Dreaming about winning tonight’s $1 billion Powerball jackpot — potentially the fifth-largest prize in U.S. lottery history? You might want to take a look at those steep odds
The overall odds of winning something after buying a $2 ticket are just shy of 1 in 25 — 24.87 to be exact. If you spend an extra $1 to exercise the Power Play option, you can double, triple, quadruple or on rare occasions quintuple your winnings on non-jackpot prizes.
If you still want to take a shot but have never played, Powerball works like this: Five white balls are drawn out of a drum containing 69 balls. Then one red ball is drawn out of a drum with 26 red balls. The red ball is also known as the Powerball. Here’s a breakdown of odds and prizes.
The odds of your ticket matching only the red Powerball are 38.32 to 1. If you do, you win $4.
1 number plus the Powerball – still $4
Matching one number and the Powerball is more difficult than just having the Powerball (1 in 91.98) but the prize is still a measly $4.
2 numbers plus the Powerball – $7
It’s a more than 700 to 1 shot (701.33 to be exact) to purchase a ticket containing two numbers and the Powerball. The payout? Only $7.
3 numbers – still $7
If your ticket matched three of the five white balls, you still win just $7. The odds of hitting three numbers, but not the Powerball are 579.76 to 1.
3 numbers plus the Powerball – $100
The good news is that the prize amount has finally reached triple figures – $100. The bad news is that the odds of buying a ticket that matches three numbers plus the Powerball are 14,494.11 to 1.
4 numbers – still $100
A ticket that matches four numbers from the white ball drawn (but not the Powerball) is tantalizing close to winning serious money, but is also worth only $100. It’s about a 1 in 36,525 shot to get even that lucky, though.
4 numbers plus the Powerball – $50,000
The prize climbs all the way to winning $50,000 if you manage to beat the roughly 913,129 to 1 odds and match four numbers plus the Powerball.
Four tickets bought in New Jersey for Saturday’s $822.3 million drawing defied those odds for Saturday’s drawing.
5 numbers – $1 million
The life-changing money begins at this prize level. All you have to do to win at least $1 million is match the numbers on the five white balls drawn, but not the Powerball. Good luck overcoming the 11,688,053.52 to 1 odds, though.
5 numbers plus the Powerball – jackpot
The odds of this happening? More than 292 million to 1. But Powerball still offers a better chance than Mega Millions — the chances of buying a jackpot-winning ticket for Mega Millions are more than 301 million to 1.
The cash option for Monday’s Powerball drawing is worth an estimated $497.3 million.
There have been 37 drawings held since the jackpot was last won. A $206.9 million Powerball ticket was purchased in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, for the Aug. 3 drawing.
Five Powerball jackpots have been won in 2022. The largest was a $632.6 million jackpot hit on Jan. 5 and split by winners in California and Wisconsin.
The drawing will be held at 10:59 p.m. and televised on WABC-7 in New York City and Fox 29 in Philadelphia. NJ.com will publish the winning numbers immediately following the conclusion of the drawing.
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Jeff Goldman may be reached at email@example.com.