Theory 6 – golden formula

September 10, 2009

There is a formula to work it out and there is a formula to crack the numbers. All systems can be broken if you work on them enough. A year would be about the right time to do this. Why else would he say he will “show us” on Friday?



  1. I think it’s this one – there’s no way he’d use camera trickery – that’s not his style. Some sort of formula using a process of elimination…I can’t figure out the finer points but that has to be it.

    It can’t be some magic trick we can all do easily or it’d ruin the point of the lottery and I don’t think camelot would let it go ahead or if it was something easy to reproduce he wouldn’t reveal what the secret was and leave it as a mystery. It has to be something that involved thousands and thousands of hours preparation – like the horse racing. Or when he flipped a coin and got 10 heads in a row.

  2. Absolutely impossible. In an event like a lottery draw, each draw of the numbers is independent of the last and every previous one. You can study previous draws as much as you like, the probability of any one set of numbers you pick before the draw being the ones that come up is 14 million to one.

    It’s like tossing a coin. You can get ten heads in a row, or fifty, or several million. Whilst these events are unlikely in and of themselves, the chance of getting heads on the next coin toss is still 50% and you are not more likely to get tails at all.

    You can’t create a formula to win the lottery. If you could, my maths geek friends would be very rich indeed. They’re not…

  3. This is a mass conspiracy by amelot, the UK govt and Derren Brown. The lottery gets a massive boost after this stunt, UK govt benefits from increasing tax reciepts from camelot and Derren Brown gains even more notoriety….everyones a winner except us the people they are trying to dupe

  4. I vote for seriously in-depth statistical analysis. Judging by the time that it took to set it up (one year) it must be very involved and complex. Unsurprising with the number of possibilities in the outcome space.

  5. If this was the case, and these 6 balls were statistically the most likely to come up, then why did they not come up last week, why aren’t the coming up next week? Even though it’s the favourite theory of all the stats-mad folks out there, to me it’s absolutely the least possible.

  6. Not possible. Speaking as a maths student, the “system” here (fifty identical balls being randomly tossed about by air movement for a few minutes) is so fantastically complex that even if you knew exactly where the balls were when the system started it would still be impossible to predict the result. Also it’s chaotic as all hell, so that even if you did somehow analyse it, if you get one ball’s initial position wrong by a millimetre your prediction would be totally wrong.

  7. the lotto is live and not recorded, they stop at half 7 to give them time to sort out facts and figures all the money, its common sense that is, im completly baffled but really interested to see friday

  8. I’m not smart or intelligent enough to even contemplate the work that would have to go into studying ever lottery draw for say ten years, but i believe Derren Brown is. I believe he’ll make it a very entertaining show tomorrow, however the actual possibility of joe bloggs re-enacting this stunt would be nigh on impossible.
    Derren had been tweeting days before the draw how he was worried he was going to get it wrong, and was appologising in advance right till the last minute, this may well just be his showmanship, but I for one would like to trust him.
    I think he some how worked out the probability and i will be watching eagerly tomorrow to be amazed further.

  9. this is just stupid. there is no system to the lottery. it’s random. it’s, well, it’s a lottery.

  10. Statistically impossible – every draw is random – even if over a period some numbers would be more likely – this could not be accurately applied to a single draw – next!

  11. Listen folks, I got a maths degree and I’m telling yous. This is the one theory that is NOT possible. Time travel is more plausible. Honestly.

  12. As has been pointed out already, previous draws provide not indication as to the outcome of future draws.

    Even disregarding this fact, DB himself effectively quashed the idea that this might be genuine, by describing it as “an event of misdirection”.

    Prior to the event I suspected that it actually had nothing to do with the Lottery, and the draw was simply laying the groundwork for something entirely different on Friday. I rather doubt this is the case now, but either way, it still leaves the question of how he did it.

  13. You say theres no system but did anybody see one of his specials ‘the system’? He managed to do it with horse racing he’s bound to be able to do it with the lottery. Even if it’s done by the same principles (not a clue how he would even start with the lottery) I have every faith that it’s going to be a logical way just, as Scott said, not a regular Joe Bloggs would be able to re-enact it!

