Powerball $100m jackpot: Why you should ditch your 'lucky numbers'

Matt Hart from The Lott has revealed the do's and don'ts of picking your lottery numbers ahead of this Thursday's draw.

Front of a newsagency selling $100m Powerball tickets for this Thursday.
You've got until 7.30pm on Thursday to buy your Powerball tickets. Source: AAP

With 134 million number combinations possible, the likelihood of winning this Thursday’s $100 million Powerball is incredibly low, but that doesn't stop many of us from dreaming that we'll pick those lucky digits. But when it comes to actually choosing the numbers you want to pin your hopes on, it can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack.

After years on the sidelines watching successful Aussies take out some of the biggest prizes in history, Matt Hart from The Lott has a few tips to offer prospective players and has revealed why you should ditch your “lucky numbers” for good. Hart said he’s heard all kinds of theories for choosing numbers over the past seven years in the job, but he personally doesn’t have a favourite formula and is happy to let fate run its course.

A person holding up a Powerball ticket with people celebrating in the background.
How to get your hands on a winning ticket? Don't pick dates was The Lott's advice. Source: The Lott

“I don’t really have any great affinity to particular numbers, so I’ll just get a QuickPick ticket — which is when your numbers are randomly generated for you — and see what happens,” he said. “I just leave it up to the universe to decide what numbers I have and whether those numbers are successful or not.”

So, here’s how you should be choosing your digits:

Even if you don’t play the game, it’ll come as no surprise that plenty of people use dates when picking their numbers. Maybe it’s their kid’s birthday, their anniversary or a special holiday, but for most people their “lucky numbers” fall between 1 and 31. So these are the most common numbers chosen.

Which means that if you strike lucky with those digits, it’s very likely that you’re going to have to split the cash with other winners.

A hand picking up Powerballs from a pile.
Which numbers should you avoid? And which ones are hot? Source: The Lott

“With any lottery game, we often see more division one winners when the numbers drawn are 31 and under, and that's because a lot of people do mark their entries with family birth dates and so forth,” Hart explained.

“On the other side of that, if there are a couple of numbers above 31, then we don’t see many division one winners because of that same reason. It’s also not uncommon for numbers over 31 to be drawn.”

Powerball may be a game of chance, but there are some numbers that are drawn more often than others.

“They do change all the time but the latest information shows that for the main barrel — where seven numbers are drawn from one to 35 — the most frequently drawn are 17, seven, three and nine,” Hart explained. “While the least frequently drawn 31, 33, 15 and 26.”

And when it comes to the actual Powerball — the additional ball which gives the lottery it's name and is taken from a second barrel at the end of the draw — two and four are the favourites, while 14 and 16 are the coldest.

Hart also urged players not to put too much thought into their numbers.

“I think if we try to mark out patterns on the ticket, I mean, it still could come out, but it is just a random selection,” he said. “So we could have consecutive numbers, and we could have numbers over 31.

“That’s just the way it rolls.”

“I’m always thinking, it would be really interesting the day when the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 come up,” Hart said.

“And an entry with those numbers is one of those combinations, and I suspect a lot of people might just do a bit of a dummy line or a dummy game where they just go, ‘Oh, well, wouldn’t it be funny if 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 came out?

“And you know, it could.”

A woman holding up a Powerball ticket at a table with friends.
Hart said he doesn't have any special numbers so buys QuickPick tickets. Source: The Lott

In 2023, Nerang on the Gold Coast sold three division one winning entries, Dapto in Wollongong and Berala in Sydney each sold four division one winning entries in NSW, and Gungahlin in the ACT sold two of the territory’s division one prizes.

But it doesn’t mean you need to rush to these outlets to buy your tickets.

“We do see little hotspots from time to time, whether it’s the Gold Coast or a part of Sydney or the Hunter Valley or wherever,” Hart said. “But it’s not a great indicator and you just never know where a winning ticket is going to turn up.”

Powerball tickets in a stand at a newsagency.
Choosing significant numbers could mean you share your winnings with many others. Source: Getty

As you can imagine, Hart has heard “all sorts of stories” about how winners chose their numbers.

“People have told me, and this is after they’ve won division one, that the numbers came to them in a dream or that they went to a fortune teller. So I guess if you feel like some numbers are more special than others, you should probably just go with that feeling,” he said.

But at the end of the day, you could just wing it like Hart and pick up a QuickPick. In 2023, more than half — 11 out of 20 — of the Powerball division one winning entries were QuickPicks.

In the big $200 million draw earlier this year — which resulted in two division one winners taking home $100 million each — both tickets were QuickPicks.

Up to half of all Aussie adults are expected to have an entry into this Thursday night’s life-changing draw, which is the sixth biggest jackpot in Australian lottery history.

Powerball draw 1461 closes 7.30pm AEST on May 16.

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