1. Play the right game

We start with what is arguably the most important step - picking the right lottery game. There are plenty of lotteries to choose from in 2021 but they aren't all the same. You have state and national lotteries and both categories can have multiple games running. For every lottery, players have different odds of winning and this is what we are interested in.

Lottery odds are based on the required winning numbers and on the size of the pools of available options. Your chances of winning the lottery are better in games with fewer numbers in-play. For example, 2by2 in North Dakota requires players to match four numbers out of 52 possibilities, resulting in the winning probability of 1 in 105,625. Mega Millions has five winning numbers out of 70, plus an extra Mega Ball out of 25 options. As a result, the odds of winning this jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350.

State lotteries generally have better odds, but the prizes are smaller. Match 6 Lotto in Pennsylvania is a standard 6/49 lottery game with daily draws and a jackpot that starts at $500,000. The odds of winning it are 1 in 4,661,272. Powerball, on the other hand, is available in 45 states and usually has jackpots that can easily exceed $100 million. The odds of winning are 1 in 292,201,338. You can also consider scratch-off lottery games that come with much better chances of winning than national lotteries. You may even think about playing keno as a perfect lottery-like game at the best online casinos.

Lottery Odds

Lottery GameLocationOdds Of Winning
Mega MillionsNationwide1 in 302,575,350
PowerballNationwide1 in 292,201,338
Match 6 LottoPennsylvania1 in 4,661,272
2by2North Dakota1 in 105,625

2. Look for less popular lottery games

Popular lotteries, like Powerball and Mega Millions, will draw in the crowds with their massive jackpots and with their respective brands. Both have a long history and have made their fair share of headlines with outstanding payouts.

While big lottery games look attractive, we would advise you to look beyond them. Less popular lotteries often have better odds. You also have a better chance of being the sole winner if you do land the perfect ticket. Splitting the jackpot with multiple winners can deflate the excitement - not to mention the paycheck. In 2016, Powerball awarded the world's largest lottery jackpot but the $1.586 billion prize was split between three tickets. As a result, each of the three players won less than other big lottery winners.

Some good options include SuperLotto Plus and EuroJackpot. Check out our US Online Lottery Guide to see how easy it is to buy lottery tickets online for draws from around the world.

3. Wait for the jackpot to stack up

Your odds of winning the lottery will remain the same with every draw on the respective game. However, the jackpots are known to increase from one week to another if there aren't any major winners. So, after you find the perfect lottery, do a bit of research regarding its jackpots. See what the starting amount is and at what level it is usually won. Compare this to the current jackpot and figure out where you stand.

If the jackpot was just recently won, you might want to wait a few weeks before buying tickets. This way, the prizes will most likely increase and you have the potential to win more.

Biggest Ever US Lottery Wins

Lottery GameWin AmountLocation of WinWinner Name
Powerball$1.586 BillionTennessee, Florida, CaliforniaJohn and Lisa Robinson,
Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt,
Marvin and Mae Acosta
Mega Millions$1.537 BillionSouth CarolinaAnonymous
Mega Millions$1.05 BillionMichiganAnonymous syndicate
Powerball$768.4 MillionWisconsinManuel Franco
Powerball$758.7 MillionMassachusettsMavis Wanczyk
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4. Don't ignore second chance lottery

Second chance lotteries can give players another shot at winning something without having to buy new tickets. Quite a few lottery games have this option and it can turn out to be quite profitable.

The concept is simple and to the point. You buy your ticket and follow the main draw. If you don't win, you fill out the form on the back and send the ticket for the second draw. Online lottery games usually do this automatically. One random ticket will then be selected as part of the second-chance draw. You may not win the jackpot, but you do have a shot at a six-figure prize - or even more money - for no extra cost. In December, 2019, Malek Dabwan was the second chance winner of the NC Education Lottery, landing a cool $1,000,000 jackpot.

5. Avoid consecutive numbers and numbers in the same group

Yes, every number is randomly drawn from the pool. However, statistics from previous draws show an interesting pattern. It is very unlikely that you get consecutive numbers in the same draw. This is actually one of the tricks used by Richard Lustig, a lottery player who won seven times within two years. He also says to avoid numbers from the same group or ones that end with the same digit.

In short, try to cover a wide range of numbers from the available pool. Don't limit yourself to one cluster and don't base your selections on a pattern. As a useful trick, in lotteries where you must match five numbers out of 55 options, the selections on the ticket should have a total value between 100 and 175. Pick your numbers and quickly add them up to see if you fall between these two levels. This is where 70% of jackpots are awarded.

Example combinations:

  • 8, 17, 23, 42, 54 – Add up to 144
  • 14, 25, 31, 43, 56 – Add up to 169
  • 11, 28, 35, 49, 52 – Add up to 175

6. Go beyond 31 and pick 'rare' numbers

It is very common for players to use birthdays when trying to win the lottery. These are generally considered lucky numbers and players use those of their friends and family members as well. As a result, most selections fall between 1 and 31. There was a woman in 2016 who won a Mega Millions jackpot by using family birthdays and seven as her lucky number. She shared the $636 million prize with one more winner. But hers was an extremely rare success story and this trend opens some possibilities for you to win more.

