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Illinois Lottery Draws 666 on Heels of Obama Victory
November 6, 2008 9:59 AM   Subscribe

The day after a senator from Illinois, is elected president, the Pick 3 lottery in Illinois comes up 666. It's happened before, notably in Pennsylvania (12 times, including one time as part of a scam and once earlier this year, in Maryland. Some are jokingly (I hope) calling him the antichrist as a result. Others, namely numbers geeks like me, are spending their lunch hours looking up the history of lotteries drawing triple numbers and sharing it with MetaFilter.
posted by sjuhawk31 (70 comments total)

 
And the evening Pick 4 comes up 7-7-7-9. That's freaky.
posted by mnsc at 10:06 AM on November 6, 2008


sjuhawk31: "Some are jokingly (I hope) calling him the antichrist as a result."

Let me guess, you've never heard of Free Republic before.
posted by Plutor at 10:08 AM on November 6, 2008 [6 favorites]


Damn, I picked 665! Jesus told me to.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:11 AM on November 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


I thought Palin was the anti-christ. This is getting confusing...
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 10:11 AM on November 6, 2008


As a frequent contributor to deletedthread, I welcome you.
posted by gman at 10:11 AM on November 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Oh and that last comment was at 1:11.
posted by gman at 10:11 AM on November 6, 2008


@Plutor: I have, but I'm still living in that couple-day buffer when all you can think is "Hey, democracy's pretty cool."
posted by sjuhawk31 at 10:11 AM on November 6, 2008


What, you couldn't include a link to the gay sex murder scandal, too? NEWS FLASH: Crazy people say something crazy. GOOGLE GOLD STANDARD!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:13 AM on November 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


This is happening too much lately. Aren't these numbers supposed to be random?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:14 AM on November 6, 2008


@gman: I'll not be surprised if it joins the ranks of the deleted, but I hope the discourse stays civil and we can just all marvel at how bizarre the probabilities are.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 10:14 AM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah? Well, the Arizona State Lottery pick three came up "939" which in Chaldean numerology means, "big, stupid doody-head".
posted by cimbrog at 10:14 AM on November 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


I like how people will take any coincidence and turn it into a harbinger of things to come.

For instance, in the early morning of November 4th, it was unusually cold in Los Angeles; I told my wife it was because of all the people who said "it will be a cold day in hell before a black man is elected president of the United States."
posted by davejay at 10:15 AM on November 6, 2008 [11 favorites]


What's with all the confirmation bias that I've been seeing lately?
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:18 AM on November 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


And Billy Graham died! Satan! Satan!
posted by lumpenprole at 10:21 AM on November 6, 2008


"This is the biggest shocker since Nick Perry pulled the 6-6-6 ball."
posted by inigo2 at 10:22 AM on November 6, 2008


Even if this thread doesn't make it, thanks for linking to the only MetaFilter post I've made.

PS The article linked in my thread from 2004 has moved here. kthxbye
posted by ALongDecember at 10:22 AM on November 6, 2008


I'm not even going to tell you what the image on my toast looked like this morning....

damn...

Oh, and, by the way, I had grape jelly on it.... I love grape jelly...
posted by HuronBob at 10:23 AM on November 6, 2008


Its 616.

Pathetic. If you don't know his number, you got next to no shot of seeing him coming.
posted by ewkpates at 10:28 AM on November 6, 2008 [6 favorites]


I love grape jelly

No match for green jelly.
posted by cashman at 10:28 AM on November 6, 2008


sjuhawk31: "...we can just all marvel at how bizarre the probabilities are."

One in a thousand
posted by Plutor at 10:30 AM on November 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


"I like how people will take any coincidence and turn it into a harbinger of things to come."

