible combinations, hence the lack of a winner. In fact, they haven’t had a winner in some 70 draws. Nevertheless, I do like the idea of “a dollar twenty pesos and a dream” and could seriously use a PHP420million jackpot right now (who couldn’t?) So last Wednesday, I bought 10 “lucky pick” tickets for PHP200. These are randomly generated combinations; no birthdays, anniversaries, ages, addresses, number of girlfriends, feet size, etc. in the mix. It is actually, in my opinion, the statistically SMARTER way to bet. Because folks tend to use birthdays (only 1 to 31) or ages (mostly below 55), the combinations of numbers in a majority of bets are skewed towards those including the lower numbers out of 55. Also, most humans avoid selecting numbers that are consecutive (say 45 and 46) so they eliminated a huge number of equally possible outcomes. So I buy the randomly generated numbers.

But nobody won the PHP380 million jackpot last Wednesday night, so I left my tickets on my office desk and forgot about them. Until this afternoon. One of my crew said I should check just in case I won one of the “minor” prizes. They were amazed that I had three numbers right on one pick, so they said I won PHP150 (I was thrilled) and that meant I practically won my bet back. So I told them to please claim my prize and bet it again for Saturday’s draw. Then I left for the airport in Cebu. Then just as I landed in Manila, and turned on my phone, I got a text that said I actually won more than PHP150! Apparently I had 4 out of 6 numbers right on one bet! The probability of doing that is roughly 1 in 23,000! Better than the probability of my dating a supermodel, apparently, check here for amusing odds… So I won PHP2,000!!! I can tell you I was grinning from ear to ear. The thought of winning something (I don’t think I have WON ANYTHING major major before) that exceeded my bet was so smile inducing. Imagine if I won PHP420 million?!?

So I got more lotto tickets, and the gambling habit begins to form… Hahaha. I’m kidding. I don’t encourage gambling. And I only buy lotto tickets when the jackpots are relatively massive by local standards. And I have only played the game once this year (though now repeated draws in the past week) but wrote about what I might wear to claim my prize in this post from February 2009. So if you are feeling lucky, get on those long lines for tickets early tomorrow morning (Saturday), and GOOD LUCK! If I can’t win it, I certainly hope a marketmanila.com reader wins it!


I had some errors on my original post regarding probabilities. For the curious, here is how you calculate the probability of winning the grand lotto 55. You pick 1 of 55 numbers. Then there are 54 left and you pick one of those and so on. So:

1/x = 29 million plus (I need more decimal points in my calculator)
Hence, the reported odds of winning being roughly 1 in 29 million bets. :)



  1. millet says:

    hahaha…..you certainly look the part, sheik MM!

    Nov 12, 2010 | 9:00 pm


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  3. Gay says:

    Akala ko jackpot na :)

    Nov 12, 2010 | 9:04 pm

  4. sophie says:

    whoah! you do look like a real sheik :)!

    Nov 12, 2010 | 10:08 pm

  5. lee says:

    got 2 numbers right the last time. will try again :)

    Nov 12, 2010 | 10:13 pm

  6. tonceq says:

    namasteji marketman! you are right that gambling should not be encouraged but it’s doesn’t hurt to hope right? hehehe! nice attire by the way… is this a preview of marketman does UAE? :)

    Nov 12, 2010 | 10:24 pm

  7. Markee says:

    Sayang naman MM. Konti na lang Jackpot na… :)

    Nov 12, 2010 | 10:56 pm

  8. dimmpss says:

    Hahaha! You amused me with this post MM.

    Nov 12, 2010 | 11:02 pm

  9. sister says:

    So, are you pitching a tent in the desert with your winnings?

    Nov 12, 2010 | 11:06 pm

  10. Anything Under the Sun says:

    i hope ill win too. crossed fingers

    Nov 12, 2010 | 11:13 pm

  11. natie says:

    GOOD ONE, MM!!!! hahahaha

    Nov 12, 2010 | 11:48 pm

  12. Connie C says:

    MM, I like your playfulness!

    Tonceq, how about salaam alaikum instead as your greeting to MM? Namaste would more appropriately go with the Indian dhoti though I suppose MM would rather have his head covered with the keffiyeh.

    Nov 12, 2010 | 11:56 pm

  13. tonceq says:

    my bad connie! haha! thanks for the info though! :)

    Nov 13, 2010 | 12:22 am

  14. denise says:

    ahlan wasahlan MM! eid mubarak! :D i was surprised to see on the news that even well-off Philippine senators are buying tickets

    Nov 13, 2010 | 1:26 am

  15. Joey in Dubai says:

    I also have placed bet on the grand lotto for 2 consecutive draw now. It started while I was walking to my office and saw an SUV. It was full of dust and some fellow wrote some numbers on its window. They were 4 numbers and I kinda “hmmmm….why not?” So I immediately texted my sister to place a bet on those 4 numbers plus 2 (which are my and my wife’s age). Did I win? I guess I felt a winner when 2 of those numbers I saw on that dusty SUV came out as winning numbers. So I called my sister to again bet on my numbers. Who knows? It’s a game of chance anyway and I could be the next man lucky.

