I started my journey to find scratcher strategies in February of this year. My birthday is in February, and for the past few years I’ve spent a few dollars from my birthday money and bought scratch off cards. Last year I was pretty lucky, I ended up winning about twice as much as I spent, but there was no set strategy I played. I would walk up to the counter and pick a scratcher. This year, in anticipation of my birthday, I wanted to have a strategy to win even more money. I set about online to see if there were any viable strategies I could learn.
Before I started my search, I knew of one key strategy. For the past few months, whenever I wanted to by a scratch off ticket, I would check my state’s website to see which games had the top available prizes. Luckily, the website Scratcher Strategies has links to each states Top Available Prizes, making the search much easier than before. Generally games that have been newly released are the best games to play. Why the new games? No one has had time to win the big prizes, leaving more big prizes out there. A lot of people think that once all the big prizes have been claimed that a game comes to an end. This is simply not true. In most states, a certain game will continue to be sold until 90% of the tickets have been purchased.
Let’s take $1 Texas scratch off tickets for an example. I’m going to look at four specific scratch offs and let you know which one I think would be best to pick and why.
Number Safari: There are approximately 10,370,250 total tickets printed for this game. There are 129 total big prizes of $1,000. As of March 19, 2011, 5 of these games have been claimed. The odds of winning any prizes (cash and TICKET) are 1:4.85.
Double Dollars: Approximately 12,353,550 of these scratch offs have been printed. There are a total of 105 $1,000 big winners. As of March 19, 2011, 38 of these have been claimed. The odds of winning any prize are 1:4.31.
Triple Win: This game has approximately 10,369,000 scratch offs in this game. There are a total of 27 $3,000 prizes, and 25 of these have been claimed. The overall odds of winning any prize are 1:4.85.
Cactus Cash: Cactus Cash has approximately 1,372,950 scratch off tickets in this game. There are a total of 87 $1,000 prizes, and 31 have been claimed. The overall odds of winning a prize with this game are 1:4.31.
If I lived in Texas and had $10 to spend on scratchers (I never buy less than 10 of the SAME tickets at a time), I would buy Double Dollars. While more top prizes have been claimed for Double Dollars than for Number Safari, the odds of winning any prize is better for Double Dollars. Plus, there are only 27,625 prizes $20 and up left for Number Safari, while there are 31,062 prizes $20 and up left for Double Dollars.
It is important to take in the entire picture when buying tickets. Don’t blindly walk into a store and pick a ticket because it “feels” lucky. There are strategies to buying scratch offs!
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