The different ways you can play 4-Digit lottery games are Straight(exact order), Box(any order), Straight/Box, Combo, Pairs (front, back, middle), and Sum.
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How to Play 4-Digit US Lottery Games

All 4-digit games are played by simply selecting a 4-digit number from 0000 to 9999. For example, 2705. 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 4-digit Lottery Games

Below are listed all the possible play types of a 4-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 $5000 for a $1, and $2500 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 four digits are there. The payouts for a $1 bet are $200 if all the four digits are different (24-way box), $400 if two of the digits are identical (12-way box), $800 if there are two of two digits (6-way box), $1,200 (well, $1,198 in many states) if one digit is tripled (4-way box). Note that quadruplets (all four 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 straight and the other half on 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 $2500+$100 for a 24-way number, $2500+$200 for a 12-way number, $2500+$400 for a 6-way number, or $2500+$600 for a 4-way number. Note that quadruplets 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 8222, you are actually playing 8222, 2822, 2282, and 2228 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 24-way combo (i.e., non-repeating digits) costs $24, a 12-way combo (i.e., one digit repeating) costs $12, a 6-way combo (i.e., two digits repeating) costs $6, a 4-way combo (i.e., one digit tripled) costs $4. The payout is obviously just like a straight play. Note that quadruplets 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

  • Middle Pair : betting only on the middle two 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 36 pay exactly the same as a straight play ($5,000 for $1 bet) since there is only one number whose digits sum up to 0 (0000), and there is only one number whose digits sum up to 36 (9999). The lowest payout is for a sum of 18 since there are the maximum of 670 numbers whose sum of the digits are 18. Please see Sums of 4-digit numbers
    AKA: Lucky Sum, Sum It Up

Also, you can find a more information on grouping and probabilities of 4-digit numbers here.


Examples of How to Play 4-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 filled out. In Panel A, the number 2705 is played straight for $1, in Panel B, 8222 is played as a combo for $0.50, and so on.

A 4-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 24-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 mid pair, just mark the pairs and leave the two remaining columns blank as shown in Panel E.


4-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?
    $4    $17   $27   $7   $31
  2. If the winning number is 2075, how much will you win?
    $2500    $5000   $50   $2550   $7550
  3. If the winning number is 2282, how much will you win?
    $2500    $2900   $400   $600   $0
  4. If the winning number is 2828, how much will you win?
    $400    $600   $2500   $200   $0

Related pages:
US 4-digit lottery games
Grouping and odds of 4-digit numbers
Sum of 4-digit numbers
4-digit combinations and permutations generator

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