For those who have purchased a Powerball ticket for tonight’s drawing, they will anxiously be waiting for the announcement of the winning numbers tonight. Anyone with a winning ticket will be set for life as long as they are smart about winning, since it’s the fifth largest lottery prize in US history. It’s the things that dreams are made of, and winning has the potential to drastically change the winner’s life.
The truth is, however, picking those winning numbers is extremely unlikely to happen. The lottery lists the odds of winning the grand prize jackpot at 1 in 175,223,520. To put that into perspective, the odds say you’re 17 times more likely to become the president of the United States than you are to winning tonight’s lottery drawing. You’re also 30 times more likely to walk away with a gold medal at the Olympics than you are winning tonight.
That being said, the grand prize isn’t the only prize available, even if it’s the only one people focus on when the jackpot grows as large as it has. There are nine different ways to win, including a $4 prize if you manage to only get the Powerball number correct. In all, you have odds of 1 in 31.85 of winning some type of prize in the contest.
While you can technically increase your odds of winning by purchasing more tickets, it’s still so unlikely that it’s not an advisable approach to take. If you do decide to participate, you should do so for purely entertainment reasons, and only use money set aside for these purposes. You also want to leave some extra cash around in case nobody wins tonight, since that would mean the $500 million would roll over to the next drawing which would likely be the biggest Powerball jackpot ever.
While not a way to increase your odds, a way to increase your chances of not splitting the prize with another person is to choose numbers above 31 when choosing. This is because a lot of people choose lucky numbers based on birthdays, anniversaries and other important days in their life. By eliminating the large number of people who choose numbers this way, you better the chances you won’t have to split the pot with others.
You may want to even forgo picking your lucky numbers and choose instead to opt for a quick-pick. It’s estimated that approximately 70% to 80% of winning tickets come from computer quick-picks rather than from individually chosen numbers. Then again, this is somewhat deceiving since many more people use quick-pick numbers than those who choose their own.