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6 Facts About Wednesday’s $400 Million Powerball Lottery Jackpot

Powerball/New Jersey Lottery

The latest Powerball Lottery is estimated at $400 million, which would make it the fourth biggest Powerball jackpot and nation’s sixth-largest jackpot ever.

Powerball, which calls itself America’s favorite lottery, is played in New Jersey and 42 other States, Washington D.C. and the US Virgin Islands.

Powerball is a combined large jackpot game and a cash game. Every Wednesday and Saturday night at 10:59 p.m., they draw five white balls out of a drum with 59 balls and one red ball out of a drum with 35 red balls.

With thanks to Newsnet 5 in Cleveland, here are six facts to know before you buy your Powerball tickets for big $400 million jackpot drawing.


Remember, a person’s odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 175 million. That’s how many combinations are possible with the game’s five white balls and one red ball. In this case, there have been 11 drawings since August 10 without a winner.


A major revamp in January 2012 increased the cost of a Powerball ticket from $1 to $2. It also led to larger jackpots in smaller amounts of time. Of the top 10 Powerball jackpots of all time, nearly half have been recorded after the game change.


Since the revamp, a secondary $1 million prize has made some losers happy anyway. More than 730 people have won $1 million, and more than 120 people have won $2 million through the Power Play option. The last two years have produced an entirely new Top 7, including record jackpots for Powerball, Mega Millions and all U.S. lotteries.


There’s technically no need to wait for a larger jackpot. Whether the jackpot is $40 million or $400 million, your odds of winning the top prize are the same. Whether you buy 1 ticket or 10 tickets, your odds are pretty much the same. A higher jackpot just means there’s a higher chance there will be more than one winning ticket.


The chance of a person’s combination being selected remains astronomically high, though the chance that some set of six numbers will be selected is 1. That means even though your chances of winning are slim, the chances that someone else will win are high. Ronald Wasserstein, executive director of the American Statistical Association, said that’s what makes people think it could be them. When it’s probably not.


Remember, you’re probably not going to win. Wasserstein said it’s hard for people to grasp how small their chances actually are, since no one can really see 175 million of anything. Wasserstein tries to break it down. Take 175 million one-dollar bills and lay them out. Pick one lucky dollar bill that will win you all $175 million. You can line up those dollar bills twice along the edges of the continental United States. Or you can cover 380 football fields. Imagine picking the one lucky dollar bill from those fields, and that’s your chance of winning the Powerball jackpot on a single ticket.


$656 million, Mega Millions, won March 30, 2012

$648 million, Mega Millions, for Dec. 17, 2013

$590.5 million, Powerball, won May 18, 2013

$587.5 million, Powerball, won Nov. 28, 2012

$448.4 million, Powerball, for Aug. 7, 2013

$400 million (estimated), Powerball, for the Feb. 19, 2014

$399.4 million, Powerball, for Sept. 18, 2013

$390 million, Mega Millions, won March 6, 2007

$380 million, Mega Millions, won Jan. 4, 2011

$365 million, Powerball, won Feb. 18, 2006



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