Along with Mega Millions Powerball is one of the two big multi-state lottery games in the USA and is played in 44 states, plus the U.S Virgin Islands, Washington D.C and Puerto Rico, every Wednesday and Saturday night. The first Powerball draw was held on Wednesday 22nd April 1992, and since then the rules of the game have evolved into their current format over the years. The jackpot has a minimum value of $40 million, but rollovers can allow the top prize to soar past $300 million, and the biggest Powerball prize payout on record weighed in at $1.58 billion. This record jackpot was shared between three ticket holders – John and Lisa Robinson from Munford in Tennessee, Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt from Melbourne Beach, Florida, and Marvin and Mae Acosta from Chino Hills in California.

Players are required to pick five main numbers from 1 to 69 and one Powerball number from 1 to 26. To help players distinguish between them, the main numbers are white and the Powerball numbers are red. Entering the game is a simple matter of marking your desired numbers on a playslip (or virtual playslip if you play the game online), selecting how many draws you want to play for and paying for the tickets.

Powerball Prize Levels

Powerball has nine prize levels, including the jackpot itself. Details of how to win at each level, together with the odds of doing so and the prizes paid out in each tier are shown in the tables below:

Powerball Without Power Play Option
Match Odds of Winning Prize
Match 5 main numbers + Powerball 1 in 292,201,338 Jackpot
Match 5 main numbers only 1 in 11,688,053.52 $1 million
Match 4 main numbers + Powerball 1 in 913,129.18 $50,000
Match 4 main numbers only 1 in 36,525.16 $100
Match 3 main numbers + Powerball 1 in 14,494.11 $100
Match 3 main numbers only 1 in 579.76 $7
Match 2 main numbers + Powerball 1 in 701.32 $7
Match 1 main number + Powerball 1 in 91.97 $4
Match the Powerball only 1 in 38.32 $4
The overall odds of winning any Powerball prize are 1 in 24.87.

Powerball players, with the exception of those in California, also have the option of including Power Play where, for an additional fee, all non-jackpot or Match 5 prizes are multiplied between two and five times depending on the Power Play ball drawn. A Power Play ball of 10 may also be drawn when the estimated jackpot is $150 million or lower. Players in the Match 5 winning tier who have opted to include Power Play will have the standard $1 million prize doubled to a tidy $2 million no matter which multiplier they match.

Odds when 10x Multiplier is in Place (Jackpot Worth $150 Million or Less):

Power Play Multiplier Odds
10x 1 in 43
5x 1 in 21.5
4x 1 in 14.33
3x 1 in 3.31
2x 1 in 1.79

Odds when 10x Multiplier is not in Place (Jackpot Worth More than $150 Million):

Power Play Multiplier Odds
5x 1 in 21
4x 1 in 14
3x 1 in 3.23
2x 1 in 1.75

Winning the Powerball Jackpot

Anyone who wins a Powerball jackpot has the choice of receiving their cash prize in a series of 30 annual instalments (with the first instalment paid immediately) or as a smaller cash lump sum. Note that federal, state and other taxes may be payable on the jackpot prize and that in most states the name of the winner and the city in which he or she resides will need to be made public in order to comply with state law.


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