The Powerball got its start by being the little sister to the ever-popular lottery draw Mega Millions. The game was changed in January 2012 and then again in October 2015, with the Powerball now ranking as one of the biggest lottery draws games in the world today. After the round of changes in 2012 roughly one in two (50 out of 104) Powerball jackpots were over $100 million. The odds are also pretty good in the Powerball, depending on the prize you’re after. You have a 1 in 24.87 chance of winning a small prize. The odds for winning the jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338.
Pushing the Powerball to the very top has been some of the biggest lottery-draw jackpots in history. If you have your eyes locked on this stateside lotto draw, then make sure you bear all of the following in mind.
The Basics of Powerball
Powerball draws are held twice a week on Wednesday and Saturday. Draws are held at 10:59 PM (EST). In the draw 5 balls are drawn from a pool of 69 with the 6th ball being the Powerball. To win the jackpot you need to match up the 5 numbers, as well as the Powerball itself. Ensure that you take a look at the website to see the numbers if you miss the draw, so that you know if you were lucky enough to win the jackpot.
The History of Powerball
The Powerball has been a part of the lottery draw landscape since 1992. It was introduced after the rebranding of Lotto America. The first ever Powerball draw took place on April 22nd, 1992. The Powerball has since expanded and now 47 states and territories get in on the fun and are able to vie for the $40 million minimum jackpot.
One famous and funny moment in the history of Powerball happened in March 2005. 110 players were able to match up five numbers without landing the Powerball. The draw was 22, 28, 32, 33, and 39. The Powerball lottery team still paid out up to $20 million in prizes despite their suspicions. It would later turn out that a New York biscuit company called Wonton Food put some genuinely lucky numbers in their fortune cookies. In a remarkable coincidence the 110 people who listened to their cookies were just 2 off of the jackpot as the fortune cookies predicted that 40 would be the Powerball when it was actually 42.
Players will usually have up to a year to claim the Powerball prizes though different states can have different rules. The money raised by the lottery goes to whatever the state chooses to invest it in, with most of the money going towards education.
Changes to Powerball
The Powerball was changed dramatically in 2015 and these changes meant that players were more likely to see a larger jackpot. When you include the starting jackpot of $40 million, you’ve got one of the most rewarding and exciting lottery games in the world.
The main change in 2015 was the addition of 10 more balls to increase the total to 69. At the same time however the amount of balls in the Powerball pool was reduced from 35 to 26. While this does make it harder to win the jackpot (1 in 292 million) it’s much easier to win a smaller prize (1 in 24.87). The first draw using these new rules occurred on October 7th. Along with the changes to ball amounts the tier three prizes, won by matching 4 balls and the Powerball, was increased to $50,000.
The starting jackpot was changed in 2012 and a $1 million prize for matching five numbers resulted in more Powerball millionaires than ever before. Small time winners also benefited from these changes, however as even the minimum prize was increased and is now worth $4.
How to Play Powerball
Start by buying a ticket and choosing five different numbers between 1 and 69. You also need to choose your Powerball from between 1 and 26. It’s recommended that you play using Power Play, but more on that in a minute. When you’ve got your ticket you just need to wait for the draw on Wednesday. It really is as simple as that. You’ll soon be on the hunt for those big jackpots.
Powerball Prizes and Jackpots
The Powerball jackpot is won when you match up your five numbers, along with the Powerball. You can have it paid out over the course of 29 years in 30 payments, or in one giant cash lump sum, depending on the lottery results. If you choose to take the money then you receive it, pay tax on it, and spend the rest how you want. If you choose to have it paid annually then you can invest the first payment, which is tax-free. Investing your winnings gives you greater earnings potential. The amount you receive is also inflated by 5% to keep up with the cost of living, making the winning lotto result even more fruitful.
The second Powerball prize is a $1 million cash prize awarded when you match up five balls without the Powerball. This prize is paid out in one lump sum. You also win a prize by matching up at least 3 of your white balls. If you match the Powerball, even if you don’t match up any white numbers, then you still win a prize. Overall your odds of winning are roughly 1 in 25, with there being 9 different ways to win.
A ticket to the Powerball costs just $2. You can buy a ticket up to one hour before the draw but some states have different cut-off points. Make sure you know when your cut-off time is so you aren’t left out.
Power Play “Power Play”
The “Power Play” is a special option that allows you to win more from a regular ticket (i.e prizes that are not the jackpot). The power play costs an extra dollar and you have to opt in when purchasing your ticket. When you play Power Play and match a prize in the lotto draw that isn’t the jackpot you’ll receive an even larger prize. Matching all five regular numbers within the lotto result goes from being worth $1 million to $2 million, though there’s still no annuity option. All the other lower-end prizes will be multiplied by the number drawn, which will be 2x, 3x, 4x, or 5x. A 10x multiplier was added in October of 2015, along with the chance to be drawn for all jackpots worth less than $150 million. In the chance that a number of people win the same prize the prize may be lowered to ensure that everyone wins a notable amount.
Behold the Power of Powerball!
While Powerball wasn’t much to look at when it was first introduced, it’s obvious the game has matured and become one of the best lottery games in the world today. Next time you are thinking or trying your hand at securing a lotto result, bear the Powerball in mind!