  14. The system in “The System” wasn’t really a system. If that makes sense. He just got enough individual people involved, then whittled it down to one over hundreds of races, and played the odds on the last race. The same technique wouldn’t really apply here.

    As much as I would love to believe there was a mathmatical soloution for it, this theory ir really unlikely to be the one.

    Maybe he swapped camelot’s balls with specially weighted ones so the numbers he picked would drop? Although you’d need ninja skills to make the swap and not get caught…

  15. Personally i think this theory is the most realistic. Derren would not use camera trickery and the like as thats just not his style.
    I think its something to do with recording the lotto results over a period of time (1 year) and keeping a record of those results and the order they were drew. Then working out the probabilty of that, or something along those lines.
    Like he’s said before in his other shows, its not impossible, just highly unlikely.

    Oh and, the thing that freaked me out the most is that 3 of the number my family usually pick for the lotto were drawn. If only we put the money on!

  16. Sacred Geometry is the key to Derren Brown’s lottery prediction.

    QUESTION: What do the following have in common? A daisy, an eagle’s beak, SNOWFLAKES, structure of DNA, Egyptian pyramids, crop circles, the stable elements of the periodic table, and Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper.”

    ANSWER: They are all based on geometry or numbers that are considered “sacred.”

    Certain types of geometry (a Greek word that means `measurement of the Earth’) and numbers are considered sacred.

    Geometry was one of the first branches of mathematics to be extensively developed. Long before the Christian era, the Egyptians and later the Greeks had made exhaustive studies of the properties of geometrical figures. While the Egyptians were concerned mainly with practical applications (witness the pyramids), the Greeks were interested in the mental exercise involved in the study of Geometry. Many of these ancient Greek scholars believed that if they pursued the study of geometry far enough they would unlock some of the deepest mysteries of the universe.

    Thus we have geometry and numbers that they and other civilizations considered sacred. Why sacred? Because they arrange systematically the hidden order of creation.

    ….and probably, if you study long enough, ie: a year, one could determine a pattern surrounding lottery numbers. That’s my theory.

  17. A spokesperson from Camelot gave the best clue for my money: “Congratulations to Derren Brown on the illusion he created. It’s impossible to affect the outcome of the draw and Derren Brown did not suggest he was able to do this.” They called it an illusion.
    Add to this that Derren is very careful with words. He cited the fact that the BBC are the only ones allowed to publish the result first as the reason for not being able to publish his prediction. However, if what he was showing was a prediction, he could have shown it. This proves that what he would have shown was a known result. This points to the use of the delay in broadcasting. This same scam was famously once used in horseracing.

  18. i trust him, that this would be the only way he would do it. the ideas just aren’t his sort of thing. And the mass hypnosis? Even he admits that not everyone is susceptible to that. this is the only way i can see it happening, and if it is some lie of some sort then i will never watch any of his shows ever again, because it will mean he has lied to us.

  19. If this theory is true, it would depend on the lottery being fixed and based on a week by week mathematical formula to work out a seemingly random number that would take along time to crack, perhaps a year? I have the feeling there is a possibility that Derren Brown did this to just see if someone was fixing the lottery, and found out someone was. Obviously camelot could change the system for all future draws that would mean someone would have to spend another year of their lives figuring it out again, in which time they could change it, etc. etc.

    In his backwards promo he mentions how the oldest and simplest tricks can bring down even the strongest systems…

  20. It was an excellent trick…can’t wait to see how he does it! the only way i could think that it would be possible is by using ratios…by counting the amount of times a number had come up since a specific date and then eventually doing the lottery on the same date a year on. But the only thing i can think is that it’s still guess work…just slightly more accurate because you pick the balls that have the greatest chance of coming up…a bit like when he got lots of people to do ‘the system’. There would therefore be a such and such chance of the numbers picked coming up….the other method would be to collect the amounts and work out a sum..but of course that would give you a giant number like 2,4,4732813….which would then rquire guess work to break down into individual numbers for the lottery such as 24, 4, 7, 32, 8 and 13 but it could also be 2, 44, 7, 3, 28, 13! I’m really interested to see his method…but i still believe the reason why it won’t really effect your chances of winning is that it’s a method that takes a while to work out!