I think it's fairly obvious that you're part of THE CONSPIRACY.
posted by panboi at 10:30 AM on November 6, 2008


we can just all marvel at how bizarre the probabilities are

Doesn't seem too bizarre to me. There are 1000 combinations between 000 and 999, so 666 comes up about once every 1000 drawings, or 0.1% of the time. Add in the fact that there are two drawings a day, and that this would probably have made news if it happened the day of the election or the day before the election, and that brings the probability up to 0.6%, or around 1 in 166.6 election-lottery pairs. Nothing weird or coincidental about that.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:31 AM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Plutor: give or take...zero.

ewkpates: So Iron Maiden has been lying to me all along?
posted by sjuhawk31 at 10:32 AM on November 6, 2008


Wow, it's just like the Bible says

And lo, you will know the Anti-Christ not by his words or deeds but by a number that happens to come up a little while later. It could be in a game or on a piece of burnt toast, anywhere really. And maybe it won't happen for a few months. But it will, oh yes, it will. And that number shall be 666. Or maybe 667. Something creepy-looking for sure, though. So sayeth the Lord.

- Revelations of My Ass 5:12
posted by DU at 10:35 AM on November 6, 2008 [11 favorites]


burnmp3s: "this would probably have made news if it happened the day of the election or the day before the election"

Actually, it probably would have made the news any time from his convention speech four years ago up until the end of his time as president, which we'll call four years for the time being.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 10:35 AM on November 6, 2008


For serious, one of the first things I said after Obama gave his victory speech was that I was fucking psyched for the next four years of AntiChrist conspiracy theories. Already, I am not disappointed! This is gonna be absolutely grefnordat, the mid-nineties all over again! YAY!
posted by Greg Nog at 10:37 AM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nyak Nyak Nyak! -666- Ha Ha Ha! He He He! I Win!
posted by doctorschlock at 10:41 AM on November 6, 2008


As burnmp3s said, I didn't marvel for a second the probablilities of a random number coming up on a random day. Craptacular.
posted by beelzbubba at 10:42 AM on November 6, 2008


sjuhawk31: "Actually, it probably would have made the news any time from his convention speech four years ago up until the end of his time as president, which we'll call four years for the time being."

Which it did, three times in just the past year:
10/23/2008 Midday Pick 3 6-6-6
03/22/2008 Evening Pick 3 6-6-6
01/16/2008 Evening Pick 3 6-6-6

posted by Plutor at 10:42 AM on November 6, 2008


I once told a math teacher my theory of choosing lottery numbers in sequences, like 3,4,5,6,7,8. It doesn't increase your chance of winning, but it increases your chance of not having to share the prize money, since most people think that they are less likely to occur.

He said, "Sure, but I'd rather choose numbers that have a chance of winning."

Did I mention that he was a math teacher?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:44 AM on November 6, 2008 [6 favorites]


So now we know that Illinois will be the site of the apocalypse. I've always been wary of the Midwest.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 10:46 AM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


^^ I see the fnord
posted by autodidact at 10:46 AM on November 6, 2008


There's a very-excited Satanist lotto co-op out there!
posted by cowbellemoo at 10:46 AM on November 6, 2008


It's happened before, notably in Pennsylvania (12 times,

The Pennsylvania Lottery started in 1971. So basically, you're saying that a number that has 1000-1 odds of coming up, came up an average of once every 1,000 days or so.

Fascinating.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:55 AM on November 6, 2008


What's with all the confirmation bias that I've been seeing lately?

The answer is that you're not; it's just confirmation bias on your part.

I've always been wary of the Midwest.

You should be. We're* a crafty bunch.

born and raised midwest, despite my profile location. see? crafty!
posted by davejay at 11:03 AM on November 6, 2008


including one time as part of a scam

That is, huh. I'd never heard that story before, but it's pretty great.

As a frequent contributor to deletedthread, I welcome you.

