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View Diary: Something fishy in the Mega Millions Lottery? (98 comments)

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  •  I never studied probabilities or chance... (1+ / 0-)
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    ObamaLovingExDemocrat

    but if the odds are exactly the same of getting the number "26" one out of every 46 draws, it doesn't seem to me that the odds would be the same of getting the number "26" three times in a row.

    Hey, I admit I could be completely wrong or ignorant but what are those odds? How many draws would it take to get "26" three times in a row or "26" four times within a string of six drawings?  Can somebody explain this so I can understand and learn this?

    •  Probability & odds are two different things. (1+ / 0-)
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      Magenta
      •  Depends (1+ / 0-)
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        citizenx

        On what you consider "odds." If you're taking traditional odds (as in something like "three to one" or "3/1", as is generally quoted in horseracing) then you're right - these are different, as they neglect your initial input.

        Newer betting places, however, tend to deal in "decimal odds", which would look something like "4.0". This takes your initial chance into account, is is the inverse of the probability. Having said that, most people who deal with this formally deal with probability, as the concept of odds has too much of a connotation with arbitrary sports betting, and is a much more helpful number for further computation.

        Separately from either of those is terminology like "1 in 5000", which is really just the inverse of probability.

        AT&T offers exciting work for recent graduates in computer science. Pick up the phone, call your mom, and ask for an application.

        by Scipio on Sat May 17, 2008 at 06:39:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Numbers (8+ / 0-)

      The probability of hitting 26 three times in a row is 46^-3, or about 0.00125% - when you're dealing with events that have more than one component, you take the probabilities of each event combine (multiply) them. Having said that, the probability of the next drawing being 26 is still only 46^-1, which is the expected 2.17%.

      Thus, when you're looking at things like this, it's important to remember (and make clear) exactly what probabilities you're talking about - specifically, to differentiate between the probability of a single specific event happening (the next number being a 26) and then probability of a general compound event (drawing two 26s in a row).

      As for the probability of four out of six drawings being a 26, you take the number of 4-combinations from a set of 6 (C(6,4)) and multiply that by the probability of hitting four 26s and two non-26s (46^-4*(45/46)^2). This comes out to a probability of 0.0000032, or about 1 in 312 Million.

      So yes, it's weird - but there's always that one time, and absent any more information, this is it.

      AT&T offers exciting work for recent graduates in computer science. Pick up the phone, call your mom, and ask for an application.

      by Scipio on Sat May 17, 2008 at 06:21:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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