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Powerball Quick Pick vs Own Numbers

When you fill in a Powerball playslip, there are two ways you can choose your numbers: you can either pick your own or you can opt for a Quick Pick. Both options are pretty simple, but a Powerball Quick Pick is the fastest way to play, as the store’s lottery terminal will randomly select your numbers for you. There is a common misconception that the odds of winning differ depending on whether you choose your own numbers or go for a Quick Pick. That is not true; your chances of winning are exactly the same in both cases.

Quick Picks

To play a Quick Pick, you just have to select the option on your playslip instead of marking the numbers you want to play. After you’ve done that, just hand the slip to the cashier and they will take it from there. In some cases you can just ask the cashier directly for a Quick Pick for a specific draw and they will do the rest. A random number generator inside the lottery terminal will then produce five main numbers between 1 and 69 and a Powerball between 1 and 26, and these numbers will be printed on your ticket. Here are the pros and cons of using Quick Picks:

  • Quick Picks offer the fastest way to play in-store, as you don’t even need to fill out a playslip. You can just ask the cashier for a Quick Pick entry.
  • While the odds of winning are the same as choosing your own numbers, there is more chance you won’t have to share the jackpot if you win it, as your numbers will be completely random and not based on commonly used selections and patterns.
  • Players who use the same numbers every week may feel like they’ve missed out if they don’t enter a particular draw and their numbers come up. There is no chance of this happening with a Quick Pick, as your numbers will be different every time.
  • You have no input into which numbers are selected, as they are picked at random. This means that you cannot select your line using Powerball statistics or meaningful numbers or patterns.
  • Checking whether you’ve won on a Quick Pick can take a bit longer compared to playing your own numbers, as you’re less likely to remember a completely random line so will need your ticket to hand.
  • You have to stick with the first line of numbers you are given. You cannot return Powerball tickets once they are printed, so if you do not like the numbers you are given, you cannot change them.

Selecting Your Own Numbers

This is the traditional way of playing the lottery, where you mark the numbers you want to enter on a Powerball playslip and then hand that to the cashier to print your ticket. See the pros and cons of choosing your own numbers below:

  • You have complete control over your entry, so you can pick your numbers using any method you want. Whether you use important dates, certain patterns, or you base your selection on statistics from previous draws, it is all up to you.
  • Playing your own numbers on a regular basis makes it easier to check whether you’ve won, as it is likely that you will be able to remember your numbers soon after you start playing.
  • You have more flexibility when it comes to entering multiple draws. If you want to play for several weeks in advance, you can choose the same numbers for each draw, different ones every time, or a mixture of both. With Quick Picks you will usually have to use the same numbers for every draw.
  • It takes longer. During busy periods, particularly when the jackpot approaches record amounts, you may have to first queue to fill in a playslip and then queue again to purchase your ticket.
  • There is more chance that you will have to share a jackpot if you use common numbers or patterns. For example, many players use birthdays or other important dates, which restricts the pool of numbers to between 1 and 31. While your odds of winning remain the same, the chances that someone else has chosen the same line are greater.
  • There is margin for error when filling out a playslip. It can be easy to mark a wrong number or forget to mark the Power Play box, and once your ticket is printed, you are not entitled to a refund.

Odds of Winning

Around 70 to 80 percent of Powerball players use Quick Pick tickets, and the same percentage of winning entries are Quick Picks. This shows that regardless of whether players choose to select their own numbers or not, the odds of winning remain the same. Whether you include meaningful numbers on your Powerball ticket or leave it all to chance with a random entry, your odds of hitting the jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338, with the chances of winning a prize in any category set at 1 in 25.

It is also worth noting that the cost of entry remains the same whether you choose your own numbers or opt for a Quick Pick, and in both instances you can add Power Play to your ticket.

Not sure whether to use a Quick Pick or to choose your own Powerball numbers? Take a look at both options here.

Should You Quick Pick Your Lottery Numbers?

Are You More Likely to Win If You Choose Your Own Lottery Numbers?

Image (c) Gerville / Getty Images

When you buy a ticket for a lottery, like Powerball or Mega Millions, you need to decide whether you want to pick your own numbers or use Quick Pick to let the computer randomly pick for you. But which choice is better? Are you more likely to win the lottery if you use one method or the other?

The Argument for Quick Picking Lottery Numbers

Using the Quick Pick option has an obvious advantage: it’s quick. If you just want to get in the game and have the chance of winning a lottery jackpot, Quick Picking is fast and convenient and will have you on your way in a flash. You don’t have to think over your numbers and you don’t have to spend time filling out the forms.

Another thing that Quick Picks have going for them is that lottery numbers are random and so are Quick Picks. By trying to outguess the computer by choosing your own numbers, it is possible that you are actually lowering your odds.

Why? People tend to react emotionally to numbers, “liking” some and “disliking” others.   People tend to pick the numbers they like, while computers have no such bias.

Furthermore, humans are likely to pick numbers that mean something to them such as birth dates or anniversaries. That means that some numbers are selected more often than others (especially numbers that fall in the range of 1 – 31, since they correspond to dates). If you win with a commonly-used number, the chances are high that you’ll have to split your jackpot.

The Argument for Choosing Your Own Lottery Numbers

Many people simply enjoy having control over the numbers that they buy. They may feel closer to a loved one by playing their birth dates or they may find that playing a lucky hunch or the numbers in a fortune cookie is more fun.

Self-pickers also have the ability to avoid the most commonly-played numbers. If all numbers have the exact same chance of being drawn, then you can at least narrow the odds of having to share your jackpot if you win by picking the most rarely-selected numbers, something that Quick Pick won’t do for you. Quick Picks won’t weight your lottery numbers to give you higher chances of winning the whole pot.

Another thing that Quick Pick can’t do is to ensure you choose unique numbers across tickets. There is no guarantee that your Quick Picked lottery numbers won’t repeat themselves. With bad luck, a Quick-Picker could even end up with two tickets with the exact same numbers on them, a waste of money that doesn’t happen when you choose your own numbers. The Quick Pick is likely to generate the same random numbers for other lottery players, too.

Some people believe that they can use a system to crack the lottery. To try your luck with a lottery system like wheeling, analyzing the probability of various numbers being drawn, or following recommendations from lottery software, you need to pick your own numbers.

Quick Picks Versus Self-Picks: Which Are Better?

If there were a clear way to get better chances of winning the lottery, everyone would do it. That the debate over Quick Pick versus self-pick exists at all indicates that there is no clear winner.

If you are going strictly by the numbers, more Quick Pickers than self-pickers win lottery jackpots. According to an article in the NY Times, about 70% of lottery winners used Quick Pick to choose their numbers. But then again, about the same percentage of all lottery players (70% – 80%, according to Powerball.net  ) use Quick Pick, so you might not be getting an edge by letting the computer choose for you.

It really boils down to what makes the most sense for you. If you have fun poring over numbers to find a pattern, then coming up with a system might be right for you. If it makes you smile to play your children’s birthdays, then play them! Even splitting a jackpot is better than not winning at all.

If you just want to grab a few tickets while you are picking up milk at your local convenience store or you want to buy a batch of tickets for your office lottery pool, Quick Pick is a solid option.

Most important of all is to make sure that if you do play the lottery, you set a budget that you can afford and never go above it. Even the chance of winning a huge lottery isn’t worth blowing your rent or grocery money on tickets.

When you buy a lottery ticket, you can choose your own numbers or use Quick Pick to have numbers randomly assigned. Which has the best chances of winning?