Leave it to chance

HARLINGEN — There is no formula to wining the biggest jackpot in the history of the world.

“It’s anybody’s guess,” said Atiq Syed, professor of mathematics and physics at Texas State Technical College.

“It’s a random phenomenon.”

Tomorrow’s drawing for $1.4 billion will be a record, with a cash value of $867 million.

At $2 per ticket, the massive profit for any winner is going to be fantastic.

The winning numbers for Saturday night’s game were 16, 19, 32, 34, 57 and a Powerball of 13. A total of 440 million tickets were sold in that drawing.

Syed said there is no way of formulating an equation for the winning numbers. You would have to buy 292 million tickets to get the right combination of winning numbers at least once.

Sitting in his office Syed, quickly calculated the probability of wining the jackpot with a math equation.

He said matching all five white balls and the red Powerball is not simple. If it were, everyone would be a winner.

The best advice for playing is to heed the adage, “You can’t win if you don’t play.”

Syed will have his chance at defying the one in 292 million odds. He said he doesn’t play but his wife did get two tickets for tomorrow’s game.

Brownsville computer scientist Heriberto Reynoso said the same as Syed when it comes to using math for winning the Powerball.

“Because it is random, even if you came up with an equation it would be useless,” Reynoso said.

But he had a strategy of looking up the winning numbers as far back as possible to help calculate the most likely numbers that will be drawn.

“You need the most data possible for the best informed decision, Reynoso said.

Take it from him, he bought and sold the Corvette he purchased after winning big at the Harlingen dog track using math and computer science as a college student.

He calls mathematics the language of the universe.

To win the world’s biggest payday, you need to know if the same balls are being used with the same machine and so much more to make the right selection, Reynoso said.

He hasn’t bought a ticket yet. But one way he would narrow down the right picks is using a computer program to help calculate the averages of all the winning numbers that hit.

The Texas Lottery lists all the wining Powerball numbers since November 1997.

“If you just bought one ticket, you could just get the averages of the last two years of Powerball winning numbers and go off of that,” Reynoso said.

But that’s the time-taking science of it all.

Richard Lustig, the winner of seven big lotteries, recommends never buying the quick pick and using your gut feeling when picking the numbers.