WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - What if I told you about a lottery that actually has better odds than Powerball. Would you play?
9 News Videojournalist James Hash decided to put nine numbered ping-pong balls into a canister, and call it "9-Ball." The odds of picking your number is 1 in 9. Those are pretty advantageous odds when you compare it to the odds of winning the entire Powerball: 1 in 175 million. If you match just one number in Powerball, the odds are 1 in more than 55. So far, 9-Ball has both beat.
We took our invention to the Tenley Market in Tenleytown where people were waiting to buy their $2 Powerball tickets. We wanted to see if better odds could sway a person. Four people took us up on our lottery game. We matched our payout with that of one matching Powerball number: $4.
Nima Aghdam of NW D.C. was our first player. "It's not a bad deal, I'll play." Aghdam picked 7, then reached into the canister and selected a ball with the number "3' written on it. His reaction: "What a bummer!" Aghdam says he's playing the Powerball not necessarily because he thinks he'll win, but for another reason. "So my dad always plays lottery and I feel this is a way for us to connect,"he said.
So far, 3 takers and all 3 lost. Still, so many people lined up to make the ultimate bet. We asked Thomas Seneca, Managing Partner of TM Wealth Management in Reston, Virginia, why? He says it comes down to one thing, hope."If you look at it from the emotional side, and the entertainment side, and the hope you derive from being able to think 'what would I do with $500 million dollars, what would I buy, how would my life change positively with that money,' then it's better than a $12 movie ticket that only lasts 2 hours, and you're going to have this hope from the point you buy the ticket to the moment you're declared the loser,"he said.
We met Rachel Epstein of Tenleytown while she was buying $10 worth of Powerball tickets at Tenley Market and asked her to play "9-Ball." She picked the number two, and moments later was our first winner! To be clear, we accepted people at their word when they said they would in theory pay $2 to play "9-Ball," but never took anyone's money. Epstein says she knew the odds of winning the whole Powerball, but wanted to play anyway.
We asked Nima Aghdam if he knew and he said, "Yes, very unlikely I was going to win, but we fight against odds all the time ."
He has a point.