While each number has the same odds of being drawn, the probability of sharing the jackpot is smaller when you select less popular numbers. So, go beyond 31 when making your selections. If you do end up winning, you will be less likely to have to share the jackpot with anyone. As a tip, statistically, the least popular lottery numbers are 31, 29, 10, 30, 40, 48, 39, 42, and 41.

7. Buy multiple lottery tickets within your budget

Every ticket with different numbers improves your chances of winning the lottery. Of course, every purchase also increases your total cost and you shouldn't spend more than you can afford. Try to stay within a set budget and play responsibly in order to best enjoy the entire experience.

Our recommendation is to add a few extra lottery tickets to your online cart. If you were only going to buy one, maybe consider getting two or three. If you already want to buy 10, try to fit 15 in your balance. The more tickets you have, the more likely you are to win something, maybe even the lottery jackpot.

Gamble Responsibly

Playing the lottery should be fun, but you need to stay in control. If you can't quit, it's time to get help. Gamblers Anonymous and the National Council on Problem Gambling can offer support and guidance for gambling addiction.

8. Form a syndicate

A lottery syndicate is a group of people who pool their money to buy tickets. It is one of the most popular lottery strategies, both in-person and online. If any of the tickets has the winning lottery numbers, the prize is shared with all participants based on their contributions to the pool. You can form your own syndicate with friends and family or simply join one online.

The advantage is that every player has a better chance of winning something. The downside is that the individual prizes are smaller. Needless to say, though, if the syndicate lands a $300 million jackpot, all players will probably be happy with their shares. Here are some of the biggest lottery jackpots won by syndicates:

Biggest Lottery Syndicate Wins

Lottery GameWin AmountLocation of WinSyndicate Size
Mega Millions$1.05 BillionMichigan4 people
Mega Millions$656 MillionMaryland3 people
Powerball$447 MillionNew Jersey16 people
Mega Millions$437 MillionNew York23 people
Powerball$420.9 MillionOregon20 people
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9. Bring in investors to back your venture

After winning the lottery 14 times, Romanian-born mathematician Stefan Mandel shared his formula with the world. In short, the way to win is to get enough people together who can afford the cost of buying tickets which cover all possible combinations. One way to do that is by raising money through investors. Mandel once had more than 2,500 investors for a single lottery and they won more than $1.3 million. Out of this impressive jackpot, he only kept $97,000 after paying out to the investors. It is still a decent chunk of change and definitely worth the effort.

Bringing investors on board is similar to creating a lottery syndicate. However, you can promise them a fixed rate from the start as long as your calculations are correct, instead of a portion of the jackpot. This strategy can improve your returns and land you a larger profit for your efforts. Just ensure your agreements are watertight to avoid any potential legal complications when your plan comes together.

10. Don't forget your lottery ticket

Online lotteries make it very simple to keep track of all purchased tickets. Players are also notified via email when they win. Small wins are usually added to the account automatically, without the need to manually claim the prize. Of course, you can always follow the live draw and check the numbers for the thrilling experience. The details will remain in the account so you can recheck at any time. The entire process helps prevent players from forgetting to claim their winnings.

However, there can still be mishaps if the player doesn't pay attention. In January 2021, a British customer won a £20 million jackpot in a special Lotto draw after buying the ticket online but never claimed it.

Lottery Win

FAQs

  • What to do if you win the lottery?

    Small lottery prizes won online are credited directly to your account. For larger wins, the operator will arrange for you to claim the prize in person. You will need to confirm by logging into the account or by calling the lottery number.

  • What are the chances of winning the lottery?

    Lottery odds depend on the game and on the numbers in play. For a typical 6/49 lottery, the probability of landing all six winning numbers is 1 in 13,983,816. 5/70 games that also have an extra ball (1/25) come with odds of around 1 in 300,000,000.

  • Can I buy lottery tickets online?

    Yes, you can buy tickets for lotteries online. Specialized sites give players access to a wide range of lotteries from around the world, including the really popular ones, like Mega Millions and Powerball. You can pay using cards or other accepted banking methods.

  • Where to buy lottery tickets?

    We recommend buying your online lottery tickets at the sites of the games featured in this very guide. These are safe, secure, and reliable. You will also find a wide range of lottery games to choose from, while real money casinos offer even more thrilling options.

  • How to pick lottery numbers?

    Pick lottery numbers that are not consecutive and not in the same group. Also, try to avoid selecting most of your numbers between 1 and 31. You can find more details in our complete guide on how to win the lottery.

  • Do quick picks ever win the lottery?

    Yes. In fact, players who opt for the Quick Pick option win the lottery more often than players who select their numbers. Reports indicate that around 70% of lottery winners used Quick Pick for their numbers.

  • What numbers are most likely to win the lottery?

    All numbers have the same odds of being picked. However, the most drawn numbers for the Mega Millions are 2, 4, 17, 31, 39, and 46. If you prefer the Powerball, some of the most common winning numbers are 10, 39, 42, 28, 22, and 16.