Powerball is one of the most popular lottery games in the United States. Players select five main numbers between 1-69 and one Powerball number between 1-26 for a chance to win huge jackpot prizes. But how many numbers are actually printed on each of the white balls and the red Powerball in the drawing machine? Let’s take a closer look.

## Main Numbers

The first five numbers, also called the “white balls,” are drawn from a set of 69 numbers. Each of these 69 white balls contains one number printed on it, from 1 to 69. So each white ball has one and only one number.

To select the five main numbers, five white balls are drawn from the pool of 69 balls. So each of the first five winning numbers comes from a white ball that contains one unique number between 1 and 69 printed on it.

## The Powerball

The sixth winning number comes from the red Powerball. The red Powerball is drawn from a separate pool of 26 numbers.

Like the white balls, the red Powerball also contains only one number printed on it, from 1 to 26. Each of the 26 Powerballs has one of the numbers from this range printed in red.

During the drawing, one of the 26 red Powerballs is selected to be the Powerball number. This is the sixth and final winning number.

## Summary of Number of Numbers

To summarize:

- Each of the 69 white balls contains one number printed on it, from 1 to 69
- Each of the 26 red Powerballs contains one number printed on it, from 1 to 26
- 5 white balls are drawn, each with one number, to select the first 5 winning numbers
- 1 red Powerball is drawn, with one number, to select the 6th winning number

So in total, each ball, whether white or red, contains one and only one number printed on it. The five white balls contain the first five numbers, and the single red Powerball contains the sixth number.

## Number of Combinations and Probabilities

With 69 white balls and 26 red Powerballs, the total number of combinations in Powerball is:

(69 white balls) x (26 Powerballs) = 1,768,402 possible combinations

This number represents every single potential combination of 5 white balls and 1 Powerball that is possible. With so many combinations, the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are very slim at 1 in 292.2 million.

Let’s take a look at the probabilities associated with matching various numbers:

Matches | Odds |

5 white balls + 1 Powerball | 1 in 292,201,338 |

5 white balls only | 1 in 11,688,053.52 |

4 white balls + 1 Powerball | 1 in 913,129.18 |

4 white balls only | 1 in 36,525.17 |

3 white balls + 1 Powerball | 1 in 14,494.11 |

3 white balls only | 1 in 579.76 |

2 white balls + 1 Powerball | 1 in 701.33 |

1 white ball + 1 Powerball | 1 in 91.98 |

1 white ball only | 1 in 69.00 |

0 white balls + 1 Powerball | 1 in 38.32 |

As you can see, the probabilities of winning start off extremely low and only become more probable as you match fewer numbers. Matching all 5 white balls and the red Powerball has the lowest odds, while matching just the red Powerball has the highest odds. But no matter what, the odds are steep because each ball has only one number.

## Quick Recap

To summarize the key points:

- There are 69 white balls numbered 1-69 and 26 red Powerballs numbered 1-26
- Each white and red ball has just one number printed on it
- To play Powerball, players pick 5 white balls and 1 red Powerball
- The number of possible combinations is 69 x 26 = 1,768,402
- The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 292 million

So in the end, every ball contains just a single number, leading to the huge odds we see in Powerball. Matching even just the red Powerball is unlikely, while matching all 5 white balls and the red Powerball is exceedingly rare. But it’s these long odds that create the potential for massive jackpots.

## Strategies for Playing Powerball

While winning Powerball is ultimately down to chance, there are some strategies players can use to maximize their odds:

### Purchase multiple tickets

This increases the number of number combinations you cover for a drawing. While it costs more, having 10 different number combinations versus just 1 gives you more chances to get lucky.

### Join a lottery pool or syndicate

Team up with other lottery players to purchase more tickets and share the costs and any potential prizes. Being part of a 15 person lottery pool that buys 50 tickets gets you more combinations than you could playing solo.

### Use both common and uncommon numbers

Don’t just stick to birthday numbers or patterns. Using a mix of popular digits like 7, numbers over 31, and uncommon numbers can improve your chances versus many other players picking all the same common numbers.

