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View Full Version : Guy Who Wins Scratch-Offs Enough to Make a Living at It


stvnscott
03-29-2012, 03:51 PM
So I ran into a former employee of mine from several years ago at a restaurant. He's a very sharp statistician and programmer. I happen to need one of those right now and offered him a job. He declined flatly and said he doesn't need to do the daily grind anymore. He continued by saying that he plays the scratch-off games here in Texas and makes between $500 and $2000 per week doing it. He has to hit several convenience stores every day, but he wins all the time.

He would not tell me how he does it. I ran several scenarios by him off the top of my head, and he said I'm overthinking it.

I've never bought a lotto ticket in my life and don't really plan to start. But still... This is a challenge and I like challenges.

Any ideas on how to win scratch-off games consistently? The solution would have to be difficult enough that the average Joe could not figure it out, but simple enough to not be accused of overthinking it.

tiktok
03-29-2012, 03:52 PM
I knew a guy who made a living for a while playing online poker. It took him 4-6 hours a day to meet his daily nut.

dk123123dk
03-29-2012, 03:53 PM
Are you serious?


dk

chrisr777
03-29-2012, 03:55 PM
http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a57/Frediemac/Gullible.jpg

A-Bone
03-29-2012, 03:57 PM
http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a57/Frediemac/Gullible.jpg

:rotflmao:rotflmao:rotflmao

smallbutmighty
03-29-2012, 04:03 PM
I read an article about a year ago or so on this very subject....a guy who had figured out how to win on scratch tickets. I wish I could remember where...Wired Magazine, maybe.

It said the state was revamping their whole system as a result of this guy's formula.

Try a google search...

DaveF
03-29-2012, 05:04 PM
http://winninglotterymethod.com/

Cobb
03-29-2012, 05:06 PM
1- They print more losers than winners (Obviously)
2- Most stores do not let you see the tickets ahead of time. (They are behind the counter, under glass, etc
3- You can't return tickets (Whether they are scratched off or not)


You would need some inside information on what serial numbers to look for and then you need a clerk that will let you examine the tickets and take your pick. Or a machine that can somehow see under the scratch off part without actually scratching it.

Some states tell you how many tickets were sold and what prizes were claimed. So, theoretically, you can raise your advantage if you keep track of the tickets that have the most unaccounted for winning tickets....however this is far from a guaranteed system.


I find your friends story hard to believe.

Mike Anderson
03-29-2012, 05:20 PM
Yes, there was a statistician who discovered a defect in certain scratch-off games a few years ago. It was a tic-tac-toe type game. He figured out that the numbers they were using on the latex covering material could be used to determine which tickets were winners.

You'd have to team up with a store that sells scratch offs, so that they'd let you buy only the winning tickets, but you could do it.

He told the gaming company about it, and supposedly they changed their methods, at least for that game. But there are a lot of other games out there that use similar technology.

Adding: Here's the story (http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/01/ff_lottery/all/1).

Doug's Tubes
03-29-2012, 05:35 PM
Ok, he can scratch this! .........................

Gilky
03-29-2012, 05:43 PM
I read a while ago that some States (including Texas) publish the results of how many winners have been claimed and how many total have been printed and sold, so he could figure out which ones had few winnings claimed and few tickets remaining to stack the odds more in his favor. Seems like a hell of a way to make a living though. Can you imagine all the little silver shavings on his living room floor?!

bigdaddy
03-29-2012, 08:00 PM
I knew a guy who made a living for a while playing online poker. It took him 4-6 hours a day to meet his daily nut.

I know quite a few guys, including my brother, who make a damn fine living playing poker. The lottery is something else completely.

I'm pretty sure OP's acquaintance is turning tricks. :munch

wall_of_sleep
03-29-2012, 08:21 PM
You can request the information of what jackpots/prizes are still out for each game.

I used to play the $2 bingos at work. Worst case scenario I was breaking even.

badger146
03-29-2012, 08:59 PM
there was a story in the news a few months (years?) back about a statistician woman (could've been an american or an australian cant remember) who can calculate such things. she can figured out when and where the scratch-it is likely to be printed and sent. its do-able i suppose, i'm not smart enough though

phoenix 7
03-29-2012, 09:02 PM
He continued by saying that he plays the scratch-off games here in Texas and makes between $500 and $2000 per week doing it.

That might be code for "I do something illegal for a living that I prefer not to talk about, so I'll try out this crap and see who actually buys it."

A-Bone
03-29-2012, 09:06 PM
That might be code for "I do something illegal for a living that I prefer not to talk about, so I'll try out this crap and see who actually buys it."

