Originally Posted by ramuman
If you take the pay-out, after taxes, you'd come out ahead if you picked every combination unless more than 1 other person did as well. Given an estimated 1 billion ticket sales, we can assume ~3 different tickets will win (assuming it's truly random).
Now, if the three of you all chose the annuity, and accounting for taxes, all of you would still come out ahead. Better than this, no?:
If you choose carefully, you can decrease the chance of a shared jackpot.
Lots of people use special dates (anniversaries, birthdays, etc), so the lower numbers are more common. People also avoid "unlucky" numbers--I saw articles attributing the fact that nobody won the 900m jackpot in the last drawing to the powerball being "13" which is picked much less often.
I wouldn't pick any set of numbers that has won before...odds are good that someone has already picked them. Same with strings like 1 2 3 4 5 6. Sure, standard gamblers fallacies would tell the majority of people *not* to pick either of those...but you only need one guy think it is a good idea and you have lost hundreds of millions of dollars if your pick does win.
Maybe I could sell people a powerball-ticket generator that places higher weights on high/unlucky numbers and is sure to avoid previously winning sets...and then harvest data from confirmed purchases (validate with barcode). Have the app make sure not to generate numbers that have already been purchased by users (or keep that info to yourself, so you can make sure your wins won't be shared).