How to win the Lottery: A Professional Gambler’s Guide to Lottery

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A header for the article on how to win the lottery, showing lottery cards.

 

Welcome to Simon’s Lottery Guide, the definitive, constantly updated guide (with calculators!) showing you how to win the lottery – or at least increase your chances to do so.

I’m Simon, the man behind Simon’s Gambling Blog, the internet’s number one gambling blog.

I’ve been gambling for  8 years, 2 of which was spent as a professional gambler gambling for a living (you can read that story here). I’ve been blogging about gambling for 2 years on this blog and I’ve been working with some of the biggest casinos since 2013.

I wanted to weigh in on the lottery advantage gambling techniques (advantage gambling is a term used by professional gamblers, it means using techniques to increase your chances at winning – in this case winning the lottery).

There is a lot of confusion, misinformation and many half-truths online about how to increase your chances to win the lottery. Some even doubt, whether it is possible to increase your chances at all.

Many dishonest guides on how to win the lottery are created by unethical companies; unethical lottery brokers and by unscrupulous gambling bloggers wishing to make a quick buck.

My goal is to compile all the working methods/techniques you can use to increase your chances at winning the lottery (online or offline, state or national) and list all the non-working methods as well to end the confusion about what works and what doesn’t  and why.

This is intended to be the definitive guide on how to win the lottery.

Read through the whole guide, or choose a subtopic from the menu below. If you like the article, please give it a +1:

 

Simon’s definitive guide on how to win the lottery

 

 

How to win the lottery: The basics

 

Lottery, (a.k.a lotto in many countries) comes in many varieties and each require a different approach.

However, it must be noted, that the house edge of lottery games is as high as 60% – 70 % depending on the exact type.

What is house edge?

House edge is the ratio of the average loss of the player to the initial bet. The higher the house edge is, the worseit is for the players.

Example: If you play Casino Craps, which has a house edge of 1.4 % – much, much lower than lotto –  you can assume that for every $ 100 you wager you lose $1.4 on the long-run. From the casino’s perspective: the casino can expect to make $1.4 if you wager $ 100. /

 

The average gambler can only expect to lose on the long-run by playing the lottery. The chance of winning the lottery is, in fact, lower than getting struck by lightning. Still, according to the law of large numbers, there will always be lottery winners – and it might even be you! (Interestingly, it is this very same statistical law that ensures that casinos always win on the long run.)  Even lottery winners should keep in mind, that the house edge remains, and it is just as unlikely for them to win a second time, as it is for anyone else to win at all.

 

The lottery is low-intensity gambling, perfect for many people who dislike online casinosbrick & mortar casinos or don’t like playing poker. However, lottery is not only gambling:

Lottery is a form of lifestyle. Buying a ticket and watching the draw is traditional and might even be a family activity, something to bond over.
For many people it gives hope that one day they just might be able to break away from their 9-to-5 lifestyle, and that hope helps them carry on.

 

Is it possible  to increase my chances to win the lottery?

 

Many people doubt it, but it is indeed possible.

Let me show you how by collecting and explaining the different working methods and techniques you can use to increase your chances at winning the lottery. If you don’t believe me just use the calculators embedded.

“You must be joking! The only way to increase your chances at winning the lottery is to buy more lottery tickets” – you might say. That’s one way to increase your chances at winning the lottery, however that does not increase the return of a single lottery ticket.

What is return?

Return, or return to player is the amount of money paid back to players by the casino in the form of winnings. it is calculates as: winning/investment

Buying two lottery tickets doubles your chances of winning, thereby doubling the expected amount of money won as well. However, the cost of lottery tickets, the “investment” is also doubled, which means the return remains the same, no matter the amoung of lottery tickets bought.

Because of the house edge, lotteries always have a return to player that is lower than 1 (that is, lower than 100%) .

 

We will focus on methods meant to increase the return of a single lottery ticket.

 

How to win the lottery: methods that work

 

Let’s see the working methods to increase your chances at winning the jackpot at the lottery.

 

Find the right type of lottery

There are many types of lotteries with different return and house edge. Many of them have fixed and many of them have progressive jackpots. Let’s take a look at the rules of each game, as well as the numbers on return, house edge, and how much you can expect to win, if you hit the jackpot:

 

Pick 3

The player chooses 2-3 numbers from 0-9. The lottery chooses 3 winning numbers.

