How odd is this? Winning Fantasy Five numbers are 1-3-5-7-9

Players who picked 1-3-5-7-9 are a little richer after Tuesday’s Fantasy Five game.

08/29/2012 5:00 AM

08/29/2012 8:07 PM

What are the odds?

One in 376,992, actually.

Tuesday night’s Fantasy Five picks — 1-3-5-7-9 — resulted in the biggest win in the game’s history since July 2001.

In total, 98 winners had the correct five-out-of-five combination and won the top prize of $1,995.32.

Lucky them? Well, maybe not. A Fantasy Five payout can be as high as $200,000. But with so many winners sharing the pot, the take gets considerably less.

The chance of five straight single-digit odd numbers getting picked are the same as any other winning combination said Sneh Gulati, director of the statistics division at Florida International University.

“Every possible combination is equally likely in the odds of winning,” said Gulati. “They always tell you to not pick a number that you think will be common because if you get them, you’ll end up sharing the prize with more people.”

All in all, 119,000 players are winners to some degree after matching at least two numbers:

• 1,037 matched four numbers, which wins them $30.
• 15,276 matched three numbers, which wins them $5.50.
• 102,885 matched two numbers, which wins them a free ticket.

“People have probably not even realized they’ve won,” said Randy Thomas, manager of My Market & Deli in Fort Lauderdale, where one of the top prize winning tickets was sold. “We get winners occasionally who win about $3,000 to $4,000.”

Players might want to check their ticket — they have 180 days from the draw date to claim their prize or lose it.

Out of the 98 top prize winners, only one was a Quick Pick ticket, chosen by a computer at random.

When numbers are randomly picked, the probabilities will be the same regardless of the combination, Gulati said.

Florida Lottery spokeswoman Shelly Safford said there tend to be more winners when all the numbers are below 31.

“A lot of players tend to play birthdays and anniversary dates,” said Safford. “That’s when you see lots of winners.”

Gulati, the stats expert, has a warning for players who want to plunk down their $1 to play:

“It’s just a coincidence that it happened to be this,” said Gulati. “Do not pick the common numbers!”

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