  21. No way it’s mathematical or statistical.

    Firstly, if you could predict the lottery through statistics, it would have been done already. There are many many statisticians and mathematicians in the world and if it were possible, they’d have worked it out and then win the lottery every week.

    Secondly, even if some lottery balls do indeed have a bias that make them come out more often, that still does not make Derren able to say that these 6 balls will come out at this time. If it was that easy, again it would have been done, and the same balls would be coming out most weeks.

    I’ve seen statistics on the frequency lottery balls are drawn. The differences do not look significant at any reasonable statistical level.

  22. Seriously, listen to what everybody is telling you.

    THIS IS THE LEAST LIKELY THEORY. In fact its less than the least likely…its IMPOSSIBLE TO USE A SYSTEM THAT PREDICTS THE LOTTERY NUMBERS BECAUSE SUCH A SYSTEM DOES NOT, HAS NOT, AND WILL NEVER EXIST.(no matter how good you are with numbers, a supercomputer with infinite processing power and memory that records lotto results for 800million billion years analyzing it all {deep breath} couldnt do it either.

    I seriously think the actual explanation will be a bit of a let down

  23. If he really had the numbers ready before the draw, why wouldn’t he show them to us? That would have been so incredibly much more impressing, and there would be no camera trick speculations.

    It is quite obvious that this is all a trick – and a very impressing one – but he didn’t know the numbers before they were drawn. In that case, he would have bought a coupon for himself. He’s an amazing man, but if he knew how to guess the numbers, even Derren Brown wouldn’t mind winning a bunch of millions!!

  24. Jess – it would have been illegal to tamper with the balls, as the whole point of the lottery is that everyone who enters has an equal chance of winning.

  25. Tiggy… I’m sure there are people that have spent more than just a year to try and find some pattern in lottery numbers and it wouldnt seem like theyve been successful… lottery numbers are random.. the shape and growth of what you mention aren’t… this is a trick..

  26. I believe there’s a halfway point between being able to predict the results accurately, and taking a wild stab in the dark.

    On the one hand, each lottery draw is completely independent of the last one (and any other one for that matter) so the likelyhood of getting any one combination is as equal as getting any other combination.

    On the other hand, the law of averages says that if every combination of numbers has an equal chance of coming up as any other, and there are 14 million combinations, then after 14 million draws each combination should have come up once. This means that as time goes on, and more and more draws have taken place, you get closer and closer to your particular chosen numbers coming up – which, in other words, is like saying the chances of your numbers coming up get better as time goes on.

    Both statements can’t be true – it’s one or the other. However I believe that you can look at the combinations that have come up in the past, and from that, determine what other combinations are “left”, which will narrow things down somewhat. From then on, you can try to find patterns in the previous combinations, but ultimately it’ll be down to luck.

    Basically, you discount any previous combinations that have already been drawn, try to find a pattern between the draws to help predict the next numbers, and lastly, you just need plain luck.

    No amount of research or theorizing is going to give you a sure-fire way of predicting the lottery result. It’s just not possible. That’s why the whole field of mathmatics is called “probability” and not “certainty”.


  27. I’m glad there are some sensible people on here who can see that this is impossible.

    I will accept not everyone gets statistics, so I’ll put it like this. The balls are random objects which all weigh the same, the only difference being their appearance, which has absolutely no relevence to whether they are selected in a given draw. Once you understand this, you see that once they’re all thrown in a machine and bashed around and mixed up, the randomness of it all means every ball is as likely as every other one to get selected. Once you see this, it is obvious that there is no way he knew which balls were going to be selected before they appeared on the TV screen in front of his and our eyes.

  28. Given he has the historical data from 1453 shows starting from back in November 1994, I entertained this thought for a short while. Then, I realised the randomness of the lottery and the no tampering policy of Camelot, expecially the giant red button. That is what makes it impossible for a formula to exist.

