Title

Lucky numbers: Choice strategies in the Pennsylvania Daily Number game

Publication Date

1989

Journal

Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society

Volume

27

First Page

167

Last Page

170

Abstract

Examined the amount of money bet during a week of Pennsylvania's Daily Number game. In this game, players receive a predetermined payoff for picking the 3-digit number (000 to 999) drawn on that day. The betting distribution was distinctly nonuniform. Several betting patterns were identified, such as picking triples and avoiding double 9s. In addition, 121 adults and 215 students were asked to rate selected numbers for randomness, luckiness, and perceived history of winning; to categorize numbers; and to free associate to numbers. It is proposed that people seem to choose highly patterned, available, and/or "lucky" numbers. People apparently do not bet numbers that reflect the random process of the game (do not utilize a representativeness heuristic).

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