:rotflmao:rotflmao:rotflmao

ManliusGuitar
03-29-2012, 09:09 PM
http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/01/ff_lottery/all/1

hellbender
03-29-2012, 11:02 PM
He could be one of those guys who tells his customers that their tickets are losers and then cashes them in.

stvnscott
03-30-2012, 06:22 AM
So this is what I threw at him for him to tell me I was overthinking it...

It would be nearly impossible to randomize winning tickets on a printing press, so there has to be a pattern to how they are printed. There may be up to 10 different patterns that are either used on different games or shuffled to add to the appearance of randomness. If you can figure out the pattern for a particular game for a particular point in time and how it applies to serial numbers, you could buy by serial number and have a reasonable chance at winning. Seems plausible. I don't know how they are sold in other states, but in Texas they are under glass where you can sometimes see the serial number of the next ticket or the 2nd or 3rd. That tells you how many you have to buy to get the serial number you want.

Another possibility is that since they must be printed in sheets and rolled, perhaps some rolls have more winners than others (according to preset printing patterns). At that point, it would be a matter of figuring out if a store has a particular roll and how much of it is left.

I wonder how it could be easier than that?

stvnscott
03-30-2012, 07:08 AM
OK. So I read the Wired article. It appears my friend may have found an exploit in one particular game. That explains why he told me I was overthinking it.

My background is in creating algorithms for designing and manufacturing lens systems and biometrics systems, so my natural approach would be to exploit flaws in the design and manufacturing processes. His background is statistical analysis of patterns and codes--similar to the guy in the article, but with people instead of minerals.

Hmmm...

MikeE
03-30-2012, 07:26 AM
My father in law has been trying to make a living off scratch offs for as long as I've known him (almost 20yrs), and all he's accomplished is twice filing for bankruptcy :)

EricPeterson
03-30-2012, 07:34 AM
That might be code for "I do something illegal for a living that I prefer not to talk about, so I'll try out this crap and see who actually buys it."

This certainly makes more sense than the OP.

cram
03-30-2012, 07:48 AM
tip cashier/owners if they can realistically count whether each roll of tickets has turned a winner. It's much easier to do in rural areas because they come back with the ticket to redeem the winnings.

Teledeluxe77
03-30-2012, 07:54 AM
I read an article about a year ago or so on this very subject....a guy who had figured out how to win on scratch tickets. I wish I could remember where...Wired Magazine, maybe.

It said the state was revamping their whole system as a result of this guy's formula.

Try a google search...


I find it more humorous that he would TELL...if I have that system figured out, I think i'd be keeping my mouth shut! :bonk

stvnscott
03-30-2012, 08:45 AM
This certainly makes more sense than the OP.

Yes. With absolutely no knowledge of the person or his abilities, it makes perfect sense to leap to the conclusion that he engaged in nefarious activity rather than take him at his word.

S-M-R-T!

EricPeterson
03-30-2012, 08:55 AM
Why would I take the word of some person I don't know especially when their claim is particularly questionable?

stvnscott
03-30-2012, 09:00 AM
It is much farther fetched to believe that a brilliant statistician is engaged in illegal activity than it is to believe he has somehow found a predictive pattern in lotto tickets. You must not work with brilliant engineers like I do...

EricPeterson
03-30-2012, 09:16 AM
I think extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence merely because some smart person says so is not evidence moreover in my experience there is no element of skill in a scratch card and they are purchased at random so unless he has found some way to purchase particular cards on roll (which I woulf be suspect of how that could be done legitimately outside of waiting at the counter and counting the cards sold and jumping in line at the right moment) then yeah I guess I agree with phoenix's statement more than the bare assertion that he is doing it by his sheer intellect

bigdaddy
03-30-2012, 09:17 AM
Yes. With absolutely no knowledge of the person or his abilities, it makes perfect sense to leap to the conclusion that he engaged in nefarious activity rather than take him at his word.

S-M-R-T!

Actually, given the two options:

A) He is lying and turned down the job because he is a criminal

B) He is truly beating the lottery system

I would expect A to win somewhere between 98 and 99% of the time.

Even if, as you claim he is a brilliant statistician. Especially, if he is a brilliant statistician.

I know many guys who are only nearly brilliant and consistently (like over the past 5-10 years) pull down double the amounts your guy claims playing poker. So, if he were truly brilliant he would be playing poker.

Not only would he have to "beat the game" he would have to convince all of these stores to allow him to buy a large number of tickets and return the vast majority of them. Often. How long do you think it would take even a convenience store clerk to suspect something funny in that scenario?

