Ultimate Pick 3 Strategy Guide

By Nick Christensen
Last Updated: June 16, 2020

Pick 3, also referred to as Cash 3, Play 3, or Daily 3 in some states, is a popular lottery game for obvious reasons.

It’s easy to play, the odds of winning are much better and you get instant gratification (aka hard cash) when you win.

While the odds are better when compared to Powerball or Mega Millions, they are still 1 in 1000. So using a solid Pick 3 strategy will help you identify number patterns that are winning for your state can help better your odds of winning.

There are a number of proven Pick 3 strategies out there and we have curated a list of ones and ordered them from easy to hard. So, read on.

What is a Pick 3 Strategy?

Pick 3 strategy involves the application of simple math on the past winning numbers to help identify recurring patterns.

These patterns help reduce the pool of numbers you pick from thereby increasing your odds of winning.

Pick 3 Strategy Basic Concepts

It's important to understand the common terms and concepts before you dig into the different strategies.

If this is all too much to grasp, you are not alone. That is why the easiest strategy is to leverage simple Pick 3 software to abstract some of the complicated and tedious calculations.

  • Hot Numbers are the numbers that were drawn the most times in the past several draws.
  • Cold Numbers are the numbers that have not been drawn in past several draws.
  • You can easily get current hot/cold numbers from LotteryCritic's lottery results page for your state's lottery. It's free!
  • Backtracking is the process of using recent drawings to identify which particular strategy is working the best for your state at the time. So for example, you take drawings from a week back and apply the different strategies and check which strategy resulted in the most winning numbers for the entire week.
  • Mirror Numbers also known as sister numbers is the number you get by adding 5 to a number. So, the mirror number for 1 is 6, 3 is 8, etc. You can use the following chart for quick reference.

    1 2 3 4 5
    – – – – –   ← Mirror
    6 7 8 9 0

  • Lottery Math is the same as regular math but with a small caveat. You do not carry over or borrow as you would in regular math, which means 10 + 2 is not 12. It is 2 as you did not carry over the 1.
    Lottery Math Examples
    4+5=9 ← same as regular math
    4+6=0 ← instead of 10
    4+7=1 ← instead of 11
    9-7=2 ← same as regular math
    6-6=0 ← same as regular math
    5-7=8 ← same as 15-7
    1-9=2 ← same as 11-9
  • Date Sum is the sum of the month and date using lottery math. You ignore the year.
    Date Sum Examples

    For draw date of 12/22/2019 :
    12+22=34 ← 4 instead of 34 (lottery math).

    For draw date of 5/18/2020 :
    Date Sum = 5+18=3 ← 3 instead of 23 (lottery math).

  • Pick 3 Sum is the sum of all the draw numbers using regular math.
    Draw Numbers 3 1 5 = 3+1+5=9
    Draw Numbers 6 4 8 = 6+4+8=18
    Draw Numbers 0 9 6 = 0+9+6=15
  • Root Sum is similar to Pick 3 Sum except that if the sum is more than 2 digits you add the individual digits together.
    Draw Numbers 3 1 5 = 3+1+5=9
    Draw Numbers 6 4 8 = 6+4+8=18 =>1+8=9 ← Root Sum
    Draw Numbers 0 9 6 = 0+9+6=15 =>1+5=6 ← Root Sum
  • Hit Sum also known as Draw Sum or Base Sum, is the sum of draw numbers but using lottery math.
    Draw Numbers 3 1 5 = 3+1+5=9
    Draw Numbers 6 4 8 = 6+4+8=18
    Draw Numbers 0 9 6 = 0+9+6=15

Popular Pick 3 Strategies

Strategy #1: Use Technology to Your Advantage

We all know computers can crunch large numbers and identify patterns better than humans can. And as a result, computers and technology have penetrated all aspects of our daily lives.

Yet, a lot of people don’t leverage the power of computing to help them pick lottery numbers. They falsely believe that all software tools are either expensive or hard to use.

In some cases they are right. But we looked through various software options available for the Pick 3 game and found one we think is the best.

Pick3Sniper

Pick3Sniper uses advanced statistical analysis on draw history and narrows the pool of numbers you pick from which makes picking numbers easier by about 600%!

It does not claim to predict the numbers for the next drawing (like some falsely do) but instead shrinks the pool of numbers to pick from 10 to just 6, and this as you can understand increases your chances of winning meaningfully.

Pick3Sniper Dashboard
Pick3Sniper Dashboard

The main reasons why we picked this software tool over others are –

  • Ease of Use – You don’t have to download any software, apply updates regularly. Nothing. It is entirely online. All you do is use your login credentials to access the tool.
  • Accessibility – Given Pick3Sniper is entirely online you can access it from anywhere and any device – laptop, mobile, or tablet. At 7/11 to pick up coffee and feel like buying Pick 3 tickets? No worries – you can use the software from your mobile right there.
  • Cost – There’s software in the market selling for hundreds of dollars and not necessarily any better than Pick3Sniper which is just $37 for full-year access. That comes to about $3 per month or that cup of coffee from 7/11.
  • Support – The software comes with a detailed, well-written user manual that outlines how to use the software and the steps you need to take. You also have access to a highly-responsive and friendly support team via email.

