Gaming the Lottery: Math, Cash WinFall, and the Players That Can’t Lose
I’m updating the blog over lunch, so I don’t have a time to elaborate here… but this is an absolutely fascinating article about how a select few people are gaming a Massachusetts lottery game called Cash WinFall. One example is 70 year old Marjorie Selbee and her husband:
The main difference with Cash WinFall is that there are what are called “rolldown weeks.” These days occur when no one wins the jackpot, and the prize money reaches roughly $2M. At this time, payoff rates for smaller prizes (matching 2, 3 or 4 numbers) grows a great deal… allowing players to win markedly more money.
So far this year, the Selbees have claimed nearly $1M in prize money, entirely from tickets wins that range from $802 to $24,821. So far this year.
The math behind this lottery and the people who are working the system is pretty amazing. Liz joked to me that if she had a year to study the numbers, she could probably devise some kind of system like this. This was mentioned in passing, but I’ve been rubbing my chin a lot, ever since. Hmm….