Just for fun I bought a Virginia MegaMillions ticket today. I didn't play the LOST numbers----4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42----because that would have been silly. Or so I thought. The numbers drawn were: 4, 8, 15, 25, 47, and mega ball 42. According to the rules anyone who played the LOST numbers would have matched 3 plus the mega ball, which is a $150 prize....

Actually, something is bugging me about the whole Mega Millions situation. The odds of hitting the jackpot are approximately 1 in 176 million. The jackpot itself is 355 million. So why wouldn't a billionaire just buy 1 of every possible combination and be guaranteed to double his money? Plus all of the smaller prizes he'd get as well.....

that's pre-taxes and if you take the lump sum it's even less, if you don't take the lump sum it would take forever to make back the investment.

VA has a law that limits the time one can spend occupying a lottery machine...20 minutes per costumer. So it would take a bunch of people coordinated to buy all the combinations...not saying it couldn't be done...just don't think anyone would bother. Plus the jackpot is $355 million...the cash prize would be little more than half of that...then there are taxes. A billionaire could make more money by just investing the amount they would have spent on buying tickets.

Ugh... I didn't win anything. I've never even gotten a megaball right. I didn't play the Lost numbers because I thought it was stupid as well.. apparently not.

Besides the reasons already given, I guess there is the finite probability of having to share the winnings with someone else who entered the same winning numbers -- or several other biliionaires who had the same idea.

^ That happened on an episode of The Mentalist. To trick someone into thinking he could get pick any horse race with 100% accuracy, he bought every possible outcome. He did it to solve a crime, but it cost him a lot of money in the process.

There was a similar story in a Mathnet episode except the scam artist was smarter----he didn't actually buy tickets, he just sent different predictions to a bunch of different people, and followed through with more predictions for those people to whom he'd sent winning race predictions. Eventually one person had gotten every winning prediction and trusted him completely to handle their money....

if you picked the LOST numbers you MIGHT have won $150. The first 5 numbers are picked from the same group of balls. The power ball is picked from another group of balls. Meaning you can pick 2 4 6 8 10 and then 10 again. I think....

Around the time that the episode Numbers first aired here, the numbers in the Irish lottery were 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 24 (which is 42 backwards). That creeped me out at the time.

Somebody in my state won (WA) too bad it wasn't me. Another person from Idaho won too. Bah, 5 bucks squandered.

retarded if you play the Lost numbers. Sure, there's a 1 in 176 million chance of hitting, but you want to be the ONLY one to hit it, not one of 20,000 people. It's one of the most popular lottery number combos around, playing them would just guarantee a big split.

understood, but since winning the small prize isn't the goal of buying the lottery ticket, why would you play those numbers? Terrible odds at prizes, but without the big payout if you actually defy the odds and hit it big...

Yeah 40,000 people played the LOST numbers, if they actually came up you would get less than $10,000 BEFORE taxes. However no one probably thought they would win $150, so I doubt they are complaining. It would have been awesome if 40,000 people would have had to split the jackpot.