# Is There a Trick to Winning Scratch Tickets?

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How to beat instant win lottery scratch tickets.

Everyone that plays instant win lottery scratch off games thinks there is some sort of trick to win. Lots of people have methods like looting at the serial numbers when they buy to find low or high numbers, buying tickets for newer games because more prizes are available or some look to general superstition by following certain regimens to assure a prize is won. But there has never been any solid proof of a formula of any type that equated to consistent victory over these games.

In steps Mohan Srivastava, a statistician from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. On one June day in 2003, he found himself winning \$3 on a scratch ticket given to him by a friend. Because of his profession his curiosity was piqued. He wondered, “is there a formula that the lottery uses on these tickets?”

The specific game he wondered about was a Tic-Tac-Toe game that required the player to match a set of numbers that were called “your numbers” to eight different “tic-tac-toe boards” If your numbers appeared in a straight line, you won.

Srivastava decided to see if he could find a pattern. He bought more tickets, really with no intention of breaking a code, as he thought a multibillion dollar enterprise like the lottery would be almost impossible to break, but he even amazed himself.

He discovered that the trick was to not look at the tic-tac-toe as random numbers, but to categorize how often a number shows up on a single ticket. He found that if numbers only appear once on a single ticket, that they were highly likely to be repeated when the unrevealed numbers were scratched off. If three of these lone numbers were repeated in a row on one of the eight boards, the likelihood that it was a winning ticket was astronomical.

Srivastava tried for several days to contact the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, the people who ran the Tic-Tac-Toe game. He finally realized that they weren’t taking him seriously, so he bought 20 Tic-Tac-Toe tickets and sorted them, unscratched, into piles of winners and losers and sent them to the Ontario Lottery. He sent a note that told them which ones were winners and which were losers. The package was sent at 10 am. Two hours later, he received a call from the Lottery Corporation. He had correctly predicted 19 out of the 20 tickets. The tickets were removed the next day.

He also found other instant win lottery games in both Ontario and in the US that he was able to predict the winners with 70% accuracy.

If you would like to see more about his methodology, I would suggest that you check out this article from Wired.com that even shows the tickets that he won with.