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Old 08-08-11, 01:16 PM   #1
grundle
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Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

There's no way that her winning a million+ dollars four different times could be by chance. This proves that this particular lottery is not random.

What she did is not "cheating." Instead, the fault lies with the people who run the lottery, for not using a better distribution method for its winning tickets.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...stics-PhD.html

'Lucky' woman who won lottery four times outed as Stanford University statistics PhD

By Rachel Quigley

7th August 2011

First, she won $5.4 million, then a decade later, she won $2 million, then two years later $3 million and finally, in the spring of 2008, she hit a $10 million jackpot.

The odds of this has been calculated at one in eighteen septillion and luck like this could only come once every quadrillion years.

Harper's reporter Nathanial Rich recently wrote an article about Ms Ginther, which questioned the validity of this 'luck' with which she attributes her multiple lottery wins to.

First, he points out, Ms Ginther is a former math professor with a PhD from Stanford University specialising in statistics.

A professor at the Institute for the Study of Gambling & Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno, told Mr Rich: 'When something this unlikely happens in a casino, you arrest ‘em first and ask questions later.'

Although Ms Ginther now lives in Las Vegas, she won all four of her lotteries in Texas.

Three of her wins, all in two-year intervals, were by scratch-off tickets bought at the same mini mart in the town of Bishop.

Mr Rich proceeds to detail the myriad ways in which Ms Ginther could have gamed the system - including the fact that she may have figured out the algorithm that determines where a winner is placed in each run of scratch-off tickets.

He believes that after Ms Ginther figured out the algorithm, it wouldn’t be too difficult to then determine where the tickets would be shipped, as the shipping schedule is apparently fixed, and there were a few sources she could have found it out from.

According to Forbes, the residents of Bishop, Texas, seem to believe God was behind it all.

The Texas Lottery Commission told Mr Rich that Ms Ginther must have been 'born under a lucky star', and that they don’t suspect foul play.
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Old 08-08-11, 01:21 PM   #2
Groucho
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grundle View Post
According to Forbes, the residents of Bishop, Texas, seem to believe God was behind it all.
That's ridiculous. God is too busy rigging sporting events in favor of the team whose fans pray the hardest.

Seems like the lottery commission's best bet here is to hire Ms. Ginther as a consultant and learn how to plug the holes in their system.

Here's the Harper's article in question: http://www.scribd.com/doc/60495831/N...in-the-Lottery
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Old 08-08-11, 01:27 PM   #3
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

Interesting, so it looks like the key was getting lucky on the first one (a pick 6) and then using that free time and fortune to buy enough of the other tickets to figure out the pattern.
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Old 08-08-11, 01:34 PM   #4
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

However she did it, what did the reporter expect to accomplish by "outting" her? Screw it if she figured out the pattern. Just don't let her play ever again or just don't think it such a big deal. It's not like she got greedy and won every day. Every two years doesn't seem like a bad thing to me.
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Old 08-08-11, 01:36 PM   #5
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

Lies, damn lies and statistics! Now I'm going to buy me some lottery tickets.
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Old 08-08-11, 01:37 PM   #6
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

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Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
That's ridiculous. God is too busy rigging sporting events in favor of the team whose fans pray the hardest.

Seems like the lottery commission's best bet here is to hire Ms. Ginther as a consultant and learn how to plug the holes in their system.

Here's the Harper's article in question: http://www.scribd.com/doc/60495831/N...in-the-Lottery
Thanks for the link.
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Old 08-08-11, 01:44 PM   #7
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

Of course the lottery tickets are not random. That would make it possible for two or three winners to be right together, and thus, all go to the same person. (people tend to buy scratchers in groups)

This would cause people to cry foul, even though it would be evidence of true randomness.

