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Are most winning lottery numbers quick pick?

A common question that many lottery players have is whether most winning lottery numbers come from quick picks or player-selected numbers. Quick picks are lottery tickets with randomly generated numbers, usually selected by having the lottery terminal choose the numbers. Player-selected numbers are those that the player chooses themselves. Understanding whether winning tickets tend to be quick picks or player picks can help players decide how to choose their lottery numbers.

What is a quick pick?

A quick pick in the lottery refers to a ticket where the numbers are randomly generated by the lottery terminal. When playing a quick pick, the player does not get to choose the numbers on their ticket. The lottery terminal will randomly select the numbers, either upon request by the player or by default if the player does not choose their own numbers. Quick picks are the opposite of player-selected number tickets, where the player chooses their own numbers to play.

What are player-selected numbers?

Player-selected numbers refer to lottery tickets where the player chooses the numbers themselves, rather than having the lottery terminal randomly generate them. Many lottery players have favorite numbers they like to play or number-picking strategies they use to choose numbers they think might have a better chance of winning. These player-selected numbers are manually entered into the lottery terminal by the player when purchasing a ticket. This gives the player more control and input over the numbers they are playing compared to quick pick tickets.

Are most winning lottery numbers quick picks?

When looking at winning lottery numbers across major national and state lotteries in the United States, the majority do tend to come from quick pick tickets, though the proportion varies by lottery. According to statistician and lottery expert Todd Northrop, about 70 percent of winners for a typical state lottery game are from quick picks. The exact proportion can vary based on the specific game and location.

Some key statistics on quick picks and winning lottery numbers:

  • In the Powerball lottery, about 80% of winners are from quick picks.
  • For Mega Millions, around 75% of winners are quick picks.
  • In the Florida Lotto, approximately 50% of winning tickets are quick picks.
  • Ohio Lotto winners are about evenly split between quick picks and player picks.

So while the majority are quick picks, there is significant variation between different lottery games. Some games see player-selected numbers winning at nearly the same rate as quick picks. But overall, quick pick lottery tickets tend to account for more winners, with the proportion ranging from about 50% to 80% across major lottery games.

Why do quick picks win more often?

There are a few potential reasons why quick pick lottery tickets may account for more winners than player-selected numbers:

  • With quick picks, the numbers are randomly selected, so in theory, they should have the same odds of winning as any other combination.
  • More lottery tickets sold are quick picks. If millions more quick pick tickets are purchased, they naturally are more likely to have some winners.
  • Players may unintentionally choose numbers non-randomly. For example, avoiding unlucky numbers, picking birthdays, etc. reduces randomness.
  • Quick picks ensure no duplicate numbers. Players may accidentally choose duplicates.

The randomness of quick picks likely explains much of the advantage. While player-selected numbers aren’t necessarily worse odds, quick picks’ complete randomness makes them more likely to match the randomly drawn winning numbers. The tendency for more quick pick than player pick tickets to be sold also increases the odds for that group.

Differences Between Lottery Games

The prevalence of quick pick winners versus player-selected numbers can vary significantly between different lottery games. Games that involve picking just a few numbers, like raffle-style games, tend to have a more even split. Games that involve picking many numbers, like 5/69 games, tend to see more quick pick winners.

Some key differences:

Raffle-Style Games

Raffle or raffle-style lottery games where players choose just a few numbers, like pick 3 and pick 4 games, tend to see a more even split between quick picks and player-selected numbers for winning tickets. For example, the Florida Pick 2 and Pick 3 games see about a 50/50 split between the two choice methods among winners. The simpler choice of fewer numbers lends itself better to players randomly generating their own numbers.

5/69 Games

Major lottery games that involve picking 5-6 numbers out of a large pool, like Powerball and MegaMillions, see quick picks account for 70-80% of winning tickets. The odds of matching 5-6 numbers out of 69 is over 25 million to 1. So player-selected numbers generated without computer aid can struggle to approach true randomness compared to quick picks.

Instant Scratch Games

Scratch-off instant lottery games involve pre-printed tickets rather than player-chosen numbers. However, some states allow players to enter non-winning scratch tickets into second chance drawings for additional prize opportunities. An analysis of these second chance winners shows a fairly even split between quick picks and player picks. The smaller prizes and simpler choice of entering just a ticket code makes player-selected numbers more competitive compared to large jackpot games requiring picks from a huge pool.

Strategies for Picking Numbers

While the majority of winning lottery tickets may be quick picks, player-selected numbers can still win big prizes. For those who prefer to choose their own numbers, some strategies may improve your odds over pure random selection:

Use Random Number Generator Tools

Technology like random number generator apps and websites can select truly random numbers for you. This gives players the benefit of choosing their own numbers while maintaining randomness to better compete against quick picks. Check whether your state lottery has an official app or widget for randomly selecting numbers.

