Here’s how to improve your chances of winning the Powerball lottery
Saturday’s Powerball multi-state lottery drawing has an estimated jackpot of $1.5 billion. It is the third largest lottery prize ever in US history.
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But big prizes come with small odds. A player who buys a single ticket for the November 5 Powerball has only a 1 in 292,201,338 chance of winning. That’s you much more likely to be struck by lightning.
But if you still want to play, there are a few things you should know that can improve – or worsen – your chances.
What is the Powerball Jackpot?
Let’s get this out of the way first: The estimated jackpot prize for the Saturday, November 5, 2022 Powerball lottery is $1.5 billion for those winners who choose to receive an annuity, which will be paid out over 30 years. However, almost all winners choose to receive a lump sum payment rather than waiting. The cash option for Saturday’s drawing is worth $745.9 million.
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All of this assumes that you are the only winner of the jackpot. Huge lottery prizes like this attract many more players who buy many more tickets, and the top prize is often shared between several people who happened to pick the same numbers. Should that happen, the jackpot is divided equally between the number of winning tickets.
How to choose the right lottery numbers
Many people have a lucky number or date they like to use when playing the lottery. But has that number historically shown up in drawings?
The winner of the Powerball lottery is chosen by randomly selecting five white numbered balls from a pool of 69 numbered balls, and then a red colored “Powerball” from a pool of 26.
In accordance USA Mega, the five numbers that came up the most in Powerball drawings over the past seven years are 61 (drawn 78 times), 32 (77 times), 21 and 63 (both drawn 73 times), and 69 (71 times). The most common Powerball was 24 (drawn 45 times), followed by 18 (42 times), 4 (36 times), and 13 and 21 (both 34 times). The least common numbers are 34 and 26 (both drawn 44 times) and the least common Powerball is 23.
Of course, it is only based on 802 drawings since October 7, 2015. Given a longer time period and a larger data sample, each individual number should be selected an equal number of times; The whole point of randomly selecting balls is to average out the differences over time.
Nevertheless, you may be inclined to choose one of these numbers, or to choose another “lucky” option. But think twice before you do. If other people pick the same numbers as you, you have to split the jackpot with them – and people are more likely to pick a ‘lucky’ number like 7, or a number between 1 and 31 because it represents a birthday. Avoiding these numbers doesn’t improve your chances of winning the lottery, but it does give you a very slightly improved chance of taking home the prize all by yourself. So, statistically speaking, it is better to choose unusual numbers.
Then again, if everyone picks odd numbers just for this reason, those numbers are more likely to be split, so it would actually be better to pick a regular number. Do you see how hard it is to hack this system?
States with the most lottery winners
There are 45 states that participate in the Powerball lottery, and it is also available in Washington, DC, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. But not every state has had a jackpot winner.
Since the game began in 1992, players in only 43 of those 48 locations have won the Powerball jackpot, according to Jack pocket, a third-party lottery app that allows users to buy tickets on their phone. Indiana has been the luckiest, with 39 jackpot wins, followed by Missouri with 31, and Minnesota with 22. It seems that being from one of these states means you’re more likely to win, right?
Error. All those people in those states were lucky, but not because they were more likely to win. First, some states entered the multistate pool later than others: Mississippi, for example, only started selling Powerball tickets in January 2020, so it’s no surprise that it has never produced a winner.
But more importantly: In everything to do with the lottery, you cannot escape mathematics. People in populous states like New York, New Jersey and California win more often because they have more players. Your odds do not change based on where you buy your ticket.
However, there is one factor that might actually make it a good idea to play Powerball in one state against another: Local rules about whether or not the winner can be anonymous. In places like Illinois and Kansas, winners can ask the lottery board to keep their identities secret. In states like New York, you can expect your name to be released to the media – meaning everyone in the world now knows you’re a billionaire.
The secret to winning the lottery is: Buy more tickets
Lottery is a game of chance and probability, so the best way to increase your chances of winning is to buy more tickets. If you have a 1 in 300 million chance of winning, buying another ticket doubles your odds to 2 to 300 million, another to 3 to 300 million, and so on.
Of course, while you improve your odds, your chances of taking home a billion dollars are still infinitesimal. To improve your odds in a really significant way, you need to spend a huge amount of money. Even if you spent a million dollars to buy $2 Powerball tickets this Saturday, the odds would still be overwhelmingly against you.
So play your lucky number, play an unusual number, play your date of birth, whatever. Buy one ticket or buy twenty. It doesn’t really matter.
When is the draw?
Wait, do you still want to play? Powerball drawings are held every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 PM ET. Good luck!
This article will be updated to reflect changes in the estimated jackpot.