The discussion goes on . . .
Is it a two-way dialog? Can it ever be one?
... Or is it just a set of one-way opinions?
This topic should be of great interest to players who use software tools -- or any tools -- to help them in selecting numbers.
Points of View
Discussions continue among lottery players about the usefulness of any methods or 'tools' for selecting numbers. At times they border on controversy, often dividing players into two camps:
It is not possible to explore both views in depth, within the space of this outline. Further, each side has eloquent spokespersons who can present the views much more thoroughly.
Perhaps the most important challenge to either point of view is to listen fairly and attempt to understand the other. Simple dismissal of either view without dialog would be unfortunate if it causes players to play without an adequate understanding of the game. It would be unfortunate for the first group to ignore the other as 'misguided' in seeing patterns; unfortunate also for the second to ignore the first as 'remote' and above what they believe is really happening.
Responsibilities and Stereotypes . . .
Perhaps the most overriding questions are: At the individual level, should any player care about the views of any other player? After all, it's only a highly personalized 'game'. It's for individual players -- not a team sport. Does either group of players have any responsibiltity toward the other group for sharing information and dialog?
Yet, if questions are not raised and if dialog is not joined, neither group nor any individual player will in the long run play with insight. One might suggest that enjoyment of the game is not related to knowledge about it; however, without any continuing curiosity about the game, future developments in the fields of analysis, wheeling, filtering and other methods could become stifled. It is hard to see how any player could benefit from a reduced awareness of how the game works; indeed, the vacuum created by that reduction might draw in the "paranormal systems" purveyors to the detriment of the players, if not even to the public games themselves.
Unfortunate also would be the possibility that, without dialog, stereotyped images of other players will evolve, hindering further exploration. For example, the first group should not be seen (by the second) to consist mostly of "ivory-tower academics" who have "given up" on the game. The second group should not appear (to the first) as "statistical slaves" who pore over reams and reams of histories in search of "techniques" that can never be found.
No player owns the full picture -- of the game, or of how other players play.
Talking It Over . . .
Both groups have a contribution to make. What kind of contribution?
There is probably room for further insight into 'patterns within randomness': how they occur, their practical limits and effects upon -- or detraction from -- the random process. The book is certainly not yet closed to research into this topic, nor should minds be. A deeper look may be especially useful to one who has not recently explored such processes, especially in lottery games. What better way than in a dialog with people who work the game on a day to day basis?
There is a need also for players to understand as much as possible about the dynamics of the game. They are spending their cash at playing it. Is there a better way to learn than in a dialog with people who have devoted much of a lifetime to education, study and consideration of the topic?
The truth may be that both points can contribute to a greater understanding of the game. The surest way to narrow the growth of knowledge is to avoid dialog with sincere people with differing views. "Having heard it all before" is an attitude educated people should be wary of adopting, no matter how tedious the prospect may seem of having to explore some part of "it all" again. It may be that both viewpoints, contradictory to each other as they appear at first, can and should co-exist.
"Randomness Rules . . ."
It is true that public lottery games are essentially random. They are not manipulated or "fixed" by lottery officials. Likewise there are no "codes" that unlock the "secrets" of how numbers are drawn. Over time -- millions of draws -- the Law of Large Numbers will be the big winner and the actual results of the game's history will approach the expected performance of a random process.
That fact leads to a question often posed by the first group: If the game tends to produce the long-term result of a random process, how can you get to that result unless events along the way are random? Or, put into other words, the numbered balls have no memory. The 'ink' on them (that defines the numbers) has no relevance to the outcome of a draw in which the physical processes are random -- referring to the dynamics of the airflow, friction, spinning, bouncing, and other effects.
An answer often made by the second group is this: Even though the overall process is essentially random, there are some events occurring within the process on a smaller scale, that seem to occur in a similar way, time after time. Regardless of the physical processes that made them happen, these events are remarkably consistent. The Law of Large Numbers is our friend, not our enemy. We should recognize consistencies, and not ignore them. The balls do not have memory, but we see these things happening, and we do have memory. After we have seen them happen in many draws in many different games, why should we not expect them to continue to a similar degree?
The first group responds that this is only a reflection of the 'gambler's fallacy' -- wishful thinking. Past results have no influence on the next draw. What a player 'sees' in the history has no effect on the upcoming motion dynamics.
The second group suggests that there are consistencies in the 'statistics' of the processes. These seem to be natural. Why not play for them to continue, rather than to change dramatically?
