Count to five: Bizarre Lotto draw drives winnings down

Any combination of numbers is as likely as any other, but try telling that to winners of Wednesday night's Lotto draw.

The numbers one, two, three, four and five were all drawn. One was the bonus number, while two, three, four and five made up the bulk of the main six.

The peculiar set created an extremely odd distortion in the prize packs - the 1985 Division 4 winners received only $17 each, while the 8916 Division 5 winners pocketed almost twice that - $32.

Even Division 6 winners, who won $19, were better off.

Division 4 goes to players with four numbers plus the bonus ball, while Division 5 goes to those without the bonus ball. Division 6 winners only need three numbers, plus the bonus ball.

On a typical week, there are between 500 and 1000 Division 4 winners, who each usually take home about $60 each, and tens of thousands of Division 5 and 6 winners.

"Around three times as many people won Division 4 for both Lotto and Powerball than we usually see on a Wednesday," Lotto spokeswoman Kirsten Robinson told Newshub.

The explanation? Players willing to go with two, three, four and five, are also very likely to have the number one in their Lotto line-up.

Around 2000 people play the numbers one, two, three, four, five and six every draw, according to past reports. On Wednesday, those players not only got four numbers in the main draw, but the bonus ball - one - bumped them up from Division 5 to Division 4.

"We don’t have figures on how many people regularly play the numbers one, two, three, four, five and six, however last night’s draw would indicate that quite a few do," said Ms Robinson.

"It is rare for a Division 5 prize to be higher than a Division 4 prize but on occasion, depending on the numbers drawn, more people may have those winning numbers than usual - it really is the luck of the draw."

The chance of a straight flush of one to six (in any order) is one in 3.8 million - the same as any other combination.

Curiously, both four and five are amongst the least-drawn numbers in Lotto's history.