Selecting Lottery Numbers by...

The Toss of a Coin

Here is a way to convert the simple 50:50 probability in tossing of a coin into the six numbers in the range 1-49 for entering in the lottery. You have to toss a coin 34 times to generate enough randomness to do this. To make the calculations possible with a simple 8-digit 4-function calculator of the type given away by big companies wishing to attract your custom, this method splits the procedure into two batches of 17 tosses, generating 3 lottery numbers each. Here's how to do it:

1. Toss the coin and count 1 if it's heads and 0 if it's tails. This is the first number to enter in the calculator.

2. Multiply the score by two. Toss the coin again. Add this score (1 or 0) to the number.

3. Multiply by two. Toss the coin again. Add this score onto the number.

4... repeat this until process until the coin has been tossed 17 times.

5. Now, divide the number you've got by 1.1140936.

6. Divide this by 2401 and add one.

7. The number before the decimal point is your first lottery number. Write this down.

8. Subtract it from the number on the calculator and then multiply by 49 and add 1.

9. The number before the decimal point is your second lottery number. Write this down.

10. Subtract it from the number on the calculator and then multiply by 49 and add 1.

11. The number before the decimal point is your third lottery number. Write this down.

12. Having got your first three numbers, repeat the whole process, tossing the coin 17 times and performing the calculations for the second set of three numbers.

Star quality: The mystique of numbers and the amount of work involved give the impression that somehow there is an increased chance of winning. This is an illusion, but may add to the fun of playing the lottery.

Drawbacks: The amount of work involved. And the annoyance if you get it wrong and produce numbers that aren't in the range 1-49.

Variations: Get someone else to do all the hard work and give them a percentage if you win. A child with a pocket calculator may find the whole procedure great fun, and will also appreciate the extra two hundred thousand pounds of pocket money if you win!