Friday, October 9, 2009

Scratcher Update 10.09.09 : A new recommendation

Since day one of the Arkansas Lottery I have endorsed the Jumbo Bucks ($2) Ticket as the ticket to buy. Well things chance as yesterday the Jumbo Bucks scratcher was hit for two of its top prizes. Dropping the number of top prizes left to 7, or 64% of its starting amount. Its API (Average Prize Index) has also dropped to the worst of all four available scratchers. What a difference a day makes.

I calculate the API for these scratchers two different ways, One that includes the top prize and one that does not. I am conflicted as to which one more accurately reflects the value of the prizes remaining on a scratcher. I am leaning towards the API that INCLUDES the top prize, even though that does tend to skewer the numbers a bit when the top prize is RADICALLY different from the second prize. Using that method here are the APIs for the cards that are out there.

  1. $5 $100,000 Cash Bonus (API +.072)
  2. $2 Arkansas Riches (API -.061)
  3. $1 3 Times Lucky (API -.062)
  4. $2 Jumbo Bucks (API -.073)
In other words, the average prize for the $100,000 Cash Bonus has actually increased 7 cents since the opening, indicating that the prizes are actually getting richer. However, the second that one of the three $100,000 prizes are hit that API ZIPS down to -.095.


It means that the better buy out there right now is the $2 Arkansas Riches Card. Yes the $100,000 Cash Bonus Card still has a much better API but that is tenuous when you consider my above paragraph. However, If you believe in the law of large numbers (like I do) I am estimating that about 30% of the $100,000 Cash Bonus Cards have been burned through, and still no one has at least come forward saying that they have one of those three golden tickets. If one of those golden tickets are not claimed by the middle of next week, it may be time to start looking at the $5 card, as the recommended buy.

BUT AS OF RIGHT NOW, I say the best buy is the $2.00 Arkansas Riches card.

Remember to play the lottery for entertainment only, if you have to win you have to stop, if you or a loved one has a problem, contact your local gambler's anonymous immediately!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Date Update, and a REAL good friend!

Well a Jumbo Bucks ticket hit yesterday. Lightning struck one Danny Howell of Garner, $25,000. Here's the cool part, he's blind. He bought the ticket, gave it to a friend to scratch off, and the friend told him he just won $25,000. I could imagine that going the other way if he wasn't a TRUE friend. "Here you go, scratch this for me and tell me if I won". scratchscratchscratch (deep inhale). "Did I win?". (pause) "Yep! You won $100 I'll go cash this in for ya!"

Hopefully his friend is getting a little kickback, a six pack of cold beverages if nothing else.

Also at the board meeting yesterday, Herr Passailaigue announced some upcoming dates for lottery drawings.

October 20th, NEW SCRATCHERS! Details as soon as I get them.
October 31st, Powerball (Natch)
December 4th, Cash 3 (Which I am going to assume is the daily pick 3)
February 2010, Cash 4 (Which I am going to assume is the daily pick 4)
Within the Next Year, Arkansas Lotto, or some other regional lotto game.
Late 2010, A Raffle type game (A $20 ticket with a prize pool of $6M dollars)

No word as of yet when the new scratchers will be debuting. Read to get acquainted with Powerball as we are now just 22 days away from sales.

Big thanks to Michael R. Wickline and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette from where I culled information for this blog. Support your local newspaper.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Scratcher Update 10.07.09

The tenth day of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery has seen it payback, so far, over $8.2 Million dollars in scratcher winnings. Of course the majority of that has not gone home with the winners, as often times is the case, the winners simply turn in their winning scratchers for more scratchers. So when is it a good idea to pocket the money and when is it a good idea to, um, "reinvest" let's say? As a general rule for myself, if the scratcher returns even (1x) or double (2x) I will go back and buy more scratchers with the winnings. Anything more than that, I pocket. So a $2 ticket returning 2x (or $4) I buy $4 more in scratchers. A $2 ticket returning 5x (or $10) I pocket and wait until my next week's lottery budget to purchase more tickets. Reason being, that there is a VERY small chance of getting struck by lightning (what I call winning any of the top 3 prizes in a scratcher's tier), so pocketing the small mircale wins like the 5x example I gave before, puts a little more scratch in your pocket and teaches you the discipline needed to not become an obsessive player. Which we all are going to try and avoid.

Best hit so far personally is still a 10x return off a $2 Arkansas Riches ticket. $20 that was quickly pocketed. The other day I did have the displeasure to witness someone cashing in 3 $5 tickets for a combined hit of $50. That was a *10x* return, that was promptly used to purchase 10 more $5 tickets, bad move ma'am IMHO. Unless of course she finds one of the 3 $100,000 prizes still out there on the $100,000 Cash Bonus scratcher. (Estimated Odds 1 in 927,000)

As far as the current update. The best API (Average Prize Index, the measure of how good the prizes are that remain in a certain game) Still goes to my favored scratcher Jumbo Bucks Down 4.4 cents from the opening. From an average prize of $5.15 to $5.10. It is leading all scratchers right now in API loss, and still has the most lightning strike wins available (10@$25k - 199@$500 - 2,860@$100).