The sharpest minds in poker are now suggesting that even a sample size of 10 million hands cannot give a degree of certainty that one is beating the game that even approaches 100%. That raises the question of how many lottery tickets you would have to buy to be certain enough of your win rate enough to turn down a job. Do you think this guy has purchased 1 million lottery tickets? 100k?

Start looking at the numbers involved. Start looking at the odds of the games. Start looking at some basic gambling theory. Then think about where you would put your money, A or B?

Try this. Find a Texas Lottery scratch off game and the odds and win amounts and calculate how many tickets you would have to buy to be assured a win of $5. Even if your guy knows the game's "tell", he still has to see that many tickets to make his $5. Now multiply that times 100 per day.

Jerrod
03-30-2012, 09:49 AM
While I started reading this thread as a skeptic, the Wired article was pretty persuasive. Those of you deriding the OP would do well to read it.

bigdaddy
03-30-2012, 09:51 AM
I did a little more digging. Here (http://www.txlottery.org/export/sites/lottery/Documents/scratchoffs/1377tables.pdf) is the prize table for a $5 game. Even if he can pick the winners just by looking at them, he would need to look at 714 tickets to find 100 $10 winners, which would yield a profit of $500. The numbers get worse if he looks for bigger prizes. In order to find 5 100$ tickets he would have to look at 2400 tickets, for a profit of $475. To find 1 $500 ticket he would have to look at over 6600 tickets, for a profit of $495.

This is all with zero deviation!! In other words, in a perfect world. AKA, statistically impossible. It's only expected value. To reach a reasonable degree of certainty he would have to repeat this tens of thousands, if not millions, of times.

Let's just say he has a technique similar to the one in the Wired article. Since he is brilliant, let's assume he can determine whether or not a ticket is a winner in 1 minute. That's ~12 hours to find those 100 $10 winners. Just over $40/hour, roughly $80k per year. In a perfect world.

How much did this guaranteed, salaried, 100% legal job that he turned down pay?

mark norwine
03-30-2012, 09:55 AM
did you guys know that the word "gullible" is NOT in the dictionary?

Really! Go check!

I'll wait here for you to report back....

Jerrod
03-30-2012, 10:03 AM
I did a little more digging. Here (http://www.txlottery.org/export/sites/lottery/Documents/scratchoffs/1377tables.pdf) is the prize table for a $5 game. Even if he can pick the winners just by looking at them, he would need to look at 714 tickets to find 100 $10 winners, which would yield a profit of $500. The numbers get worse if he looks for bigger prizes. In order to find 5 100$ tickets he would have to look at 2400 tickets, for a profit of $475. To find 1 $500 ticket he would have to look at over 6600 tickets, for a profit of $495.

This is all with zero deviation!! In other words, in a perfect world. AKA, statistically impossible. It's only expected value. To reach a reasonable degree of certainty he would have to repeat this tens of thousands, if not millions, of times.

Let's just say he has a technique similar to the one in the Wired article. Since he is brilliant, let's assume he can determine whether or not a ticket is a winner in 1 minute. That's ~12 hours to find those 100 $10 winners. Just over $40/hour, roughly $80k per year. In a perfect world.

How much did this guaranteed, salaried, 100% legal job that he turned down pay?

I didn't say it was a good business decision. It's instructive that the Toronto guy in the Wired article passed up the opportunity. But it's not unbelievable. If the other guy lived in Moosejaw or Grand Forks, not Toronto, he might have looked at the upside differently.

circusinthesky
03-30-2012, 10:07 AM
He would not tell me how he does it. I ran several scenarios by him off the top of my head, and he said I'm overthinking it.

Oh, wait. Did you friend say that he PAID for the tickets? I could make a living "visiting" a few convenience stores each day with a ski mask.

Actually, since the store owners get a cut of higher amounts, maybe they let him scan the tickets for a code, as mentioned. Or maybe the clerks get a cut. That's why he has to hit a few. Some places may not have the winning tickets that week.

bigdaddy
03-30-2012, 10:08 AM
All that and you don't find it unbelievable? Let me repeat.

He would have to do this tens of thousands of times to achieve this average rate of return. The deviation would crush him.

It is unlikely enough to be completely unbelievable.

