It’s an undeniable fact that winning the lottery is incredibly hard. Your odds of winning, say, the US Powerball jackpot is 1 in 292,201,338, for instance. Heck, being killed by a vending machine—with odds of 1 in 112,000,000—is more likely than winning the Powerball, Mega Millions or Euromillions jackpots! It’s not very comforting, is it? Don’t give up just yet because compared to the things I list down in this article, winning the lottery will look like a walk in the park!
If you ever wanted to impress the ladies with fancy card tricks, don’t try reshuffling cards into a perfect sequential order. That is, the cards must ascend from 2 to Ace, and each suit is in the correct order (spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs). The odds of you trying that and succeeding? 1 in duovigintillion—or 1 in 1069. If you really want to impress a lady, just join a lottery and buy her something nice if you win. Your odds of winning the jackpot is a lot better, in comparison.
Several years ago, billionaire Warren Buffett offered up a challenge die-hard sports fans couldn’t refuse: fill up a perfect March Madness bracket and win $1 billion. Little did many people know that it was a futile exercise. That is, no one even came close to winning the challenge. Mr. Buffett made a pretty safe wager, since succeeding his challenge meant that one would have to beat the 1 in 9.2 quintillion odds.
Good news to doomsday preppers! Statistics say that you’re much more likely to win the jackpots of the biggest lotteries (like SuperEnalotto, Powerball and Mega Millions) than a meteor plummeting to Earth and destroying your house. In fact, the odds of such a terrifying event occurring is an astronomical 1 in 182,138,880,000,000!
Nadya Suleman, aka Octomom, and her octuplets.
Couples have a 1 in 80 chance of giving birth to twins. The odds aren’t bad, and it happens more often than, say, someone winning the Mega Millions jackpot. Meanwhile, your chances of getting triplets are 1 in 6,400, quadruplets 1 in 512,00, and quintuplets 1 in 40,960,000. But what about giving birth to octuplets? That’s an entirely different ballgame. Your chance of being the next octomom is 1 in 20,971,520,000,000. Quite fittingly, there have only been 8 recorded cases of octuplet births since the first confirmed octuplet birth in 1967.
On a given day, the odds of you catching a foul ball during an MLB game are 1 in 1,000. Not so bad, right? It’s more likely to happen than winning the Powerball jackpot. Heck, maybe you can even get it signed by a pro and sell it for a decent sum!
Greg Van Niel’s one-in-a-trillion feat.
Catching foul balls 4 times in a single game, though? The odds are heavily against you. In fact, your chances are 1 in 1 trillion. Interestingly, one Cleveland Indians fan, Greg Van Niel, was able to beat those astronomical odds. During a Cleveland Indians vs. Kansas City Royals game, Greg actually achieved the one-in-a-trillion feat by catching four foul balls!
If you play Texas Hold’Em, you know that getting a highly coveted royal flush isn’t easy—but it’s quite possible. In fact, many players, both amateur and professional, have won because they drew a royal flush. It’s quite a rare occurrence though. Still, it’s much more likely to happen than you bagging the lottery jackpot.
What’s less likely to happen is you getting several royal flushes in a row. The odds you’re facing? 1 in 957,000,000. In comparison, besting the incredibly long odds of the SuperEnalotto jackpot is a walk in the park.
In 2011, a Harvard blog talked about Dr. Ali Binazir’s attempt to calculate the probability of our existence—that is, the odds of you being born. He took into account several factors:
He also went as far back as the beginning of human history to see how events in the past could have lined up and lead to your existence. He explained that one instance of divergence—however slight—would have produced an entirely different result. That is, you wouldn’t be you if a different sperm had made it instead of the one that resulted in your birth.
So, what were his findings? Dr. Ali Binazir concluded that the odds of existing is a ridiculously astronomical 1 in 102,685,000. Okay, so it’s a bit of a stretch to say that existing is far less likely to happen than winning the lottery—since, well, you’re reading this now. But think about it: being alive this very moment means that you’ve already beaten the hardest lottery there is! What’s winning the US Powerball, right?
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