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Powerball fever around the U.S. is almost as high as the record $900 million grand prize that may be claimed Saturday night.
Believe it or not, the chances of getting struck by lightning, dating a supermodel or becoming president (among other feats) are all more likely than winning Saturday's grand prize.
Forbes spoke to Lustig ahead of tonight's drawing and procured some of his expert advice on how to win the jackpot.
1. Avoid "quick-pick"
The "quick-pick" method works in number sets, which means every number doesn't have the same amount of luck one would perceive. "Every time you buy a quick pick, you get a different set of numbers; therefore, your odds are always going to be at their worst in that particular game," Lustig said to Forbes about the Powerball.
2. Use the entire board
Many people use birthdates and anniversaries when filling out their cards. While your loved ones bring you priceless joy, using their special days to bring home the jackpot will likely mean you end up splitting the prize with 20-40 people. Instead of just playing numbers 1-31, use all the numbers available. "If you spread the numbers out across the whole track, you’ll either be the only winner or will split it with only one or two people,” Lustig says.
3. Stick with your instincts
Lustig has a specific way to finding the numbers you feel most comfortable with in his book, but ultimately, once you pick the group that you think will work, stick with it. “Remember, a set of numbers wins the grand prize, not individual numbers,” Lustig says. If playing multiple cards, have some variety in the grouping of numbers chosen to maximize your odds.
4. Be consistent
Simply put: If you want to win a particular game, follow past and future drawings to get the hang of it.
5. Don't get carried away
While winning $900 million would ultimately grant you and your loved ones financial security, it's important not to spend money you can't afford to lose (i.e.: groceries, rent, etc.) on lottery tickets. If you can only buy one ticket or even 10 but not 100, that's OK. "Set a budget of what you’re going to spend. Do not get caught up in what’s called 'lottery fever,' Lustig says. Spend what you can comfortably afford to on lottery tickets and no more.
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