Hobbies Contests How to Win the Lottery: 7 Tips that Really Work! No Schemes! Just Common-Sense Lottery-Winning Tips Share PINTEREST Email Print Contests Lotteries Basics Tips and Tricks Dream Vacations Win Money Win Electronics Home and Garden Win Vehicles Jewelry and Clothing Types of Contests Creative Contests Scams Learn More By Sandra Grauschopf Sandra Grauschopf Facebook Twitter Writer University of Maryland Sandra Grauschopf has been working in the contests industry since 2002. She is a passionate sweeper, with tens of thousands of dollars worth of prize wins to her name, and she has been sharing advice about how to be a winner for over a decade. Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 09/29/21 If you want to find tips about improving your odds of winning the lottery, you'll find many tips that don't work. Lottery schemes like picking "rare" numbers (every number has an equal chance of winning, no matter how recently it was drawn), lottery software that's supposed to be better at picking numbers, and other forms of wishful thinking abound. There's no way to predict the numbers that will come up in the lottery. The drawings are completely random, so the best you can do is try to pick unusual numbers so you won't have to split the jackpot if there's a tie. You'll read more about that below. But that doesn't mean that there's no way of increasing your odds of becoming a lottery winner. Here are some fact-based tips that really work, and will help you become a lottery winner. 01 of 08 Improve Your Chances of Winning the Lottery by Playing the Right Games Different Lottery Games Have Different Odds and Payouts. Choose Wisely. Scott Olson / Getty Images People talk about entering "the lottery" as if it were just one giveaway. However, every state offers a selection of lottery games—and each lottery game has different odds of winning. Luckily, the chances of winning are public knowledge, so read the odds before you spend your money to maximize your chances of winning. By picking games with better odds, you boost your chances of being a lottery winner. Remember that lottery games like Powerball and MegaMillions are national lotteries. They have fixed odds of winning, but if many people enter, you could end up splitting a jackpot — and that lowers the value of your prize. Don't write off scratch-off games, either. They usually offer smaller prizes but higher chances of winning overall. 02 of 08 Join a Lottery Pool to Get More Entries Without Spending More Money A Lottery Pool Can Give You Better Chances of Winning for the Same Price. Achim Sass / Getty Images The easiest way to boost your odds of winning lotteries is simply to buy more tickets. But of course, that costs money — and even if you invest a lot of money on tickets, your odds of winning are still poor. But what if you could buy tickets at a fraction of the price? Lottery pools let you do just that. Lottery pools give you the opportunity to improve your odds without spending more money. Consider joining your office lottery pool or starting one of your own to get better chances of winning without breaking your budget. 03 of 08 Don't Miss a Lottery Win! Double-Check Your Lottery Tickets So You Don't Miss a Win. Saturated / Getty Images Imagine winning a big jackpot—but missing out on your money because you forgot to double-check your numbers. It happens more often than you think. For example, one MegaMillions lottery ticket worth nearly $300,000 was never claimed. Somewhere out there, there's someone with no idea that they won — and lost — a huge prize. Don't let that happen to you. When you buy a lottery ticket, keep it somewhere where you can easily find it again. Jot down the drawing date and time in your calendar if you're afraid you might forget it. After the drawing, check the numbers against your ticket — then double-check them, just to be sure. Also, make sure that you're checking the numbers for the correct date. That should go without saying, but it's an easy mistake to make. Some people like to have convenience store clerks verify their tickets to be sure they don't make a mistake while checking their numbers. This isn't necessarily a good idea, because it's easy for an unscrupulous clerk to pocket your ticket and tell you it was a loser. Instead, use a computer terminal to determine if you're a winner, ask the clerk for the winning numbers and verify them yourself, or check online or in newspapers to find the winning numbers. Another, less risky, option is to use a lottery app to help you keep track of the drawings. 04 of 08 Multiply Your Chances of Winning the Lottery with Second-Chance Games Don't Pass Up Another Chance to Win the Lottery. Tetra Images / Getty Images OK, so your numbers didn't come up in the drawing. That means it's time to toss your lottery ticket, right? Wrong! Many lotteries offer second-chance drawings on non-winning tickets. Fill out the form on the back of the ticket, send it in, and you'll have an additional chance to be a winner. On June 8, 2010, a TheBalance Everyday reader reported a big lottery win. She didn't win because of the numbers she played when she bought the ticket, but because she entered the second-chance game in the Kentucky Lottery. Her name was randomly drawn as the second-chance winner, and she took home $120,610.70 after taxes. So don't give up just because you didn't win the first time. If your lottery game includes a second-chance drawing, entering could be your ticket to winning. 05 of 08 Someone Else's Loss Might Be Your Lottery Ticket Win Keeping Your Eyes Open Could Score You a Lottery Win. Image Source / Getty Images A lot of people throw out their lottery tickets after a drawing, but that doesn't mean that the tickets are worthless. Perhaps they didn't bother to check the numbers, they checked the wrong drawing, or they misread the winning numbers. If you find a discarded lottery ticket, it's worth taking the time to check the numbers. Even if the discarded ticket is a loser, there's a chance you could still win with a second-chance drawing associated with the lottery game, as described above. 06 of 08 Take Steps to Secure Winning Lottery Tickets Keep Your Winning Lottery Ticket Secure. Janet Kimber / Getty Images If you're lucky enough to win the lottery, the last thing you want to do is let the prize slip through your fingers. To protect yourself, the first thing you should do after you receive a lottery ticket, even before you know whether it's a winner or not, is to sign it. Your signature on the back of a lottery ticket can help prove it's yours if it gets lost or stolen. You might want to look into the possibility of creating a trust to use to claim the lottery ticket. In some states, this can help you remain anonymous after winning a jackpot. If you intend to cash a lottery ticket by mail, make sure you make copies of both sides of the ticket, in case it gets lost in transit. 07 of 08 Increase Your Payout by Choosing Rarer Numbers Choosing These Types of Lottery Numbers Has an Advantage. Jonathan Kitchen / Getty Images While it's impossible to predict which numbers will be chosen in any given lottery drawing, picking certain numbers might have a slight advantage, not for your chances of winning, but for your payout. If you win a lottery jackpot, there's a chance you might have to split the payout with other people who picked the same numbers. All things being equal (in that all numbers are equally likely to be picked), you might as well try to select rarer numbers to improve your odds of keeping more of the pot for yourself. So how do you know which numbers are rare? Some people try to use statistics to find out which numbers are chosen least often. Others look at combinations that other people tend to avoid, like consecutive numbers. The first 31 numbers are more often selected by people who use special dates like birthdays to pick their numbers. Using a lottery app might help you select and remember numbers to play. 08 of 08 Beware of Lottery Scams Beware of Fake Lottery Wins. Gary Waters / Getty Images Unfortunately, many scammers try to take advantage of people's dreams of winning the lottery. Here are a few tips to protect yourself and avoid lottery scams: Only buy tickets from authorized lottery retailers. It's not legal to sell lottery tickets across national borders. You can usually buy tickets if you are located in the country, but offers to sell international lottery tickets by mail or online are usually illegal. If you didn't buy a lottery ticket or participate in a second-chance lottery game, you didn't win. The lottery doesn't notify you when you win; you are responsible for checking your winning tickets. You're never required to pay money up-front to receive a winning lottery prize.