Powerball players put odds and reasons aside as they continue their jackpot quest

Powerball players will be eagerly awaiting the white ball and Powerball in today's draw in hopes of becoming a millionaire.

Apr 8, 2024
3 min read
Powerball players wait in line at Mr. C's Liquor on January 12, 2016 in San Pedro, California.
Powerball players wait in line at Mr. C's Liquor on January 12, 2016 in San Pedro, California. The Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night's drawing topped $1.73


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Powerball players put odds and reasons aside as they continue their jackpot quest

Millions of Powerball players will be eagerly awaiting the five white and red Powerballs in Wednesday night's drawing in the hope of becoming instant multi-millionaires. But there's a good chance you, your friends, neighbors, and everyone you know who buys a $2 ticket won't win the game's top prize.

The odds of a ticket winning the Powerball jackpot are just 1 in 292.2 million. To put these incredible odds into perspective, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the odds of being struck by lightning at some point in your life are about one in a million.

Your odds of dying in a plane crash are significantly higher, only 1 in 11 million. Poker Player: Have you ever hit blackjack three times in a row? The odds of hitting 21 three times in a row are 1 in 22,722.

For the more visually oriented readers, the Wall Street Journal provides a nifty online infographic showing 292,201,337 pixels - the exact number of possible number combinations. To reach the end of the infographic, you have to scroll for several minutes. It's an eye-opening experience and makes you see how slim your chances of winning the jackpot really are. Take a look here.

Despite constant warnings that the odds are poor and that you won't win the Powerball jackpot, droves of players will continue to buy tickets ahead of tonight's 10:59 draw. EST) at the Florida Lottery Studio in Tallahassee.

Second Highest Jackpot

The Powerball jackpot for the Oct. 11 drawing is estimated at $1.73 billion, with a one-time cash option of $756.6 million. The jackpot is the second-largest lottery prize in U.S. history, behind only the $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot won by a player in California last November.

Although hundreds of millions of tickets were sold during the jackpot drought, there hasn't been a Powerball jackpot win since July 19, when a ticket sold in California won $1.08 billion in prize money . Powerball has been drawn 35 times in a row and no ticket has matched those 6 numbers.

As sales increase (often accompanied by larger jackpots), more possible number combinations are covered, so the chances of hitting the jackpot may increase. If the odds of winning for each ticket were always 1 in 292,201,338, a person could theoretically spend $584.4 million (the approximate cost of purchasing 292.2 million tickets) and be guaranteed to win. But filling out these forms, each with a unique combination of numbers, can be difficult, if not impossible, even with the help of computer programs.

Powerball is drawn three times a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday nights. Therefore, there will be huge time pressure to complete the 292.2 million tickets.

Powerball does not allow bulk sales or automated computer programs to help players fill out tickets. Mathematicians say a person filling out a Powerball ticket in 30 seconds would take nearly 278 years to complete the game 292.2 million times without stopping.

The jackpot may also be won by other players. In this case, the winner will share the prize money.

Secondary Pricing

Your chances of winning the Powerball jackpot tonight are about zero, but that doesn't mean you won't win anything. The overall odds of winning are 1 in 24.87, and if you match the red Powerball, the minimum prize is $4.

Tickets that include two white balls and the Powerball or three white balls win $7. Tickets that include four white balls or three white balls and the Powerball win $100. A ticket that matches four white balls and the Powerball wins $50,000, while a ticket that matches five white balls wins $1 million.

All prizes except the jackpot are eligible for an additional $1 Power Play multiplier ranging from 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x and 10x. The 10x Power Play is only used when the announced jackpot annuity is less than $150 million.

Powerball is played throughout the United States except for Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah.

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