They say lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place.

You’d probably think the same about a winning lottery number occurring on **two consecutive draws**.

But, that’s exactly what happened last week with **Ohio Lottery’s Pick 4 **game.

The draw game, which is available through Ohio retailers and lottery couriers, produced a **winning number of 6994 **on back-to-back drawings.

Pick 4 is a game in which players pick a four-number combination, with each number ranging from 0 to 9. That leaves **10,000 different possible combinations** to match all four numbers.

Odds are long enough to have the number occur once, but just how improbable is the opportunity for it to happen two times in a row?

**Tim Chartier**, a Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Davidson College and a lottery analyst, gave his insight to *PlayiLottery* on just how rare this is:

“Choose two days of the year. What are the chances that those two particular days will have the same number chosen? It’s 1 in 10,000 squared, or 1 in 100 million. Keep in mind 100 million days is almost 275,000 years!”

## Same lottery number drawn consecutively for first time

Pick 4 takes place twice a day in Ohio, once in the afternoon and once in the evening.

On Oct. 2, the evening draw produced the 6994 result. Then, on Oct. 3, for the afternoon draw, 6994 was the winning result once again.

After the first drawing occurred on Oct. 2, the odds for 6994 to appear on Oct. 3 didn’t change.

Each drawing, 6994 has the **same odds** to be the winning result as any other combination, as Chartier noted:

“Pick 4 has you pick numbers from 1 to 10 for each slot and you need to match in that order. It’s like picking a number from 0000 to 9999 which gives you a 1 in 10,000 chance of winning. The game doesn’t remember what was chosen yesterday, so it isn’t any more likely to have one given number versus the number that was chosen.

“What’s the probability that the next day is also 6994? It’s the same as simply choosing that number on any given day. You have a 1 in 10,000 chance. Keep in mind, 10,000 days is just under 30 years. So, we saw it recently but may not see it again for awhile. Then again, it’s random and chance.”

The Ohio Lottery told the *Dayton Daily News* that only **16 times in the game’s history** has a winning number been the same for two different drawings. This latest occurrence was the first time it ever happened on consecutive drawings.

## Why are odds 1 in 100 million for repeating results?

When looking at the odds for Pick 4, it might be tough to understand just how improbable what took place is.

How did Chartier come up with the 1 in 100 million odds for the result? Given the complexity, Chartier best explains the situation by simplifying it to a **six-sided die**.

Each roll of the dice has six different options. Each number thus has **1 in 6 odds**.

However, when rolling the dice a second time, that leads to **36 different options** for the two results combined. A roll of 1 on the first time then has six different options for the second roll. The same for 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. The possible options are **6 squared (6×6)** or 36. The odds of rolling the same number twice are 1 in 36.

As Chartier notes, imagine you have a 10,000-sided die:

“For the Ohio Pick 4 lottery, it’s like you have 10,000-sided die. You have 10,000 options for the first roll. The second roll isn’t influenced by the first roll. You just roll again. You have 10,000 options for that second roll. So, you have 10,000 x 10,000 total different ways you could roll those two numbers over two.”

To get the same Pick 4 result twice in a row becomes 10,000 x 10,0000. That is **100 million**.

Chartier also did the math on how often a winning result would appear again in the future.

If a Pick 4 number is chosen today, there is about a:

- 4% chance that it will be chosen in the next year.
- 18% chance it will be chosen in the next 5 years
- 37% chance it will be chosen in the next 10 years

## Pick 4 repeat more likely than winning Powerball, Mega Millions jackpot

Getting the correct combination of Pick 4 is hard enough in itself.

Chartier mentioned that 10,000 days isn’t far from 30 years — it’s just over 27. Given that the game is played twice a day, it could conceivably go nearly 14 years without having the same winning number occur on two occasions.

Now, 1 in 10,000 are much better odds than 1 in 100 million.

Just take into account some of the bigger draw games you can play. Whether it’s **Mega Millions** or **Powerball**, these lottery draw games have a wide range of odds.

The closest comparison for both games to 1 in 10,000 odds is getting three white balls correct and the Mega Gold Ball or Powerball correct, respectively. For each game, those odds are around **1 in 14,500**.

When it comes to 1 in 100 million, there aren’t many comparable options.

To win $1 million in either game, you need to match all five white balls. The odds to do that are 1 in 11.7 million for Powerball and 1 in 12.6 million for Mega Millions.

The next level of winning in either game is the jackpot, which goes above and beyond the 100 million mark.

Mega Millions has **1 in 302.6 million** odds to win the jackpot. Powerball features **1 in 292.2 million** odds.

If you really want a headache, you can try to calculate the odds of Mega Millions or Powerball having the same winning result on consecutive draws.

*Photo by Talaj via Shutterstock*

*Graphic from the Ohio Lottery*