No, I haven’t (yet) won the lottery. I’ve actually participated far less frequently than I had anticipated… wishful thinking, I guess. By now, I’ve gone enough times that I’ve memorized the lottery guy’s spiel. He says the same things each time, and still gets plenty of laughs. This is probably a standup comic’s dream job.
Though I have been consistently losing, it’s still an odd pleasure to participate. At every lottery, a small community of complete strangers forms outside of the theater for all of 30 minutes. For a short while, we all feel the same joyous rush of adrenaline when we think he’s going to call out our name. The crowd is also enthusiastically supportive – everyone always cheers for the winning ballot and the only cry of dismay throughout occurs right before he reveals the final winner. I guess we do keep hoping to snag a pair of tickets until the very end.
My friend Moses proposed a much more elegant analysis of my chances with this snazzy Wolfram Alpha calculation. The infinite sum of the probabilities show that I should expect to participate 13.7 times to win. (Anecdotally, some guy on Foursquare left a comment claiming to have tried over 20 times!)