Avoid Repeating and Sequential Numbers

Don’t choose obviously non-random patterns like consecutive numbers, repeated digits, or predictable number sequences. This reduces the randomness of player picks. Quick picks avoid such issues by preventing duplicate numbers.

Vary Your Sources

Pull numbers from different sources like important dates, jersey numbers, addresses rather than just one source. Pulling from varied sources improves randomness compared to choosing for example 7 birthdays.

Think Randomly When Playing

Put yourself in a random mindset when choosing numbers rather than letting biases creep in. Avoid tendencies like avoiding unlucky numbers, focusing on dates, etc. Think like a random number generator rather than a person assigning meaning.

Are Quick Picks Better Odds Than Player Picks?

The odds of winning the lottery jackpot are astronomically low regardless of whether you play quick picks or player-selected numbers. Technically, each combination of numbers has the same mathematical odds of being chosen. However, quick picks have practical advantages that increase your probability ever so slightly:

  • Totally random selection avoids biases.
  • Prevents duplicate number choices.
  • More total quick pick tickets are in play.

So quick picks could be considered to have slightly better odds in practice than the average player-selected numbers. But the odds are so infinitesimally small in absolute terms that neither choice is significantly better than the other. The more tickets you play overall improves your chances the most.

Some advertisement state that picking your own numbers helps win more than quick picks or vice versa. But there is no strong statistical evidence that one has an inherent mathematical advantage. Both methods produce lottery number combinations with basically equal odds of being picked.

Should You Play Quick Picks or Choose Your Own Numbers?

Whether to play quick picks versus player-selected numbers comes down mostly to personal preference. Here are some factors to consider:

If You Want Totally Random Numbers

Quick picks guarantee randomly computer-generated numbers. If you don’t care about choosing special numbers and just want randomness, quick picks are the way to go.

If You Have Favorite or Lucky Numbers

Can’t give up playing your anniversary date or lucky number 7? Choosing your own numbers allows you to play favorites with some consistency.

If You Enjoy the Selection Process

Some players find the number selection part of the lottery fun and like the small decision-making aspect. Picking your own numbers enhances this experience.

If You Don’t Want Duplicates

One advantage of quick picks is the computer never accidentally selects the same number twice. If you don’t want to worry about duplicates, quick pick is the safer choice.

If You Want to Play Many Tickets

Playing a large batch of tickets is easier and faster with quick pick. Selecting numbers for say 20 tickets takes more time and effort than just having the terminal print quick picks.

There are reasonable arguments on both sides. In the end, neither has definitively better odds, so go with your personal preference for selecting those lucky numbers!

State Lottery Data on Quick Picks and Player Selections

Here is a summary of data from various state lotteries on the proportion of winning lottery tickets that were quick picks versus player picks across major lottery games:

State Lottery Game Quick Pick Winners Player Pick Winners
Florida Lottery POWERBALL 81% 19%
Florida Lottery MEGA MILLIONS 76% 24%
Florida Lottery FLORIDA LOTTO 52% 48%
Ohio Lottery CLASSIC LOTTO 49% 51%
New York Lottery MEGA MILLIONS 61% 39%
Texas Lottery LOTTO TEXAS 63% 37%

This data shows that quick picks tend to win more often in multi-state games involving picking 5-6 numbers like Powerball and Mega Millions. State-specific lotto games where you pick 6 numbers out of ~40-50 see a more even split between the two selection methods. Overall, quick picks won the majority in all these major games.

Notable Big Jackpot Winners

Though the majority of lottery winners may come from quick picks, player-selected numbers have won several of the largest lottery jackpots. Some of the biggest winners who picked their own numbers include:

  • The $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot in 2016 won by a player in California who selected their own numbers.
  • A $533 million Mega Millions jackpot in 2018 won by a New Jersey player with self-picked numbers.
  • A $590.5 million Powerball jackpot in 2013 won by a Florida player using family birthdays and anniversaries to choose numbers.

So while less common, player selections have accounted for some truly massive lottery jackpots. With the astronomical odds involved, both methods can produce winners.

The Luck Factor

Ultimately, regardless of whether you choose quick picks, player selections, or a mix, winning the lottery comes down overwhelmingly to luck. The odds of matching all numbers are microscopically low, so all number combinations have more or less an equal probability of being picked. Focus more on having fun than trying to beat the odds or perceive some small advantage between selection methods. Just hope that lady luck shines on your ticket that day!


Based on lottery data, the majority of winning lottery tickets across most major games come from quick picks rather than player-selected numbers. The proportion of quick pick winners ranges from about 50% to as high as 80% between different lottery games. The inherent randomness of quick pick likely explains much of this advantage. However, player-selected numbers can still win big prizes, accounting for some record jackpots. Ultimately, luck drives success more than anything else, so play with whichever method you enjoy and don’t get caught up in perceptions of better odds. Either way, your chances of winning remain infinitesimally slim, so the most important thing is having fun and responsible play.