POSTSCRIPT / December 29, 2002 / Sunday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Sharing tips for today’s P90-M Lotto jackpot!

SO THAT’S WHY!: Malacanang never ceases to amaze us. Presidential spokesman Rigoberto Tiglao expressed relief the other day that with Rep. Mark Jimenez finally out of the country, Justice Secretary Hernando Perez will now have the field all to himself as he debunks extortion and plunder charges hurled at him by the Manila congressman.

So that was why the administration, especially the justice secretary, was in a hurry to ship out Jimenez to America via a slow, tortuous route that took Perez’s accuser to Guam, Saipan and some other intermediate points before reaching Florida.

A responsible government normally acts, or should act, to help any Filipino who gets into trouble with a foreign government — especially if he is still enjoying the presumption of innocence.

But in the Jimenez case, it was obvious that the Arroyo administration connived with US agents in ensuring that Jimenez is humiliated, and that he will miss his bail hearing in Florida last Friday and stay in detention over the weekend.

There are lame attempts now to show some concern, but all that is too late.

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WINNING ODDS: The Sweepstakes official in charge of the state lottery told the STAR that a bettor’s chances of winning today’s P90 million SuperLotto jackpot is one in 10 million. The reason he gave was that there are around 10 million bettors.

Since lottery is his business, we suggest that the official (name withheld to save him from embarrassment) study a little more math so he can avoid making ludicrous statements about probabilities in numbers game.

The odds in the Lotto are not determined by the number of players, because bettors are not playing against one another. One lucky player does not win the jackpot to the exclusion of the other players.

Theoretically, it could even happen that all 10 million bettors could zero in on the winning six-number combination and share the jackpot.

Recall that in the SuperLotto draw last Oct. 13 when the jackpot swelled to more than P200 million, there were six alleged winners carefully distributed by the Sweepstakes office among Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao in an incredible public relations show of fairness.

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ONE OUT OF 13.9-M: Pushing to its extremes the official’s theory of probabilities will show its absurdity.

What happens if only two persons placed bets? Using the official’s theory, each player’s chances of winning the jackpot would have improved vastly to one out of two. And in the unlikely scenario that only one player would bet in one Lotto draw, his chances would be one out of one — making him a sure winner!

The odds of winning in the SuperLotto are computed not on the basis of the number of players or bettors, but on the total number of numbers being used (the 49 consecutive numbers from 1 to 49) and the number of numbers in the winning combination (six numbers in any sequence and without duplication).

The chances of choosing the winning six-number combination from a field of 49 non-repeating, non-duplicating numbers are one out of 13,983,816, no more no less. The number is precise, determined according to the formula that can be found in any math textbook on probabilities, combinations and permutations.

We want to print the formula here, but because it has subscripts, we are afraid that the encoding and printing will not recognize the subscripts and the formula might not come out right. When we print the chemical formula for water, for instance, it usually comes out as H2O, a symbol that even scientists will not readily recognized because the number “2” is not printed as a subscript.

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KAPIT PATALIM: Theoretically, any number is as good as any other number in a game of pure chance that is not rigged. In Lotto, the unusual six-number combination 1-2-3-4-5-6 is theoretically as good as any other combination taken from the consecutive numbers from 1 to 49.

But you don’t tell that to the superstitious Filipino, who has been reeling from the hard times. In his kapit patalim desperation, he is willing to try any mumbo-jumbo ritual or technical formula to improve his chances.

The simplest tack is to get a six-number combination at random, using the LP (Lucky Pick) option of the computer at the betting station. One bet costs P10. Many bettors use numbers taken from birthdays, telephones, car plates and figures that they claim strangely flash in their minds.

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WATCH THESE NUMBERS: For whatever they are worth, we share data culled from our own statistics from the year’s first SuperLotto draw last Jan. 6 to the last draw last Thursday, for a total of 81 draws.

No. 18 is the year’s clear topnotcher, having come out 16 times, including in the last two draws last Tuesday and Thursday.

Other llamado or very active numbers are 5, 9, 14 (each came out 15 times), and 23, 31, 49 (13 times each).

The dejado or laziest numbers are 22, 29 and 42, each one coming out only five times since January. Some bettors pick numbers that seem to have gone into slumber on the belief that they might just be on the verge of waking up.

But focusing on the recent 16 draws since Nov. 3, the most active numbers are 9 (came out six times), 15 and 40 (five times each), 8, 14 and 18 (four times each). We mention them because some bettors pay attention to numbers that seem to be on a winning streak in the last several draws.

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NO TO GAMBLING: We go into this statistical discussion without intending or wanting to encourage readers to gamble. We are painfully familiar with the effects of unmitigated gambling on the individual and his family, and would be the last person to advocate gambling, whether state-regulated or not.

It’s just that some people will gamble anyway, especially in a country where economic opportunities seem to be dwindling by the day. If players are looking for betting tips and we happen to have what may pass for tips, we will share them.

It’s sad, really, that Juan Pasang Krus has been reduced to dasal or sugal (praying or gambling) to gain deliverance from abject poverty.

Some people might ask if we ourselves have won in the Lotto. Don’t expect us to answer that one. What we can say is that a lot of people have thanked us for our previous tips, claiming that they have been very useful.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of December 29, 2002)

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