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What Happens If You Buy Every Combination of Lottery Tickets?

The thought of what would happen if you bought every possible combination of lottery tickets has probably crossed your mind at some point. Either trying to find a way to guarantee your jackpot or wondering why don’t billionaires simply do that many times to become even richer.

There is a good explanation on why buying every combination of lottery tickets is not a great idea, though. That is exactly what we are going to explore in this complete guide on what happens when you buy every combination of lottery tickets.

Is It Possible to Buy Every Combination of Lottery Tickets?

The word “possible” is the key here because there are several complications in trying to buy every combination of lottery tickets. A lot of people do not realize how many lottery tickets we are talking about when we consider every possible combination. What may seem like an investment could even result in an impossible mission for many. Actually, for the vast majority of people.

Let’s understand the main pillars of lottery ticket distribution and possibilities to analyze what we are talking about here.

How Many Combinations of Lottery Tickets Are There?

It should be obvious that each lottery game will have a different number of combinations based on a few characteristics:

  • Game matrix – If you pick 6 in 49 numbers, like in Canada’s Lotto 6/49, the combinations are largely different from a Pick 3 game with only 10 digits to cover three slots.
  • Additional numbers – Any additional number that adds up to the game matrix, e.g. Powerball’s Power Ball number, there are even more combinations.
  • Bonus numbers – If random or picked bonus numbers replace the main numbers in the game matrix, less combinations are necessary.

Fortunately, you can simply take a look at the odds of winning the jackpot to figure out how many combinations there are. Take Cash4Life for instance, with odds of 1 in 21,846,048 of winning its for-life prize. In other words, you would cover every single combination of lottery tickets with 21,846,048 tickets – and that is not even the hardest lottery game.

Since each ticket of that example game costs $2, you would have to pay $43,692,096 to cover all tickets for a jackpot that is not even close to that amount. In other words, you already know that, in many games like Cash4Life, you will lose money if you buy every combination of lottery tickets. However, there are lottery games with rollover prizes.

What Are the Odds of Winning the Lottery?

Each lottery game has its own odds according to how the game is structured. If you wonder about the odds of a specific game to calculate how many lottery tickets you would have to buy to guarantee the jackpot, check out our lottery results page. You will find the odds for all the games available online and worldwide.

About the Prize Money and Its Distribution

Many lotteries out there have a minimum guaranteed jackpot – which is commonly much lower than the total expenses to cover all the possible tickets. On the other hand, there are games that are pari-mutuel and rely on total ticket sales. Considering a 51% share of the prize fund allocated to the jackpot, imagine the following situation:

  • You buy every combination of lottery tickets and win.
  • 52% of what you paid is guaranteed in the jackpot, plus 52% of everyone else’s purchase.
  • There are other secondary prizes guaranteed by other tickets, but they are just a couple thousand at best.
  • The prize may have to be shared with another winner.

Even without putting exact numbers, it should be clear that pari-mutuel lotteries are also not a good idea to buy every combination of lottery tickets. Therefore, we are left with the lotteries with huge rollovers like Mega Millions or Powerball, for example, to continue our investigation.

What Happens If You Buy Every Possible Combination of Lottery Tickets?

Now that it is clear that rollover lotteries are the best option when it comes to buying all lottery tickets to guarantee the jackpot. However, that does not mean it is a good idea, only that it is not a guarantee of loss. Let’s imagine that you have chosen Powerball with three different levels of rollover:

  • Level 1: $500 Million
  • Level 2: $800 Million
  • Level 3: $1.6 Billion

Notice that the first level is already a huge rollover that would put the winner close to the top 10 biggest Powerball prizes. The third level is simply a bit higher than the record prize ever paid by the game. Keep those numbers in mind for what comes next:

  1. When you buy every combination of lottery tickets in Powerball, you spend $2 per ticket. Considering there are 292,201,338 combinations, your total cost would be $584,402,676. In other words, the first level of rollover is no longer a possibility.
  2. We can estimate that you would need 1,000 people to buy tickets without a single second of stop during the 72 hours from one drawing to another. Remember that mass printing is not available, so everything would need to be done manually.
  3. If you manage that by a miracle, just imagine having to transport half a billion tickets somehow, from all the different retailers. And do not think of lottery sites, as you would not be capable of purchasing that many tickets – or even depositing that much money.
  4. If you are lucky enough to be the only winner, you would have to decide between lump-sum payments and annuities. While the second one is off-limits because you would need the money now, the first one would leave you with 60% of the prize before taxes.

