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Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com

By Dan Kilbridge | | 9 mins

What Are Your Odds Of Winning The Masters Ticket Lottery?

What Are Your Odds Of Winning The Masters Ticket Lottery?
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The first email usually arrives in early June. The sender and subject lines alone are enough to get the juices flowing.

"Masters Tournament – Ticket Application Received".

The second email arrives in July. Same sender. Content unknown until one has pondered Schrodinger’s cat paradox long enough and opens it. For most recipients, year after year, the email begins as such:

“We have completed the ticket selection process for the Masters Tournament and we regret to inform you that your application was not selected.”

Deep sigh. Wait ‘til next year.

Once again, next year has arrived. The 2023 Masters ticket lottery opened on June 1, giving would-be patrons three weeks to apply ahead of the June 22 deadline.

There’s a pretty simple reason the Masters is the toughest ticket to get in all of sports – endless demand and limited supply. There are a few lucky souls with lifetime tournament passes – known officially as ‘Series Badge Patrons’ – who can attend Thursday-Sunday for the price of $375. The badges can only be passed on to a living spouse and the Series Badge Patrons waiting list has been closed for the better part of 45 years – after closing in 1978, it briefly reopened and closed again in 2000.

Others can score tickets through corporate hookups or the secondary market, where prices are often around $1,000-$3,000 for a single one-day ticket.

For everyone else, the annual Masters ticket lottery is the best chance to score a coveted tournament ticket and take in the sights and sounds of Augusta National.

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There’s enough anecdotal evidence to know that winning tickets through the lottery is far from impossible. Serious golf fans that haven’t had any luck since the online lottery began in 2011 probably know at least one or two acquaintances who won tournament or practice round tickets.

So what exactly are the golf odds of winning Masters tournament tickets through the lottery?

The Masters doesn’t release any attendance figures, nor will it share the number of Series Badge Patrons holders or Masters Lottery tickets. But we can make an educated guess on the odds by working through all the individual variables. And it's important to stress, this is an educated guess.

First, we need an idea of how many people attend the Masters Thursday-Sunday.

Second, we want to know how many of those attendees are lottery winners vs. Series Badge Patrons.

Lastly – and this is where it gets really tricky – we need to estimate how many people apply for tournament tickets in the lottery. Using a variety of different methods, assumptions and informed estimations, we can arrive at all these numbers in order to come up with a stab at the overall odds.

What Are Your Odds Of Winning The Masters Ticket Lottery? 3

Masters Tournament Ticket Lottery Odds

Daily attendance is the easiest to gauge because the work has already been done by various golf publications and media outlets. The Associated Press recently cited estimates of 40,000 per tournament day in a typical year. That number would be right in line with other major championships like the U.S. Open. That was also the estimated daily attendance for the 2021 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits.

Attendance is reportedly closer to the 50,000 range for practice rounds, making that an easier ticket to land in the lottery. But we’re looking at tournament rounds only. We’ll go with the low-end of estimates for 40,000, which gives some wiggle room for things like tickets issued to corporate partners.

The next step is tougher. We need to figure out roughly how many of those 40,000 patrons in attendance for a tournament round are Series Badge holders, and how many accessed tickets in the lottery.

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Masters Series Badge Good As Gold

Masters souvenirs are always hot items because – there’s a theme developing here – Augusta National has not made them widely available to the general public through traditional means. The vast majority of officially-licensed Masters memorabilia is only available for sale on-site, during the actual tournament. A secondary online market for clothing, trinkets and other souvenirs is otherwise the only option, with all sorts of items for sale – including old weekly tournament badges.

Nowadays, those looking to sell their badges as mementos after the tournament are wise enough to cover up the displayed badge number upon listing. Augusta National can and has removed patrons from the Series Badge list in recent years when those individuals’ badges have been discovered on the secondary market. Better to not take any chances. But looking at old badges for auction on eBay brings up dozens of options, many of which are pictured with a visible number.

What Are Your Odds Of Winning The Masters Ticket Lottery? 2

We looked at 30 different Series Badges with numbers included, ranging from 1968-2019. The numbers ranged from a low of 00345 to a high of 22737. We can’t prove Augusta National issues badges in exact numerical order beginning with 00001, but it’s likely enough to make the assumption given the range.

The badge numbered 22737 was from the 1982 Masters, and it’s safe to say the number of weekly badges has since been reduced. They cannot be passed down to anyone other than a living spouse, so the Masters can eventually choose how to redistribute them – either to someone else on the waiting list or by making them available in the lottery.

The highest number we found since the incorporation of the online lottery was a 2019 badge labeled 15014 (Buy It Now price - $450). So we believe the number of weekly Series Badges issued each year to be more than 15,000 but less than 20,000.