  29. This is how he’ll claim to have done it, but his ‘solution’ is just as much of the illusion as the ‘event’ itself.
    I think the real method will have been split-screen,or some kind of projection inside the white balls. But I’m sure his ‘formula’ will sound very convincing, and most of the country will try and use it for next week’s lottery, resulting in everyone getting very similar tickets, Camelot feeling very pleased with the best sales in years, and Derren chuckling away to himself.
    Derren is one of the greatest entertainers of the decade, but a wonderful liar 🙂

  30. Ok I really do want to take a second heere to really think outside the box, lets so be aware that Chanel 4 doesn’t even know what’s going to happen tonite.
    Despite the odds being the same, they don’t reflect real life, I mean if 123456 is just as likely as his prediction then why hasn’t it happened
    how about we consider that his intention was to never show us how to win the lottery, I bet many of people have been obssesed with what has happened, our minds can only focus on 1 thing at a time, so because we have been so distracted what other wonderful supprise does he have for us.
    I think for me this event has done what many psycics do, say they can achieve the impossible, heck lets talk to the dead, when someone says they can do something, and they give you some evidence, you will more than likely ignore everything else that doesn’t support your new belief
    so lets just have the facts

    1 in arround 14 mil
    my head says that’s impossible
    but I do want to believe so badly
    but will I choose to ignore those odds
    I guess we will all find out tomorow, indeed many of us will be dissipointed, weather the system works or not
    but either way, this guy has started an obsession within me to unravel theese mysteries of the mind

    I do hope I made a good contribution to this topic

  31. I’d say its going to be a similar process as used in the episode “The System” where Derren seemingly predicted the horse racing. Quite probably an expansion on what he learned during the filming of that episode. Which is why its taken him a year to prepare it, exactly how its done I have no idea. He mentions having lots of numbers written down all over his house, which suggests he’s been through some sort of process of elimination. He also is quite nervous about the outcome which implies there is still an element of chance that he hasn’t chosen the right ones. This guy is an obsessive its very likely he’s literally spent 12 months locked in his house figuring out what they “could” be.

  32. To all the believers in this theory: imagine you and I flipping a coin. We flip it until it has come heads 5 times in a row.

    Then we bet on the very next outcome. I give you $1,000 if it comes tails and you give me $2,000 if it comes heads again. You’re making a great deal because it’s very unlikely to come heads again, so you’re almost guaranteed to win.

    So, if you’re interested in playing this game with me, please drop me a line. Thank you.

  33. No way. Not possible. There is no pattern, no system. The balls are random every time and independent of all previous draws. Analysing the statistics wouldn’t work as there would be an equal amount of every number with enough draws.

  34. I’m amazed at how many people here simply don’t understand basic statistics. The lottery draw is random (or as close to random as physically possible). Every random draw is, by definition, COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT from all previous draws. You can study the “trends” for a million years and they will never indicate the result of the next random selection. I’m sorry, but if you believe this “theory” you are revealing your mathematical ignorance.

  35. As said by Jmanhobbs and Parker, there is absolutely no way you could form a prediction of the results based on previous draws. Even if a certain number came up 700 times in a row, it would still be just as likely to come up on the 701st draw as any other ball.

  36. Ok this is THE answer everybody has been waiting for (or at least how I have romanticised Derrens efforts in our collective willing that it be something quite cosmic and ethereal so as to transcend our humble capacities of “mortal” understanding. Though we know this must not be the case as he so candidly explains at the start of each show “I can’t do I’m just quite intuitive at times”)… so,

    I think he spent 12 months doin a Russell Crowe in “A Beautiful Mind” with reams of all the previous National Lottery draw results plastered all about the walls of a room in his house, and spending countless hours scrawling and circling number sequences and patterns, cross-referencing the “predictabilities” of these naturally ocurring number sequences utilising various properties of the Pythagorean, Fibonacci, Euclidean systems et al… and as a result Derren had undoubtedly concieved that on the

    9th day, of the
    9th month, of the
    9th year

    there could wholly and unequivocally be only ONE SINGLE concievable set of draw results that would be 2, 11, 23, 28, 35, 39.

    So it was written. As determined as the sun was to rise that morning, the physical laws that govern our Universe were read by Derren, not without great toil and endeavour, and presented him with the sequence he sought.

    “Ha I found you out Derren- BUSTED! Nice trick, have you got anymore 😉 ”

    But seriously, how much am I looking forward to seeing the show tonight!


    ### Feel free to give your thoughts on my solution, I think you will find it water-tight 🙂

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