I appreciate that you've been a decent sport about your track record, gman, but if you're going to put it on the table like this I don't think it's out line to point out here that that track record itself should give you a little pause about the idea that you've got a solid barometer for other folks' posts. Maybe not so much with the retributive in-thread zings, there.

posted by cortex at 11:03 AM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


What if all us Mefites pooled our money together and each purchased one ticket?
The winners will throw the losers a party.
posted by doctorschlock at 11:05 AM on November 6, 2008


I don't get it....if those conservative Christians think he's the antichrist, and his rise to power is prophesied by whatever, why did they vote against him? What's the point? Isn't that kind of like voting against God's plan? And isn't the rapture a good thing anyhow? Well, Christian theology was never my strong point.

But anyhow the 666 thing practically proves Obama is the antichrist...c'mon...think about it. But if that doesn't convince you, some ominous sounding anagrams for "Barack Hussein Obama" surely will:

A sharia bomb sun cake
A caesarian bomb husk
Burka shaman aces Obi
Iran amoeba hacks bus
A cabana broke his sum
Bomb aria cause shank
Rick has a nausea bomb
I husk a somber cabana
Iran babes soak a chum

Still not convinced that this man is the antichrist? Here are a couple for "President Barack Obama":

Biker mob satan parade
Obama bred satan piker

I think these obvious clues from God speak for themselves.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 11:06 AM on November 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Number 9. Number 9. Number 9. Number 9. Number 9. Number 9. Number 9. Number 9.
posted by doctorschlock at 11:07 AM on November 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


How about the daily numbers in New York, on September 11th 2002 coming up 9-1-1? Funny shit happens sometimes.
posted by dirtdirt at 11:09 AM on November 6, 2008


Maybe not so much with the retributive in-thread zings, there.

Fuck. I'd love it if someone built deletedzingers.com.
posted by gman at 11:10 AM on November 6, 2008


Y’know what proved 9/11 was a conspiracy? The NY lottery hit 911 that day.
That’s how these secret guys work. They don’t want to hide or blend in at all. They leave little clues n’stuff. Because...uh...
But, anyway, if you’re really special and really cool and a good person and observant you can see the truth.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:18 AM on November 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


But if that doesn't convince you, some ominous sounding anagrams for "Barack Hussein Obama" surely will:

Dude, you totally left off "Babushka macaronies," which reveals his cannibal urges.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:27 AM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Given that I know a funamentalist whose daughter spent Tuesday night tearing up a picture of Obama I'm going to call it sympathetic antagonistic magic.

(And don't think you can't use this! After house shopping for months I bought and set up a big, heavy table saw. Found a house within a week.)
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:35 AM on November 6, 2008


Here's a post that really tells you how to determine if Obama is the anti-christ. (The fourth one down, from jo jo.)
posted by about_time at 11:44 AM on November 6, 2008


sjuhawk, let me just say GO TEMPLE!!!!!

Also, at least you're not VanillanovaTwit62. I HATED that guy.

And, uh, this post, it makes it seem like PA had 12 instances of 666 in the daily number.

Not to mention GO TEMPLE!!!!
posted by Mister_A at 11:56 AM on November 6, 2008


Mister_A, the older MeFi post I linked to says PA has had it happen 12 times in history. Not surprising, considering that it's happened 3 times this year alone in Ill.

Also, because I'm required to say it now that you've provoked me, Temple sucks. But at least you're playing home games in your own stadium this year. I get to travel from the 'burbs to the Palestra for every home game until our new digs are finished. Joy!
posted by sjuhawk31 at 12:12 PM on November 6, 2008


The day after he's elected? Why not the day of, or the day before? These people would be cawing, really, if it had been any of those days, that would seem "statistically significant," so to speak, to them.

Illinois, eh? Why there? Why not Obama's home state of Hawaii? I don't know what the lottery is like in that state, or even if they have one, but if they do it'd be yet another opportunity for people who are looking for something ominous and scare to find it.

Why the lottery? How about Obama's past phone numbers? From every place he's ever lived in his life? I mean geez, the lottery is pretty non-specific; maybe our big bearded God-buddy is trying to tell us Richard Durbin is the nega-Jesus, or one of their 19 representatives, or the state governor? Maybe it's the guy who runs their lottery commission, wouldn't that be a more conclusive match than the guy who happens to be a senator in the same state that runs the lottery that turned up the offending digits?