What Are Your Odds Of Winning The Masters Ticket Lottery? 1

There’s a lot of loose math and spotty internet detective work here, but we’re going to set the current number of weekly badges at 18,000. That’s a nice, round golf number and in line with all of our prior assumptions and eBay dumpster diving.

If 40,000 patrons are in attendance on a given tournament day, and 18,000 of them are believed to be weekly badge holders, that leaves 22,000 additional tickets per day available in the lottery.

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How the Masters Lottery Works

Before we get to the next step, a brief explanation of the lottery is in order. Anyone with a Masters.com account can apply for tickets each year. Applicants can request up to four tickets per day Monday-Wednesday and two tickets per day Thursday-Sunday. While you can and should apply for tickets every day, you’re only eligible to win one day.

Should an applicant win, they’ll receive an email with a link to purchase the tickets. Augusta National has kept prices admirably low considering what they would fetch on the open market. A practice round ticket costs $100 and a daily tournament ticket is $140.

In addition, the Masters will only accept one request per household. That means two people with the same permanent address may only send one application.

That’s just one of the reasons we can assume that almost everyone will apply for the maximum allotment of two daily tournament tickets for each day.

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Who Enters the Masters Lottery?

There’s no way to know exactly how many people apply for the lottery each year.

It’s highly unlikely the number of entrants is less than one million. Augusta National is the most cherished venue in golf and simply seeing it in person is a dream for any serious player or fan. Applying for tickets is extremely easy and only takes a minute or two, so there’s no heavy lifting involved. And some who don’t even like golf or intend to go certainly apply considering applicants could earn five times what they paid should they decide to sell.

With nothing solid to go on, one of the best ways to gauge overall Masters interest is TV ratings. Sunday’s final round of the 2021 Masters drew a reported 9.45 million viewers and a 5.5 rating, meaning 5.5% of all households with a TV were tuned in – or, roughly, 6.7 million households.

What Are Your Odds Of Winning The Masters Ticket Lottery? 4

Obviously, every viewer isn’t going to apply for the lottery. The allure of Amen Corner on Masters Sunday is enough to pull in even the most casual of sports fans for a few hours. And there are plenty of diehards watching who won’t apply for various reasons. Reasonably-priced as the lottery tickets are, they don’t cover airfare or highly-inflated hotel costs and Augusta, Georgia is two hours from the nearest major airport in Atlanta.

On the flip side, there will be many applicants who didn’t tune in – they could be out playing golf, stuck at work or taking care of any number of personal matters.

Considering 6.7 million households viewed last year’s final round, our best guess is about 25% of those households applied in the lottery – or, roughly, 2 million applications. Using a (very) loosely-based analogy, we can compare it to tech workers and Google. The U.S. has approximately 12 million tech workers, and Google fields about 3 million job applications per year – 25% of the potentially-interested parties.

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Calculating Masters Ticket Lottery Odds

Now we have all the numbers we need to reach a conclusion with an admittedly large margin of error.

We’ve estimated 40,000 patrons per tournament day, of which 18,000 are weekly badge holders, leaving 22,000 tickets in the lottery Thursday-Sunday with 2 million applicants per day. But remember – almost every winner will be buying the maximum request of two daily tickets. That means the actual chances of an applicant winning are split in half, leaving 11,000 winners for 22,000 tickets.

With four separate drawings of equal odds, 2 million applicants and 11,000 winners per day, the math looks like this:

11,000/200,000,000 = 0.0055.

Thus, we believe the odds of winning the Masters lottery for a single-day tournament ticket to be 0.55%.

The chances are slightly better than 1/200, which checks out from an anecdotal standpoint as winning these tickets is rare but certainly not unheard of in any random group of golfers.

From a golf betting perspective, that works out to moneyline odds of about +18000 every year. Those are better odds than bookmakers give 18 players to win the 2023 Masters, including the likes of Padraig Harrington, Zach Johnson, Hudson Swafford and Stewart Cink, who are all priced +20000 or higher.

On the gridiron, long-suffering Detroit fans might be surprised to hear the Lions have better odds to win next year’s Super Bowl at +15000.

If you’re feeling down on your lottery chances, cheer up. The online lottery has only been in existence for 10 years, so those who’ve entered every year with no luck should keep at it. Going 0/10 was the most likely statistical outcome.

It’s very cool of the Masters to even release these tickets to some of the public at face value in the first place, and it’s entirely worth entering for the chance to step foot and lay eyes on the indescribably-beautiful golf course at Augusta National.

Plus, good news for everyone applying for 2023 Masters tickets! Our odds say you have a better chance of winning than the New York Jets have to win next year’s Super Bowl (+20000).

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About the Author

Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com
Dan Kilbridge
Handicapper Dan Kilbridge writes about college football, MLB and other sports for Bookies.com after spending three years covering Tiger Woods’ comeback and the PGA for Golfweek.