As the Powerball or Mega Millions lottery jackpot swells into the hundreds of millions of dollars, people flock to the nearest gas station in hopes of buying the winning ticket that will transform their lives. Office pools quickly grow because nobody wants to be “that person” when their office wins and everyone retires but you’re still stuck there.
Lotteries always bring out the irrationality in people. They focus so much on the numbers after the dollar sign that they don’t stop to think of how ridiculously microscopic their chances are.
But somebody has to win!
Yes, but not you, sorry. With odds in the ballpark of 1 in 262 million, that gives you a .0000000038% chance of winning. When you get to numbers that small, it’s hard for people to really grasp what that means. It’s much easier to put it into perspective and compare it to things people can relate to.
Did you know you’re twice as likely to be killed by a vending machine than hit the jackpot? So if you’re feeling lucky about winning the jackpot, you should be twice as cautious buying that Snickers bar.
Here’s a list of other things with better odds than winning the lottery:
- Correctly calling a coin flip 27 times in a row (1 in 134,000,000)
- Getting killed by a cow (1 in 2,500,000)
- Bowling a 300 game (1 in 11,500)
- Becoming an astronaut (1 in 2,300)
- Becoming a professional athlete (1 in 22,000)
- Dating a supermodel (1 in 88,000)
- Getting a serious pogo stick injury (1 in 115,000)
- Dying from a dog bite (1 in 115,000)
- Dying from a falling coconut (1 in 250,000,000)
- Being dealt a royal flush in poker (1 in 649,739)
- Winning an Olympic gold medal (1 in 662,000)
- 3.5 times more likely to die from an asteroid strike (1 in 74,817,414)
- 13 times more likely to become a saint (1 in 20,000,000)
- 17 times more likely to give birth to identical quadruplets (1 in 15,000,000)
- 26 times more likely to become president of the United States (1 in 10,000,000)
- 60 times more likely to die from being left-handed and improperly using right-handed equipment – like a power saw (1 in 4,400,000)
- 118 times more likely to die from chronic constipation (1 in 2,215,900)
- 262 times more likely to die in a plane crash (1 in 1,000,000)
- 262 times more likely to die from flesh-eating bateria (1 in 1,000,000)
- 1500 (!!!) times more likely to die from a lightning strike (1 in 175,000)