Categories
BLOG

how to pick lottery numbers for powerball

How Powerball Works and What You Need to Know to Win

The Ultimate Guide to Playing and Winning the Powerball Lottery

Do you have questions about Powerball? Read this guide to learn what it is, how you enter, how to boost your odds of winning, and much more.

What Is the Powerball Lottery?

Powerball is a multi-state lottery. It runs in all but six of the US states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

It replaced the Lotto*America lottery in 1992, becoming the first lottery game to use two drums to draw winners. One drum is used for the white balls and one for the red “Power” ball, which gives the lottery its name.

It offers one jackpot, which increases every time that no winning jackpot ticket is sold, and a variety of smaller cash prizes.

How Powerball Drawings Work

Winners are drawn on Wednesday and Saturday nights at 10:12 PM Central Time. The drawings are conducted at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. The winning numbers are announced on television, on the Powerball website, in newspapers, and online.

In order to win the jackpot, players must correctly match all five white balls as well as the red Powerball.

There’s no guarantee that a jackpot will be awarded in every drawing. If no one picks all six winning numbers, the jackpot rolls over to the next drawing.

As jackpot values soar, more and more people buy tickets, so a larger percentage of the possible number combinations are sold. Eventually, it becomes nearly impossible for a drawing to occur without a winner.

The Powerball Lottery’s jackpot starts at $40 million and grows by at least $10 million each time the jackpot is not awarded. The jackpot can, and often does, reach values of hundreds of millions of dollars. As of 2016, the largest lottery jackpot in the history of the world was a Powerball jackpot worth over $1.5 billion dollars.

But there’s more to Powerball than just the jackpot prizes. In every drawing, other cash prizes worth between $4 and $2,000,000 are also awarded. The value of the prizes depends on how many numbers a player has guessed correctly, and the number of prizes awarded in each drawing is limited only by how many people make correct guesses.

How Much Does It Cost to Play Powerball?

Basic Powerball cards cost $2 apiece. For an additional dollar, you can add the PowerPlay option, which increases the size of your prize if you correctly guess one to five qualifying numbers. So the maximum cost of a single Powerball ticket is $3.

How Does PowerPlay Work?

If you purchase the PowerPlay option, the value of any prize you win for matching fewer than five balls will be multiplied by a randomly-drawn value between two and five. If the jackpot is worth less than $150 million, a 10x multiplier will be added to the mix.

For the payouts for matching five or six balls, the PowerPlay option works differently. The million-dollar prize that’s awarded for matching five white balls without the PowerBall is always doubled to $2 million with the PowerPlay option. The other multipliers don’t come into play.

The PowerPlay doesn’t affect the size of the jackpot, which is fixed whether you purchase the PowerPlay option or not. No multipliers apply to jackpot payouts.

How Do You Play Powerball?

Powerball is a two-drum lottery game. One drum holds 69 white balls, while the other drum holds 26 red balls. Only one red ball will be drawn, and that red ball is called the Powerball.

When you buy your ticket, you select five numbers, which will be drawn from the first drum with the white balls, and one Powerball number. The winning Powerball number will be drawn from the second drum with the red balls.

You can choose your Powerball numbers or you can use Quick Pick, which draws your numbers for you at random.

Do Powerball Numbers Have to Be In the Right Order to Win?

The order of your first five Powerball numbers doesn’t affect your chances of winning. If you pick the numbers 1 3 9 13 17 and the Powerball 6, and the winning numbers come up 17 9 1 3 13 (6), you’ll still win the jackpot.

However, you must correctly guess the Powerball to win the jackpot. So in the example above, if the winning numbers come up 17 9 6 3 13 (1), you would not be a jackpot winner.

How Many Balls Do You Need to Win a Powerball Prize?

To win a Powerball prize, you only need to pick one single number correctly: the red Powerball.

Picking the Powerball alone will award you a $4 prize, which means that with a $2 purchase, you have one in 26 odds of doubling your investment in your ticket (there are 26 red balls to choose from).

To win the Powerball Jackpot, you need to match all five white balls in any order, as well as the red Powerball.

Here are all the Powerball payouts:

Basic Powerball Payouts:

  • 5 Correct White Balls and the Powerball: Jackpot (starts at $40 million, has no upper limit)
  • 5 Correct White Balls, but no Powerball: $1,000,000
  • 4 Correct White Balls and the Powerball: $10,000
  • 4 Correct White Balls, but no Powerball: $100
  • 3 Correct White Balls and the Powerball: $100
  • 3 Correct White Balls, but no Powerball: $7
  • 2 Correct White Balls and the Powerball: $7
  • 1 Correct White Ball and the Powerball: $4
  • No White Balls, Just the Powerball: $4

Payouts for Powerball with PowerPlay:

