This story is part of a series; also read ”Expert Says Stop Wasting Money on Powerball and Play This Instead” and ”What to Do When You Win the Lottery.”

I defy you to find anyone who has never fantasized about winning the lottery. The house! The travel! The help for loved ones and favorite charities! Someone to deliver a single, perfect piece of chocolate to your door every day! (OK, maybe that’s just me.)

While most of us will never see that kind of money dumped in our laps, a select few lottery winners do actually get to realize their fantasy—and on Saturday night, someone could win the largest Powerball lottery ever, \$700 million .

One of the “luckiest” people in the nation is Richard Lustig, author of Learn How To Increase Your Chances of Winning the Lottery, who has won seven lottery grand prizes and perfected his strategy though trial and error. “When the lottery came to Florida, I was like everybody else: ‘Wow, buy lottery tickets, win a lot of money, retire, buy a big fancy yacht, whatever, blah, blah, blah,’” he said. “Like everybody else, I was running out and buying haphazardly, buying quick picks, I mean buying tickets with no plan, or no method, or whatever. Like everybody else, I was losing all the time.”

Then Lustig realized there had to be a way to increase his chances. Every time something worked, he’d write it down. Eventually, he had a “formula” that worked for him and others. His main tips–which don’t all follow strict mathematical logic, and have been discounted by some as nonsense–for those playing lotteries are below:

1. Don’t use the “quick-pick” numbers generated from the store’s computer. Even though it seems like every number has an equal amount of “luck,” certain number sets are better than others. “ Every time you buy a quick pick, you get a different set of numbers; therefore, your odds are always going to be at their worst in that particular game, whatever game you’re playing. In this case, the hype, of course, is all about the Powerball right now,” Lustig says.
2. Go beyond the birthdays. The spread is important—if you always choose birth month and dates, like most people do, you’re relegating yourself to less than half the numbers available, 1 through 31. Equally important about including bigger numbers: “If you pick your own numbers and only play birthdays and anniversaries, you’re splitting the pot with 20-40 people. If you spread the numbers out across the whole track, you’ll either be the only winner or will split it with only one or two people,” Lustig says.
3. Don’t change the numbers. Once you’ve determined which numbers are “good,” (he recommends a specific way to find these in his book) don’t switch them, play them every time. If you buy more than one card, use a different set of numbers. “Remember, a set of numbers wins the grand prize, not individual numbers,” Lustig says. He says it’s OK to repeat a number or two, but be sure each group of numbers is mostly different so you increase your odds. (Though, if you’re looking at this in a solid math sense, in a fair lottery, every number has the same probability of being drawn.)
4. Play consistently. “Never miss a drawing in the game you’re playing. Every Saturday, every Wednesday, every week,” Lustig says.
5. Understand the odds, but know your limits: If you play 100 cards, you’ll have a better chance than if you pay just 10—but only play what you can afford to lose. It’s not a regular investment, as in an IRA or a stock. “One of the things that I preach to people all the time is budget, budget, budget,” Lustig says. “Set a budget of what you’re going to spend. Do not get caught up in what’s called lottery fever. Don’t spend grocery money. Don’t spend rent money. Figure out what you can afford to spend. Don’t worry about how much Joe Blow down the street is spending. … Figure out what your budget is, what you can comfortably afford to spend, and stay within that budget.”