How Much Would You Win or Lose If You Bought Every Combination of Lottery Tickets?

That is the moment when we get back to those absurd jackpot values that are extremely rare but may happen again. We had the rollovers of $800 Million and $1.6 Billion, so let’s calculate how much would be left if you had bought every combination of lottery tickets as explained above:

  • $800 Million x 60% (Lump-Sum Payment) = $480,000 before taxes, meaning that you would have already lost over $100,000 even before the US taxes were applied.
  • $1.6 Billion x 60% (Lump-Sum Payment) = $960,000 – taxes = $720,000 (state taxes not applied)

Therefore, if the jackpot record of Powerball would repeat when you put that plan into action and no one else matched the numbers, you could get a $136 million profit in a state with no lottery taxes. Otherwise, your profit could be as low as $20 million.

Can You Guarantee a Profit If You Buy Every Combination of Lottery Tickets?

Even when you guarantee all the numbers in an extremely rare case of a billionaire jackpot as shown above, a single additional winner would lead you to bankruptcy. Also, the logistics and issues found when you try to buy every combination of lottery tickets make it an unreasonable and virtually impossible plan.

I doubt there is any billionaire reading this and actually planning to put that plan into action, or someone with over 1,000 friends with the same idea. Therefore, you should probably stick to the best lottery strategies instead of daydreaming about fooling the lottery.

Summary of the Problems in Buying Every Combination of Lottery Tickets

  • You need to catch a really good roll over to cover the huge expenses.
  • You need help, possibly hundreds or thousands of people at the same time.
  • Federal and state taxes can make it almost impossible to make this a profitable plan.
  • It is not possible to make massive purchases online or offline, only manually.
  • The transportation of tens or hundreds of millions of tickets is unthinkable.
  • Just one single additional winner can give you an incredible loss.
  • While annuities are off-limits, lump-sum payments are always reduced a lot from the advertised jackpot.
  • Regular games without rollovers and pari-mutuel games will often result in a loss.

How to Actually Improve Your Odds of Winning the Lottery?

You know that the odds of winning the lottery are proportionally more difficult depending on the lottery prize. Since buying every combination of lottery tickets does not seem to be a feasible thing to do, you could rely on lottery tools to improve your odds.

There are even players who prefer to trust numerology predictions because regular science and math simply show that you cannot make your odds better without more tickets. Therefore, considering your beliefs and the strategy you apply to your purchase of tickets, the best thing you can do is to keep playing the best way you can.

Real History of Trying to Buy Every Combination of Lottery Tickets

There are some histories of people who had done that in the past, when the lotteries were a bit different and still improving their schemes. Among the modern histories that we can consider true due to the level of facts and details, there is one that happened in the United Kingdom.

A total of 28 people under the influence of Stefan Klincewicz decided to enter a £1.7 million jackpot with a good rollover by the National Lottery and a £100 prize for only 4 numbers that would only happen that time.

The participants invested a lot of money into that venture to cover as many tickets as possible, but none of them was truly aware of the total size of that syndicate. Stefan had influence, as he had won £2,439,760 in another lottery syndicate two years before.

They planned to spend a total of £973,896. As there were 1,945,792 possible combinations of lottery tickets, Stefan looked for the most probable numbers, perhaps using a hot and cold numbers theory in a formula of his own.

The National Lottery noticed the uncommon movement and restricted large purchases, but the syndicate organized people who would buy tickets in different shops. The National Lottery even shut down some machines to avoid their action, and they ended up managing to buy £820,000 in tickets, around 84% of what they had planned.

Believe it or not, they actually won. However, they won it with two other people, and each ticket had a value of £568,682. The National Lottery asked for each member to sign a letter and they ended up receiving their winnings, far less than they had invested.

Should You Try to Buy Every Combination of Lottery Tickets?

Calculations that show that it is nearly impossible to buy every combination of lottery tickets, especially not the ones worth trying, are your proof. Besides, I have brought a real story that took a lot of work and investment and only resulted in loss, aside from the bad repercussions for being considered an immoral, although not illegal, action.

Forget about trying to buy every combination of lottery tickets and embrace the odds and opportunities that the best lottery websites offer you from the comfort of your home.



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