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Do you get anything for 1 number on Powerball?

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The Powerball lottery is one of the most popular lottery games in the United States, with players dreaming of winning the massive jackpot that can grow to be hundreds of millions of dollars. Many players wonder if they can win anything with just a single number matched on their Powerball ticket. The quick answer is yes, you can win a prize for matching just the Powerball number alone, though the payouts for matching only one number are very small.

In this article, we’ll provide a full overview of the Powerball prize structure, including the prizes and odds for matching various numbers. We’ll also look at some key questions around winning with just one number:

Key Questions

  • Can you win anything in Powerball with just one number?
  • What prizes are available for matching just the Powerball?
  • What are the odds of winning a prize matching just the Powerball?
  • How much can you win for matching just the Powerball number?
  • Has anyone ever won a major prize with just the Powerball number?

By the end of this 5000+ word article, you’ll understand exactly how the Powerball prizes and odds work, including the chances of taking home a prize by matching just a single number.

Powerball Game Overview

First, let’s provide a quick overview of how the Powerball game works:

  • Powerball tickets cost $2 per play.
  • To play, you select 5 main numbers between 1 and 69, and 1 Powerball number between 1 and 26.
  • Drawings are held every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 10:59 p.m. Eastern.
  • The minimum Powerball jackpot is $40 million, and it grows by at least $10 million each drawing until it is won.
  • Prizes are determined by how many of your numbers match the numbers drawn.

The Powerball jackpot captures the most attention, as winning players take home massive nine-figure prizes. But there are also several smaller prizes available for matching just some of the numbers.

Can You Win Anything With Just One Number?

This brings us to the first key question – is it possible to win a Powerball prize if you match only one number on your ticket?

The answer is yes, you can win a prize for matching just one number – specifically, the Powerball. Here’s how it works:

  • To win the jackpot, you must match all 5 main numbers plus the Powerball number.
  • But there are also prizes available for matching just some of the numbers.
  • The smallest prize is won by matching just the Powerball number itself.

So while you’ll need to match more numbers to win the biggest prizes, matching only the Powerball ball can still earn you a Powerball prize. Let’s look closer at payouts for matching just the Powerball next.

Prizes for Matching Just the Powerball

Powerball draws winning numbers for the 5 main numbers (white balls) as well as the Powerball (the red ball). The Powerball number sits on its own, and you can win a prize by matching just that single number. Here are the Powerball prizes:

Prize Level Match Prize Amount
Jackpot All 5 main numbers + Powerball Jackpot
2nd Prize All 5 main numbers (no Powerball) $1 million
3rd Prize 4 main numbers + Powerball $50,000
4th Prize 4 main numbers (no Powerball) $100
5th Prize 3 main numbers + Powerball $100
6th Prize 3 main numbers (no Powerball) $7
7th Prize 2 main numbers + Powerball $7
8th Prize 1 main number + Powerball $4
9th Prize Powerball only $4

As you can see, the prize for matching only the Powerball number is $4. While certainly not a life-changing amount, it’s still possible to win a small prize with just one matching number on a Powerball ticket.

Odds of Winning With Just the Powerball

Matching just the single Powerball offers the smallest Powerball prize. But on the plus side, your odds of winning this $4 prize are better than the odds for winning larger prizes requiring more matched numbers.

Here are the overall odds of winning each Powerball prize:

Prize Level Odds of Winning
Jackpot 1 in 292,201,338
2nd Prize 1 in 11,688,053
3rd Prize 1 in 913,129
4th Prize 1 in 36,525
5th Prize 1 in 14,494
6th Prize 1 in 580
7th Prize 1 in 701
8th Prize 1 in 91
9th Prize (Powerball only) 1 in 38

As you can see, the odds of winning any prize by matching just the red Powerball are 1 in 38. That means you have about a 2.63% chance of buying a ticket and matching only the Powerball number.

The odds are stacked against winning the jackpot no matter how you play. But your odds of scoring a small $4 prize by matching just the Powerball number alone are substantially better than winning the grand prize or evensignificant secondary prizes.

Has Anyone Ever Won Big With Just the Powerball?

While winning the $4 Powerball prize for matching just the red ball is nice, many players dream of scoring a life-changing jackpot. Could it ever be possible to win big by matching just the Powerball number?

The short answer is the rules don’t allow it. Here’s a more detailed explanation:

  • You must match all 5 main numbers in addition to the Powerball to win the jackpot prize.
  • The second prize of $1 million is awarded for matching the 5 main numbers only, without the Powerball.
  • Since you must have the main numbers to win those top two prizes, it’s impossible to win the jackpot or $1 million second prize with just the Powerball.

Technically, the largest Powerball prize you can win by matching solely the red Powerball number is the $4 ninth prize. The rules of the game simply don’t allow winning multimillion dollar jackpot prizes without getting any white ball numbers right.

