POSTSCRIPT / October 13, 2002 / Sunday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Surefire way to win P165-M Lotto jackpot!

MAGIC FORMULA: Yes, we have here a sure-fire formula for grabbing that P165-million jackpot in tonight’s SuperLotto draw! We also have, if you promise to be patient with us, some betting tips to help you zero in on the jackpot every time the gambler in you asserts itself.

And the magic formula is: Bet on all the possible six-number combinations. At P10 per bet, that will cost you only P139,838,160 since there are 13,983,816 possible combinations.

Too big an investment? Don’t lose heart, because with you winning P165-million (not to mention many other minor prizes that you also get in the process) you will be ahead by at least P25 million. Not bad for a day’s fling.

There’s a little hitch, though. One problem (aside from producing the bet money) is that there is a possibility that somebody else — not necessarily a Malaysian — might also bet on the same numbers, in which case, sorry, you will have to split the jackpot with him and lose some.

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SNEAK-IN WINNERS?: Even as we write this, we are swamped with email from readers expressing agreement with another reader Vicente F. Gambito of Cebu that the Lotto is susceptible to having bogus winners being inserted right after the draw. (See Postscript, Oct. 10, 2002)

None of the unsuspecting bettors lining up to buy that dream knows if all the winners announced the day after the draw are legitimate and not dummies being used to grab big chunks of the jackpot.

Gambito’s proposed solution is to copy into a compact disk (CD) right after the close of betting all the bets participating in the draw. The CD will be taken to the TV station where the draw is held and displayed in full view throughout the program. Immediately after the six-number winning combination is drawn, the CD is inserted into a computer in the TV studio and accessed to find out right then and there how many bets won. No insertion is possible afterwards.

If everything is on the level, there is no reason why the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office — or the Malaysian operators lurking in the shadows — will refuse to go along with this proposal. Gambito said that if the PCSO does not know how to do it, he can help them.

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HIGH-STAKES GAME: Assuming you want to play high-stakes and bet P139,838,160 to cover all possible combinations, how do you haul that fortune to the nearest Lotto outlet in your neighborhood?

When the PCSO was still on San Marcelino St. in Manila, there was a betting station right in the premises. If they have a similar outlet in the PCSO’s new headquarters in the Quezon Institute site in Quezon City, we assume you can drive in with your money in an armored car.

Why not just bring a check? We posed the same question to then PCSO chairman Manoling Morato, and he told us you can pay with a check… but your bet is validated as qualified to play only after your check is cashed. You don’t fool around with people in the gambling racket.

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BASIC NOTIONS: The truth is that you don’t have to invest a whopping P139,838,160 to hit the jackpot. Ten pesos will do. There have been many cases of a bettor playing only P10 for just one combination and romping off with the jackpot.

Another truth is that any number is actually as good as any other number. But of course somebody who has two tickets has twice as much chance of winning than one bettor holding only one ticket.

With lottery being gambling and therefore a game of chance, we have to say a few things about chances or probability.

At this point, we have to go back to basic notions for those who have not bet in the Lotto in their life, or do not understand how it works, or pretend they disdain gambling and have not taken any interest in it.

The SuperLotto involves the numbers 1 to 49. Every draw (televised on government TV every Thursday and Sunday at 9 p.m.), they pick at random six of the 49 numbers. If you happen to bet on that six-number combination, regardless of the sequence they were drawn, you hit the jackpot.

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SLIM CHANCE: With so many possible combinations drawn from 49 numbers, what are your chances of hitting it? The numbers are not encouraging.

With six numbers being picked at random for a winning combination from a field of 49 numbers, there are 13,983,816 possible combinations.

(We want to give you the mathematical formula, but we are afraid it might not come out right when printed. Once when we were talking of natural gas, we gave the chemical formula for methane which is CH4, but it came out CH4 — the number “4” printed out as a regular figure in the hands of somebody who did not understand subscripts.)

If there are that many combinations, your chances of hitting the right combination with one bet is just one out of 13,983,816. Our favorite meteorologist would quip that you are more likely to be hit by lightning on a clear day than winning the Lotto jackpot.

The chances are slim really, but in this country where Juan Pasang Krus has been reduced to either dasal or sugal (praying or gambling) to gain deliverance from poverty, he is willing to part even with one of his vital organs to have a little more money.

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FREE LOTTO TIPS: So let’s help by sharing some statistical data based on our analysis of the winning numbers from the first SuperLotto draw on Jan. 6 this year to the last one last Thursday.

This year, the llamado or the most active numbers that come out most often are 44 (11 times), 5, 12, 14, 18, 23, 24, 31 and 43 (10 times each). But in recent weeks, particularly since August, the numbers coming out more frequently have been 3, 5, 26 and 40.

During the year, the dejado or the least active numbers have been 42 (came out only once), 4, 20, 22, 29 and 32 (each came out twice only).

We are mentioning the most and the least active numbers because some bettors want to swing into the winning streak of a “lucky” number, while others prefer numbers on the losing side on the belief that these sleepy numbers are about to wake up from their slumber.

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TANDEMS, TRIOS: The overall view given by our computerized analysis shows interesting behavior of some numbers.

Numbers frequently come out in tandem with their neighbors. In the last draw, 40 came out with 41, and in the draw before that, 21 stood out with 22. In previous draws, we saw 29 and 30, 18 and 19, 2 and 3, 24 and 25, 18 and 19, 9 and 10, and — lo! — the trio of 21, 22 and 23 together.

Vertically, the chart shows that some numbers have the habit of coming out in successive draws. In recent weeks, 31 came out in two successive draws. Same thing with 37, 18, 14 and 39. The active numbers 12, 14, 24, 26 and 34 came out not twice but three times in a row. But beating them all is 47, which popped up in four successive draws!

The lesson seems to be that there is no reason to drop a number just because it already came out in the last draw. If you feel strongly for a number, stick to it. Be good to it and it will be good to you.

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GOOD OLD GUT FEEL: That brings us to a quirk of Filipino bettors. We Pinoys do not have much appreciation for cold statistics similar to those discussed above.

We go mostly by gut feel. Prayerfully we gather and talk to our favorite numbers. We line up at the Lotto station murmuring a prayer. Or, believing in the influence of innocent children over God, we ask our kids to give us numbers and to touch the betting card for added luck.

We stick our Lotto tickets before the altar, promising the Lord that the manna dropping on us would be like the blinding light from heaven that reformed Saul. We think perhaps that God is a wheeler-dealer of sorts or some sentimental superlolo.

Some winners have reported that they got their combinations from the birthdays of their children and loved ones. Some hooked up their car plate and telephone numbers. Others would examine the figures formed by their fallen hair or their droppings swimming in the toilet bowl in much the same way some people read tea leaves.

…Then the question keeps coming back: How do we protect the countless gullible bettors who line up and part with their hard-earned cash to throw into the insatiable maws of the syndicates running the state’s gambling apparatus?

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of October 13, 2002)

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