Each ball selected is from a separate set so it is possible to have combinations like 1-1-1 .

Pick 3 - Jackpot house edge and return

Jackpot is called straight and it is fixed.

Straight: If the player chose all 3 correct numbers in the correct order, it’s called a straight and pays $500 for a $ 1 lottery ticket.

House edge:  50%
Return: 50%
Probability to win the Jackpot: 0.001 %

The calculations do not take into consideration gambling taxation and annuity and lump sum costs. More about this at the Annuity vs. lump sum section.  It is calculated as if you were to receive all your winning as a lump sum instantly without any cost.  Read the annuity and lump sum section, research how your gambling winnings are taxed in your country and adjust it accordingly.

Pick 4

Same as Pick 3 but you choose 4 balls. More combinations are possible and the jackpot is higher

Pick 4 - house edge and return

Jackpot is called straight and it is fixed.

Straight: Matching all 4 numbers in the correct order, pays $5000 for a $ 1 lottery ticket.

House edge:  50%
Return: 50%
Probability to win the Jackpot: 0.0001 %

The calculations do not take into consideration gambling taxation and annuity and lump sum costs. More about this at the Annuity vs. lump sum section.  It is calculated as if you were to receive all your winning as a lump sum instantly without any cost.  Read the annuity and lump sum section, research how your gambling winnings are taxed in your country and adjust it accordingly.

Cash in Hand 7/31

The player chooses 7 numbers out the 31 available.

Cash in Hand 7/31 - house edge and return

To win the jackpot you need to guess all the 7 numbers right. Jackpot is fixed.
Jackpot pays $ 500,000 for a $ 1 lottery ticket.

House edge:  40.9%
Return: 59.1%
Probability to win the Jackpot:  0.00000038 %

The calculations do not take into consideration gambling taxation and annuity and lump sum costs. More about this at the Annuity vs. lump sum section.  It is calculated as if you were to receive all your winning as a lump sum instantly without any cost.  Read the annuity and lump sum section, research how your gambling winnings are taxed in your country and use the calculators below to adapt the calculations to your exact situation. 

Lotto 6/49

You choose 6 numbers out of the 49 available.

Lotto 6/49 - house edge and return

To win the jackpot you need to guess all the 6 numbers right. Jackpot is fixed.
Jackpot pays $ 3,650,000 for a $ 1 lottery ticket. 

House edge:  27.5%
Return: 72.5%
Probability to win the Jackpot: 0.00000007 %

The calculations do not take into consideration gambling taxation and annuity and lump sum costs. More about this at the Annuity vs. lump sum section.  It is calculated as if you were to receive all your winning as a lump sum instantly without any cost.  Read the annuity and lump sum section, research how your gambling winnings are taxed in your country and use the calculators below to adapt the calculations to your exact situation. 

Lotto 5/50 a.k.a The Big Game

The player chooses 5 out of the 50 numbers available.

Lotto 5/50 - house edge and return


To win the jackpot you need to correctly guess the 5 numbers and choose the right “money ball” between 1 and 36, which makes house edge a bit tricky to calculate. Also, jackpot is progressive, which means house edge is not constant, but changes with the size of the jackpot.

I will calculate with a jackpot of $ 50 million.

Jackpot pays $ 50 million  for a $ 1 lottery ticket. 

House edge: 16.5%
Return: 83.5%
Probability to win the Jackpot:  0.000000013 %

The calculations do not take into consideration gambling taxation and annuity and lump sum costs. More about this at the Annuity vs. lump sum section.  It is calculated as if you were to receive all your winning as a lump sum instantly without any cost.  Read the annuity and lump sum section, research how your gambling winnings are taxed in your country and use the calculators below to adapt the calculations to your exact situation. 

Powerball

The player pick 5 out of the 55 numbers available. A Powerball must also be picked from 42 numbers.

There is also the Power-Play option. Power Play multiplies your  winning for $ 1 by 2,3,4,5  chosen randomly except for the jackpot.

Powerball - house edge and return

To win the jackpot you need to guess all the 5 numbers right as well as the Powerball. Jackpot is progressive, therefore the house edge and return changes all the time.

