How to Figure Out Lottery Probability in Excel

Are the lottery odds ever to your benefit? If you know the most notable prize, you can use Excel to understand the lottery probability to see if it's worth getting a ticket.

While the lottery is rarely a "good bet" mathematically, periodically it's a lot better than others. In fact, there are actually times when the lottery odds are to your benefit. With Excel, one can possibly calculate lottery probability and find out exactly what your odds are of winning. First, here are an example.
Problem: The Super Lotto jackpot is $8 million this week. Should you play?
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Strategy: It depends on what many numbers will be in the game. You need to determine the quantity of possible combinations there are in the game. You can use the COMBIN function to figure out the quantity of combinations by selecting six numbers from a group of 40.
1) Set up a spreadsheet with the number of balls with your lotto game in cell C2.


2) Identify how many numbers you have to select correctly in cell D2.
3) Enter the formula =COMBIN(C2,D2) in cell E2, as shown in Fig. 451. (Click image for a larger view.)

If your state lottery game requires that you select six numbers from 40, then your odds against you winning are 3.83 million to at least one. For a $1 bet with an $8 million payout, the odds are on your behalf.
For a game title with 44 numbers, the likelihood is 7 million to one. This payoff is slightly on your side.
For games with 48 or 54 numbers, the payout is not worth the long odds more info of the action.
Additional Information: COMBIN figures combinations. Here, the sequence when the balls are drawn in is just not relevant. If you had a sport where you had to check both the numbers along with the order through which they were drawn, you would want to use the PERMUT function to find the number of permutations of drawing six numbers in sequence beyond 40.
Summary: Use the COMBIN or PERMUT functions for figuring the volume of combinations or permutations.
Functions Discussed: =COMBIN(); =PERMUT()

Interested to learn more Excel tricks and methods? Be sure to flick through the a huge selection of other Excel tutorials and user guides offered by Bright Hub, like the following collections.

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