Your pick or Quick Pick

Find out everything you need to know about picking your lottery numbers vs Quick Pick.

Your pick or Quick Pick

Mega Millions and Powerball are the most popular lotteries in the United States. Both require players to pick five numbers and an additional bonus number.

The aim, as every player knows, is to guess which numbers will be drawn. The more numbers players guess correctly, the higher the prize will be.

There are two ways you can opt to fill out a lottery ticket. One is to personally pick each number. The other is to use the Quick Pick option and let a computer randomly choose the numbers for you.

Many lottery players have a misconception that the odds of winning Powerball or Mega Millions lotteries depend on whether you select your numbers or opt for a Quick Pick. However, this is not the case. Your odds of winning are exactly the same in both cases. That doesn't mean that each option doesn't have its pros and cons, so let's take a look at them.

The pros and cons of picking your numbers

You may be surprised to know that fewer people choose their numbers than use Quick Pick. But what are the benefits of picking your lottery numbers?


  • Being in control: When you pick your numbers, you get to call all the shots. You can pick a specific pattern, choose your family's birthdays, or the numbers of your previous homes. You can even look at the statistics from previous drawings and use those to inform your choices.
  • Rapid Results: If you're accustomed to selecting the same numbers every drawing, then picking your numbers can make it quicker to check to see if you're a winner. You're probably so used to those numbers by now that you remember them by heart, so you'll know as soon as you see the balls pop up if you're getting a prize.
  • Skip the common numbers: Some numbers are played more often than others. For example, in Powerball, the most popular numbers are 21, 32, 36, 61, and 63. The most popular Powerball number is 18. Some players prefer to play numbers that are drawn less often to reduce their chance of having to split the jackpot if they win.
  • Maximum flexibility: Selecting your numbers gives you more flexibility when it comes to entering into multiple draws. You can, if you choose, buy your lottery tickets several weeks in advance, either using the same numbers or picking different numbers each time.


  • Risk of Error: Perhaps the biggest disadvantage to picking your numbers is making a mistake when you're filling in your play sheet. Once your lottery ticket has been printed, there can be no refund, so you must be careful to fill in the correct numbers.
  • Longer to purchase: If you're selecting your numbers, it's going to take you longer to fill in and purchase your tickets, and you may have to wait in line if it's a busy time of day.

The pros and cons of Quick Pick

Around 70-80 percent of lottery players use the Quick Pick method. It's easy to see why it's the more common method of obtaining lottery numbers:


  • More convenient: If you're in a hurry and you don't have time to wait around, Quick Pick is speedy and convenient. This is particularly the case when a lottery jackpot reaches a record amount, and more people are rushing to buy tickets. With Quick Pick, there's no need to wait in line for a play sheet; you can just walk up to the cashier, opt for Quick Pick, and pay.
  • Totally randomized: Just like the winning numbers, Quick Pick numbers are chosen completely randomly. It's possible that this could slightly reduce your risk of having to split a jackpot with other players because it will tend to avoid commonly picked numbers or series.
  • Easier to miss a game: Many people who pick their own personal numbers play the lottery every week. There's always that nagging fear in the back of their mind that the one week they don't play, their numbers will come up. However, if you choose the Quick Pick option, you'll have a different set of numbers every time, so it won't matter if you choose to take a week off or forget to purchase a ticket.


  • No turning back: Just like when you pick your numbers, you can't get a refund once your ticket has been printed. You may not like the numbers you've been given. For example, you could get a Quick Pick with the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, with a bonus ball of 6. But you can't get a redo, even for numbers that you think are most likely to lose.
  • Checking takes longer: You're unlikely to remember a series of randomly generated numbers. So, if you choose a Quick Pick option, you will most likely need your ticket on hand to check to see if you've won. This can take longer than if you'd memorized the numbers, particularly if you don't have your ticket with you.

Tips for choosing lottery numbers

If you've decided to choose your lottery numbers, here are some tips for doing so:

  • Study the stats: For this method, you will need to examine previous draws, particularly the numbers that get drawn most frequently. Although every number has the same chance of being drawn, some numbers seem to get drawn more than others. Examples of hot Mega Millions numbers are 3, 10, 29, 42, and 61.
  • Use Numerology: If you believe in tapping into the power of the universe to manifest your lottery win, numerology may be the method you need. You can calculate your numerology numbers, for example, by adding up the numbers in the day, month, and year that you were born. This will give you a two-digit number that represents your life path. You can calculate another numerological number by summing up the numerical value of the letters in your name.
  • Pick your lucky numbers: Just about everyone has some lucky numbers. You may like 16 because it's your birthday, or 29. After all, it's the date of your wedding anniversary. Alternatively, you may feel a number is significant to you for no apparent reason. Using numerology to pick your lucky numbers is a good way.
  • Make a pattern: If you're struggling to come up with a set of numbers, you could try the pattern method. This involves picking numbers that form a certain pattern or shape on the play sheet. For example, you could make a triangle, circle, or s-shape with your picked numbers. You could even try for the shape of your initial.

What are your odds of winning the lottery?

Your odds of winning the lottery are slim. You're more likely to be struck by lightning twice. But that doesn't mean it's not fun to try. And someone has to win, right? Here are your odds of winning Mega Millions or Powerball:

Mega Millions prizes and odds

Prize Odds
Jackpot 1 in 292,201,338
$1,000,000 1 in 12,607,306
$10,000 1 in 931,001
$500 1 in 38,792
$200 1 in 14,547
$10 1 in 606 or 1 in 693
$20 1 in 701.33
$4 1 in 89
$2 1 in 37

Powerball prizes and odds

Prize Odds
Jackpot 1 in 292,201,338
$1,000,000 1 in 11,688,053.52
$50,000 1 in 913,129.18
$100 1 in 36,525.17
$100 1 in 14,494.11
$7 1 in 579.76
$7 1 in 701.33
$4 1 in 91.98
$4 1 in 38.32

Whether you pick your numbers, Quick Pick, or a combination of both, play responsibly and enjoy the lottery.