Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Have you bought your Mark 6 ticket yet?

Hi all! Long time no see! 久しぶりですね!It's so good to be back.
We (dogs) are supposed to have 6th sense and perhaps magical power to pick winning lottery numbers. Mum and dad always dream up different schemes to get us to pick numbers but they never put any of those schemes to practice. Probably the thought of getting the two of us to comply was just too strenuous. Maybe they will try again soon with everybody talking about the Mark Six rolling jackpot to give a potential prize of HKD 68m for a single ticket win.

If you don't have a psychic super dog, is there any magic formula to improve your chance in striking the proverbial gold? The first advice will be don't bother playing as the odds are so stack against the punter. 1 in 54 that you win anything at all and about 1 in 14,000,000 that you pick the winning 6 number combo out of the 49 numbers. You probably have heard all that and HKD 68m is too hard to ignore. You are also feeling charitable ($3 out of every $20 you spent on the computer tickets goes to charity before they get absorbed further by multiple layers of admin charges) and don't want to leave your fate in the hands of the HK Jockey Club computer random number generator. There must be a better way......

Lets start with the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) website - http://bet.hkjc.com/marksix/Statistics.aspx?lang=en
 Here you get a summary of how frequent each of the 49 number came out during the last 1,115 draws since 4 Jul 2002, the day when HKJC introduced 48, 49 to Mark Six and removed the cap for the rolling jackpot. You will find that 6, 9, 10, 14, 22, 38 are historically the most frequently drawn numbers and each has been drawn more than 174 times out of 1,115 and 16, 20, 25, 29, 34, 44, 46, 47 are the least frequently drawn and all with fewer than 148 times of occurence. So if you believe in history will keep repeating itself and like to extrapolate analysis like most stock analysts, you would just go and buy the first set of combo or picking some of the other numbers lower down in the frequency chart to enlarge your betting set and avoid the second set of numbers.

You might want to test your hypothesis and see if you enhance your chance of winning by doing just that. There are a few websites which purport to analyze historic Mark Six data but most of them suffer from some sort of data integrity issues. You should not waste your time with the following 2 websites for example:
But this http://www.m628.com/en/index.html appears to provide reliable historic data and analysis. As expected, your backtests resulted in much better returns betting on the first set of numbers instead of the second set of numbers. In fact the first set offers 5 times better return than the second set.



Congratulations, if you still with us while the others went and bought their Mark Six tickets. Our premise was striking gold instead of improving the chance of winning anything. So you want to be selfish and be the sole winner of the jackpot in the unikely event that you pick the right numbers. This has less to do with statistics (which the above analysis frankly doesn't help in any case) but more to do with game theory and folk psychology. Witness the Mark Six drawn on 19 Feb 2009 where the winning numbers were 6, 9 , 16, 26, 29, 36 + (special number)8. 9 people took the 1st prize each taking HK$555,555, 27 people took 2nd prize of HK$19,200 and 781 people took 3rd prize of HK$9,600.

6, 9 and 8 are all auspicous numbers and punters' favorites. Given such a high turnout in that particular Mark Six draw, it was little wonder that HKJC actually need to reimburse HK$7m to top up the prize money for that draw.

The moral of the story is pick numbers that are less likely to be picked by your fellow punters. Popular mines for lucky numbers are birthdays, birth months, street numbers, auspicious  numbers etc. Also punters often believe that consecutive numbers are not random and will deliberately space out their selections. Using this as a guide, you should be armed with a good set of numbers to avoid and concentrate your selection on the road less travelled.

Good luck!!