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How to win the lottery - or play smarter, at least

Seven-time lottery game grand prize winner Richard Lustig shares his secrets

Three lucky lottery winners split a $564.1 million jackpot last week, becoming overnight multimillionaires. With the odds of winning at 175 million to one, according to ABC, it's easy to see why people are looking for any sort of edge on the competition.

Richard Lustig, author of "Learn How to Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery," says he started out like anyone else, blindly buying tickets without having any real strategy. Soon, he took on a technique that helped him win a $10,000 prize in 1992. He says that since then he has won seven grand prizes totaling over $1 million, and Lustig claims his wins are not simply due to luck. Lustig shared his three biggest tips on playing to win with Metro.

1. Maintain a budget: Lustig says it's important to keep a budget when playing the lottery. "Don't spend grocery or rent money," he advises. "Especially when jackpots get really high, people run out and buy a ton of tickets – way more than they can afford. There’s only going to be one, two or three winners and millions and millions of losers." Lustig says any budget works; if you're on a smaller budget, Lustig advises playing ball games (like the Powerball) instead of scratch tickets because they are somewhat more egalitarian. Winning scratch tickets are shipped out with a finite number of prizes, so buying more scratch tickets is to the player's advantage, but every ticket with a ball game has an equal chance of winning.

2. Don't buy quick picks: Lustig advises players to stick with the same numbers and play them over and over again. "When you play following my method, you're playing a set of numbers that is good and you increase your chances of winning by playing them every week and never changing them," he says. Lustig says buying quick picks is "shooting in the dark," and that though more people have won the lottery with quick picks compared to those who play their own numbers, the proportion of people who have lost with quick picks compared to those who play set numbers is much higher.

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3. Buy scratch tickets if you have the budget for them: If you can afford to buy scratch tickets, Lustig says these are easier to win, as long as you can buy many tickets. "Buy 10 tickets in a row of the same game," he says. "If you do that, almost every single time you're going to find a winning ticket in there and most of the time two, or even three or four."

Lustig's last word on lottery games? "Don't play with greed - play with smarts," he says.

 
 
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