It’s estimated that around 10,000 people a week choose 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 as their lottery numbers.
This despite the odds that any 6 numbers being drawn are exactly the same as any other combination. If they ever come up (there are 13,983,816 possible combinations of six numbers from 49 numbers so the lottery odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 13,983,816), chances are you’ll be disappointed with having to share your loot with so many others.
Oxford professor of mathematics, Marcus Du Sautoy, says: ‘My advice is to pick consecutive numbers, like 31, 32, 33. Not many people do, but it is just as likely as any other combination.’
The logic behind this was also used by Apple to redesign its iTunes ‘shuffle’ software. After some customers complained Apple made the randomiser software ‘less random’, preventing iPods from playing a track more than once.
But when it comes to such large odds, does logic really matter? In 1998, unemployed Scot John Roberts was planning to spend his last pound on a meat pie. Instead, he spent it on a lucky dip lottery ticket – and a £3m win was more than adequate compensation for missing out on the pie!