Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chance of a Lifetime

Previously in this blog, I have posted something on lottery tickets. Some people can't live through a week without buying at least a few bucks' worth of lottery tickets.

I should know, because my parents are very good examples of hardcore gamblers who would sell all their lives' worth for that shot of striking it big. My step-mother buys religiously practically every draw, perhaps with the ambition of divorcing my dad if she does strike anything decent. My dad, on the other hand, also buys without fail practically every draw, if he can somehow squeeze some hard-earned money from us children, perhaps for the sake of luring another woman if he can win a handsome payout.

I myself am not an expert when it comes to lotteries, but I'd like to claim that I know enough of the basic ideas of the games. In Sabah, if I am not much mistaken, we have 3 different companies dealing with lotteries. We have the Sandakan Turf Club (STC), Sports TOTO and Diriwan 88. Magnum is illegal in Sabah, but of course business is very much alive through the black marketeers. We also have the sweepstakes of Da Ma Cai.

Of the 3 main companies in Sabah, there are basically 2 types of games. The 3D (3 digits), i.e. players buy any combination of 3-digit number. The 4D, i.e. any combination of 4-digit number. 5D and 6D respectively. Then there's the second type of which players buy 4 out of 42 numbers (from 1 to 42); or 6/49 (choosing 6 out of 49 numbers from 1 to 49) and so on and so forth.

The most famous, I think, is the 4D game which has been around for the longest. And that's as good as the bread and butter for my parents. Of course dad's heart is performing at a rate of only 28% after his quadrupple bypass surgery, and his legs are quite week to walk downhill from the house (then uphill on the return leg). I mean, he may just collapse due to the stress on his heart. But come rain or shine, he will brave the physical stress to walk the distance to the shop the get the draw results.

However, although the 4D is very easy to understand, these days it's the second type which is fast catching on. The lotto games are more attractive because unlike the 4D, which has a fixed winning purse, the lotto payout can snowball into the millions for as long as no one wins.

And so at around noon yesterday, my brother, Harry, came to my office to say that he's pulling in the resources of a number of them in the office to bet on the Mega 6/52 because the prize money has snowballed up to over RM9M! Quite frankly, I don't really understand how it works, but I decided to join in the fun.

Now the simplest way to bet is of course by choosing 6 numbers out of 1 to 52. If all those chosen numbers are correctly drawn, then we would have won the jackpot. However, as anyone would know, to strike 6 numbers out of 52 is quite a long shot. So there is an option to choose additional numbers to increase the winning chances. For example, one may choose 8 numbers out of 52, but he needs to strike only 6 of them. But those extra winning chances don't come for free. The more numbers you choose, the more expensive is the ticket. I was given to understand that one can buy up to 15 numbers out of 52 in a single ticket, but needs to strike only 6 of those. Obviously the chances would be much higher to strike, but such tickets cost over RM5,000 each! You get the idea?

Anyway, the fellows in the office decided to bet on 10 numbers out of 52 (but again, only need to strike 6) But the price of the ticket is slightly over RM200. So to spread the cost a bit thinner, they decided to make a pool of "investors" to raise that RM200. Well, the idea was met with unexpected success—in the end 19 of us decided to invest for that chance of a lifetime! I don't how they calculated the prize money, but I was told that if we could strike the top prize, each of us would be about RM500,000 richer!

And now the method of choosing the numbers. All the numbers, 1 to 52, were written on small pieces of paper. And some of us "investors" drew 10 of them. And during the lunch break, Harry went to buy the ticket.

After acquiring the ticket, photocopies of it were made and duly distributed to the many "investors" for their record. The original ticket was passed on to me for safe-keeping. For a split second, it did cross my mind to disappear to a nice tropical country with the prize money for a nice retirement. I saw myself sun-bathing at a beach resort sipping one of those fruit juices—y'know, those decorated with small umbrellas and a slice of lemon at the edge of the glass? But I quickly abandoned that idea, because I couldn't bear the thought of exposing my chest which has become an ugly sight because of the breasts which I've developed over the years.