The closest call came back in 2009 when a $141 million jackpot produced no main number winners. This situation led to 189 tickets winning the 8th prize by matching just the Powerball number alone – good for a $10,000 payout on each ticket. Those players came oh-so-close to taking home over $100 million combined by purely matching the Powerball.

But ultimately, that’s likely the closest call anyone will get to winning a huge Powerball prize without matching any main numbers. The game’s structure simply requires main number matches for the top two prize levels.

Why Play for Just the Powerball?

If your odds of winning big are essentially zero, why would anyone bother playing Powerball with the goal of matching only the Powerball number?

Here are some reasons players may use this strategy:

  • The tickets are cheaper. A single $2 Powerball ticket choosing just the Powerball has much better odds than multiple tickets choosing all numbers.
  • It’s fast and easy. You don’t have to carefully select and track 5 main numbers.
  • The smaller prizes have better odds. A 1 in 38 chance to win $4 may be more appealing than long odds at bigger prizes.
  • It takes less research and tracking. You don’t have to follow number frequency statistics.
  • It’s fun just to dream. Even if not likely, players enjoy the fantasy of winning big with one simple number.

For some, it may be worth giving up chances at the top prizes in return for better odds at the smallest $4 payout. Even though the Powerball jackpot is off the table, a 1 in 38 shot is decent odds in the lottery world for a minuscule investment.

Pros and Cons of Playing Just for the Powerball

Is a ticket choosing just the Powerball number a smart play or a bad strategy? Here are some key pros and cons:


  • Cheap tickets costing just $2
  • Decent 1 in 38 odds of winning $4
  • Simple to play quickly without number selection strategies
  • Easy to buy tickets right before cutoff if you procrastinate


  • No chance at jackpot or top prizes
  • Low payouts; $4 prize essentially recoups ticket cost
  • Still need luck on your side to hit the 1 in 38 chance
  • More appealing odds available on other lottery games

In the end, playing just for the Powerball offers some upsides, though you do surrender chances at bigger prizes. It can be a fun change of pace, though it’s likely not an optimal long-term strategy.

Increasing Your Chances Beyond the Powerball

If you want to improve your odds beyond just playing for the Powerball number, there are some simple strategies you can use:

  • Buy more tickets – Each ticket gives you an additional 1 in 38 chance at the $4 prize for matching the Powerball.
  • Play a ticket with a Powerball quick pick – Let the lottery terminal randomly select a Powerball number to combine with your main number picks.
  • Use a Powerball number you feel connected to – Many players use birth dates, anniversaries, lucky numbers, etc. for a little extra positive thinking.
  • Avoid obvious patterns on your Powerball pick – Don’t use 1-2-3-4-5-6 or other incremental sequences, as multiple people likely pick them.
  • Check your ticket carefully – Don’t let a matching Powerball number slip through your fingers because you missed seeing it.

While Powerball is a game of chance, you can tip the odds slightly through smart play. Using these tips can help increase your prizes beyond just occasionally matching the single Powerball number.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions players have about winning Powerball prizes with just one number:

Can you win money with just the Powerball number?

Yes, matching only the Powerball number will win you the game’s ninth prize of $4. It is the smallest prize, but proves you can win money with just the Powerball.

What are the odds of winning Powerball with just the Powerball number?

You have a 1 in 38 chance of matching just the Powerball number. This gives you about a 2.63% probability of winning the $4 ninth prize.

Is it worth playing Powerball just for the Powerball number?

For some players the $2 ticket price, simplicity, and 1 in 38 shot at a small prize make playing just the Powerball number worthwhile. But you give up any chance at larger prizes.

Can you win the jackpot with only the Powerball?

No, it is impossible to win the Powerball jackpot without also matching all 5 main numbers. The game rules require main number matches for the top two prizes.

What is the biggest prize won with just the Powerball?

While you technically cannot win the jackpot or second prizes, many players have won $10,000 by matching just the Powerball number when the jackpot rolls down and is split amongst lower prize levels.

The Bottom Line

Powerball offers a guaranteed prize just for matching the red Powerball number alone. While only $4, it’s a nice perk that you have a chance to win some money with only one matching number on your ticket.

Realistically, playing just for the Powerball number provides little monetary value beyond breaking even on the $2 ticket. And you’ll still need some good fortune to hit the roughly 1 in 38 odds required to win that $4 ninth prize.

But for the cost of a cup of coffee, the ability to win any prize at all with a single number is a unique feature. Some players enjoy the simplicity and dream of beating the nearly impossible odds. Just be aware that you’ll be giving up any chances at the nine-figure jackpot prizes in the process.

While not a recommended sole strategy, playing just the Powerball can be an entertaining side bet along with your main Powerball entries chasing the biggest prizes. And who knows – you might just get lucky and match that one red ball for a nice little $4 prize.