Visit Pick3Sniper to find out more.

If you want to evaluate other software options check out our guide on the best lottery prediction software.

Strategy #2: 111 or +1 Rundown

This is one of the simplest strategies and best for beginners to get their feet wet with Pick 3 strategies. Follow these steps for the 111 or +1 rundown.

  1. Write down your state's winning numbers on a piece of paper
  2. Add 1's to each number and add the result in a new row
    Using Arizona Pick 3‘s draw from June 11th, 2020
    2 3 6 ← AZ Pick 3 06/11/20
    – – –
    3 4 7 ← Add 1's to each number
  3. Repeat step #2 until the resulting number matches the original draw number.
    Continuing with the above example:
    2 3 6 ← AZ Pick 3 06/11/20
    – – –
    3 4 7 ← Add 1's to each number
    4 5 8 ← Repeat the step
    5 6 9
    6 7 0 ← Lottery Math 9+1=0
    7 8 1
    8 9 2
    9 0 3 ← Lottery Math 9+1=0
    0 1 4 ← Lottery Math 9+1=0
    1 2 5
    2 3 6 ← Same as draw numbers
  4. You can play any of the numbers between 1st and last row: 347, 458, 569, 670, 781, 892, 903, 014, 125
  5. Alternatively (recommended), you can pick a pair that has the maximum hot or cold numbers in the pair.

    Hot numbers for Arizona Pick 3: 6, 2 and 5

    You can go with the pair 5-6-9 and stick to it for a week

Again, it's important to backtrack and check if this strategy is working in your state and if so is it working with hot or cold numbers.

Strategy #3: 317 Rundown

This is another good yet simple strategy that's great for newbies. Follow these steps for 317 rundown.

  1. Add 317 on a piece of paper.
  2. Below it, write down the Pick 3 winning numbers for your state.
  3. Now add the two rows using lottery math
    Using California's Daily 3 MidDay draw from June 11th, 2020
    3 1 7
    – – –
    9 0 7 ← CA Pick 3 MidDay 06/11
    2 1 4
  4. Keep adding last row to the first row (317) till the numbers are same as the draw
    Continuing with the above example:
    3 1 7
    – – –
    9 0 7 ← CA Pick 3 MidDay 06/11
    2 1 4
    5 2 1
    8 3 8
    1 4 5
    4 5 2
    7 6 9
    0 7 6
    3 8 3
    6 9 0
    9 0 7 ← Same as draw numbers
  5. Now that you have the rundown, calculate the date sum as explained in the basic concepts section above.
    Date Sum for 06-11 is 06+11=7, not 17 using lottery math
  6. Highlight all the date sum numbers, 7 in our case, on the rundown
    Using the rundown from above:
    3 1 7
    – – –
    9 0 7 ← CA Pick 3 MidDay 06/11
    2 1 4
    5 2 1
    8 3 8
    1 4 5
    4 5 2
    7 6 9
    0 7 6
    3 8 3
    6 9 0
    9 0 7 ← Same as draw numbers
  7. You can now pick numbers that are adjacent to the date sum and use those pairs.
    Pulling out pairs next to 7 from rundown above:
    4 5 2
    7 6 9
    0 7 6
    3 8 3

    So, some of the pairs to play with would be 0 7 6, 3 7 0, 3 7 6, 6 7 0.

  8. UPDATE: The draw for CA Pick 3 MidDay for 06/12 was 3-7-0, one of the numbers in the pair above. It seems 3-1-7 Rundown is working for California Pick3 MidDay for now.

Strategy #4: 123 Rundown

123 Rundown is very similar to the 317 Rundown. But in this case, instead of adding 317 to the draw numbers, you add 123.

The rest of the steps remain the same. You keep adding 123 using lottery math till you get the draw numbers again.

After this, you can either use hot/cold numbers or date sum to find pairs you can play during the week.

As always you should backtrack using your state's drawings to check if the strategy is working well in your state.

Strategy #5: 238 Rundown

A simple strategy like the 111 or +1 Rundown. Simple yet highly effective when it's working for your state.

All you do is subtract 238 from the draw number and use that pair to play the box strategy. A quick example using the CA draw numbers from 317 Rundown above.

Using California's Daily 3 MidDay draw from June 11th, 2020
9 0 7 ← CA Pick 3 MidDay 06/11
2 3 8 ← Subtract each column
– – –
7 7 1 ← Result using lottery math

You can play 7-7-1 box for a few days. Again, it's recommended to backtrack and make sure the strategy is working for your state first.

Strategy #6: Tic Tac Toe using mirror numbers

An advanced and popular strategy that requires arranging numbers in a tic-tac-toe style 3×3 grid.