The rest of that afternoon, the topic of our winning lottery ticket was quite hot. Jimmy was already contemplating how best to write his resignation letter after getting his share of the prize money. Harry was busy scanning the ads to buy his dream house. Joanna went through quite some deep thinking of how best to invest the money which was obviously forthcoming. Sinorita—she's a Sarawakian—was already day-dreaming of "naik belon pulang kampung."

By the time our office closed at 5pm, everyone was at the point of dying to wait for the results of the draw at about 7pm at night. We were all thinking which 6 of the 10 numbers we bought would be the ones that would deliver the RM9M into our hands.

By 6pm the wait was becoming quite unbearable. However, I still did not neglect my scheduled 10km run at the Likas track. Which was probably good for me. For I was able to shift my focus to running for a bit.

After my run, I arrived home and rushed to my computer to check the results online. And wow! you wouldn't believe our achievement with our ticket! All my life, I do not consider myself lucky as far as lotteries are concerned. And I thought even buying 10 numbers out of 52, and we only had to strike 6 of them, it was still a very long shot. I mean, I've bought 6 numbers (as opposed to 10 numbers) before this, and I could only get 2 or 3 numbers correct at most. But this time, we as a group, made history for this chance of a lifetime.

In my excitement, I sent out text messages to all my fellow "investors":

Wow! we juz made history wif our ticket!

And that triggered immediate responses from some of them. But of all of those responses, I quote here the one I received from Vivian:

Wat history? How many numbers did we get wrong? :p

So now would any of you like to guess what's my answer to Vivian's question.


renroc said...

All ?

Tekko said...

The prize in the Sg Toto for today draw is at least S$10m!

kkchai said...

If you don't succeed at first, try again lor ...

stephenie said...

i bet they din hit any number out of 10.

Cornelius said...

Wow! renroc and stephenie, not even 1 out of 10 we've chosen? Aw come on, you need to have a bit of faith in my luck, you know!... haha!

Well, for your info, I've also received a few others who sent in their guesses via text messages. The most positive guess so far is that we struck 2 correct, the rest all wrong!

The question once again: How many numbers did we get wrong?

Cornelius said...


So what are you waiting for? You should "invest" now, man! Who knows by this time tomorrow, you will be a millionaire many times over!

Cornelius said...


The winning ticket for tomorrow's draw, i.e. our second attempt, is now in my wallet! This time only 10 of us are investing. Obviously we are all gonna be millionaires by Sunday morning (fingers crossed)...

Anonymous said...

i hv been following yr blog (coz treasure hunt comment)and think that u r good in math. Hv u coounted what is the total possibility for 6/42, 6/49, 6/52 games?


Cornelius said...

Beng Teong,

Thanks for visiting my blog. But unfortunately, I haven't been hunting for a while now and have therefore not been posting much about treasure hunts. However, tomorrow we're hunting in the KK City Tourism Hunt. And then next week, I'm flying to KL for another hunt. Hopefully I have something interesting to post after those hunts.

Regarding your question about the possibility of striking the lotto, I must admit that I have left school since a hundred years ago and what's left of my math knowledge is laughable!

It's actually a simple calculation based on certain formula which I have forgotten. But I'd reckon that the possibilities would easily run into the millions.

Come to think of it, it seems impossible to strike, is it not? Yet it is strange that sooner or later someone will always crack the jackpot one way or another! Amazing, isn't it?

My opinion is that when buying lotteries, forget about the odds you are up against, because once you start thinking about odds, you will never buy. And when you don't buy, you have ZERO chance of striking. So buy the lotteries, and don't hope too much to strike. Be prepared to lose. But if you are destined to strike, you WILL strike no matter how big the odds are against you.

Like I said in the above post, I don't consider myself lucky when it comes to lotteries. But I sometimes buy, and am prepared to lose. I don't seriously believe that I can win. But the fun and excitement is worth it to me, especially since I have the opportunity to tease some of my staff (smile)!