Last week’s article on the Knights of Columbus raffle said the savvy gambler would be better off at a casino than buying into the K of C drawing (“Big money,” Sept. 5). Bruce Rushton quoted blackjack at 0.99 odds (meaning the bettor loses, on average, one percent of each bet) and video gambling machines at 0.93 odds.

In fact, last week was the first time it made mathematical sense to participate in K of C’s drawing. Using the numbers from the article last week, $5 gives you six tickets in the hopper of 140,000. That gives you 0.00004286 odds of getting your name called. Multiply that by 0.25 (one winning square out of the four remaining), which leaves you with a 0.00001072 chance of winning it all. That’s about one in 93,000.

Bleak to say the least, but when you multiply your odds by the pot of $625,000, your expected value is $6.70 on your $5 bet. That’s an impressive 1.34 average return on your gamble. It is the rare bet where the odds are in your favor, and that’s why last week was my first time I entered the raffle, although I didn’t win.

Fun fact: because the club keeps half the money from ticket sales, the pot grows slower than your odds of winning as you buy more tickets. Therefore, your edge last week would have dropped to 1.0 (a straight bet) after you spent about $45,000 on tickets. That’s when it stops making mathematical sense to buy more tickets, but I believe my heart would have given out long before that.

Ryan Hendrickson


While her friends, neighbors and relatives are congratulating the winner, let’s reflect on a task done so well by so many.

Let’s rightfully honor the Knights of Columbus who set this thing up and made it happen. No one could have predicted what it turned into. They didn’t intentionally sign on for such a long-term responsibility. But they handled it admirably by making necessary adjustments to keep things running so smoothly you’d think it was the plan all along.

K of C delivered tens of thousands in windfall to local charities that can only benefit the entire community. This is the greatest benefit of all because it falls on those in need. Bless the Knights and all volunteers who dedicated time and work.

The 2019 Thursday cocktail socials brought us not just out, but together. We saw people we don’t see enough. We met people we never knew. In crowds squeezed for space and deadlines we minded our manners respectfully without incident. We owe ourselves a little nod for pride as Americans showing up for good cause. We contributed to each other.

The presence from the sheriff’s department was heavy and necessary for security but also welcome as friends. Deputies were casually congenial with everyone, always polite when directing traffic and doors, helpful to anyone who asked. They set a high standard.

I hope everyone tipped the bartenders and servers well because that was hard work and they took very good care of us.

Let’s do it again.

John Levalley


As a former member of the Springfield Historic Sites Commission, I was surprised to learn that the present Commission has met only twice in the past nine months.  That’s by far the worst record in the history of the Commission, which is scheduled for monthly meetings. The Commission has significant responsibilities in this historic city and owes the public an explanation for this dereliction.

Jerry Jacobson
Save Old Springfield

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