Why You Will Never Win at 4D & TOTO

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In Singapore, when a bird poops on you, it means two things. One - your brand new shirt is ruined. Two - it’s a lucky sign to buy 4D.


In 2005, a man broke the record by winning 14 million dollars in 4D. With winnings this huge, who wouldn’t want to “try their luck”? We know striking 4D or Toto is not easy, but just how hard is it? We’re here to show you the math.


Reason number #1: The odds are heavily stacked against you.


Playing 4D is simple, you just pick 4 numbers and place your bet. The higher your bet, the more money you stand to win.


By probability, there’s only a 0.0023% chance that your 4 numbers will be drawn.


With Toto, your chances are even slimmer. Players pick 6 numbers from 1 to 49. To win the top prize, all your 6 numbers must be drawn.


Between 1 to 49, there are close to 14 million numerical combinations for the 6 numbers that you choose. That means you have a 1 in 14 million chance of hitting the jackpot.


As any coffeeshop uncle might say, “like that how to tio (win)”?


Reason number #2: People’s “prediction methods” are invalid.

Some people have tried to game the system by studying patterns and track records, or crowning certain “lucky Singapore Pools branches”.


In 2018, one 4D analytics project theorised that some numbers are luckier than others because they’ve won more prize money.


This is probably based on the hypothesis that some lottery balls come up more easily than others.


But, little do they know that The Singapore Pools makes sure that each draw is kept fair with the smallest margin for error.


They do so by using new sets of lottery balls for each draw, and they must weigh the same in order to stand an equal chance at the draw.


With all variables kept constant, it makes prediction that much harder.


Reason number #3: You’ll still lose money even if you win.


No matter your prophecies, the fact is this: 4D and Toto are “fixed-odds” games. They are unlike skill games like poker or sports betting, where you can develop strategies to improve chances of winning.


Some gamblers realised this, so they resort to a betting technique called “The Martingale System”. Here’s how it works.


First, you’ll need $10,000 in your bank. Start by buying the smallest bet and increase the amount every time you lose. With $10,000, you can play about 10,000 games. Out of these, you’re bound to win one game and make back your losses.


The concept sounds sensible, but it doesn’t bring in the dough. Ultimately, you’re betting big to win small.  


In the long run, gambling will burn a hole in your pocket. Here’s some quick math to prove it.


The average Singaporean bets $30 per 4D game. If they play every game for a year, they’ll be spending $4,320. In the scenario where they are heng enough to win a consolation prize within this year, they’ll still be losing over $2,000.


According to the numbers from Singapore Tote Board, the average Singaporean loses $1,250 a year to gambling. If you start once you’re legal and end once you retire, you would’ve lost $52,500 by the time you reach 60.


Conclusion


Behind Australia, Singapore ranks second-place as the country with the highest losses to the lottery.


But on a brighter note, at least all that gambling money goes to a good cause. Since 2014, Singapore Tote Board has set aside $30 million worth of grants for projects that raise awareness for people with disabilities.


Ultimately, 4D and Toto is a game of chance. The excitement is what draws Singaporeans to it. That said, remember to gamble within your means, and may the odds be ever in your favour.