Here’s some advice from a multi-lotto winner, and a scammer on betting on the ponies.

Richard Lustig’s Lotto Advice:

  1. Don’t use the “quick-pick” numbers generated from the store’s computer. Even though it seems like every number has an equal amount of “luck,” certain number sets are better than others. “ Every time you buy a quick pick, you get a different set of numbers; therefore, your odds are always going to be at their worst in that particular game, whatever game you’re playing. In this case, the hype, of course, is all about the Powerball right now,” Lustig says.
  2. Go beyond the birthdays. The spread is important—if you always choose birth month and dates, like most people do, you’re relegating yourself to less than half the numbers available, 1 through 31. Equally important about including bigger numbers: “If you pick your own numbers and only play birthdays and anniversaries, you’re splitting the pot with 20-40 people. If you spread the numbers out across the whole track, you’ll either be the only winner or will split it with only one or two people,” Lustig says.
  3. Don’t change the numbers. Once you’ve determined which numbers are “good,” (he recommends a specific way to find these in his book) don’t switch them, play them every time. If you buy more than one card, use a different set of numbers. “Remember, a set of numbers wins the grand prize, not individual numbers,” Lustig says. He says it’s OK to repeat a number or two, but be sure each group of numbers is mostly different so you increase your odds. (Though, if you’re looking at this in a solid math sense, in a fair lottery, every number has the same probability of being drawn.)
  4. Play consistently. “Never miss a drawing in the game you’re playing. Every Saturday, every Wednesday, every week,” Lustig says.
  5. Understand the odds, but know your limits: If you play 100 cards, you’ll have a better chance than if you pay just 10—but only play what you can afford to lose. It’s not a regular investment, as in an IRA or a stock. “One of the things that I preach to people all the time is budget, budget, budget,” Lustig says. “Set a budget of what you’re going to spend. Do not get caught up in what’s called lottery fever. Don’t spend grocery money. Don’t spend rent money. Figure out what you can afford to spend. Don’t worry about how much Joe Blow down the street is spending. … Figure out what your budget is, what you can comfortably afford to spend, and stay within that budget.”

Brian Brushwood, series – Hacking the System, episode – Hacking to Win.

There are two numbers to pay attention to:
Beyer Speed Figure: higher the better
Layoff time: 30-60 days is safe. Less could equal tired, more could equal retired.