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What are the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot?

Powerball jackpot climbs to record-setting $1.6 billion

Powerball jackpot climbs to record-setting $1.6 billion


The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292 million, and there isn’t much a player can do to increase those chances, according to one expert. 

Sure, buying multiple tickets at once does increase a player’s odds slightly, but that strategy also requires spending more upfront while running the risk of having to split the payout with another winner, Harvard University statistician Mark Glickman told CBS News.

“Even if you’re buying 50 tickets, the likelihood is that you’re almost certain to still lose and not win the jackpot,” Glickman said. “In fact, the chance at winning even $4 by playing is still pretty small.”

The Powerball jackpot grew to an estimated $1.6 billion Friday, officials announced. If the estimated figure holds after Saturday night’s drawing and someone wins the grand prize, it would set a new record for the largest lottery prize ever.

A winner has the option of receiving the prize as an annuity spread over 29 years or as a lump-sum payment of $782.4 million, officials said.

The jackpot has eluded players since Aug. 3, the last time anyone matched all five winning numbers and the Powerball. The winning numbers in Wednesday night’s drawing were 2, 11, 22, 35, 60 with a Powerball of 23.

Do “lucky” numbers work?

Of course, the likelihood of one person winning it all is vanishingly small. Statistically speaking, a Powerball player has a far better chance of being attacked by a grizzly bear at Yellowstone National Park — about 1 in 2.7 million, according to the National Park Service — or of finding a blue lobster in the ocean (1 in 2 million).

Massive lottery jackpots have become more common in recent years as lottery officials adjust game rules and ticket prices to pump up the top prizes. The most recent tweak came in August when Powerball officials added an additional drawing day — going from two drawings a week to three — in an effort to boost prizes and lottery ticket sales.

Glickman said the best number-picking strategy is to have no strategy at all. A computer randomly generates the winning digits, so he suggests avoiding techniques such as picking numbers tied to a birthday or anniversary. It’s better to use a random ticket number generator — also known as quick picks — because those machines better match what the Powerball might do, Glickman said. 

“Really the best thing you can do is be level-headed about it [and] not buy too many tickets because you’re throwing away your money,” he said. “The key is to pick your picks at random because that will lower your chances of splitting the money with other people.” 

New Yorkers share their Powerball jackpot strategies, dreams


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