Open up any lotto magazine and inside you'll find methods, software, psychic lines, and many other products that claim to help you pick the one combination of the 15 million possible that will win that lotto event. One of the more popular features for any lotto magazine is the analysis of patterns in prior weeks' picks. I was flipping through the Texas Edition of a particular lotto magazine the other day, and they devote 11 pages to Texas lotto statistics! They must put a lot of value in those statistics, all in the name of helping you win the next big one. But does it really help?

When you look through weeks of lotto picks, it's hard to not look for the patterns. You notice that the numbers 31 and 17 keep appearing with relative frequency, so you figure they've got to be "hot" and bound to show up again. Then you notice that the 4 and the 21 haven't appeared lately. They've been "cold" and must be due to hit soon!

You throw in a couple of random picks, maybe your birthday or anniversary, and you figure you've got a pretty good chance of winning. You might even think that you've increased your chances of winning by selecting those "hot" and "cold" numbers. The fact is, you haven't made a dent in your chances. You haven't even come close. *Why?*

Read that statement again, because it's the most important concept to understand in lotto rules. One set of numbers has an equal chance of appearing as any other set of numbers. This means the set 1-2-3-4-5-6 has as equal a chance as 2-4-6-8-10 or 5-16-21-34-42-47. It might be hard to believe, but it's true. I'll demonstrate why later.

They say hindsight is 20/20. The patterns you find in lotto picks might sometimes seem "obvious." However, if you try to apply that pattern into the future, you will be disappointed.

Many lotto scams, magazines, software vendors, and psychics would like you to believe that the key to future lotto picks is the past. But the past doesn't even matter. It makes no difference. Here's another key concept for the lotto:

As an example, if the number 3 showed up the past 5 times, and the number 34 hadn't showed up for those same last 5 times, both numbers, the 3 and the 34, would still have the same chance of coming up. In fact, they each have the same chance of appearing as each of the rest of the ping pong balls flopping around in that big can.

Imagine the flip of a coin. Whether it lands heads up or tails up is purely random. If it wasn't random, they wouldn't use it to determine, for example, who gets the ball first in a professional football game. Each team would probably have some statistician on staff to help them determine the outcome of the next coin flip!

Take a coin and flip it ten times. On the eleventh turn, no matter what has happened in the past, the "heads" side has an equal chance (50%) of appearing as the "tails" side.

I ran a test using this coin example. I flipped a coin one thousand times and tried to determine what each flip would be based on the past events (you probably see how silly this is already, but just keep reading). In one case, I used the __last three coin flips__ to try to determine what the next one would be. Using this method, basing my next pick on the prior flips, I was correct 49.4% of the time. In another case, I used the past FIVE flips to determine which side would land face up next. This time, I was correct 49.5% of the time!

You might get excited and exclaim,"A-ha! An improvement!" Our accuracy rate went from 49.4% to 49.5% by simply going back further in the history of the flips. But wait.

Then I made picks based on the LAST TEN FLIPS (thinking I would at least reach 50%), and this time I was only 49.2% correct. What happened?

Simply put, this demonstrates that for each flip of the coin, heads has a 50% chance of coming up, and tails has a 50% chance of coming up. This test is easy to duplicate. Try it for yourself if you want so you can see the facts first hand.

Then I applied this same test to the Texas pick-six lotto. The results weren't the same- they were worse!

Remember that with a coin, there are only two possible *combinations*- heads and tails- and I could not achieve better than the expected 50% accuracy rate.

Now, however, I was going to be working with more than just two combinations. I would have to work with over 18 million combinations, which meant the probability of accurately predicting the next (random) combination was exponentially smaller!

The probability of heads (one combination) coming up during the flip of a coin is 50%.

The probability of "1 2 3 4 5 6" (one combination) coming up during the pick-six lotto event is 0.00000000537762812484022%.

Let me show you this percent chance again, so it will sink in.

If we couldn't increase our chances to accurately pick the flip of a coin, which has only two combinations, how are we going to increase our chances when there are over 18 million combinations?

Let's try anyway, just to prove a point and put this issue to rest.

Using the Texas lotto's history, I entered all the past drawings into a spreadsheet program. Then, using the past 3 drawings, I tried to determine the next winning set of numbers. I was successful zero times. Through the hundreds of picks made over the history of the Texas lotto, using the last 3 winning numbers to determine the next winner NEVER WORKED. I never even matched 5 right... nor 4 right... but I did get lucky 5% of the time with matching three numbers, and 7% right matching two numbers. Finally, 15% of the time at least one of the numbers I chose based on the last three picks did in fact show up in the next set of numbers.

If you were to play the lotto based on this system, for every $100 you spent on the lotto, you could be expected to get back at least $5.

It almost makes you want to stop playing the lotto, doesn't it? But don't give up! Just keep reading. There's good news ahead, I promise.

Continuing the test, I tried using the past 5 winning sets and got basically the same results. The results were also the same using the last 10 and 20 sets of numbers.

I even went on to use the PAST 50 DRAWINGS, and *still* had the same chance of predicting winning lotto numbers as if I had only used the last 3 sets.

This sufficiently demonstrates that no matter what has been drawn before, you cannot determine by examining the past what will be drawn next!