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Do you need the powerplay on Powerball?

The Powerball lottery is one of the most popular lottery games in the United States, with jackpots that can grow into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Many players wonder if it’s worth it to pay extra for the Power Play option when buying Powerball tickets. Here is a look at what the Power Play is, how it works, and whether it’s a good idea to get it.

What is the Power Play?

The Power Play is an add-on option that can be purchased along with a Powerball ticket for an extra $1 per play. It multiplies any non-jackpot prizes you win by 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, or 10x, depending on the Power Play number drawn for that drawing.

Here’s how it works:

  • When you buy a Powerball ticket, you can choose to add Power Play for $1 extra per play.
  • A Power Play number (2, 3, 4, 5, or 10) is randomly drawn before each Powerball drawing.
  • If you win a non-jackpot prize and you purchased Power Play, your prize is multiplied by the Power Play number.
  • The 10x multiplier is only in play when the advertised jackpot is $150 million or less. The other multipliers are always in play.
  • Power Play does not multiply the jackpot prize. It only applies to non-jackpot prize winnings.

So for example, if you match 4 white ball numbers and the Power Play number is 3x, you would win $150,000 instead of the regular $50,000 prize for matching 4 numbers. The Power Play can dramatically increase your lower-tier prize winnings in the game.

What are the advantages of playing Power Play?

Here are some of the main benefits of getting the Power Play add-on:

  • It can multiply your winnings: This is the biggest perk. With the possibility of 2x, 3x, 4x, or 10x your prize, the Power Play gives you the chance to turn smaller prizes into major winnings.
  • Better overall odds: With the potential for bigger prizes, the overall odds of winning any prize improve from 1 in 24.9 to 1 in 24.8.
  • Big jackpots aren’t required: Even if the jackpot isn’t gigantic, you still could win big with the multipliers on lower prize tiers.
  • Costs just $1 extra: For only $1 more per play, you could end up multiplying your winnings in a major way. The potential payout outweighs the small additional cost.

Simply put, for a small $1 investment, the Power Play gives you the chance to transform smaller prizes into massive winnings. Even matching just 2 white balls could result in a $20 prize if the 4x multiplier is in play that night.

What are the disadvantages of Power Play?

There aren’t many downsides to playing Power Play, but here are a couple things to be aware of:

  • No jackpot multiplier: The Power Play does not apply to the jackpot, so it unfortunately won’t turn a massive jackpot into an even bigger prize.
  • Prize payouts may vary: If you win a prize that usually pays a fixed amount like $50,000 for matching 4 numbers, Power Play could make your prize smaller if the 2x multiplier occurs that drawing.
  • Power Play number is random: You don’t get to pick which multiplier you want each drawing. So you may end up with the 2x when you wished for the 10x that night.

These downsides are relatively minor. The lack of a jackpot multiplier may be disappointing, but otherwise the Power Play offers little risk and plenty of upside.

When does it make sense to play Power Play?

Here are some recommendations for when playing Power Play is a smart choice:

  • When the jackpot is smaller: With no jackpot multiplier, Power Play’s benefits are muted when the jackpot is $400+ million. But with a smaller jackpot, the multipliers can really pay off.
  • When you’re playing multiple tickets: The more number combinations you’re playing, the better your odds of winning a secondary prize. More chances to win means more ways to benefit from the Power Play.
  • When you’re on a budget: For just $1 extra per ticket, Power Play gives budget-minded players an affordable way to take a shot at a huge payday.

The bottom line is that Power Play is a smart play when you want a chance to win big without spending a fortune. It likely won’t help you win the jackpot, but it could turn a $50,000 prize into $500,000 overnight!

Should you always get the Power Play?

There are good arguments on both sides here. Some players feel it’s worth it to always take Power Play and maximize your prize potential. Others argue you shouldn’t bother when the jackpot is ultra high since it won’t impact that prize.

There’s no definitively right or wrong answer. Here are some tips on deciding when to get Power Play:

  • If you’re only playing when the jackpot is huge, skipping it can make sense.
  • If you’re playing Powerball frequently or playing multiple tickets in a drawing, it’s likely worth getting most of the time.
  • On any given ticket, weigh the chance of winning a secondary prize versus saving the $1. Statistically, Power Play is likely the better bet.
  • Ultimately it comes down to personal preference. Consider your budget, desire for risk, and how often you play.

For casual players who don’t play every drawing, playing without Power Play is perfectly fine strategy. But for regular players putting multiple tickets in play each drawing, Power Play is almost always a good idea to boost your overall chances of winning.

Can Power Play make you a millionaire?

It’s incredibly unlikely, but yes, Power Play does offer the chance to become an instant millionaire from a secondary prize win!

Here is how it could happen:

  • Match 5 main numbers but miss the Powerball.
  • This would normally win $1 million.
  • If the 10x Power Play multiplier occurs that drawing, your $1 million prize is now $10 million!

The odds of this exact scenario playing out are about 1 in 11,688,053. So while it’s extremely rare, a huge secondary prize win is possible with Power Play.

