Walkabout Joker Draw Odds for Friday, April 13, 2012

The Walkabout Joker Draw is now in Week 47. Friday night’s jackpot will be a gargantuan $12,000. There are now just seven face down cards remaining. One of those seven cards is the jackpot-winning Joker.

Let’s talk about this $12,000 jackpot for a minute. I don’t like it. Three weeks ago, the jackpot was exactly $10,000. Now it’s an even $12,000. I’m suspicious.

Maybe it’s pure coincidence that the jackpot has landed on a nice round number, divisible by a thousand, twice within three weeks. That’s hard to believe. Instead, it seems that the Walkabout isn’t following its own rules of adding exactly half of the prior week’s ticket sales to the next week’s jackpot. The bar appears to be rounding up (or rounding down) from time to time to get round jackpot numbers.

Hopefully, they are only rounding jackpots up, and not rounding them down. Regardless, it makes it difficult to predict the ticket sales from week to week (and thus difficult to calculate your odds of winning) when you don’t know exactly how many tickets were sold the week before.

The current $12,000 jackpot is $703 more than last week’s $11,297 jackpot. That would mean that the bar sold 1,406 tickets last week, after selling 1,318 tickets the week before. Of course, it’s certainly possible that the bar actually sold somewhat less than 1,406 tickets last week, and they just “rounded” the jackpot up to $12,000.

In any event, given the eye-popping jackpots now on offer and the dwindling number of cards remaining, I expect that Joker Draw ticket sales will steadily increase each week until someone wins. So I’m going to estimate that the bar sells 1,550 tickets this Friday night.

With 1,550 tickets in the drum and just seven face down cards remaining on the board, your odds of winning the jackpot with a single ticket will be 1 in 10,850. Your $1 ticket will give you about a 1 in 10,850 chance at winning $12,000. That’s a very good deal.

Because the $12,000 jackpot will be greater than the approximately 1 in 10,850 odds of winning, this creates a rare positive wagering opportunity for the player. 12,000/10,850 = 1.106. The player also has a 1 in 10,850 chance at turning over an Ace worth $800. 800/10,850 = .074. When you add 1.106 to .074, you get an expected return of $1.18. Each $1 ticket purchased Friday night will actually be worth about $1.18 as soon as it is placed in the drum.

Should you play the Joker Draw Friday night? Yes. Should you blow all of your rent money on Joker Draw tickets? No, not this week. If you were to buy 300 tickets, then there would be about 1,850 tickets in the drum, and you would have a 2.3% chance of winning the $12,000 jackpot. That chance is worth $278. So by plunking down $300 on tickets, you would ruin the positive expected return for yourself and all the other players. Don’t be that guy.

But is it possible for a big spender to generate a return of evenbetter than 18% at the Walkabout Friday night? Yes. Just wait for someone’s number to be called, then offer that person $1,500 in cash for his or her ticket. That ticket will give the holder a 1/7 x $12,000 = $1,714.29 chance at the jackpot and a 1/7 x $800 = $114.29 chance at winning the moto. So the ticket will be worth $1,828.59. If you can buy that ticket for $1,500 from the impoverished hooker or English teacher whose number is called, you will realize an immediate 22% return on your investment.

Good luck!


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