I will calculate with a jackpot of $ 100 million because Powerball usually has insanely high jackpots.

Jackpot pays $ 100 million  for a $ 1 lottery ticket without Power-Play

Without Power-Play:

House edge:  11.8%
Return: 88.15%
Probability to win the Jackpot:  0.0000006844%

t.

The calculations do not take into consideration gambling taxation and annuity and lump sum costs. More about this at the Annuity vs. lump sum section.  It is calculated as if you were to receive all your winning as a lump sum instantly without any cost.  Read the annuity and lump sum section, research how your gambling winnings are taxed in your country and use the calculators below to adapt the calculations to your exact situation. 

With Power-Play:

House edge:   -17.7%
Return: 117.72%
Probability to win the Jackpot:  0.0000006844%

As you can see with power play the house edge is actually minus! However, the calculations do not take into consideration gambling taxation and annuity and lump sum costs. More about this at the Annuity vs. lump sum section.

It is calculated as if you were to receive all your winning as a lump sum instantly without any cost.  Read the annuity and lump sum section, research how your gambling winnings are taxed in your country and use the calculators below to adapt the calculations to your exact situation.

But it is clear from the calculation that as thumb rule it is much more beneficial to power play, than not to.

 

Here is a quick recap (for details see above) of the house edge and return of the different types of lottery games as calculated above:

 Type House edgeReturnProbability of winning the jackpot
Pick 3 50% 50% 0.001%
Pick 4 50% 50% 0.0001%
 Cash in Hand 7/31 40.9% 59.1% 0.00000038 %
 Lotto 6/49 27.5% 72.5% 0.00000007 %
 Lotto 5/50, The Big Game ? ? 0.0000013110 %
 Powerball ?? 0.0000006844%

?: Lottery draws with progressive jackpots do not have a fixed return or house edge. See the calculator for return and house edge.

 

First of all I only included the probability to win the jackpot because people like to know it. It’s sensationalist and very much “tabloid”.

If you are serious about making money playing the lottery; winning the jackpot at the lottery you need to take on the habits and attitude of professional gamblers. Professional gamblers look at house edge and return, because professional gamblers know that maximizing your chances at winning is also about minimizing your losses.

Games with fixed payout have fixed return rates and house edge. In games with progressive jackpots, however, return grown and house edge shrinks with the growth of the jackpot. In theory, it’s possible that, at a high enough jackpot, house edge would be negative (even after taxes), and the expected value of playing the lottery would be positive!

You should always check progressive jackpots and keep an eye out for such opportunities. I can only suggest playing progressive jackpot lotteries.

With the calculators below you can calculate the exact value of the house edge as it is right now.

 

Probability and progressive jackpot lottery calculator


Update: For some reason the embedded calculator is not accessible to non-Gmail users (sometimes for Gmail users as well) , till I can fix it you can access the calculator here.

 

The calculator does not take into consideration gambling taxation and annuity and lump sum costs. It varies greatly from country-to-country and at which lottery you play. More about this at the Annuity vs. lump sum section.

The results are calculated as if you were to receive all your winning as a lump sum instantly without any cost.  Read the annuity and lump sum section, research how your gambling winnings are taxed in your country and use the calculators below to adapt the calculations to your exact situation.

 

Take advantage of online and offline lottery promotions

Lottery is a highly competitive market and competition favours the customer. As companies bend over backwards for you – the player -, you will surely find some sweet deals, which turns the odds in your favour even more.

This is especially true for online lotteries. Lottery sales are increasingly going online and people are getting their tickets on the internet and the best deals are online.

 

Check out international lotteries online

Although Mega Millions and Powerball tend to make the most headlines there are still many lotteries worldwide which have huge progressive jackpots.   For example in Europe, EuroMillions and EuroJackpot are lottos which have top jackpots which can be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

In Europe the prize money is tax-free and paid out immediately in one lump sum rather than over 20 years in increments.  That means that although the prizes might appear smaller than the US mega lotteries, in reality they often work out to be worth more money when you take taxes and inflation into account.

Another one to keep in your calendar is the Spanish Xmas lottery which happens each year on December 22nd.  Although it costs € 200 per ticket, you can buy 1/10th shares if you want to wager less.

You have a 1 in 100,000 chance of winning the El Gordo jackpot!

