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Playing With My Mind

G-d is playing with my mind.

A few months ago my wife and I decided to buy a lottery ticket. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision. What irked me was knowing, not so very deep in my heart, that I was flushing money down the drain. I mean, what are the odds?

According to this site on Lottery Math,
The odds of a "Lotto" style lottery can be found with the formula: n! / (n - r)! r! where n is the highest numbered ball and r is the number of balls chosen. This is called in math a combination. An easier way to think about it is if there are 40 balls and 6 are chosen, there are 40 possible numbers that can come up first, leaving 39 that can come up second, then 38, 37, 36, and finally 35 on the final number. To find out how many numbers that is you multiply 40 ×39 ×38 ×37 ×36 × 35 = 2,763,633,600 making the odds 2 and a half billion to one.
Two and a half billion to one?! The money spent on the ticket could easily have gone to purchasing at least one bottle of beer with a 100% chance of satisfaction, assuming sufficient saltiness of the pretzels, sunflower seeds or peanuts.

But we hadn't yet read this site that says there is a better chance of dying from flesh-eating bacteria (1 million:1) than there is of winning the lottery (2.5 billion:1). So we played.

We won...

..our money back.

"Alright", said G-d, "I'll let you get away with it this time. Next time buy the beer".

Not too long ago I experienced another weak moment. I bought a lottery ticket, letting the machine pick the numbers so I could have someone to blame. I put the ticket in a drawer at home and forgot about it.

Yesterday, while searching for something else, I came across the lottery ticket. The vain hope of fortunes beyond my wildest imagination coaxed me into putting it in my pocket. Later on I found an excuse to wander down to the shops. I did a few errands, purposely eying the lottery store from across the way. Eventually, I found the wherewithal to actually enter the store, knowing that in a few moments a teenage service rep would shatter my dreams with a dismissive shake of his head.

He scanned the ticket.

We won...

...our money back.

G-d is playing with my mind.


  1. Maybe you should count yourself lucky that you have escaped the lottery tax twice!

    I always thought that a couple of shekel was worth the hours of pleasure from dreaming about being rich.

  2. Lovely!

    (Is it true??? I bought a lottery ticket once, when I was 16, because it was illegal to buy them until you were 18).

  3. thanks for a good laugh!

  4. Nice.

    But doesn't 40!/34!6! = 3,838,380?

    I just improved your chances of winning by 720 times!


  5. Reply to D.:

    It was on the internet so I assumed it was true!


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