  1. On a piece of paper note down the last 3 draws for your state
  2. For each number in the pairs, write the mirror number using the chart above
    Using Washington Daily‘s 3 consecutive draws
    06/08/20 Draw → 4 3 0
    06/07/20 Draw → 4 3 7
    06/06/20 Draw → 3 6 4
    Mirror Numbers
    4 3 0 → 9 8 5
    4 3 7 → 9 8 2
    3 6 4 → 8 1 9
    Mirror Number Chart for reference

    1 2 3 4 5
    – – – – –   ← Mirror
    6 7 8 9 0

  3. Fill out a tic-tac-toe grid with the mirror numbers with the most recent results on the top. Using the mirror numbers above, your grid will look like this:
    985
    982
    819

     

  4. The diagonal, horizontal and vertical number combinations give you the number pairs to play with during the week
    From the grid above, you have:
    Diagonal #s: 9-8-9, 8-8-5
    Horizontal #s: 9-9-8, 8-8-1, 5-2-9
    Vertical #s: 9-8-5, 9-8-2, 8-1-9
  5. You can either use the numbers above or you can apply hot numbers if you want to help further narrow it down
  6. We also recommend combining this strategy with others like 317 Rundown and use the common set of numbers

Strategy #7: +1 -1 Rundown

Don't confuse this strategy to the 111 or +1 Rundown. They are similar in that you add +1 to the winning draw. But that's where the similarities end! We explain this Pick 3 strategy in detail below:

  1. On a piece of paper note down the last draw for your state
  2. Do a +1 Rundown using lottery math. Do this 4 times (instead of running down till the number matches the draw)
  3. Now do a -1 Rundown using lottery math. Again, repeat this step just 4 times
    To demonstrate, let's take Kansas Pick 3 results from June 7th Evening draw: 5-6-5
    +1 Rundown
    5 6 5
    6 7 6
    7 8 7
    8 9 8
    9 0 9
    Now, the -1 Rundown
    5 6 5
    4 5 4
    3 4 3
    2 3 2
    1 2 1
  4. Next, you take the draw number and the last rows of both the +1 & -1 rundowns and stack them in that order
    5 6 5 ← Winning Draw
    9 0 9 ← 4th row of +1 rundown
    1 2 1 ← 4th row of -1 rundown
  5. You can play numbers in this stack especially if they include hot or cold overdue numbers
  6. Alternatively, you can create another stack by adding 5 to each number in the 1st stack. This gives you another stack of numbers to play with
    5 6 5 ← 1st in the stack above
    5 5 5 ← Add 5's using lottery math
    0 1 0
    9 0 9 ← 2nd in the stack above
    5 5 5 ← Add 5's using lottery math
    4 5 4
    1 2 1 ← 3rd in the stack above
    5 5 5 ← Add 5's using lottery math
    6 7 6
    Your 2 stacks to play with
    5 6 50 1 0
    9 0 94 5 4
    1 2 16 7 6

Other Strategies

We have covered the following strategies on our generic lottery strategies page as they are fairly basic.
  • 1 Number Guaranteed
  • Positional Tracking
  • Frequency Analysis
But there are many more and we plan to cover them here in the future.
  • Alphabet Pyramids
  • Last 2 of the Month
  • 123 Rundown
  • Even Odd Pairs
  • Missing Numbers
  • Doubles Doubles
  • ….the list goes on

Key Points to Remember

  • It's important to backtrack and identify which strategy is working best for your state for the month or week.
  • If you find more than one strategy is working well for your state – that's great. Use the numbers that are common from both rundowns as the pool to pick from.
  • What's working one month may change the next. So, get into a habit of backtracking at the end of each month (or preferably each week) and identify the shifts.
  • Feel free to improvise. The key is to find patterns that are working in your state – so if hot numbers didn't match, try cold numbers, mirrors, etc. It's OK to adapt.
  • If you find that none of the above strategies are working in your state, reach out to us. There are several improvisations we have made to these strategies over the years and we are happy to share them with you!

Can I Win Pick 3 Every Day?

No, you will not win Pick 3 every day even if you use these strategies or any strategy for that matter. The lottery is a game of chance. PERIOD.

What these strategies will do is help reduce the pool of numbers you have to choose from by applying various techniques. This helps improve your odds but wins are never guaranteed.

We recommend you stay away from people and companies that claim to have strategies you can use to win pick 3 every day!

The Best Pick 3 Strategy

Given how tedious the process of backtracking is and the fact that you have to backtrack every week, in our opinion leveraging software like Pick3Sniper is the best Pick3 Strategy.

It's not free but nor is your time. You have to decide if the time spent on backtracking is worth $3 you spend on the Pick3Sniper software every month.

If you decide to go the manual route – and some people do as it's more rewarding – feel free to drop us a note if you need hot/cold numbers or want us to run the backtracking analysis for you. Just let us know which state you play in, your name.

All the best playing!