The bad luck of good luck


In my Review Mathematics class, I was once tasked to report on permutations and combinations. It is basically the computation on how many chances are there for you to get your desired goal.

Taking the chances of winning the billion peso cash pot in the 6/58 Ultra Lotto, let me simply put it in a problem: In how many ways must you select a sequence of 6 numbers, in no particular order, from numbers 1 to 58? Solving it in my calculator, the possible winning combinations for the lotto sequence is 40,475,358 or a probability of 0.00000247063%.

Despite the 5-zero chances and the fact that there’s a higher probability of you getting struck by lightning than winning the lotto (0.00010416667%), we, Filipinos still patronize this kind of game. Why do people keep on taking risks and chances even if there is so little possibility to win?

Many reasons are involved in why people keep on playing the game — such as unemployment, low income, and mainly, poverty. We can’t take the blame on them for they are keen to buy a piece of hope and are holding on to that speck of possibility of being an instant billionaire.
Perhaps those that depend on the lottery and other large-pot-winning games may be called “lazy, stubborn or dependent.” “Desperate” as they may seem, but holding onto something that could immediately change one’s life is not a pretty bad thing at all.

But lotto is just a small thing compared to bigger things that a person can do to earn a living and make himself a winner. It is not bad to daydream on becoming an instant multimillionaire, but always keep in mind that the true millionaires in life are those who are hardworking, diligent, and industrious enough to win their families’ hearts.

In the Philippines, there is a saying in the vernacular, “Libre ang mangarap (Dreaming is free.).” Indeed, hope is a simple product and is surely easy to market. Nonetheless, taking a chance at lotto is a challenging game mixed with joy, fun and millions of possibilities.

True enough, there is no loss in the lottery. It may be the most sensible investment you’re ever going to make, but there’s still some fun in buying a piece of hope, and, if you didn’t win and it doesn’t go back to you, the money is possibly contributed to the charities and returned to the communities the sweepstakes are helping.

Again, putting the context in a problem: In how many ways can you help, by playing lotto, to your family or to other people? Solving it mentally, without a doubt, I know the answer.
Do you?