  • 5 Correct White Balls and the Powerball: Jackpot
  • 5 Correct White Balls, but no Powerball: $2,000,000
  • 4 Correct White Balls and the Powerball: $20,000 – $100,000*
  • 4 Correct White Balls, but no Powerball: $200 – $1,000*
  • 3 Correct White Balls and the Powerball: $200 – $1,000*
  • 3 Correct White Balls, but no Powerball: $14 – $70*
  • 2 Correct White Balls and the Powerball: $14 – $70*
  • 1 Correct White Ball and the Powerball: $8 – $40*
  • No White Balls, Just the Powerball: $8 – $40*

*The exact payout will depend on whether a 2X, 3X, 4X, 5X, or 10X multiplier was drawn at random. The 10X multiplier is available only when the jackpot is worth less than $150 million.

What Are the Odds of Winning Powerball?

Powerball.com lists the odds of winning a Powerball prize  . As of February 25, 2020, the odds were listed as follows:

  • 5 White Balls and Powerball (Jackpot): 1 in 292,201,338
  • 5 White Balls, but no Powerball: 1 in 11,688,053.52
  • 4 Correct White Balls and the Powerball: 1 in 913,129.18
  • 4 Correct White Balls, but no Powerball: 1 in 36,525.17
  • 3 Correct White Balls and the Powerball: 1 in 14,494.11
  • 3 Correct White Balls, but no Powerball: 1 in 579.76
  • 2 Correct White Balls and the Powerball: 1 in 701.33
  • 1 Correct White Ball and the Powerball: 1 in 91.98
  • No White Balls, Just the Powerball: 1 in 38.32
  • Overall Odds of Winning Any Prize: 1 in 24.87

What Is Powerball Multi-Draw?

Powerball Multi-Draw lets you easily play the same numbers on up to 26 consecutive drawings at the same time. Using Multi-Draw helps ensure you don’t miss a drawing.

You can also choose the Future Drawing option on your Powerball ticket to play on specific dates. So if you feel like an upcoming date will be particularly lucky for you (maybe a birthday, anniversary, or a date containing a lucky number), you can be sure you won’t forget to play on that day.

Is There a Secret to Winning Powerball?

The Powerball.com FAQ Page points out that if you buy a Powerball card for every possible red ball, you’ll be guaranteed to win at least the small prize. Of course, you’ll have spent $52 to guarantee a $4 win, but if you match some of the white balls on those 39 cards as well, your total winnings will be higher.

Other than that, there’s no secret to choosing winning numbers that will improve your odds. The number draw is totally random. Some people enjoy trying to work out a lottery strategy, but don’t put too much faith in them.

However, read these lottery-winning tips that really work to find no-nonsense tips that can raise your chances of winning.

If you have friends or coworkers who enjoy playing the lottery, you can also join together to increase your odds of winning without paying more money by using a lottery pool.

Is Playing Powerball Worthwhile?

Whenever the Powerball jackpot gets really big, tons of people start entering for the chance of winning hundreds of millions of dollars. After all, about one in five people believe that the best way to get rich is to hit a lottery jackpot. But does it make sense to play Powerball?

There’s no definitive answer to that question. But statisticians have devised a formula to help you determine whether the risk is worth the potential payoff. To find out what that formula is and how it works, read the entertaining and informative article, Is Powerball a Mug’s Game? from Slate.

Which States Do Not Participate in the Powerball Lottery?

The Powerball Lottery is not available in Nevada, Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Alaska, and Hawaii.

How Will You Know When You Win the Powerball Lottery?

To find out if you’ve won a Powerball prize, you need to check your numbers. If you are contacted by someone telling you you’ve won a jackpot, you’re probably dealing with a lottery scam.

Many television stations broadcast the Powerball drawings live. You can also check your local newspaper or Google for the results online.

You can bring your ticket to a gas station, convenience store, or other location which sells tickets, to let them check your winnings for you. Just be sure to sign your ticket first, to avoid being scammed out of a win. It’s best to ask for the winning numbers and check yourself than to hand over your ticket and ask if you’ve won.

There are also lottery apps that make it easy to check winning numbers. Some will even notify you if the tickets you have purchased come up as winners.

If you want to check the winning numbers online, see my list of winning lottery numbers by state for the right links.

What to Read Next?

Want to know more about winning the lottery? Check out How to Play the MegaMillions Lottery.

Want to hear about some lottery winners you definitely won’t envy? Read about these Lottery Curse Victims. Then find out how to avoid becoming one yourself by reading How to Win the Lottery Without Losing Your Shirt.

If you are hoping to become a jackpot winner, find out what you should consider before claiming your prize?

And if you are wondering how states use the money they bring in from their tickets, read where does lottery money go? Good luck!

How does Powerball work? How do you play Powerball, how much does it cost, and what's a guaranteed (yes, guaranteed!) way to win it? Find out here.

