Run Wild

by Matthew Stollak on Tuesday, January 4, 2011


With the MegaMillions jackpot reaching $330 million tonight (208.3 million if you take the cash option….nothing to sneeze at), it is very tempting to reach into one’s pocket and take a stab at winning. However, knowing the odds of winning may temper your enthusiasm of putting any more than a few dollars toward that chance.

According to the MegaMillons website, to win you must match 5 out of 56 white balls, and 1 out of 46 yellow balls. It is much easier said than done. The odds of accomplishing the above task are a little over 175 million to 1.

Sometimes it is hard to put into perspective what a 175 million to 1 shot might be. Take getting struck by lightning? It has been calculated that getting struck by lightning is 587,000 to 1. In comparison, you are more likely to be struck by lightning several times than winning the MegaMillions jackpot. Obviously, this will be influenced by a number of factors such as the time of day, your geographic location, and the month of the year.

What about the chances of fatally slipping in the shower or bathtub? Oddsmakers place it at 3,333 to 1. You would have to slip over many times over to match the chance of winning the MegaMillions (but, given that it is fatal, you only slip once).

What about catching a foul ball at a baseball game? Certainly it depends on where you sit or how crowded the stadium might be. But, the odds are 776 to 1. You are just as likely to catch more than a handful of foul balls as you are of winning the MegaMillions.

Tax season will be upon us soon. I hope you have kept your records straight, though the odds of getting audited by the IRS are 180 to 1.

So, go ahead and put a dollar or two on your favorite numbers, and dream about what you would do if you won $330 million dollars. Just be realistic about your chances.

If you did win....what would you do with the money? Would you use any of it to make HR better?

2 comments

I thought I was going to win big!

by Lance on January 4, 2011 at 11:29 AM. #

Well, someone will win the money, so it could be me. Therefore, I have the same chance of winning it as anyone else.

by Anonymous on January 4, 2011 at 3:11 PM. #

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