And how about all the other times the Infernal Cardinal has turned up in lotteries over the years? Why aren't any of the senators from those states antipasta? What about people with social security numbers that contain the numbers? Why, if you think about it, over one in a thousand people must be a Jesus-with-a-goatee!

Every one of us is awash in a sea of numbers. If you're looking for a specific one, it'll turn up everywhere. It's only surprising to those of us for whom math is a scary, alien thing, Cthulhu with a calculator.

I should hope that every word of this was obvious to all of you, but I wrote it just in case.
posted by JHarris at 12:22 PM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


We may not agree on everything, but I think we both agree that Penn should be nuked from orbit (Penn sports teams I mean).
posted by Mister_A at 12:24 PM on November 6, 2008


To be fair, the Antichrist comparison is probably more fair than the shit Nader spewed on FOX yesterday (YT).
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:34 PM on November 6, 2008


Did Nader have a stroke or something? The left side of his face seems immobile. Also, wow what a spectacularly dumb and nakedly racist thing to say. I was rooting for the Fox guy for once!
posted by Mister_A at 12:38 PM on November 6, 2008


You midwesterners think you're so tough. I live in the Forbidden Zone!
posted by lukemeister at 12:41 PM on November 6, 2008


"...once you're crazy and know nothing about numbers, the chances of finding something psychotic and hateful in a scrabble factory explosion are hovering just around 100%"
- Penn Jillette, in an article about coincidental images in the Wingding font.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:44 PM on November 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


3,4,5,6,7,8 [...] doesn't increase your chance of winning, but it increases your chance of not having to share the prize money, since most people think that they are less likely to occur.

No, you'll just be sharing with all the wiseasses. Pick numbers that appear random and cannot represent a date. Or better yet, don't buy lottery tickets.
posted by ryanrs at 12:47 PM on November 6, 2008


weapons-grade pandemonium writes "Did I mention that he was a math teacher?"

Ah, but did you ever prove your thesis that people are less likely to pick sequential numbers for the lottery? I'd be interested in knowing if that's really true. Your story is funny, but there's a hole in your assumptions.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:47 PM on November 6, 2008


My California Drivers License number has four sixes on it, three consecutively. XX666X6X. It freaked out a couple cashiers back in the day when they made you show photo ID to use a credit card. The one time in my life I was pulled over for speeding I joked to the officer that my DL# gave me the right to Drive Like Hell. It didn't help. Conclusion: my level of personal evil is unrelated to my personal numbers. NEVER bet on 206.
posted by wendell at 12:50 PM on November 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


ryanrs: "Or better yet, don't buy lottery tickets."

Not true. The payoff of the average lottery ticket becomes greater than a dollar somewhere around $200-300M under most systems.
posted by Plutor at 12:56 PM on November 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wait ... maybe there's something to this. What were the lottery numbers in Illinois after Lincoln won?

What?

Oh, nevermind ...
posted by krinklyfig at 1:17 PM on November 6, 2008


I
Wantz 2
Bleev
posted by cashman at 1:21 PM on November 6, 2008


ryanrs: "Or better yet, don't buy lottery tickets."

Not true. The payoff of the average lottery ticket becomes greater than a dollar somewhere around $200-300M under most systems.
posted by Plutor


Plutor: That is quite surprising to me - if the expected value of such a lottery ticket exceeds the purchasing price, how does the lottery make any money?! I thought the point of state lotteries was usually to "ease the tax burden" (read: redistribute the tax burden to the statistically challenged). But your comment seems to call that into question.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 1:46 PM on November 6, 2008


Oh coincidences. How we love grasping at you, and pretending you are important.
posted by paisley henosis at 1:48 PM on November 6, 2008


Not true. The payoff of the average lottery ticket becomes greater than a dollar somewhere around $200-300M under most systems.