Still no word on when the brain-trust in the Union Building are going to release more scratchers on the apparently willing population, but the second they do, I will be here with the analysis on all of them.

Powerball on October 31st. But that is another blog spot in and of itself.

10.5.09 Scratcher Update.

A week in and the scratchers have been paying some nice prizes. Culled from information off the Lottery Website, the scratchers have so far paid out $6.53 MILLION dollars to winners. The loosest card so far has been (no surprise) The $5 100,000 Cash Bonus Card, paying out $1.86M. The next loosest card has been the $1 3 Times Lucky, paying out $1.77M. Rounding out the $2 cards, the Arkansas Riches has paid $1.34M and the Jumbo Bucks has paid $1.55M.

The Jumbo Bucks card is STILL the scratcher to buy. With 84% of its prizes still available, and a prize average that has only slipped 2 cents since the open.

I can also recommend the $5 "$100,000 Cash Bonus Card", with all 3 top $100K prizes still out there and 80.3% of its prizes still available. It's prize average has actually increased 3 cents since the open.

Even though the first lottery ticket I bought when I came back was a $2 "Arkansas Riches" and I hit it for a 10x return ($20). It's prize average has slipped a full six cents from the open, worst of all current scratchers. It does have 80.8% of its prizes still available.

The $1 "3 Times Lucky" Started with the worst odds, and lowest top prize. Of the 11 $3,000 top prize, 8 remain. It has shed prizes left and right, and is currently down to 75.3% remaining. The average prize has slipped four cents as well. As I said before, You might have better luck purchasing one "Jumbo Bucks" than two "3 Times Lucky".

October 31st starts Arkansas' POWERBALL. Remember to join the Arkansas Lottery Club and register your losers for the second chance drawing.

Initially posted Sept 24th. My original scratcher analysis.

The Card to Avoid...
Is the $1 "3 Times Lucky" Card. It is the cheapest, and for good reason. Top prize is $3,000, but the second tier prize is only $300. It sports the worst odds of any of the four introductory scratchers (4.8 to 1). It has the worst payback odds (the odds that you will get your dollar back) at 8.57 to 1. And the odds of winning at least $300 off this card are a MASSIVE 100,703 to 1 (That IS a comma, not a period, the odds are One-Hundred-Thousand Plus to One!) You get marginally to greatly improved odds with either of the $2 offerings or the $5 offering. So if you only have a discretionary dollar to spend, save it until you have two and upgrade to one of the $2 scratchers. Do not waste a buck on the $1.

The $5 and 3 Golden Tickets
They're out there somewhere, they're waiting, three golden tickets. Off the $5 card "$100,000 Cash Bonus" there are three $100,000 prizes, the richest offered by the Lottery at start-up. The odds are huge of finding one of them, 927,900 to 1, but this scratcher does offer the best odds of all the introductory scratchers. That is not to say that it is the best CARD, but if you do have $5 lying around doing nothing, and you simply cannot stomach another Subway Footlong, hell why not?

It does offer the best introductory odds of all the scratchers at 3.28 to 1. The odds of at least doubling your money are the best of any scratcher as well, at 7.2 to 1. AND the odds of winning $100 or more are better on this card than any other card, at 349 to 1. The chance of winning 20x your bet is high ($5 winning $100 is 375 to 1) but MUCH better than winning 20x your bet on the $1 card ($1 winning $20 is 687 to 1).

Now to put the top prize in perspective, the odds of anyone being struck by lightning in any particular year is 500,000 to 1. So it is roughly TWICE as likely to be struck by lightning as to win the top prize. But lightning is out there, still waiting to strike, three times. Good Luck.

The $2 Difference and my initial recommendation

Getting ready to jump on an airplane so let me quickly recap the Two $2.00 initial scratchers. Arkansas Riches and Jumbo Bucks. Both of these cards are my recommended buys to start with. they both weigh in at 4 to 1 (Actually Jumbo Bucks is 4.08 to 1) Both have decent (for a lottery, remember this stuff is built for suckers!) chance of a 2x return on your two bucks. And their top tier payouts at $25k and $20k are nice.

Let me take this opportunity to remind you, you MORE than likely, in fact it is almost certain that you will NEVER win the top prize on ANY scratcher or ticket that you will EVER buy. Which is always important to remember. Only play the lottery as entertainment, period, end of story.

BUT if you are going to use a part of your entertainment budget to Support the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery then let me recommend EITHER of the $2.00 Scratchers to start you out with. If I had to choose one over the other then I recommend *JUMBO BUCKS* With slightly worse initial odds, but a better powerline through the mid tier prizes, and a top out prize that would be nice should you ever be struck by lightning.