An ex-colleague of mine has written a book in which he purports to have devised a way of predicting the lottery. It is called *How to Predict Future Lottery Results: know tomorrow’s numbers today on a month-by-month basis* by Francis Isaac. I was initially doubtful because he has a job. If I knew how to win the lottery, I wouldn’t have a job. I looked at his book, and I am disappointed to report that he does not tell you how he actually predicts the lottery. What Dr Isaac (yes, his book goes on and on about the fact he has a lot education) does is gives you a list of 2-number combinations under the heading of a month. As he is my colleague, I got an opportunity to talk to him about what is going on.

Dr Isaac has spent the last 17 years collecting and analysing lottery results from a lot of 6 out of 49-ball (6/49) lotteries across the globe (I couldn’t discern from him whether it was all of them). He believes he has found two basic patterns, which I will share with you. He then believes that the tables he gives you offer a way of utilising the patterns to increase your chances of matching 2 numbers in a 49 ball lottery.

*Yes, 2 numbers*. That’s not quite the same promise as made in the title. 2 numbers will only win you anything if you make the bet at a bookie’s shop; the National lottery doesn’t care for two numbers.

The patterns are this:

**If a certain number,***X***, comes out in a lottery draw then another certain number,***Y***, is more likely to come out.**

For example, you know the number 1 is going to come out in a draw, then the number 2 has a chance of coming out that is greater than 1/48. (I can’t guarantee that is a real example, but that’s the idea and the example he gave me).

**Certain numbers are more likely to come out in certain months of the year.**

In the month of May, every year, numbers in the mid-40s are more likely to come out, especially in combinations with single-digit numbers. There is a more precise way of utilising the numbers. To find that out (assuming you believe this), I think it’s only fair that you buy the book.

In Dr Isaac’s defense, the data he presents is evidence based; he really has looked at trends across the globe. What he hasn’t done is explained what the significance of these trends is: does 2 come out more often with 1 at a rate of 1% or 70% more often?If the patterns found are very minimal, they could be chance and have no predictive power. If his patterns frequently show a 70% advantage, that would suggest something is going on (opposed to random fluctuations).

For the month of May Dr Isaac offered a total of 69 number combinations that could come out in the national lottery. *Correct*. He is awarding himself a total of 69 shots at winning a 2-number hit. Someone put their sceptical hat on, because there is science to be done!

This is where my input comes in. Currently, Dr Isaac claims that the system helps him make a hit on the lottery every month. He even has the receipts to prove it. What he is less forthcoming about is exactly how many tickets he has to buy to make a hit. However, he has confessed that his *next* goal is to make the system profitable. It makes me wish I’d taken a career as a bookie. The system is not profitable yet (unless you include profits from the sales of the book, I’m sure). My next goal is not to make his system profitable. My next goal is to see whether his system has a hit rate above that of sheer chaos. His numbers promise 3 2-number hits per month.

Microsoft Excel has a random number generator. I used that generator “=randbetween(1, 49)” to come up with tables analogous to his, except my numbers were not derived from 17 years of “scientific and experimentally observed results” (from the blurb). I hope my readers are scientifically minded enough to notice what it is I have offered: a control. He claims his results are scientifically observed, but he has never had a control. The only question that remains now is whether his ordered system is more successful than my chaotic one. If so, the implication is that there is predictability in the lottery and this system can be developed into a lottery-winning system. If that happens I’m sure I shall be scorned for my scepticism and not receive any charity. However, if not, it has been an unfortunate waste of a project that inspired hope.

Before I share (or even discover) the results I want to ponder a moral quandary. Dr Isaac is a friendly, personable and highly intelligent man. I like him. And he is a colleague. Given that I know it is near-impossible for a person to not invest their ego in a project like this, is it really right for me to doggedly invest in my scepticism? Is that not antisocial and unfriendly? or, do I owe it to him as a mark of respect? I feel it is the latter. But as the dogged persecutor, is that not bias? I think my efforts show that I respect him enough to take him seriously and no part of me is fully sceptical, yet; I’d be excited to discover he is right. But I am aware that it looks like argumentativeness. And how presumptuous am I, to write that before I even do the study? But that’s enough of the social squirming an angst…

I wrote the above in May. Between May and today (7 Oct 2014) Dr Isaac has been using my random number table. Although it is true that Dr Isaacs’ table has not failed to meet his promise of 3 two number hits every month, neither has my random number table. In August, my random number table made 4 hits. In June, Dr Isaac’s table also made 4 hits (including one hit from a number combination that was in 2 table; perhaps we can call that 5 hits).

