What numbers should never be picked when choosing lottery ticket numbers?

Before suggesting numbers to avoid, I’ll explain why they should be avoided.

No number is any more, or any less, likely to appear in a lottery draw than any other number. So it is just as likely that tonight’s UK lottery numbers will be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 as any other combination, say 3, 26, 35, 41, 47, 49.

What the numbers can make a big difference to is the amount of money you win. In the UK – and probably many other countries lotteries – the jackpot will be shared amongst all the people who have a ticket with the winning numbers on it.

So in the above example it is quite likely that nobody has selected 3, 26, 35, 41, 47, 49 and so the lottery will roll-over to the next draw. Or perhaps only 1 person , maybe 2 or 3, have selected those numbers and they will share the winnings.

But… human nature being a weird thing, there are a lot of people every week who play using the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. It was estimated in 2016 that 10,000 people play those numbers in any week! That means that if the jackpot fund was £5million, then all those 10,000 people would take a share of the £5million. They’d each win a mere £500. There would be 10,000 very disappointed punters…

Now 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 is quite an extreme case, but there are other ways that a lot of people could be playing with the same set of numbers. Many people base their lottery numbers on dates of birth, or other significant dates. So the numbers 1 to 12 will be more commonly used, as will 1 to 31. Any sequence of numbers, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 etc. should be avoided.

Even spacing out the numbers ‘neatly’ on the back of the lottery ‘play card’ can result in a lot of people sharing the jackpot. In one of the very early UK draws in 1995 the jackpot was shared between 133 people. The numbers were 7, 17, 23, 32, 38, 42. Whilst they don’t look ‘special’ if drawn out on the grid on the back of the card they are very evenly spaced out – this is what a lot of people incorrectly think that random means!So avoid numbers from dates, numbers in sequences, and numbers in any sort of pattern. You won’t be any more, or less, likely to win, but if you do win one of the big prizes you should end up sharing it with fewer people.