    Nov 13, 2010 | 1:26 am

  16. sunflowii says:

    “major, major”? was this written tongue-in-cheek (finger-in-cheek) to imitate someone?

    Nov 13, 2010 | 3:05 am

  17. EJ says:

    Congratulations, MM! Am sure the PHP 2,000 will go to a good cause ;-)

    Nov 13, 2010 | 4:33 am

  18. linda says:

    MM,you are so cute,nakakagigil!!! Very amusing post!

    Have a good weekend and hopefully you’ll win again!

    Nov 13, 2010 | 7:02 am

  19. Connie C says:

    With those odds, I won’t even try. I’ve never won anything in my life!

    Nov 13, 2010 | 7:40 am

  20. present tense says:

    Kaka inis. Many are called, few are chosen – the rest go bankrupt.

    Nov 13, 2010 | 8:29 am

  21. Meg says:

    I already got my lotto bet yesterday to avoid the long lines at the lotto outlets today :) fingers crossed :)

    Nov 13, 2010 | 8:31 am

  22. betty q. says:

    Just like EVERYONE will have their 15 minutes of fame at one point in their lives, I do believe that EVERYONE will WIN something at one point in their lives as well. Yes, it has happened to me!

    So, your turn will come when you least expect it!

    Nov 13, 2010 | 8:33 am

  23. reeze says:

    I wonder how many fishpans 2,000 will buy these days? ;)
    Congratulations, Sheik al MM!

    Nov 13, 2010 | 9:42 am

  24. RowenaGL says:

    Ikaw talaga -I was going to ask for balato, ngek…maybe next time…

    Nov 13, 2010 | 9:59 am

  25. present tense says:

    I’m not a betting guy but Php2,000 will get you 4 tickets to Pacquiao vs Margarito.

    Nov 13, 2010 | 10:43 am

  26. Marketman says:

    present tense, just ask your cable company for pay-for-view for PHP700, then invite 7 neighbors over and charge them PHP100 each, and you can watch the fight in the comfort of your own home for nothing. You could even sell beer and popcorn and end up ahead… :)

    Nov 13, 2010 | 11:06 am

  27. lee says:

    placed a bet on ten lucky pick numbers plus another bet on a combination I always bet to

    Nov 13, 2010 | 11:12 am

  28. joyce says:

    haha! this is an amusing story. also placed a lotto bet on the day of bday this week since people couldn’t stop talking about the grand prize. if i won the lotto, my first splurge would be a fancy meal and an understated but swanky watch. hehe.

    Nov 13, 2010 | 1:12 pm

  29. Norma says:

    I got my tickets today. That marketmanila.com winner could be me!

    Nov 13, 2010 | 5:31 pm

  30. mbw says:

    very engaging lecture on probabilities, MM!

    Nov 13, 2010 | 6:39 pm

  31. present tense says:

    Excellent idea ! I can probably do this on bigger scale, get some sponsors, rent the rest out for food and drinks…we should have thought of this earlier. Great feature on Pacman on 60Minutes and TIME Mag

    Nov 13, 2010 | 10:21 pm

  32. Betchay says:

    Wow! So this is the reason why you are in “writing mode”…….inspired ;) ……manalo ka ba naman 2 x in this megabucks lotto…..para bang you feel the jackpot is now within your reach! Ha!ha!ha! I really like your humor….it matches the picture above!

    Nov 13, 2010 | 10:33 pm

  33. Noel says:

    Haha, nice outfit! I seldom place bets on lotto, except on very huge jackpot prizes, like tonight where I only got 2 numbers on the 6 drawn numbers.

    On my entire life, have only won one minor prize of 3 out of 6 numbers though, balik taya lang.

    I thought the method of calculating the odds is thru permutation like:

    55 x 54 x 53 x 52 x 51 x 50 = 20.8 trillions of combination.

    Hmm.. seems like I’m mistaken.

    Nov 13, 2010 | 11:19 pm

  34. EGR (Hong Kong) says:

    But if the numbers can be repeated, isn’t it 55*55*55*55*55*55 for a 6 digit permutation or combination (so 1 in 28mn)? Ah well… I should just get the tickets and leverage off my beginner’s luck!! Then I can fly off to Cebu and enjoy some Zubuchon…

    Nov 14, 2010 | 3:46 am

  35. mary says:

    MM if you won the 240 million peso jackpot would you have to reveal your true identity or are you going to let someone claim it for you? I’m just wondering.

