3-Digit games can be played as Straight(exact order), Box(any order), Straight/Box, Combo, Pairs (front, back, split), and Sum.
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How to Play 3-Digit US Lottery Games

All 3-digit games are played by simply selecting a 3-digit number from 000 to 999. For example, 409. The selected number is filled onto a play slip such as the one shown further below on this page. In addition to the selected number, you have to mark the desired play type and the amount to wager. Then hand it to the store clerk and he/she will give you the actual game ticket when you pay the total amount indicated.

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Play Types of 3-digit Lottery Games

Below are listed all the possible play types of a 3-digit game. Except a straight play and a box play, which are invariably available in all state games, the rest may not be offered by some states. The names of the play types also vary from state to state; alternative names used by various states for a play type are listed as AKA (Also Known As)

How much the player wins for matching a certain play type also varies from state to state. We have cited winnings applicable to a majority of the states. Some may pay higher some may pay lower than our figures; some even pay out in pari-mutuel basis, that is, dividing the allocated prize money equally among the winners.

  • Straight : You'll win if the number drawn is exactly the same as your selection. The payout is $500 for a $1, and $250 for a $0.50 game.
    AKA: Exact Order, Exact Match

  • Box : The number drawn can match your selected number in any arrangement as long as all the three digits are there. The payouts for a $1 bet are $80 if all the three digits are different (6-way box), $160 if two of the digits are identical (3-way box). Note that triples (all three digits identical) cannot be boxed since any rearrangement results in the same number.
    AKA: Any Order

  • Straight/Box : Here you are betting half of the amount wagered on a straight and the other half on a box. Therefore the minimum play amount is $1 (no 50 cents). When you play a number for $1 Straight/Box, you are actually playing $0.50 straight and $0.50 box of that number. The payout is the sum of a $0.50 play on a straight and a $0.50 play on a box. Thus, if you hit it straight you'll win $250+$40 for a 6-way number, or $250+$80 for a 3-way number. Note that triples cannot be played as straight/box.
    AKA: Exact/Any, Two-Way Bet

  • Combo : This play type is simply a straight play of all the possible arrangements of the number. For example, if you play combo of the number 282, you are actually playing 282, 228, and 822 as straights, since these are all the possible arrangements of the number. A $1 combo doesn't cost $1, instead, you have to pay $1 for every possible arrangement of the number. Thus a 6-way combo (i.e., non-repeating digits) costs $6, a 3-way combo (i.e., one digit repeating) costs $3. The payout is obviously just like a straight play. Note that triples cannot be played as combo.
    AKA: Combination, Wheel Bet, Wheeled Play, Super straight

  • Front Pair : Here, you are betting only on the first two digits in exact order. Pays $50 for a $1 play.
    AKA: Match Front

  • Back Pair : betting only on the last two digits in exact order. Pays $50 for a $1 play.
    AKA: Match Back

  • Split Pair : betting only on the first and last digits in exact order. Pays $50 for a $1 play.

  • Sum : This is betting on the sum of the digits instead of the numbers and their arrangements. Payout depends on the sum itself. A sum of 0 and a sum of 27 pay exactly the same as a straight play ($500 for $1 bet) since there is only one number whose digits sum up to 0 (000), and there is only one number whose digits sum up to 27 (999). The lowest payout is for a sum of 13 and 14 since there are the maximum (75) numbers whose sum of the digits are 13, and other 75 with sum of 14. Please see the detailed description of the sum of 3-digit numbers.
    AKA: Lucky Sum, Sum It Up

Also, you can find a more information on grouping and probabilities of 3-digit numbers, especially with regard to boxes(any order).


Examples of How to Play 3-digit Games

A typical play-slip with various numbers is shown below. Each panel is for one game; if you want to play only one number, then just fill out only panel A and leave the rest blank. Here, we have all the five panels of one slip filled out, plus part of a second play slip to illustrate more features. In the first Panel A, the number 409 is played straight for $1, in the first Panel B, 282 is played as a combo for $0.50, and so on. The second Panel A is a Back Pair play for $0.50.

A 3-digit game play-slip    A 3-digit game play-slip

A few more notes :
If you cannot think of a number to play, just mark the 'Quick Pick' (AKA: Easy Pick) box at the bottom - the machine will generate a number for you. It is always a good practice to mark the play type and the amount when playing a quick pick, otherwise the machine may pick a 6-way combo that will cost you an arm and a leg. You may also select one or two digits and mark the quick pick, the machine will pick the remaining digits.
If you make a mistake, just mark the 'Void' box. The machine will ignore that panel.
When playing front pair, back pair, or split pair, just mark the pairs and leave the one remaining column blank as shown in the second Panel A.


3-digit Games Quiz

Let's see if you have understood the basic ideas with the help of the following quiz which refers to the above plays.

  1. How much does it cost you to play the above selections?
    $8.50    $6   $6.50   $11.50   $16
  2. If the winning number is 904, how much will you win?
    $250    $290   $40   $330   $0
  3. If the winning number is 282, how much will you win?
    $1130    $330   $580   $630   $0
  4. If the winning number is 882, how much will you win?
    $250    $500   $550   $50   $0

Related pages:
US 3-digit lottery games
Grouping and odds of 3-digit numbers
Sum of 3-digit numbers
3-digit combinations and permutations generator

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