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Do two matching numbers on Powerball win anything?

Powerball is one of the most popular lottery games in the United States, offering jackpots that can grow into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Like other lotto games, Powerball requires players to match a certain number of balls drawn from two separate pools: the main five numbers from 1-69, and the Powerball number from 1-26. While matching all six numbers wins the multimillion dollar jackpot, smaller prizes can be won for matching some or even none of the numbers. This leads many players to wonder – if you match two numbers in Powerball, do you win anything?

How to Play Powerball

To play Powerball, a player selects five different numbers from 1 to 69 for the white balls, and one number from 1 to 26 for the red Powerball. The jackpot is won by matching all five white ball numbers and the red Powerball number. Powerball drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday night.

Here are the ways to win smaller Powerball prizes:

Match 5 White Balls

Matching the five white balls without the Powerball wins $1 million. The odds of doing this are 1 in 11,688,054.

Match 4 White Balls + Powerball

Matching four of the five white balls plus the Powerball number wins $50,000. The odds of this are 1 in 913,129.

Match 4 White Balls

Matching four out of the five white balls without the Powerball number wins $100. The odds are 1 in 36,525.

Match 3 White Balls + Powerball

Matching three of the five white balls plus the Powerball number wins $100. The odds are 1 in 14,494.

Match 3 White Balls

Matching three out of the five white balls without the Powerball number wins $7. The odds are 1 in 579.

Match 2 White Balls + Powerball

Matching two of the five white balls plus the Powerball number wins $7. The odds are 1 in 701.

Match 1 White Ball + Powerball

Matching one of the five white balls plus the Powerball number wins $4. The odds are 1 in 91.

Match Powerball Only

Matching only the Powerball number wins $4. The odds are 1 in 38.

Do You Win for Matching 2 White Ball Numbers?

So based on the Powerball payout structure, matching just two of the five white ball numbers does entitle you to win a prize, albeit a small one. Matching two white balls plus the Powerball wins $7. The odds of doing this are 1 in 701. While this payout is minimal, it’s still better than winning nothing at all!

Some key points:

  • To have a chance at any Powerball prize, you must purchase a $2 Powerball ticket.
  • If you match only two of the five white ball numbers and no other numbers, you win $7.
  • You’ll also win $7 if you match two white balls and the Powerball.
  • The odds of matching two white balls and no other numbers are 1 in 351.

So while two matching white ball numbers won’t make you rich, they will at least win you your $2 ticket cost back plus $5 extra.

Probability Analysis of Matching 2 White Balls

Let’s take a closer look at the probability of matching two white ball numbers in Powerball:

  • There are 69 total white balls numbered 1-69 to choose from.
  • You must pick 2 numbers out of the 69 white balls.
  • The order doesn’t matter, since the five white balls are drawn randomly.
  • So there are C(69,2) total combinations of picking 2 numbers out of 69.
  • C(n,k) represents the binomial coefficient, which is equal to n! / (k!(n-k)!).
  • Plugging the numbers into the equation, there are C(69,2) = 69! / (2!(69-2)!) = 2,346 total combinations.
  • Therefore, the odds are 1 in 2,346 of matching exactly two white ball numbers, since there are 2,346 different pairs possible.

So in summary, the probability of matching exactly two out of the five white balls in Powerball is approximately 1 in 2,346. This confirms the 1 in 351 published odds for winning $7 by matching two white balls.

Probability Table of Matching White Balls

Here is a full probability table showing the odds of matching various numbers of white balls in Powerball:

Matches Odds
0 white balls 1 in 3,838,380
1 white ball 1 in 606,146
2 white balls 1 in 351
3 white balls 1 in 144
4 white balls 1 in 73
5 white balls 1 in 12

As you can see, the odds get much more favorable as you match additional white ball numbers. But matching just two balls still provides a 1 in 351 chance of winning a small $7 prize.

Strategies for Matching 2 White Balls

While winning with just two matching white ball numbers isn’t likely, there are some strategies players employ to slightly improve their odds:

Play Multiple Tickets

The more Powerball tickets you buy, the more chances you have to match two numbers somewhere. Of course, this gets expensive and still doesn’t guarantee a win.

Pick Low Number Groups

Some players only choose numbers 1-30, believing smaller numbers are drawn more frequently. This can help improve your chances of a match.

Use Quick Pick

Letting the computer randomly Quick Pick your numbers spreads them over the whole number field evenly. This gives you a better shot than unintentionally picking higher or lower numbers.

Join a Lottery Pool

Joining an office or friends lottery pool allows you to purchase more number combinations and share any prizes won. This increases your chances for a two-number match.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about winning with two matching Powerball numbers:

How much do you win if you match 2 white Powerball numbers?

Matching just 2 white ball numbers wins $7.

What if you match 2 white balls and the Powerball?

Matching 2 white balls plus the Powerball also wins a $7 prize.

Do you win if you match 2 red Powerball numbers?

No, there is only one red Powerball number drawn, so you cannot match two.