    Nov 14, 2010 | 4:39 am

  36. bagito says:

    I always say “When I win the lotto…” but do I buy tickets? No. Hahaha! I just like saying it. Sira ulo, no? :o)

    Good luck to all marketmanila readers who bought lotto tickets. Sending you positive vibes from the other side of the globe. :)

    Nov 14, 2010 | 4:55 am

  37. bearhug0127 says:

    Grand Lotto Result:

    Grand Lotto 03-31-34-13-48-11 11/13/2010 Ph Peso 423,894,967.20 0 winners

    Source: PCSO

    Nov 14, 2010 | 6:19 am

  38. Marketman says:

    Arrrgh, have to buy more tickets… :)

    Nov 14, 2010 | 8:30 am

  39. Marketman says:

    Noel and EGR, I too believed it was a formula similar to the ones you mention. In fact, I had written a comment on how the odds quoted in the papers seemed wrong. But a bit of research and I landed on the sites that do the calculations that make sense… amongst other things, numbers can’t be repeated…

    Nov 14, 2010 | 8:33 am

  40. Robin says:

    to compute for lotto odds, you can use the nCr (combination) of scientific calculators

    n = 55
    r = 6

    ans = 28,989,675 possible combinations

    nPr on the other hand computes permutations, when a number can be repeated

    Nov 15, 2010 | 9:20 am

  41. Muzzy says:

    Not really sure what you mean by choosing random numbers as the “Smarter” way to bet. The person who chooses numbers by birthdays has the same chance as you at winning, I think — assuming the two of you buy one ticket each. I agree there’s a better chance of someone winning if all numbers were picked randomly, but not someone in particular. One combination has an equal chance of being chosen as any other, randomly picked or not. But maybe i’m missing something. i’m just a liberal arts major after all.

    Nov 17, 2010 | 1:12 am

  42. Marketman says:

    Muzzy, folks who use birthdays as a number automatically choose within the range of 1 to 31, thereby automatically reducing their propensity to choose between 32 to 55. Though they may adjust by choosing some in the 32 to 55 range, that is not likely that all of them would do that. So if most folks pick based on emotional or date driven criteria, there will be a heavier concentration in the 1 to 31 range, which is not the case in a truly random scenario. Also, human nature biases selection of numbers that are close together, say 44, 45, 46, whereas a computer does not. Random, is supposedly, truly random. In the end, it IS a crapshoot with 1 in 29 million chances and incredibly difficult to win… But statistically, I think a random pick is as good, OR ACTUALLY better chance of providing a winning combination…

    Nov 17, 2010 | 7:18 am

  43. Lhai says:

    If I win the jackpot tonight, I’d finance all of MM’s feeding program.

    Nov 17, 2010 | 4:32 pm

  44. joselle robles says:

    i’ve been using the “lucky pick” combination in the lotto and so far…i’ve won twice the second major prize although not in the Grand Lotto…that’s 20k for the 6/42 Lotto…and betting it always in my favorite outlet…a mall in manila that generates the most winners…so here’s to us…Good Luck on the next draw….

    Nov 18, 2010 | 3:57 pm

  45. teeejeee says:

    haha i got the thrills running through me reading this

    Nov 18, 2010 | 4:29 pm

  46. Jayson says:

    nice post..marami talaga umaasa na manalo sa lotto…buti po may napanalunan kayo kahit paano..ako sa buong buhay ko diko pa naranasan manalo sa game of chance gaya ng lotto,raffle atbp..baka naiipon lang at kung swertehin ay bumuhos nang sobra sobra..hehe

    inisa-isa nyo po ba icompute hanggang 55 yung probability na manalo? sa scientific calculator mas madali.. input 55, SHIFT ÷ para lumabas yung C for combination, input 6 .. kaya itsura 55C6 then = …exact sagot ay 28989675 chances manalo ng jackpot..

    Nov 18, 2010 | 10:33 pm

  47. Anthony says:

    A few days ago, I was just wondering how I can get the equation to compute the number of lotto combinations. And i find it here!

    Nov 24, 2010 | 10:20 am

  48. vhanya says:

    here’s the more concrete computation on the lotto combinations. Since the 6/55 lotto chooses 6 (in any order) out of 55 numbers. the correct formula is:

    _______ , (n) is the total number in the lottery (55); 6 for the combination
    6! (n-6)!

    for those who don’t know what (!) is. it means factorial. For example: 6! is 6x5x4x3x2x1.

    So to compute:

    55x54x53x52x51x50x49………and so on
    (6x5x4x3x2x1) (49x48x47….and so on)

    If you check, we can actually cancel the 49!, so what will be left is this:


    Which is equal to:

    20,872,566,000 = 28,989,675 total combinations

    HTH! =)

    Nov 24, 2010 | 9:34 pm


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