I am greedy in my lottery picks doubling down on the Chinese unlucky number four. I don’t want to share the jackpot and what Taiwanese person is going to pick four in a lotto game. You need to have an edge in these games of chance.
Four is similar in some ways to the number thirteen in English except the origin of its bad luck is different. Four in Chinese sounds exactly the same as the word death and people are even more superstitious of number four than we are of number thirteen. One example of this is that people will avoid cellphone numbers with number four in them.
Of course everyone knows that playing the lottery is the equivalent to throwing your hard earned cash into one of those burning barrels of ghost money. But every once in awhile it is fun to buy a lottery ticket and check your numbers after the big drawing. There is the suspense as you look at the numbers with hopes of becoming a multi-millionaire. And then your dreams are dashed and the lottery ticket is tossed into the recycling.
In the US I would play Mega Millions or Powerball about 10 times/year just for the silly thrill of it. In Taiwan I check my receipts in the uniform invoice lottery every two months but I have never played the real lottery (yet). As an aside the uniform invoice lottery was a brilliant tactic to get businesses to fully report (maybe not quite so fully) their revenue each month since customers want the official receipt that acts as a lottery ticket (drawing results).
One side effect of being a terrible Chinese student (I don’t study) is that I don’t try to do new things (like playing the lottery) that would be easy at home. However my old roommate has stoked the hopes of the insanely longshot odds (1 in 22M) of becoming a multi-millionaire and I figured out how to easily buy a ticket and view the results.
I am not sure of the psychological difference between 1M, 10M, 100M and 500M (USD) but people lose their mind when the jackpot goes higher. In the last drawing there were 7M tickets sold in a country of 23M people. I am no different and I bought one because of the big jackpot. I have no idea what I can buy with 100M that I can’t buy with 5M but the bigger the number the bigger the insanity. So when my friend posted the expected jackpot of 2.4B TWD (about 80M USD) last weekend I was hooked immediately.
I have rules for playing the lottery though. Gambling is a serious addiction and one that I can’t afford. I already have camera and bicycle addiction. My rules are that I only buy one ticket for a drawing. I would also buy tickets as part of a group since this kind of stupid fun builds camaraderie. DO NOT SPEND MONEY THAT YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO LOSE. You are almost certainly going to lose but spending 100 TWD (about 3USD) is fine with me.
I have hidden the rest of my numbers just in case. My mom or grandparents might be able to discover a few of the numbers though.
Playing the lottery is quite easy here. They use lottery cards almost exactly the same as the US. The important thing is that you know which card to pick and the basic instructions (only in Chinese) beforehand. The lottery with the big jackpot is 威力彩 (drawing results). To play you pick 6 numbers (1-38), a powerball (1-8) and pay 100 TWD (3 USD). There are actually 2 jackpots. Both are progressive (growing until there is a winner of that jackpot) jackpots. The big jackpot is expected to be about 2.6B TWD (85M USD) and requires you to match all 6 numbers plus the powerball (split if multiple winners) and the smaller jackpot requires you to only match all 6 numbers but no powerball (1 in 2.76M odds). The smaller jackpot was 51M TWD (a cool 1.6M USD) last Monday and could top 2M USD this drawing. There are smaller prizes also that can be won.
Tickets need to be bought by 8pm Thursday night and I assume the drawing is held later that night. Will doubling down on the death number pay off for me? Or will I have to teach on Friday?