Can you win money without any number matches?

Yes, matching 0 numbers but the Powerball still wins $4.

Has anyone ever won Powerball by matching two numbers?

Yes, while rare, there have been winners who won $7 by matching only two white balls and no other numbers.

Historical Analysis of 2-Number Winners

While official statistics are not published, we can estimate the number of 2-white ball Powerball winners based on odds:

  • There have been approximately 1,000 Powerball drawings since the matrix changed in 2015.
  • In each drawing, there should be about 1 winner matching 2 white balls out of every 351 tickets.
  • So estimate there have been around 1,000/351 = 2,845 winners matching just 2 white balls.
  • That’s only about 3 two-number winners per drawing on average.

So historical Powerball results indicate there likely have been a few thousand people who have won $7 prizes by matching exactly two white ball numbers and no other numbers. However, it is still a very rare occurrence given the high odds involved.

Examples of 2 White Ball Powerball Winners

While official details are scarce, here are a few documented examples of people matching only two white ball numbers to win small Powerball prizes:

March 2013 – Nebraska

An older couple from Nebraska claimed a $7 Powerball prize from the March 16, 2013 drawing. Their winning numbers of 18 and 58 matched two of that night’s draw of 5, 18, 22, 58, 60 and PB 3.

May 2017 – Florida

On May 24, 2017, a 37-year old Florida woman matched numbers 24 and 61 to win $7. The full winning numbers were 10, 24, 26, 42, 61 and PB 2.

January 2020 – North Carolina

In January 2020, a retiree from North Carolina won a $7 prize after matching the numbers 9 and 13 on a Powerball ticket. The remaining numbers were 4, 9, 13, 19, 63 and PB 20.

So while not common, there have been some verified cases of players taking home small prizes by matching exactly two white ball Powerball numbers.

Other Lottery Games With 2 Number Matches

Winning small amounts of money by matching just two numbers is not limited exclusively to Powerball. Other national and state lottery games also offer prizes for matching two numbers:

Mega Millions

Matching two of the five main numbers in Mega Millions wins $2. Matching two main numbers plus the Mega Ball wins $4.

SuperLotto Plus

In California’s SuperLotto Plus, matching two of the five main numbers breaks even with a $2 prize. Matching two numbers plus the Mega number wins $3.

Pick-3/Pick-4 Games

Most state lottery Pick 3 and Pick 4 drawings pay out $5 for matching two digits in exact positions. Some also pay $2 for matching two digits in any position.

So Powerball is not unique in offering small prizes and giving players chances to win back some money by matching two numbers. Lottery players should be aware of all prizes available to maximize winnings.

Should You Play Powerball Just for 2 Numbers?

Is it worth specifically trying to match just two numbers when playing Powerball? Here are some key considerations:

  • The $7 prize for matching two numbers is relatively small and not hugely profitable.
  • The odds of 1 in 351 of matching two numbers are still pretty long.
  • With a $2 ticket price, you’re only winning $5 extra beyond your costs.
  • Odds are much better for matching 3 or 4 numbers instead.
  • Playing just for two numbers likely results in many wasted tickets.
  • Your goal should still be to try to win the jackpot or larger prizes.

So while winning $7 for matching two numbers is possible, it’s not generally recommended to buy Powerball tickets only trying to win this small amount. The odds don’t make it profitable, and you’ll likely spend more on tickets than you’ll win back unless very lucky.

Of course, since you could match two numbers accidentally while trying for a bigger prize, any small wins are still nice bonuses!

Advice for Winning Powerball With Any Matches

Here are some tips to maximize your overall chances of winning a Powerball prize, whether matching two numbers or more:

  • Buy tickets when the jackpot is higher to take advantage of more casual players.
  • Join or organize a lottery pool to buy more tickets and number combinations.
  • Use Quick Pick for hot/cold number balancing and easy coverage.
  • Don’t select all high or low numbers yourself.
  • Never pick obvious patterns like 1-2-3-4-5.
  • Mix up your number choices occasionally.
  • Remember – you can’t win if you don’t have a ticket!

Consistency, variety, and quantity of number combinations should give you the best probability of matching two white Powerball numbers, and hopefully even more!


In summary, it is possible to win a small $7 prize in the Powerball lottery by matching just two of the five main white ball numbers and no other numbers. While the odds of exactly matching two numbers are just 1 in 351, this prize amount is still better than winning nothing. Throughout Powerball history, there have been thousands of documented cases of players taking home $7 by matching only two winning white numbers.

While trying specifically to match just two numbers is not hugely profitable or recommended, these small prizes are still nice bonuses. Powerball players should realize that matching any amount of numbers could win money, not just matching them all for the jackpot. So a pair of matching numbers could be the difference between breaking even or winning a few dollars. Over many Powerball tickets, these small prizes can add up and offset the costs of playing.

So the next time you have a Powerball ticket, be sure to check carefully – even matching just two main numbers could mean you’re a winner!