Scratching for Cherries
By ice rivers
My latest strategy for making money on lottery scratchoffs is this: check out the odds of breaking even posted on the back of the ticket. Look for a scratchoff that I enjoy scratching. If the odds are 1 out of 4 to break even, stick with that game. My plan is to limit myself to 4 purchases but make them one at a time. Whatever I win, I put the winning amount into my pocket. If I follow these rules, the most I can ever lose is four times the cost of the card. If a scratch off crossword costs $3 then the most I can lose is $12 ($4 x 3) which is a sum that I can afford to lose. A man should never gamble more than he can afford to lose. As soon as I get a winner, (say $5 on the first scratch card) I stop buying because I've already beat the odds and the odds are against me now if I buy any more of the same tickets.
Every so often, I'll get a big winner on a first scratch (I've won $500 twice) but even if all four scratch offs are losers, I've still had the fun of gambling...the dream of the big win and I never lose more than I can afford. The losses due tend to mount up which increases my chances of winning another big one so the losing doesn't bother me. When I do win big, I take all the money home and give it to my wife. That moment of giving big money to my wife is what keeps me coming back for more.
The problem comes in when I take any of house money (in my above example that would be the $5 that I won on the first scratch) and instead of pocketing it, I decide to take another chance. Experience has taught me that I'm very bad with "other chances". The only time I regret losing is when I realize that I could have quit while I was ahead but once again, I had to break my own strategy and waste the money that the house gave me.
I do that too often.
I'm gonna stop doing that.
I've got to stay with the odds.
The odds are a pretty good way of predicting the future.
Going into this story, I wondered if this would prove to be a good story.
My odds of winning a prize winning story based on past experience is 5-1. My past indicates that out of every 750 stories that I write 150 will be prize winners. Currently, I've written about six or seven in a row that have not succeeded in winning any prizes. Therefore, the odds are in my favor that whatever I write this time will succeed. It's all in the numbers.
When I sat down, I didn't know what the hell I was gnna wrtite about so as you can see, I decided to write about the odds of writing something "good" which I have just done and predicting that this will win an award, simply because the timing and the numbers are right and I have nothing to lose.
And I can show the cherry to my wife.