And you can replicate this by creating a random number table and buying the book and just looking at historical hits. You create 3 tables under each month, each the same size as the tables in Dr Isaacs’ book (they are all slightly different size, average around 16 rows per table).

The conclusion from this is pretty clear: Dr Isaacs’ book does not predict the lottery. It doesn’t even predict a 2-number hit at a higher rate than choas.

Isaac’s book sounds like not only a fund raiser for himself, but for all those state lotteries, too.

I suspect Dr Isaacs is, at least, sincere. I think he really does believe there is a system to the lottery. But, yes, it does seem a bit like an advert.

I almost bought the book to try my hand at the lottery, now I will not even attempt to

The kindle edition is only £2(ish). You could always buy it and re-run the experiment.

Hi,

My name is Francis Isaac. I am not a Doctor but I have a masters degree in chemistry. No, you do not want to be a bookie because you will lose a lot of your money to me. My book on prediction will not get credibility until I, myself have won a substantial amount on the Lottery using my system. Atleast I use my system and sometimes I win and sometimes I lose. I know what real Lottery Players are going through because I am one of them. You will read about me in the press one day, that is, of course if I want publicity. Where did we actually meet to become friends? I cannot remember. You need to remember that everytime there is a new discovery in science, there are sceptics. I welcome your sceptism and I would love to prove to you that you are wrong and I am right because I have given Lottery Systems the respect that they deserve. I am not playing randomly hoping to win by doing nothing, just luck. I am working very hard in order to understand the system so that I can then win and be proud of my achievement.

Hi Francis,

Thank you for taking the time to reply. I do appreciate it. Also, let me start by saying that I wish you all the best of luck with your endeavour to understand the system. It would be an entirely new discovery about the universe. Correct me if I am mistaken, but the underpinning assumption in your work in that certain ball numbers have a statistical relationship with each other, and the exact nature of the relationship changes month to month. This relationship is entirely independent of what ball the number is painted on, as the relationship stands across countries.

This idea would suggest that information is somehow being passed between balls; an idea I am (I think understandably) sceptical of. Please recognise my scepticism as the result of the fact I am a fallibilist. From what I can tell you are a pragmatist; the fact you have perceived it to have some success means it must be “true”, and explanations be damned. Unfortunately, you are playing with statistics and I don’t know that you are significance testing your results.

My desire to be your bookie stands. As I understand it, you still haven’t been able to make the system profitable. This is important, because the odds of matching 2 numbers when you pick 6 are approximately 0.13, or 1 in 8 (according to Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lottery_mathematics#Odds_of_getting_other_possibilities_in_choosing_6_from_49). I don’t know what odds the bookies are giving you, but if it is 1/8 or better, and you’re not making it profitable, then you are hitting the expected statistical outcome or worse.

I used your system without your research and it hit as often as your numbers. The numbers generated as the result of extensive research don’t score significantly better than ones generated without research.

Like I said, I want your system to work. I think it would be very exciting to discover that there is more than statistics are play.

Hi,

This is just to inform you that since my books came out, the bookies now no longer takes any bet on the UK lotto and the Euromillion Lottery anymore. My system was profitable and making money and recently, I was just one number away from winning £300,000.00. May be it is just coincidence, I do not know. Now, I only play with Camelot. All I can say is watch this space.

I’m happy for you, especially that the system is becoming profitable. All the best of luck.

Hi,

Thank you for wishing me the best in the future. I am not claiming that I found a system that is better than chaos. All I am saying is that my system works very well for me. I do understand what I am doing and if the random numbers that you have generated from excel gives the same results as my book, then, perhaps that is the way to play the Lottery. You need to have a certain minimum number of combinations for you to stand any chance of being able to predict future lottery results. This does not mean that my research has been a waste of time. On the contrary, it does give credible support to the idea of researching in order to give yourself a better chance of being lucky and end up being very wealthy indeed. I have studied every major Lotteries in the World and I intend to help those who will listen become very, very wealthy indeed. Thank you by the way, for your scepticism because it does make my work become credible and respectable. All the best of luck.

Alright Mr Isaac bruv