Odds of Winning the PowerBall LotteryDate: 08/29/2001 at 17:16:39 From: Joseph Flowers Subject: Odds of winning the lottery Dear Dr. Math, A friend of mine says that a recently published article in the Louisville Courier Journal stating that the odds of winning the 300-million-dollar powerball were just one in 80,089,128 is wrong. He is a math teacher, but has yet to offer his odds on winning. Can you verify the paper's numbers? Date: 08/29/2001 at 17:49:18 From: Doctor Paul Subject: Re: Odds of winning the lottery The newspaper is correct: There are C(49,5) ways to choose the first five balls and clearly there are 42 ways to choose the powerball. So the odds of winning are: C(49,5) * 42 = 49!/(5! * (49-5)!) * 42 = 42*45*46*47*48*49/120 = 80,089,128 So there are 80089128 possible ways to pick the lottery numbers and there is only one way to win (getting them all correct). Hence the odds are 1:80089128. - Doctor Paul, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ Date: 08/30/2001 at 22:20:17 From: Joseph W. Flowers Subject: Re: Odds of winning the lottery Dear Dr. Math, Thanks for your reply, and your answer so soon! |
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