Daily Archives: March 7, 2011

PF Confession: I Joined the Office Lottery Pool

Remember in high school math where we learned about permutations and combinations?  Good.  Then, you probably also remember there is a 1 in 14 million chance of wining the 6/49, and a 1 in 85 million chance of winning Lotto Max.

Aside crash course: Number of combinations (no sequence) of choosing 6 number from 49 is 49 choose 6 = 13,983,816.  For 49 choose 7 = 85,900,584.

I distinctly remember my teacher informing us that statistically speaking, we all had a better chance of being struck by lightening twice in our lifetime, than winning the lottery.  Then, my teacher went on to call the lottery a tax for stupid people.

Having the numbers in front of my young self, I whole heartedly agreed with his every word.  To this day, I have never bought a lottery ticket on my own.  When my relatives bought tickets, and suggested I join in after I turned 19, I reminded then they had a 1 in 14 million chance of winning.

My relatives always responded with, if they didn’t play at all, there would be a zero chance of winning anything.  I then pointed out that a 0.000007143% chance is pretty close to zero.  (I was such a smart alec;)).

The number of times  bought lottery tickets.

1) There was $2 left over from a dinner bill and my friends and I didn’t feel like splitting it up between 7 people.

2) My office lottery pool.


I didn’t join my office lottery pool the first year.  I had the same mindset as above.

However, when the invite came around the second time, I started to have doubts.  What if they won?  What if on the teensiest, weensiest, 1 in 14 million chance the office pool won?  Then, I’d be the loser left out quoting stats from high school.

So I started to take another mindset towards the office lottery pool.  I’d think of it like insurance.  I’m protecting myself, just in case.   Besides, it’s way cheaper than buying tickets by myself.  And on the very unlikely chance that we win, splitting money 40 ways isn’t so bad.

Readers, how do you feel about office lottery pools?   Do you feel it’s different buying into a lottery pool than individually?  I’d love to hear your comments.

Note: My office lottery pool has 40 people in it, and we buy 3 tickets (6/49) every week for the entire year.  It costs me about $25 to join, and it’s paid upfront.  We all sign a form, so it’s very clear who’s in and who’s out.  After reading some horror stories of lottery winnings recently, I’m pretty happy about the organized way that my office has decided to approach it.



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