Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Bad math award

From the SF Chronicle:

On the back of each Mega Millions ticket is a suggestion to "play responsibly," but on the front are numbers, and Tuesday at 8 p.m. a combination of those digits is expected to be worth $355 million..."I realize I don't have a chance, but nobody's got a chance. So the way I look at it, I have a 50-50 chance -- either I win it or someone else wins it," reasoned Barrie Green, 60, after buying a single ticket Monday afternoon at the Merritt Restaurant and Bakery near his home in Oakland.

I like that "reasoned".

"Good luck, sir," said cashier Weida Han, who chose not to explain to Green that his odds of winning -- and being able to quit his job driving cars to auctions -- are 1 in 175,711,536.

3 comments:

Matthew said...

You can buy a lottery ticket for every powerball drawing in a year, or take your sweetheart to a movie with popcorn and cokes three times for the same amount of money.

Buying the tickets allows someone to fantasize about what they would do with the money for 3-4 days until the next drawing. Buying the movie tickets only gives a couple hours of escape from reality every four months.

I am not impressed by the intellectual class's sneering at the lottery ticket buyers. At least not those who go to the movies. . .

mtraven said...

I wasn't sneering at the act of buying it (which may indeed have some entertainment value) but at the way he was figuring the odds.

Indeed, after posting that I bought a mega-millions ticket myself to see what it was like. It produced some enjoyable fantasizing (like you said) followed by crushing disappointment.

Going to a movie doesn't really have the same effect. After Casino Royale is over, I don't feel sad that I'm not actually James Bond.

I can sort of understand gambling addiction now.

tobybartels.name said...

If you have to buy a lottery ticket to entertain essentially impossible fantasies of extreme wealth, then you have my pity.