The Most Common Winning Powerball Lottery Numbers (and Other Tricks for Winning Big)

Your chances aren’t great, but they could be better. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

You want a piece of the pie. I do, too. Heck, in 2016, three lucky winners split the highest-recorded Powerball lottery jackpot of $1.6 billion. After paying Uncle Sam, each winner took home over $300 million. That’s a good day by anyone’s standards.

As the old saying goes, “You can’t win if you don’t play.” Agreed. But how do you win? Obviously, a strong stroke of luck must be ever in your favor, but is there a rhyme or reason to the way Powerball is played? According to seven-time lottery winner Richard Lustig, you need a plan of attack when you’re playing.

But before we get into the plan, make sure you know how to play the game. You have better odds of being struck by lightning than you do of winning the lottery. Nevertheless, here’s a quick rundown. Powerball uses two drums to pull those ever-so-familiar numbered balls. The first drum consists of 69 balls from which the first five winning numbers are chosen. From the second drum, 26 red balls tumble around, and only one is pulled. That’s the Powerball. If you choose the same six numbers that are pulled from the two drums, well, you just won the jackpot, and you can quit your day job.

So you didn’t win the jackpot. That’s cool. You can still win some cold hard cash with that ticket. Any matching numbers will win you anywhere from $4 to $1 million. What’s even cooler, if you choose the Powerplay option, you’ll increase those winnings by two times or more.

Now that you know the rules, how do you choose your numbers? Lottery players have their systems, and many of them like to stick with that system. Some numbers seem to be pulled more than others. Here are some of the most commonly pulled Powerball numbers and ways to increase your chances of winning big.

1. The most commonly pulled primary Powerball numbers

The top 10 most commonly pulled primary Powerball numbers are 26, 16, 41, 32, 22, 23, 28, 42, 39, and 10 as of November 2017, according to LottoNumbers. These are the numbers pulled from the first drum of white balls, and they have all been pulled over 250 times. You may want to put those in your back pocket when it comes time to choose your numbers.

2. The most common Powerball numbers

Check your Powerball number, even if you don’t win the rest. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

It’s the big number — the one you must have to win the jackpot. In descending order, LottoNumbers says the 10 most commonly pulled Powerball numbers are 6, 20, 9, 11, 2, 12, 18, 10, 26, and 1, as of November 2017. If the Powerball number on your lottery ticket matches that of the one chosen from the drum, you can win anywhere from $4 to $40.

3. What’s the deal with the Quick Picks?

You can let the computer pick for you. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Quick Pick lottery numbers are generated by the computer. Seven-time lottery winner Lustig stands beside the notion that opting for Quick Pick lottery tickets is the lazy approach to playing the game. And perhaps it is, but that doesn’t mean the Quick Picks are not winners. After all, 70% of previous winners have been Quick Picks.

4. Not a quick picker? Choose significant numbers

You can choose your numbers. | Warren-Pender/iStock/Getty Images

When it comes to choosing your own numbers, have fun with it. But don’t forget the spread of the numbers. You have the option to choose five numbers between 1 and 69, and one number between 1 and 26. Keeping those numbers in mind, make sure you are not limiting your choices to just anniversaries and birthdays. Using those significant dates won’t always give you access to the higher end of the number options.

5. Know the overdue numbers

Some numbers should be on the verge of a win. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Some numbers are chosen more often than others, but that doesn’t mean they are never chosen. A few of the numbers that are considered to be overdue (as of November 2017) for the pulling are 46, 2, 5, 40, 33, 11, 47, 36, 9, and 60. If your favorite numbers are some of the overdue ones, this does not necessarily mean you should switch them up.

6. Don’t shy away from unpopular numbers

You never know what will get picked. | Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

For some reason, we all have our lucky numbers. Some of those lucky numbers would be considered unpopular in the lottery game. For instance, 13 is unpopular and often considered unlucky too, but I love that number. Other unlucky or unpopular numbers are in the upper range: 32, 34, 40, and 46.

7. Avoid constantly switching it up

Hold on to the numbers you like. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Lustig stands behind his theory of avoiding the incessant changing of numbers. If you are opting out of Quick Picks to choose your own numbers, keep them. Do a little research to determine whether the numbers you choose seem to be a good set. If they are, hold on to them.

8. Buy more tickets

The more you buy, the higher your odds. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The odds of winning the lottery increase when you purchase more tickets. That’s a given. By all means, avoid spending money on lottery tickets that is allocated for groceries, your mortgage, and your children’s school lunch. But if you really want to win, buying more tickets is a surefire way to increase your odds. Also, be consistent with your game playing. Finally, tune in to make sure you don’t miss out on winnings.

Certain Powerball lottery numbers are chosen more commonly than others. Here's what you need to know about choosing yours. ]]>