The SmartFactor calculation is exactly like counting cards in Black Jack. Card counters keep track of the number of “good cards” (aces, face cards, and 10s) remaining in a deck as a deck is played over time. The higher the card count, the better the odds are of playing a hand and getting a 21 combination. In this case, the deck is considered “hot". The lower the card count, the lower the odds are of getting a 21 or blackjack combination. In this case, the deck is considered “cold.”
Card counting only works because there is a set number of cards in play to begin with: 52, and only 4 aces, 4 kings, 4 queens, 4 Jacks, 4 tens, etc. When the deck is first shuffled, there is an equal probability of getting any one of the cards.
However, as cards are played in each hand, players can count the number of cards dealt and can adjust the probability of getting those cards in the next hand being played. Card counters simplify the count to being +1 or -1 for each of the best cards in the deck.
To oversimplify this, every time they see a good card, they subtract 1 from the count. Every time they see a non-face card, they add one to the count. The higher the count, the “hotter” the deck because there is a better probability of getting a good card in the next deal.
Card counting at a blackjack table ONLY works over time, so you have to sit and observe the table, and it only works if you know the total number of decks of cards in play.
Well, the exact same concept applies to scratch-off games, except you don't have to do any of the calculations OR sit at a table losing money until you figure out if the deck is hot or cold.
The SmartFactor IS the card count. We determine the total number of tickets printed by the data published on the lottery's website. Then, we track the number of prizes awarded over time. The proportion of Top Prizes remaining VS the Estimate Ticket sold gives us the SmartFactor rating. The higher the SmartFactor, the better the odds of winning a top prize. The lower the SmartFactor rating, the worse your chances are of winning a top prize.
The key is to know the total number of tickets printed when the game starts.
Try our SmartFactor widget to see how the SmartFactor changes based on prizes remaining and total tickets remaining here: