Sunday, July 03, 2016

Fano Plane Transylvania Lottery And Trifectas

Jordan Ellenberg, in his excellent book "How Not To Be Wrong: The Hidden Maths Of Everyday Life", relates how he derived a mathematical model probably used by an MIT team ("Random Strategies") to successfully master the Massachusetts State Lottery ("Cash Winfall") from 2005-2012 winning an estimated $3.5 million. He illustrates the approach using a Fano Plane to master a variant of the Transylvania Lottery. Using the following seven triads (123, 145, 167, 247, 256, 346, 357), he outlines how it is possible to always guarantee a winning outcome from each draw.
From a handicapping perspective, it would be interesting to check for a subset of seven runner races for which these particular (or equivalent) bet combinations would prove to be a successful trifecta strategy. At the very least, you would have bragging rights for always getting at least two selections correct on one or more tickets!
More generally, the field of Combinatorial Design may hold additional insights for other exotic bets.