 

Consider the tax implications

 

In the United States, gambling winnings are taxable, but gambling losses are only deductible to offset winnings. This legal asymmetry may affect the math. The double draw promotion that resulted in a 20 percent player advantage before tax considerations is only profitable after taxes, provided the player can purchase the hundreds of tickets required to cover a significant fraction of the 1000 outcomes.

 

Annuity vs. lump sum

 

If you win the lottery you will be given the choice between receiving your winnings as a lump sum, one-off payment or as an annuity for 20-30 years.

At least in the US the maximum, 29.6% tax rate will apply if you choose the lump sum.
However if you choose the annuity you probably end up paying less taxes.

Not to mention most lotteries offer favorable interest rates on their annuities. Of course if the company goes bankrupt in the meantime you will stop receiving the annuity – if the lottery is state owned probably that won’t happen .

As a thumb rule choosing an annuity is usually a better option but if you win millions, you should definitely consider consulting a lawyer.

 

Pick numbers over 31 and avoid common lucky numbers or patterns

 

Whenever you choose your lottery numbers you should always pick numbers over 31.  The reasoning behind this is simple.  People tend to pick numbers based on “lucky dates” like birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.

The thing is, you share big lottery prizes with all of the other winners which can cut your share down in a hurry if you choose popular numbers.  If 10 people all guess the correct numbers for a $10,000,000 jackpot everyone is walking away with $1,000,000.

Nothing to sneeze at, but if 1 person gets the winning numbers by themselves than that one person takes the whole $10 million.  And since all numbers have an equal chance of being drawn, as long as you can put your superstitions behind you then you have just as good of a chance to win with unpopular numbers as you do with good old lucky 7!  The most common lucky numbers which you should avoid are 1, 3, 4, 7, 9 and 11.  Also avoid common patterns, particularly straight lines across a lottery ticket as there are a surprising number of lazy players who go for 1,2,3,4, and 5.

Go with a random number generator:

If you want to get really technical you can try a random number generator.  There are lots of these available over the web and while they won’t increase your chances of winning as some websites bizarrely claim, they will give you the best chance of not choosing the same numbers as other players.

 

Methods that don’t work

 

Don’t join a syndicate

When you play in a lottery syndicate or group you disperse the cost of tickets and increase your chances of winning simply by having more horses in the race.
However, you also have to share whatever you win. Pretty much losing everything you gain by joining the syndicate.

But most importantly syndicate agreements are usually poorly written.  Many don’t specify how any money which is won will be shared out and what happens for example if someone misses a draw because they call in sick for work or other common circumstances. There are plenty of stories of lottery groups taking each other to court.

Spare yourself the headache, go solo.

 

Don’t buy a book or pay for any “secret method”

There many scam artists online claiming, that they have cracked the “lottery code” and have found a way to consistently increase return per ticket by using “top-secret methods”.
Of course they are so helpful and friendly, that they are willing to share this information with you for a LOW–LOW price!

Ask yourself: If they are really so good at making money playing the lottery, why do they need to sell e-books about it?

Obviously these are all scams. A good example of scam site like this is: smartluck.com

 

I hope you found my guide useful an it will help you make the most out your time playing the lottery.

If you liked the article, please give it a +1:

 

I wholeheartedly wish you Good Luck!

Gamble responsibly. See you at the next draw,
SimonTheSorcerer

 

Last updated: 2015.10.25.

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Article Name
Simon's Lottery Guide: How to win the Lottery
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Simon's definitive, constantly updated guide (with calculators!) helping you to win the lottery.
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23 Responses

  1. Szabó says:

    Hi,

    I live in Hungary and I tried to use your lottery calculator to calculate the odds of “5-ös lottó” Lotto 5/99 but it’s not working with that, jsut with Lotto 5/50 and Powerball.

    Could you tell me where I could find a calculator for Lotto 5/99 or could you tell me probabilities of winning?

    Thanks

    • There is no need for that. The Hungarian lottery is Lotto 5/99 or 6/99 so the odds are really bad.

      The jackpot is also significantly lower than the big European powerball and Lotto 5/50 (Euromillions etc..) lottos. That makes return and house edge significantly lower compared to them.

