Wise fool’s lotto

From now on, we would no longer make Lucky Picks in playing the lotto.

Believing that winning the lotto is plain luck, we have always resorted to letting the machine pick the possible winning combination whenever we find a chance to play the lucky numbers game.

And why not, as pundits have said, chances of hitting the jackpot are as slim as one in 29 million depending on the game you play. You could more likely even get struck by lightning first than the probability of winning the plum lotto prize.

That is why we tend to scoff at those who write down their pet numbers on lotto cards and think about the possible combinations before playing them as if it were an exam that is meant to be passed.

Most bettors, while lining up in front of lotto outlets, jot down their loved ones’ birthdays or important dates to remember as they shade what they believe are the winning numbers. Others simply rely on their “alagas” or numbers they repeatedly bet on hoping against hope that one day those combinations would give them the desired results.

Besides, opting for Lucky Pick is a surefire way of getting out of the lotto outlet fast enough to avoid getting hemmed in by a crowd who are also taking chances in the lucky numbers game. You only ask the teller to give you LP (for lucky pick) 6/45 or 6/55, fork over your P20 bet and you’re done. No more deep thinking or remembering to do.

No amount of forecasting the results, anyway would be good enough in a game that is decided by pure luck. We always tell this to ourselves as we grab the Lucky Pick ticket from the teller and make a hasty retreat from the outlet.

Last Sunday, however, the unthinkable happened.

As we glanced at the results from our favorite outlet, we could hardly believe our eyes. Over 400 bettors (433 to be exact) won the P236 million jackpot prize for Grand Lotto 6/55 drawn on Saturday evening. Sad to say, the combination we bet on only hit two numbers. Drats!

How could that be, we asked ourselves, when winning the jackpot all by yourself is as hard as finding a needle in a haystack? How many more of 433 individuals picked the winning combination altogether?

Early intervention by officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstake Office, nevertheless, doused suspicions of possible rigging manipulation. The PCSO explained in a press conference that what happened was unlikely but not at all impossible.

According to Mathematics Professor Dr. Jomar Rabajante, some people may have bet on their alaga or combinations following a pattern. The winning combination last Sunday (09-45-36-27-18-54 ), he said, can be considered as one with a multiple of 9 and can easily be selected (diagonal) in a lotto ticket.

“This is rare but not impossible. It’s really a matter of luck if your pattern shows up. The sad news is many selected that basic pattern so the price will be divided,” Rabajante said.

As it is, each of the 433 jackpot winners will have to make do with P545,245.23 as their share, subject to a final tax of 20 percent under the TRAIN law.

While many, including some senators, have described the result as strange and unusual, many, including some of the winners, are grateful that the blessings have been shared or spread to as many people as possible.

People we have talked to say they are willing to settle for the divided pot, no matter how small, as long as they get something they wouldn’t normally get elsewhere.

After all, half a million is half a million. You just don’t pick up that amount anywhere.

Meanwhile, stay tuned as we try to find some patterns in the recent results. Birthdates may not be enough for wise fools like us.

E-mail: mannyangeles27@gmail.com

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