# What's the most "non-random" number sequence that's ever won a lottery?

In theory no set of numbers is more or less likely to win the lottery. But somehow picking 1-2-3-4-5-6 seems like a guaranteed lose because it’s hard to imagine a random drawing coming up with that. So what’s the least random-seeming sequence ever to win?

First you need to rigorously define what you mean by “non-random” or “random-seeming”.

1-2-3-4-5-6 is a completely valid random number. If and only if it was arrived at via a random process. 19 72 23 12 67 4 is also a completely valid random number. If and only if it was arrived at via a random process. If either of those number sets came from a non-random source, they’re not random numbers.

You either need a mathematically rigorous definition or you’re simply asking nonsense. There isn’t much middle ground that I can see.

This was a pretty odd event:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8259801.stm

The same numbers being drawn in two consecutive lotteries.

I’m pretty sure you know what I mean, but if you must be pedantic let’s say a number sequence that can be defined by a polynomial shorter than the sequence.

Regularly playing a sequence like 1,2,3,4,5,6 is a bad strategy because if/when it does hit, there are likely to be a lot of other wiseguys playing those same numbers that you have to share the proceeds with. You’d be much better off playing numbers that aren’t as likely to be shared with many others.

Another extreme example of lots of people choosing the same number: (Can anybody suss out why those numbers were so popular?)

They also mention the Bulgarian lottery choosing the same sequence of numbers twice in the same week:

The 17/23 Correlation!!

Several years ago there was a plane crash in the New York area and either that same day or the next the flight number of the plane came out.

I also remember a story where an inordinate number of people won a particular lottery drawing. Fearing collusion, they investigated and found out the numbers that hit were the same as the “lucky numbers” in a large batch of fortune cookies.

I sussed it out myself:

I don’t buy lottery tickets, but if I did I wouldn’t choose my numbers. Because I’d blame myself if the winning numbers were close or even other numbers I considered. I’d rather it just be 100% chance.

Sorry for the derail (but I still posted it so I guess it’s a superficial apology).

In 2008, one of the draws for the UK national lottery picked the numbers: 24, 25, 26, 38, 39, 40

(two sequences of three consecutive numbers)

This sequence wasn’t random, but there was a reason.