Mega Millions $500 Million Jackpot: 4 Events More Likely Than You Winning [Slideshow]

 
on March 29 2012 10:54 AM
  • Being Struck by Lightning
    Your odds of being struck by lightning in 2011 was one in 1 million, according to the National Weather Service. While still very unlikely, it is 176 times more likely than you winning the Mega Millions jackpot. Reuters
  • Becoming President
    The United States has had only 44 presidents during the last 280 years, but it’s still more likely you become president than win the Mega Millions jackpot. Your odds of moving into the White House? One in 10 million. Reuters
  • Being Killed by a Vending Machine
    On average, vending machines crush and kill two people a year, according to Discovery News. That puts the odds at one in 112 million. Very unlikely, but still more probable than hitting the jackpot. Reuters
  • Having Identical Quadruplets
    It’s not every day that a woman gives birth to identical quadruplets – it’s very rare. However, with odds of one in 15 million, it’s still more likely than winning the Mega Millions jackpot. Reuters
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The Mega Millions winning number for the largest jackpot in the game's history --$500 million --  won't be known until Friday's drawing.  But many people are already dreaming of what they'd do if they hit it big. Yet most have a better chance of being struck by lightening or having identical quadruplets than becoming a multi-million dollar lottery winner.

To win the Mega Millions jackpot, players need to match five numbers from one to 56 and then a sixth number from one to 46. The odds of doing so? One in 176 million, according to the Mega Millions website.

It's a sucker's bet, Michael Shackleford, who is known as the Wizard of Odds, told ABC News.

For certain small bets we are 'risk loving,' the professor of casino math at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said. That is to say we are willing to make a poor expected value bet for the chance to have an enormous 'transformative' gain.

No matter which numbers you pick or the jackpot size, it's impossible to improve your odds, he said. Instead, try to minimize the numbers you share with other people so on the off chance you do win, you won't have to share your prize.

Everyone was born in a month from one to 12 and days are 1 and 31, ignoring the late 30s and 40s, said Shackleford. If someone were picking birthdays, they have a greater chance to split it with other birthday pickers.

So just how unlikely are you to win? Click through the slideshow to see things that are more likely to happen than you winning the lottery.

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