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Jackpotty; Maths guru's tips on winning lotto; Record prize of PS60m up for grabs.

Byline: RUSSELL MYERS and MARTIN BAGOT

WITH the odds of winning tonight's lotto mega jackpot standing at 45 million to one, the chances of players joining the wealthy elite are pretty slim.

But maths genius Dr John Haigh has devised a cunning way of helping Mirror readers' try to scoop a large chunk of the record PS60million prize.

The jackpot must be won tonight as it has rolled over 13 times and if no players get all six numbers, then those with five and the bonus ball will waltz off with the windfall.

Dr Haigh said choosing a combination of numbers that add up to 200 significantly increases your chances of winning big. Of course, luck is still going to play its part - after all the lotto number drawn the least amount of times is, spookily, 13.

But emeritus reader in mathematics at Sussex University Dr Haigh said avoiding lower figures is one of the keys to jackpot success.

He added: "I believe every one of the 45 million combinations that are possible are equally likely. There is no reason for any one of those to come up more often than any other, so whatever you do, you have one chance in 45 million of hitting the jackpot winning numbers.

BIRTHDAY

"But what you want to do is if you do hit them you want to share the prize with as few other people as possible.

"So what you would like to be able to do is to work out what combinations other people are choosing and choose different.

"Lots of people will use birthday numbers and their choices are biased towards one up to 31, people have got lucky numbers, which are unlikely to be 56 and more likely to be low numbers like three or seven.

"So there are all sorts of reasons when people are choosing people go for lower numbers. People spread their numbers uniformly over the 59 places.

"If you make sure your choices add up to at least 200 that still gives you several million combinations but it suitably biases it towards the higher numbers that many other people tend to avoid.

"Don't choose numbers all in a row like one to six, don't choose last week's winning numbers. You must choose them at random but you want to bias your choices so they are at the farther end.

"Check that they don't form an obvious pattern or not completely evenly spaced out and then you have given yourself the best possible chance ever of winning the lottery."

Dr Haigh spoke as lottery fever gripped the nation over the huge jackpot. Operator Camelot has predicted it would sell 200 tickets a second in the hour before tonight's draw.

And it warned online players not leave buying a ticket until the last minute over fears its website could crash. That happened after an 11th hour rush to snap up numbers for Wednesday's draw.

A spokesman said: "The website was phenomenally busy. so we would advise players to buy tickets early to avoid disappointment.

"We expect the draw to be one of the most popular ever. There has been an unprecedented amount of excitement because some people are going to be considerably richer."

Bookies have also seen a flurry of bets after punters staked thousands on how many winners there could be in the draw.

Coral reckon the odds of the lucky ticket being bought across the UK are 1/5 England, 6/1 Scotland, 12/1 Wales, 20/1 Northern Ireland.

Coral's Nicola McGeady said: "The biggest lotto jackpot in UK history has caused a huge buzz." The prize eclipses the previous highest jackpot of PS42million shared by three winners in 1996.

But changes to the draw last October, when Camelot added an extra 10 balls, mean the odds of winning have been lengthened from 14 million to one to 45 million to one. That means you are much more likely to be struck by lightning, devoured by a shark, hit by a meteor, get seriously injured putting on trousers or find a pearl in an oyster.

But anyone who does scoop the PS60million will find themselves as rich as some of the biggest names in showbiz, including Coldplay's Chris Martin, worth PS52million and Kylie Minogue on PS50million.

russell.myers@mirror.co.uk

12 34 Main draw: 235 times Bonus: 43 Main draw: 247 Bonus: 35 Main draw: 252 Bonus: 46 Main draw: 251 Bonus: 50 56 7 8 9 Main draw: 248 Bonus: 41 Main draw: 258 Bonus: 55 Main draw: 252 Bonus: 31 Main draw: 243 Bonus: 49 Main draw: 269 Bonus: 46 10 11 12 13 14 Main draw: 262 Bonus: 35 Main draw: 273 Bonus: 48 Main draw: 255 Bonus: 44 Main draw: 219 Bonus: 22 Main draw: 249 Bonus: 52 15 Main draw: 242 Bonus: 48 16 Main draw: 225 Bonus: 32 17 Main draw: 260 Bonus: 43 18 Main draw: 260 Bonus: 36 19 Main draw: 252 Bonus: 39 20 Main draw: 217 Bonus: 51 21 Main draw: 230 Bonus: 47 22 Main draw: 255 Bonus: 44 MOST TOTAL DRAWS 23 Main draw: 286 Bonus: 46 24 Main draw: 262 Bonus: 38 25 Main draw: 274 Bonus: 51 26 Main draw: 247 Bonus: 43 28 27 Main draw: 258 Bonus: 45 Main draw: 269 Bonus: 38 32 31 Main draw: 251 Bonus: 36 30 Main draw: 272 Bonus: 57 29 Main draw: 277 Bonus: 40 Main draw: 256 Bonus: 47 35 34 Main draw: 268 Bonus: 43 33 Main draw: 252 Bonus: 41 Main draw: 278 Bonus: 46 39 38 Main draw: 271 Bonus: 26 37 Main draw: 277 Bonus: 53 36 Main draw: 234 Bonus: 57 Main draw: 241 Bonus: 45 43 Main draw: 270 Bonus: 48 42 Main draw: 257 Bonus: 42 41 Main draw: 236 Bonus: 34 40 Main draw: 284 Bonus: 35 49 Main draw: 268 Bonus: 36 48 Main draw: 268 Bonus: 37 47 Main draw: 266 Bonus: 35 46 Main draw: 246 Bonus: 41 45 Main draw: 247 Bonus: 57 44 Main draw: 276 Bonus: 35 56 57 58 59 Main draw: 2 Bonus: 0 Main draw: 5 Bonus: 0 Main draw: 2 Bonus: 0 Main draw: 3 Bonus: 1 55 52 Main draw: 4 Bonus: 0 53 Main draw: 3 Bonus: 0 54 Main draw: 5 Bonus: 0 Main draw: 5 Bonus: 1 51 505 Main draw: 3 Bonus: 0 Main draw: 5 Bonus: 0

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 9, 2016
Words:1093
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