The first group maintains that the statistics are by definition a reflection of the past, and may continue to be similar for the long term future. But they do not influence the future, and at best are too generalized to suggest an outcome for the next immediate series of draws.
The second group replies that, after that next immediate series of draws has passed, we will most likely see that they did conform to the statistical consistency. Why should we not have played them that way?
And so it goes . . .
"You Can't Beat the Odds . . ."
Every player -- of either group, or neutral -- should recognize that the 'odds' cannot and do not favor the player. Public games could not survive if they paid out more than they receive. Probably most players recognize that point.
The first group cautions players that, even if it were possible to make an inroad into improving one's chances for a given draw, that improvement would be too small to move the odds into the player's favor. For example, if your game's odds are millions to one, and you improve them by half for the next draw (which you cannot, on a practical budget), you are still facing odds of millions to one in that draw. You will probably not have a win to show for your effort, any more than by random play. Further, if that ever happened, the game would simply change its rules to maintain its revenue margin. And, of course, the group maintains that one cannot "improve" a random process, anyway. Games have not changed their rules -- because they don't have to.
The second group accepts these points -- or parts of them -- but adds "playing goals" into the discussion. The rationale is this: We want to play the game, and are going to play it. We don't expect to "tip" the odds into our favor such that we can make a profit in steady play. However there may be small improvements which benefit us from time to time without causing any great negative impact on the game's revenue. For example, wheeling systems without redundant or missing sets of numbers tend to distribute prizes more evenly over time, compared to random play, for the same cost. Any improvement -- no matter how small -- means that our playing cost will be that much less while we continue to play. Our play can never be any worse than random play, and our cost can never be any higher than random play. So, at the least, we can work at making it better. If we have to wait for 'luck', then why not conserve our cost while waiting?
"Jumping to Conclusions . . ."
The first group notes that public lottery games have completed only a few hundred or a few thousand draws. The combinations drawn so far are only a tiny fraction of the millions that are possible. The sample size is simply too small for players to make conclusions -- other than the one that randomness will prevail.
The second group notes that, even in these few draws, some characteristics of the numbers have emerged that appear to be uniform across all of the games. These are continuing, and they seem to be a natural part of the game. Why should anyone expect that the game would begin to 'veer' off in some different direction?
"Always Avoid Generalizations . . . (Except This One)"
The first group points out -- correctly -- that the lottery game does not pay prizes to a player who matches numbers that are 'similar' to some past event. It pays only for exact matches with the actual winning numbers in the current drawing. For example, some Sums occur more often than other Sums, simply because there are more of them to draw from. Likewise some Even/Odd splits occur more than others, for the same reason. You don't win by matching the Sum of the winning numbers, or the same Even/Odd split. You win only by matching the individual numbers.
The second group responds that there's a difference between the 'general' attributes of combinations, like Sums and Even/Odd splits, and the 'specific' attributes that the individual numbers demonstrate. For example, most numbers tend to repeat as a winner most often, when they are positioned inside some specific range of intervals. (A number's 'interval' is defined as the amount of losing draws that pass between two wins for that number). This does not imply that numbers win like clockwork -- just that they win more often within a certain range of intervals than they do outside of that range. And -- most important to this group of players -- at any time, about half of the numbers, or less than half, are inside that range before any given drawing. So why not play from that portion of the field, instead of playing at random from the entire field?
"Are We Having Fun Yet?"
These are just four ways in which the groups diverge; there are others. The differences are easy to see here, and it would seem that they could get resolved. (Spokespersons for each group, however, would probably explain their positions more fully.) The first group is correct about not applying 'general' combination attributes to specific numbers; the second group should listen. The second group is correct about the concentration of wins within normal patterns; the first group should note them and their relevance to randomness.
The odds are set by the game and cannot be changed by any technique of choosing numbers. Yet the normal operation of the game produces patterns which can be seen to occur. For the same odds, the game can be played with enjoyment rather than as an incidental act, and for the same cost. Knowing the odds, enthusiasts can enjoy using those observations in their play while staying within a practical playing budget.
Unfortunately, those points can tend to get blurred in discussions.
Perhaps the two sides will listen with respect to each other's view -- and do so with a willingness to grow further in their own understanding of the game. Openness, tolerance, and an absence of arrogance are the virtues that may be required for real growth in this field, as in any field -- and a great deal of patience.
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