Those who have been subscribed to One Ahead since the beginning will know that there are a handful of tricks I sort of obsess over. I treat them like fun mental challenges for when I'm bored. Some people play crosswords, and I come up with methods for lottery predictions.
Each method has merits, and I'm never trying to achieve the best version. That's partly because Nate Staniforth and Anthony Owen have arguably created the best two versions. But it's also because different methods suit different scenarios. I like the book test method subscribers asked me to make, and I have a great stage version that involves a row of lottery balls on a stand as the prediction.
Lloyd Barnes recently showed me a very satisfying hands-off self-working method. His might be the easiest method I've come across, and you can perform it directly for just one spectator if you like.
I tried to devise a super straightforward method involving a genuine printed ticket and no electronics. Here's where I ended up:
You take out a folded lottery ticket and hold it in your hand.
"My Grandad used to play the lottery every week. When I went to his house, there were tickets scattered everywhere. He'd keep track of which ones he'd played by writing the winning numbers on the back of them. So if he ever picked up a ticket, he could immediately tell if he'd already checked its numbers. And when he found a ticket that didn't have anything written on the back of it, he'd rush to check if it had won anything – it never did."
You take a pen out of your pocket.
"This ticket is for this week's lottery, so there's nothing written on the back."
You show both sides and hand the ticket and the pen to a spectator.
You ask them to write any four-digit number down and then hand the pen and the ticket to someone else. You ask the second person to write another random four-digit number below the first number. A third person also does this.
Once three four-digit numbers are written on the ticket, you pass the lottery ticket to a final spectator somewhere in the audience. This person is tasked with multiplying the numbers, and they can use their phone to do this if necessary.
"We're trying to create a number as random as a lottery number – one that none of us individually could have predicted. The chances of anyone guessing the number we've created together just now are near impossible."
You ask the final spectator if the last number generated is twelve digits.
You ask them to read out the numbers in two-digit pairings.
Finally, the lottery ticket is opened, and the genuine numbers printed on its face are read aloud by the spectator.
It's a perfect match.
You give the spectator the ticket for them to keep.
This is a straightforward lottery prediction you can perform today. Magicians will have different preferences for how they want to perform a trick like this, so I'll share two method variations for this presentation, each with its benefits.
This method is the easiest and only requires a bit of audience management at the very end. To prepare, fold a lottery ticket as you would an important letter to place inside of an envelope. Do so much that there are two fold lines which split the ticket into three-thirds.