I would expect the big winning tickets to be more or less evenly distributed throughout the market area.
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Old 08-08-11, 01:56 PM   #8
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

One possibility never mentioned in the article is that Ginther is a time traveller!
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Old 08-08-11, 01:58 PM   #9
starman9000
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RocShemp View Post
However she did it, what did the reporter expect to accomplish by "outting" her? Screw it if she figured out the pattern. Just don't let her play ever again or just don't think it such a big deal. It's not like she got greedy and won every day. Every two years doesn't seem like a bad thing to me.
If it's just a pattern thing, more power to her, but if she was paying off employees and lottery distributors, then I can see the gripe.
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Old 08-08-11, 02:31 PM   #10
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
One possibility never mentioned in the article is that Ginther is a time traveller!
pffft, time travel wouldn't help her win scratch tickets!
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Old 08-08-11, 02:32 PM   #11
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grundle View Post
There's no way that her winning a million+ dollars four different times could be by chance.
Just because it's far more likely that she's figured out the system doesn't mean that there's no way it could be by chance.
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Old 08-08-11, 02:45 PM   #12
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

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Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
One possibility never mentioned in the article is that Ginther is a time traveller!
Is that the name Mary Todd Lincoln is using now?
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Old 08-08-11, 02:50 PM   #13
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

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pffft, time travel wouldn't help her win scratch tickets!
The article said there is a weekly newsletter in TX that gives out the details of who won what and where. It's a pretty standard Biff scenario.
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Old 08-08-11, 03:39 PM   #14
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

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Originally Posted by RocShemp View Post
It's not like she got greedy and won every day. Every two years doesn't seem like a bad thing to me.
I'd bet that she has a few "friends" that have won prizes in between those years.
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Old 08-08-11, 03:41 PM   #15
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

Whenever I do scratch offs (which is pretty rare) I always go in and ask them for the ones they just got in because someone once told me that the winners were more likely grouped at the top of the roll. I didn't always win but I when I do it's usually enough to leave me just ahead (i.e. I'd buy 5 tickets at $2 each one ticket is a winner with $15).
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Old 08-08-11, 03:45 PM   #16
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

The statistic professor would need to know a whole lot more than just statistic to pull this off. Distribution channel, frequency, inventory storage, stocking, method and frequency, customer buying behavior, and volume of sales are all needed for this theory of "the statistic professor know how to cheat the system."

This story is a complete bull.

The statistic professor have better luck guessing what color Groucho's underwear and the frequency of each color than this nonsensical theory.
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Old 08-08-11, 04:00 PM   #17
starman9000
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

Did you read the story? (the full story that Groucho posted)
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Old 08-08-11, 04:19 PM   #18
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

Nothing in this world or universe is random.
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Old 08-08-11, 04:56 PM   #19
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

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Originally Posted by SuperJim88 View Post
The statistic professor have better luck guessing what color Groucho's underwear and the frequency of each color than this nonsensical theory.
Yellow (originally white); every day. Where's my million bucks?
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Old 08-08-11, 05:18 PM   #20
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

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Yellow (originally white); every day.
Don't forget the brown striped ones.
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Old 08-08-11, 06:55 PM   #21
NORML54601
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

I have a buddy that wins on scratch offs all the time. Never more than $100, but that's due to his supposed method. He always buys the tickets with the smallest maximum prize because those tickets allocate more money to the smaller prizes. I don't know if it's true, but he certainly wins more than he should.
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Old 08-08-11, 07:14 PM   #22
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

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Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
One possibility never mentioned in the article is that Ginther is a time traveller!
Someone better check her for a tuna club sammich and directions to Hitler's house.
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Old 08-08-11, 08:19 PM   #23
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

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Originally Posted by SuperJim88 View Post
The statistic professor would need to know a whole lot more than just statistic to pull this off. Distribution channel, frequency, inventory storage, stocking, method and frequency, customer buying behavior, and volume of sales are all needed for this theory of "the statistic professor know how to cheat the system."

This story is a complete bull.

The statistic professor have better luck guessing what color Groucho's underwear and the frequency of each color than this nonsensical theory.
Mit prof figured this out in Massachusetts as well. You just need to look at the serial number on the back of a few tickets to figure out the algorithm
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Old 08-08-11, 09:34 PM   #24
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

I remember this article from Wired magazine earlier this year:

http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/01/ff_lottery/all/1

Interesting read, similar to the above article about "gaming" a lottery system.
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Old 08-08-11, 10:03 PM   #25
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Re: Statistics professor proves that scratch-off lottery tickets are not random.

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Originally Posted by grundle View Post

First, she won $5.4 million, then a decade later, she won $2 million, then two years later $3 million and finally, in the spring of 2008, she hit a $10 million jackpot.

The odds of this has been calculated at one in eighteen septillion and luck like this could only come once every quadrillion years.
What they don't mention in the story is she's spent over $400 million dollars on tickets every year.
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