EricPeterson
03-30-2012, 10:12 AM
But bigdaddy he is like a really smart engineer ;)

travisvwright
03-30-2012, 10:14 AM
It is much farther fetched to believe that a brilliant statistician is engaged in illegal activity than it is to believe he has somehow found a predictive pattern in lotto tickets. You must not work with brilliant engineers like I do...
Not mutually exclusive BTW.

bigdaddy
03-30-2012, 10:15 AM
But bigdaddy he is like a really smart engineer ;)

If, by "really smart engineer", you mean he built a meth lab somewhere, I agree.

travisvwright
03-30-2012, 10:18 AM
All that and you don't find it unbelievable? Let me repeat.

He would have to do this tens of thousands of times to achieve this average rate of return. The deviation would crush him.

It is unlikely enough to be completely unbelievable.While I agree with you. Say I worked out the system to know that ticket 123456 was a winner. And I know how many tickets are on a roll (probably public knowledge). I would start my day by going and buying a single ticket from 10 different places, then based on that number and what I've already figured out about average sales, I check in from time to time to be sure I don't miss the ticket I want. So I in that case I don't have to look at literally thousands if I know I've got 3 thousand to go and this sells them at 500 an hour. I'll just come back in 5 hours or so buy another one to see how far along it is.

bigdaddy
03-30-2012, 10:24 AM
While I agree with you. Say I worked out the system to know that ticket 123456 was a winner. And I know how many tickets are on a roll (probably public knowledge). I would start my day by going and buying a single ticket from 10 different places, then based on that number and what I've already figured out about average sales, I check in from time to time to be sure I don't miss the ticket I want. So I in that case I don't have to look at literally thousands if I know I've got 3 thousand to go and this sells them at 500 an hour. I'll just come back in 5 hours or so buy another one to see how far along it is.

Do you have an average-sales-figure-out-inator?


http://i3.squidoocdn.com/resize/squidoo_images/-1/draft_lens5296152module87387811photo_1267332588Mak e-up-your-mind-inator.

Even in TX, does one place really sell anywhere near 500 tickets from one game in an hour?

Dr. Jimmy
03-30-2012, 10:53 AM
Do you have an average-sales-figure-out-inator?


http://i3.squidoocdn.com/resize/squidoo_images/-1/draft_lens5296152module87387811photo_1267332588Mak e-up-your-mind-inator.

Even in TX, does one place really sell anywhere near 500 tickets from one game in an hour?


OH NO!!!!!! Dr. Doofenschmirtz!!!!!!!!!

travisvwright
03-30-2012, 11:09 AM
Do you have an average-sales-figure-out-inator?


http://i3.squidoocdn.com/resize/squidoo_images/-1/draft_lens5296152module87387811photo_1267332588Mak e-up-your-mind-inator.

Even in TX, does one place really sell anywhere near 500 tickets from one game in an hour?
Assuming they are sequential, you take two days buy one every hour and you've got yourself a pretty good estimate. Maybe take some extra time to figure out the spikes at pre-8 and post 5 o'clock. But it wouldn't be overly difficult.

chrisr777
03-30-2012, 11:18 AM
Thing that always bothers me about these, "I made it big using this system" guys is..........if they got that rich using their system, then why do they need to make more money selling their system? If the guy with the book giving all the seminars and TV appearances is doing so well at the lottery, why is he wasting time promoting his book?

:huh

dank
03-30-2012, 11:24 AM
Thing that always bothers me about these, "I made it big using this system" guys is..........if they got that rich using their system, then why do they need to make more money selling their system? If the guy with the book giving all the seminars and TV appearances is doing so well at the lottery, why is he wasting time promoting his book?

:huh

That's what I say.

EricPeterson
03-30-2012, 11:30 AM
Simple Chris, one scam replaces another

bigdaddy
03-30-2012, 11:57 AM
Assuming they are sequential, you take two days buy one every hour and you've got yourself a pretty good estimate. Maybe take some extra time to figure out the spikes at pre-8 and post 5 o'clock. But it wouldn't be overly difficult.

I think you are completely missing the whole idea of deviation/variance.

oldtelefart
03-31-2012, 07:46 AM
To have even a remote chance of making this work, he would have to buy a huge amount of tickets in a lot of different locations. Lots of airfares and massive amounts spent on tickets, still wouldn't guarantee any kind of result.
I regard lotteries as a tax on optimists and dreamers.

More likely he was just messing with the OP, didn't want the job for other reasons.

guzman
03-31-2012, 08:17 AM
Sometimes, when I'm bored, I tell weird and false stuff just to weird out aquaintances. Just sayin'

A-Bone
03-31-2012, 10:15 AM
Simple Chris, one scam replaces another

And the scam pitching the system is probably a hell of a lot easier than working that system and producing good results.