Holy crap, a second PartiallyClips strip in the same week! And a moderately-topical one, at that! For those of you outside the U.S., here. This strip’s based on one of my own facebook posts, cuz why not. I was happy to be able to find a properly smug-looking professor to get the joke across.

I’ve mocked the lottery for years. I took prob & stat in college, for crying out loud. But when I’m asked to participate in a group ticket purchase at my day job, I still often chip in, and I can’t properly justify this. There’s not a ton of camaraderie or team-building in the collective guessing of numbers, but I guess it’s still kinda neat to be in the same boat with a bunch of people waiting together for a result. Even though the positive outcome is hopeless, the negative outcome isn’t exactly hard to absorb financially, and it’s something to talk about if nothing else.

I considered rewording this on the basis that the failure of anyone in this classroom to win the lottery doesn’t actually “prove” anything in the mathematical sense, but ultimately decided that the “assisted me in proving” wording left me sufficient wiggle room in that department.

*-=ShoEboX=-*

Oddly enough, there appears to be a record lottery jackpot to a single winner on a single ticket at a frequency of every 4.6 years, beginning 10/13/1993, coincident with the orbital period of objects in the asteroid belt. This occasion should have been, and was, a split jackpot. Don’t know why. No known mechanism maintains this correlation.

Insufficient swample size to draw any meaningful conclusions. I collected the statistics once about lottery winners and victims of lightning strikes (an oft-quoted example of relative chances) and, not even correcting for the fact that the potential lottery winners are a subset of the total population, you are more likely to win the lottery than be struck by lightning.

My brother plays the group ticket at his work, but he’s not playing to win – it’s an insurance policy. After all, if the ticket does happen to win, do you want to be the only non-millionaire at work the next day?

“But when I’m asked to participate in a group ticket purchase at my day job, I still often chip in, and I can’t properly justify this.”

I justify it by calling it Suicide Insurance because if all the dumb a***s I am surrounded by at work got rich off the lottery and retired I would kill myself.

Also, we didnt win.

Used to buy the ticket when the pot was larger than the odds of winning i.e. a better than even money bet (a level it reached surprisingly frequently). Of course now they change the rules every few months so the odds keep changing so I don’t know where the break even point is anymore, so now it’s more habit than anything else.

“Used to buy the ticket when the pot was larger than the odds of winning i.e. a better than even money bet…”

OK, someone will need to explain this one to me? A $2 powerball ticket has odds of winning of about 175 million to 1. That will always be the odds of any one ticket winning. How can a ticket have an “even money” chance? Sure, at a jackpot of $175 million, the odds match the jackpot, but your CHANCE of winning is still 175 mil-1….. I don’t get it?!? How is only playing for big jackpots improving your chance of winning?

If you won the Powerball lottery, would you show up for class the next day?

The class isn’t a random sample, it’s a self-selected group.

What’s to say the self-selected group isn’t random? (Or as random as can possibly be without being artificially diverse.)

I’m with Rob and Allen for suicide insurance. Though often the group only wins a small reward. ($20) which means only the “runner,” at best, gets their investment back.

-=PakoPako=-

tphtwpe – the odds of winning don’t change; what changes is the “Expected Value” of each ticket. If tickets cost $2 and the odds of winning are 1/175 million, the prize would have to be > $2×175 million = $350 million for Anonymous to buy. If he bought 175 million tickets at a cost of $350 million, he’d be sure to win and he’d get back more than the amount he spent. Therefore, *on average*, each ticket is worth more than $2.