14 March 2007

Happiness Pt. 6.5: I Won The Lottery. Again.

THAT'S HOW I ROLL. First thing I'm gonna buy when I hit the Lotto jackpot
for real is a sweet setta wheels just like this bizzad bizzoy right here.
Dudes at the Starbucks driveup window are gonna crap every corner of their
pants when I glide up for my short drip in this ride. Oh yeah. And then
I'm gonna give the rest of the money to world peace. Amen.


I won the damn lottery. Again. Well - wait - not the whole thing. If I'd've matched one more number, we'd be having this conversation at 600MPH on the Bonneville Salt Flats in the front seat of my solid gold rocket car. But anyway, for the third time in less than a year, I won $1,000 in the Washington State Lottery. Fu, the guy at Uwajimaya who sells me my tickets, gave a little squeak and exclaimed, "That's three times! You're the luckiest person I know!"

So what's my secret, assuming I have one? Well it's like this. I do have a lottery-winning secret. However it's not the reason that I keep winning money literally by the thousand-fold. Here's what happened:

Way back in ought-one when I was going to Seattle Central Community College on the state's dime, I was forced to take math against my will. Unbeknownst to me - or to the gnomes who run my checkbook - I had hidden powers of mathematical wizardry that suddenly bloomed under the tutelage of my many, many math teachers at SC(3). So yeah, I'm hanging out in the math lab one day, (Just saying that makes you a certified nerd. -Ed.) and I'm all talking smack about how the lottery is not truly random because if it was you would not be able to plot a bell curve on the results (which you can). No number would have a better chance of being drawn than any other number. It would be pretty close to a flat line. And Nick, the Uber-Math-Geek (If math smarts were pectoral muscles, he'd have an 80-inch chest. -Ed.) says no, it's truly random. I'm all like, "Hey Nick, why'n't you go blow a quadratic?" And he's all, "Why'n't you suck my rational equation?" And our professor goes, "Yeah, real mature." So I says to him I says that I had a way to prove that it wasn't random, and I was going to go do it, and when I did, he would have to wear a t-shirt every day in the math lab that said "THADDEUS GUNN'S KUNG FU IS THE BEST - and I, Nick, am his bitch for life".

So I got a spreadsheet of all the results for the Washington State Lottery Lotto game from day one up to the present, and I listed them all out in descending order of how frequently each number was drawn. I drew a median line through the results, thus creating a set of the top 50% most frequently drawn numbers. Then I wrote a simple Visual Basic program (OK - now you're a certified nerd with a gold star. -Ed.) that would randomly draw sets of six numbers from that pool. I would draw five sets of six numbers this way, and then create a control set which was drawn randomly by the Lotto machine at the store where I bought the tickets. So what I wound up with for every drawing was ten draws: five by me, five by the machine.

After doing this for three months, I calculated (with my bitchen new math skills) that my draw set won over five times more often than the control set. What I mean is that it won something - any prize level from $1 to $75. I wasn't shooting for winning the whole damn thing. I just wanted to influence my frequency or chances of winning anything. So it looked like I was right, that the lottery was not truly random, and that meant that a person could indeed influence their chance of winning a prize. Nick would be my bitch for life. Of course he poo-pooed the whole thing and told me it didn't mean anything, to which I replied that he should probably drive a Fibonacci equation into his rump at high velocity.

Nick now works as a Programming Titan for some company that prints money by the silo-full especially just for him. On the weekends, he crushes numbers with his 80-inch pecs at the Pike Place Market. (The tourists love it. -Ed.) He also drives a solid-gold rocket car. I, on the other hand, do not.

So yeah, so I've been doing this "experiment" for...oh more years than I can count now (Six. -Ed.), and my draw set still beats the control set five-to-one in number of wins. However - here's the rub: the control set, though it wins five times less frequently, wins - and I have calculated this mathematically - way way way WAY more $money$ than my draw set. The three times that I won $1,000, it was the control set that won. Same with the times that I've won $150. My draw set wins $1, $3, $5 and $20, like, all the time. But the big duckets come from the control set.

Ancillary-yet-interesting note: On my "three things" list the night that I won for the third time, I wrote, "Won $1k in the lottery again. Although I didn't mind winning, it didn't make me as happy as I thought it would."



1 comment:

The General said...

Aren´t good Buddhists supposed to donate all their money and worldly goods to charitable causes... like the Association for Traveling Coworkers™, or something.

Just wondering.