Even more plausible is winning $2 million or $5 million by having the 4x or 5x multipliers hit when you match 5 main numbers. Unlikely but not out of the question!

What’s the biggest Power Play prize so far?

Here are some of the biggest Powerball prizes with Power Play so far:

  • $10 million – Won on 2/11/15 by a winner in North Carolina. Matched 5 numbers without Powerball and had 10x Power Play.
  • $5 million – Won three times, in KS, NM, and TN. Matched 5 numbers and had 4x Power Play hit.
  • $4 million – Won on 1/15/00 in NM. Matched 5 numbers with 3x Power Play.
  • $2 million – Won over 40 times. Match 5 numbers with 2x Power Play.

As you can see, Power Play has created some massive multi-millionaires over the years! While $10-$50 million is more common, Power Play has shown it can generate huge secondary prize winners.

What are my odds of winning with Power Play?

Here are the overall odds of winning a prize with and without the Power Play add-on:

  • Odds without Power Play: 1 in 24.9
  • Odds with Power Play: 1 in 24.8

As you can see, Power Play improves your chances only very slightly. Here are the odds of winning specific prizes with the 5x Power Play multiplier:

Prize Level Odds of Winning
Match 5 + PB 1 in 292,201,338
Match 5 1 in 11,688,053
Match 4 + PB 1 in 913,129
Match 4 1 in 36,525
Match 3 + PB 1 in 14,494
Match 3 1 in 579
Match 2 + PB 1 in 701
Match 1 + PB 1 in 91
Match 0 + PB 1 in 38

The overall odds are long, but they illustrate how Power Play creates the potential for big secondary prizes. A 5x multiplier applied to a $1 million prize for matching 5 numbers creates a small chance at a $5 million payday.

What’s the best Power Play multiplier?

The 10x Power Play multiplier is easily the best, since it offers the biggest prize boosts. Unfortunately it’s only in play when the jackpot is under $150 million.

Here’s a quick rundown of the multipliers:

  • 10x – Can make you an instant multimillionaire from secondary prizes. Best of the bunch.
  • 5x – Next best option after 10x. Can still produce huge wins.
  • 4x – Decent multiplier but not in the top tier.
  • 3x – Middle of the road. Can give prizes a nice boost.
  • 2x – The smallest multiplier but still doubles all secondary prizes.

Ideally you want the 10x or 5x to produce the biggest wins. But even 2x or 3x can generate nice prize increases, so Power Play is never really a bad addition to your ticket.

Should you use a “quick pick” or pick your own numbers?

This is an eternal lottery debate without a definitive right or wrong answer. Here are some quick pros and cons of each method:

Quick Pick

  • Pros: Numbers are computer generated, no bias. Easy & fast. Guaranteed unique numbers.
  • Cons: No personal customization. Can’t use favorite numbers.

Pick Your Own

  • Pros: Choose sentimental numbers. Birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Fun to strategize.
  • Cons: Can take more time. May accidentally duplicate numbers.

For a single ticket, picking your own numbers is fine. But when playing multiple tickets, doing some quick picks ensures variety and may improve your odds slightly. There’s really no perfectly right or wrong strategy here.

How can you maximize your Powerball winnings?

Here are some top tips for maximizing your prize potential when playing Powerball:

  • Always add Power Play – it costs just $1 more but can multiply winnings.
  • Buy multiple tickets – playing more numbers increases odds of winning.
  • Pool tickets with others – splits cost while increasing number coverage.
  • Don’t just play for the jackpot – lower tier wins can pay nicely too.
  • Take the lump sum payout – you’ll get your money faster. Can always invest.

Keep in mind that the lottery is pure gambling, so only play responsibly and for fun, not as an investment strategy. But following the tips above can maximize your chances of winning and the payout if you do hit it big!

Have there been any Powerball controversies?

A few notable Powerball controversies and scandals have occurred over the years:

  • In 2015, a $149 million jackpot winner in New Hampshire was sued by her coworkers claiming a workplace pool agreement entitled them to a share. Case eventually settled.
  • In 2012, a lottery insider in Iowa rigged a $14 million jackpot win by buying the winning ticket after the drawing for a pal. Both were convicted.
  • In 2011, a state lottery worker in Ohio was convicted of tampering to make a winning ticket for himself. The bogus $2 million prize had to be withdrawn.
  • In 2018, a lottery draw machine in Puerto Rico malfunctioned, resulting in the same unusual number combination being drawn twice. The game was suspended briefly.

While extremely rare, occasional insider wins and lottery tampering scandals have created controversies. Overall though, lotteries like Powerball tightly control their drawings to maintain integrity and fairness.


The Powerball Power Play add-on offers a smart way to increase your potential non-jackpot winnings for just $1 extra per play. While the jackpot understandably gets all the attention, becoming a millionaire or multimillionaire from a secondary prize win is very possible with Power Play in the mix.

Despite the long odds, a huge Power Play payday could be just one ticket away. For regular players, adding this inexpensive feature is worth it. You probably won’t win the jackpot either way. But Power Play gives you up to 10 extra chances to wake up a big winner!