Punters flock to popular Hougang S'pore Pools outlet for last hurrah before S$16 million Hong Bao Draw

Get rich or die trying.

Fiona Tan | February 11, 2022, 01:56 PM

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Like bees to honey, the fantasy of becoming a multimillionaire overnight has mobilised countless punters in Singapore to stake their wager.

Image by Fiona Tan.

The upcoming Toto Hong Bao Draw has snowballed into a S$16 million jackpot, which is the biggest prize since 2000.

This could possibly explain the unceasing snaking queues at Singapore Pools outlets islandwide.

Non-stop action at Tong Ai Huat

One super popular Singapore Pools outlet at Block 685 Hougang Street 61, Tong Aik Huat, has been seeing non-stop action over the past few days.

Queue on Feb. 11. Image by Fiona Tan.

Queue on Feb. 11. Video by Fiona Tan.

Even the rain could not put damper on dreams of striking rich.

Come rain or shine, punters turned up in droves in their weather appropriate attire and queued patiently in a line that followed the contours of the public car park and nearby HDB block.

Queues of varying patterns were seen over a few consecutive days leading up to the ultimate Hong Bao Draw on Feb. 11, with lines measuring up to 200m at times.

Queue on Feb. 9. Video by Fiona Tan.

On days with wetter conditions, punters caught unprepared and without umbrellas sought refuge underneath the HDB shelter.

Zigzagging queues spanned the distance of the sheltered walkway, where there are four neighbouring stores and a residential corner, and looped around to eventually lead up to the Tong Aik Huat store in the corner.

Queue on Feb. 10. Video by Fiona Tan.

On days where the queue went behind Tong Aik Huat and led out to the open air car park, punters without umbrellas braved the rain and stood stoically in the light drizzle.

Queue on Feb. 10. Image from Bidaud Zelie Manita/Facebook.

What's the fixation with Tong Aik Huat?

Seasoned punters will have you know that Tong Aik Huat is not just any ol' Singapore Pools outlet, but the outlet to go to to fulfil your multimillion dreams.

Having yielded 12 Group 1 prize winners and 81 Group 2 prize winners in the last 24 years since records were kept, Tong Aik Huat has one of the highest frequency of producing winning tickets for Group 1 prize winners.

It only ranks second to the Singapore Pools outlet at Fu Lu Shou Complex in Bugis, where 13 Group 1 prize winning tickets have been dispensed.

However, those who are numerate will understand that this is simply a matter of probability.

Firstly, distribution of winners is never even.

As a result of some outlets appearing luckier after multiple rounds, they will attract more punters.

With more punters choosing those seemingly luckier outlets to place their bets, with some even going out of their way to do so, the outlets with more punters will produce even more winners over time and the effect compounds.

This is a positive feedback loop effect, or Matthew Effect, at work.

If information on the total number of tickets were to be provided, the perception of some outlets being luckier than others can be more easily debunked.

Toto Hong Bao draw 2022

Singapore Pools extended the operating hours at its branches in anticipation of the Hong Bao draw.

On Feb. 11, the Singapore Pools main branch will open from 8am to 9pm.

Its other Singapore Pools branches will open from 8:30am to 9pm on Feb. 11, while Singapore Pools authorised retailers will open from 8am to 9pm.

However, operating hours may differ across branches.

Singapore Pools urges people to check their website for the opening hours of specific outlets.

The draw is scheduled for 9:30pm on Feb. 11.

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Top image by Fiona Tan