      There is absolutely no reason to play smaller national lotteries. As a citizen of the European union you can participate and play in the big European lotteries.
      Hope this helps

  2. Paul says:

    i wish this systems worked in South Africa …like really the lotto here is cooked…

  3. JEAN says:

    I live in Spain and understand their lottery win taxation system ie. each member of a syndicate pays 20% on their share and no more. However, some of the syndicate are based in the UK (family). What happens when we win this jackpot? !!

  4. jodie says:

    Hi! I’m actually pretty dumb when it comes to any type of mathematical stuff. Could you please take a look at Ohio Lottery Pick 4 winning numbers frequency charts and advise me on what numbers I should pick? If I win I’ll gladly donate a % of the winnings to a favorite charity of yours. I understand you are probably very busy and may not have time for this, but I would greatly appreciate any advice, I’m just a single mother trying to get by, but I figure if I take a few bucks & pick some decent numbers it help me out in a big way and if I don’t win, oh well, a few bucks is gone. Thanks for your consideration! ☺ Jodie

  5. Ashok says:

    Hi, i am Ashok from India,i am playing on line lottery Euromillian,through playhugelotto.com agency.
    first of all please advice,can i play this euromillian lottery from India or not,
    i am playing this euromillian last 3 years but never win even one dollar.
    can you please advice how i can win this euromillian lottery.
    please assist me i wasted too much money in this lottery,please advice what lucky number should be play

  6. Kevin says:

    Hi Simon,

    I notice you advise against syndicates because of syndicate agreements usually being poorly written etc.

    What if it they were well written or well organised? Surely the potential likelihood of collecting a smaller amount because as a group you have more entries is a valid consideration?

    I’d happily share 25 million with 24 other people knowing that 1 million would significantly change my life. Bad written agreements and lack of contingency measures aside, are syndicates really that bad?

    • No. I’m not mainly against syndicates because the agreements are poorly written.
      You also have to share whatever you win. Pretty much losing everything you gain by joining the syndicate.
      They just don’t make sense mathematically, that’s why I’m mainly against them. You have to same chance to win the same amount of money if you play independently (and you don’t have to worry about syndicate owners stealing your money, ask yourself, how do lottery syndicates make money).

      Let’s say, using your example, someone wins 25 million in a syndicate consisting of 25 members.
      The prize will be shared with 24 other people.

      Do 25 people have a better chance winning anything than one person? Yes!
      But the winning is divided by 25 as well, meaning you lose any advantage.

      The only advantage a syndicate offers is that you will win faster an amount smaller that the lowest amount you can possibly win playing solo (because it’s more likely that the syndicate will at least get one hit than an individual player). But that’s not really helping anyone.

  7. TVL says:

    Hi Simon,

    Your article is interesting and has perhaps the most sensible information on winning strategy I’ve found so far. I’d like to share a bit about my strategy with Australian Lotto. I only play Lotto 6/45 with 1st division of $1million AUD, which is played on Mon, Wed, and Sat. While Sat Lotto is very popular in Australia as it’s been played for over 30 years, Mon and Wed not so since it’s been around much less. As a result, Lotto authority runs a promotion that double winning every 6 week for all division winnings except 1st division.

    Normally I expect 35-40% return so on double-win my return is usually 70%-80% on average which is very good return. It allows me to gradually increase my available pool of fund for playing and the higher amount, the better return as I start to hit higher division winnings, lately it’s been 85-90% return for double-win promotion. This strategy allows my to increase my pool of fund while minimizing my loss, and gradually increases my hope to hit 1st division. I can increase my pool of fund since this is the only lottery I play every 2-week.

    Australian laws requires Lotto operator to return 60% back to players, or 60 cents for every dollar. I include the website of the Lotto authority in regards to winning return. It (bottom of linked page) says of the 60% going back players, 28% goes to division 1 prize pool, so for every dollar 16.8 cents (28% of 60 cents) goes to division 1 prize that I don’t expect to easily win. So I can only pin my hope of return on the 72% of 60 cents for every dollar in divisions lower than 1st division, or 43.2 cents for every dollar spent. However with double-win promotion, the expected return is actually 86.4c for every dollar, which is quite good for sustaining my quest to win the $1 million 1st division.

