Feeling Lucky Punk?

So how many competitions do you need to enter to win something? That is the question that I asked myself in late 2017.

TL;DR;
563 is the answer with seven yet to close.

Everyone wants to be feel lucky in some way or another which is why so many do the lottery, play poker or, back in the day, the pools. I’m no different although none of the above have ever really appealed to me. Winning an all expenses paid holiday to somewhere warm and sunny, however, would be just the ticket.

So with that thought in mind at the end of 2017 I decided to run an experiment to see whether I could win that dream ticket by entering public competitions. I wanted to know just how many I had to enter before I won something.

The rules were simple. I would just enter at least one competition a day and given I am time poor one that just needed me to fill in a form and, at most, answer a simple question. I would also only be entering competitions that I had an interest in winning, so holidays, books, music and technology mainly.

Turns out that you don’t have to spend your time searching for these types of competitions, there are places that list them. The problem with this is that plenty of people know about their existence and so many more people enter reducing my chances of winning.

Me being me I kept a spreadsheet to track my entries, the closing date and those all important win stats. The spreadsheet is embedded below should you wish to audit my efforts.

In 2018 I managed to enter 563 competitions and at the time of writing all have closed bar seven. And the total competitions won? One! So the chance of me winning a competition a year is 1:563.

But what did I win? Well I won a pair of tickets to see the parody musical Hamilton (Lewis). While this is very good (I’ve now seen it twice and laughed both times) it is very much “off West End. In fact it is almost but not quite “off” London. So it is not a major musical and I’m sorry to say not that well known or sought after. And that’s the point. I won because the number of people that entered was very, very small and so my chances were muc, much higher.

I have to say that I don’t consider 1:563 to be a very good return on my investment and so it looks like I’ll have to continue paying for my holidays!