Except that you have to pay taxes on it, and you have to take a reduced amount if you want it in a lump sum. Add in the average number of winners for any single set of numbers, and even historically huge payoffs in major lotteries are negative value bets. See this analysis for an in-depth example.

Even if the government decided to sell positive expected value lottery tickets, expected value kind of breaks down once you start talking about odds that long. If you could buy a $1000 lottery ticket that had a one in a trillion chance of paying off five quadrillion dollars, it would technically be a smart bet based on the numbers, but in practical terms losing that much money 99.999999999...% of the time is a big enough penalty that it's not worth it.

if the expected value of such a lottery ticket exceeds the purchasing price, how does the lottery make any money

It only gets that high when they don't pay out the main jackpot for a long time. For any given drawing, there's a decent chance that they won't sell a jackpot-winning ticket, or that they'll sell a winning ticket and the person who bought it won't collect the prize. So instead of pocketing all of the money that they make from selling a ton of tickets and not paying anything out, they tack it onto the next payout, which drives up ticket sales. Once all of the payouts and non-payouts are averaged out with the ticket sales, the lottery operators always come out ahead.

Casinos have special slot machines called progressive slots that do the same thing, they payout less than a normal slot machine most of the time, but they add those small non-payouts together to eventually add up to a huge jackpot of millions of dollars.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:02 PM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Interesting - thanks burnmp3s. That "progressive slots" scheme seems particularly psychologically devious because it appears to confirm the gambler's fallacy since in that case the expected value does in fact increase with repeated losses (just not because you're "due for a win", but because the jackpot is increasing).
posted by Salvor Hardin at 2:24 PM on November 6, 2008


Meh. My father always told me that the lottery was a tax on people who are bad at math.

Higher education has a lower pay-out, but you're almost guaranteed to win.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:25 PM on November 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


America played the Pick 1 the other night and won a hell of a lot more than any lottery can offer.
posted by gman at 3:14 PM on November 6, 2008


Let me guess, you've never heard of Free Republic before.

...

@Plutor: I have, but I'm still living in that couple-day buffer when all you can think is "Hey, democracy's pretty cool."


I've never really read it, but it seems like Free Republic is the inevitable result of democracy.

** Important to anyone who buys lottery tickets ever: Read burnmp3s comment and link. If you're looking to gamble, there are much better ways than feeding a corrupt and deceptive government-sponsored scam. Casinos pay semi-fair odds and OTB gambling (parimutuel -19%) is still better odds than the freaking lottery.

Save the $1-10/week or however much you spend on lottery tickets, put it in a jar, and put it all on Pass whenever you're in a local with legal gambling. Or put it all on the filly in the 9th. Or anything but lottery tickets.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:24 PM on November 6, 2008


OMG...when I looked at this thread, it had...66 replies! That's one six away from...666!!!!

Wait...now it has 67.

Nevermind.
posted by zbaco at 5:21 PM on November 6, 2008


I just have to mention that the Illinois Lottery has the hottest and most stoned spokeswoman ever, Linda Kohlmeyer, and I would have given anything to have seen her face when that came up, but unfortunately I was on my way to the Chicago Meetup (although I didn't make it there) when they drew that number last night.
posted by nax at 5:27 PM on November 6, 2008


burnmp3s: "Except that you have to pay taxes on it, and you have to take a reduced amount if you want it in a lump sum. Add in the average number of winners for any single set of numbers, and even historically huge payoffs in major lotteries are negative value bets. See this analysis for an in-depth example."

I was basing my statement off of my own analysis of the Powerball odds, which did include tax and lump-sum tradeoffs, but sorta-consciously didn't take into account sharing prizes. ("That's too hard, I'll ignore it.")
posted by Plutor at 5:30 AM on November 7, 2008


Your analysis assumes $100,000,000 is a hundred million times better than $1. But that's only true if you're a billionaire. For the rest of us, the marginal value of the losing dollar is much, much higher than the last dollar of the winnings. This effect comes into play because of the long odds.
posted by ryanrs at 12:02 AM on November 8, 2008


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