    I think some people may laugh at my effort to win just $1 million Australian dollars, in comparison to the hundreds of millions or even billion lotteries around the world. But hey, any person with some mathematical knowledge would not laugh at all. The cost for 1 entry of 6/45 is 60 cents Australian, with winning odd of ‘1 in 8 million’; in comparison to US powerball at cost of $2 USD for odd of 1/290 million. Now $2 USD equals $2.85 Australian Dollars, so for every 1 entry in US powerball I could buy 4 entries in 6/45 Australia Lotto, such that my odd is shortened to ‘1 in 2 million’.

    My plan is to win the $1 million AUD, then put half into saving, and use the other half to fund myself to travel around the world to search for the best lotteries, using the strategies you outlined. Good luck to you and all your readers and thank you for composing some very useful tips!

  8. TVL says:

    Just a correction…”I can increase my pool of fund since this is the only lottery I play every 2-week”….every 6-week when double-win promotion is on.

  9. TVL says:

    Expected return is usually less than the mandatory return. For example with Lotto 6/49, which has a house edge of 27.5% and mandatory return of 72.5%, or 72.5 cents returned for every dollar. A percentage of 72.5 cents must be distributed to the 1st or jackpot prizes, perhaps 30% of 72.5, which the vast majority of players do not win. So expected return should be around 42.5%, a typical player gets 42.5 cents back for every dollar spent on average.

  10. Zeita says:

    I would like to ask you how does these program works because i don’t have any clue…
    I would like to play Euromilions in the UK 7/49.
    Please give me a guide . Many thanks

    • Ash says:

      I also would like an answer to this question.

      To be frank about it, I would be happy enough to know how to pick 3 numbers every single month, because it’s going to be easier to do so and you get £800 for getting 3 numbers correct!

      Can we PLEASE get an answer about this??

  11. Stefan says:

    I believe that to win the Lottery you will need to be completely random about it as that is exactly how the numbers are drawn. I would suggest to use a random lottery generator (a good one to use online for free is lottogenny.com) and then cross your fingers. I really do not believe there is any scientific way to guarantee a win. just my 2 cents.

    • Billie says:

      Just saying. It is a game, and there is always a way to beat a game..

  12. P says:

    Thank you Sorcerer! Great info! I love TH players…btw.

  13. Vonn says:

    Hi Simon,

    Thanks a lot for this wonderful piece of advice. It was well worth my time reading. I just into playing lottery 25th May 2016. Although the idea came into me in January, I had no way of playing as my region of residence don’t allow credit card processing from lottery organizations.

    But somehow in May, I felt a strange feeling that I can win a lottery and surprisingly I found an online service that accept ewallet to purchase lottery ticket for most popular lotteries. I could not hide my excitement at the prospect of winning big as it was my inner being that convinced me to participate.

    However, one of your strategy is to use number generator which is similar to quick picks. In my previous research before I saw your post, it was suggested not to use quick picks as there will be possibility of the computer generating the same numbers as yours to other people.

    In any case, your post was helpful particularly advising against buying a book or system. I actually ask a guy online how many lotteries he has won with the book he is trying to sell to me. Should you have more strategy and information, will appreciate if you share it.

    • “I actually ask a guy online how many lotteries he has won with the book he is trying to sell to me”

      🙂 I like this. What was his response? I bet he did not say anything, they never do. I tried it too.

      Sure, there will be updates once I finish my detailed guide to the legal status of gambling and online gambling in every country in the world (I’ve been working on it for a year now, still not finished). After that I will go back and update everything.

      • Vonn says:

        Hi Simon,

        You are right! The guy never replied to my email and did not make further attempts to sell me his system.

        I am looking forward to the detail guide. However, I am keeping hopes alive that Mother Nature will deliver to me the jackpot as I believe there is nothing like lucky numbers. Any combination could turn up

  14. ivan says:

    MMMMMMM verrrrrrrryyyy intresting. I´m triying to use your methods on spanish lottery, have a lot of sense and you can save money.

    ok i want to win money 😉

    regards an TKS for info

  15. K. Martin says:

    Great Information A + and glad to know that the books are scams , I was about to purchase one for 45$ and stumbled on your article ..I play NC Lottery only one game .It starts at $50,000 only but I have seen it go to 800,000 before it breaks 🙂 I also play the same set of numbers and have for a couple years . I spend 30$ a month is my limit ..What’s your advise on this .. have a great day

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