### Check the Powerball site for frequency statistics

This can help you identify “hot” numbers that get drawn more often and “cold” numbers that don’t come up as much, which may influence the numbers you pick. Just don’t rely on these stats alone.

### Use quick pick

Letting the computer randomly assign your numbers can sometimes give you number combinations you might not have picked yourself. It takes the guesswork out of choosing your own numbers.

## Changes Coming to Powerball

Powerball recently announced some changes to the game format beginning in August 2021. Here are some of the key changes:

- The number of white balls will increase to 70 (from 69)
- The red Powerballs will decrease to 26 (from 26)
- Players will pick 5 numbers from 1-70 and 1 number from 1-26
- The Power Play feature will expand to multiply non-jackpot prizes up to 10 times
- Jackpots will start at $20 million (previously $40 million)
- Overall odds of winning any prize improve to 1 in 24.9

So in summary, the field of white balls will increase by 1, the Powerballs will decrease by 10 down to 26, and the Power Play multiplier feature will have bigger prizes. This should create bigger and faster-growing jackpots according to Powerball.

How will these changes impact the game and players’ strategies? Here are some implications to consider:

- With 69 white balls the odds of a duplicate number in a single drawing was 3.4%. With 70 white balls, the probability drops to 3.1%.
- Having 10 fewer red Powerballs effectively decreases the odds of randomly matching the Powerball from 1 in 26 to 1 in 29.
- The expanded Power Play feature will reward playing it, though the 2x feature will now be just a 3x multiplier.
- More frequent jackpots may spur more casual interest and ticket purchases.
- Overall the chances of winning something improve, but jackpots will likely be harder to win.

So Powerball players will need to adjust their number-picking strategies once the new changes take effect. Some balls may become more or less common, and Power Play will be more enticing. But the game will fundamentally remain one with long odds, now just with higher starting jackpots.

## Powerball in Other States

While Powerball is played nationally in 45 states, there are some regional variations when it comes to certain aspects of the game:

### Minimum Age to Play

States | Minimum Age |

Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, North Dakota | 21 |

All other Powerball states | 18 |

So in a handful of states, you need to be 21. Everywhere else, 18 is the minimum.

### Payout Options

Most states give jackpot winners the choice between an annuity paid over 29 years or a lump sum payment. But in Florida, Iowa, New York, Ohio, Texas, US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, only the lump sum is available.

### Income Tax Withholding

8 states automatically withhold income tax from prizes over a certain amount:

- California – withholds 7% for amounts over $1,500
- Connecticut – withholds 6.99% for the full amount
- Minnesota – withholds 8.4% for amounts over $10,000
- New Jersey – withholds 8% for amounts over $10,000
- New York – withholds 8.82% for amounts over $5,000
- Oregon – withholds 8% for the full amount
- Vermont – withholds 6% for amounts over $5,001
- Wisconsin – withholds 6.65% for amounts over $2,000

Check your own state’s rules to understand your potential income tax obligations on Powerball wins.

### Anonymous Wins

In most states, lotteries are required to publish the name and city of residence for jackpot winners. But a minority allow you to remain anonymous:

- Delaware
- Kansas
- Maryland
- North Dakota
- Ohio
- South Carolina

So if you want to keep your win truly private, these states allow you to claim and receive a Powerball jackpot anonymously.

The game may be played nationally, but check your own state’s Powerball rules for these kinds of differences.

## Biggest Powerball Jackpots

With exceedingly long odds, Powerball is capable of creating massive jackpots. Here are the 5 biggest Powerball jackpots to date:

Amount | Date | Winning Numbers |

$1.586 Billion | 1/13/2016 | 4, 8, 19, 27, 34 + PB 10 |

$768.4 Million | 3/27/2019 | 16, 20, 37, 44, 62 + PB 12 |

$758.7 Million | 8/23/2017 | 6, 7, 16, 23, 26 + PB 4 |

$731.1 Million | 1/20/2021 | 40, 53, 60, 68, 69 + PB 22 |

$699.8 Million | 10/4/2021 | 12, 22, 54, 66, 69 + PB 15 |

As you can see, since 2016 the game has produced a number of jackpots over $700 million, including the current world record $1.586 billion prize. The reason the jackpots have continued setting records since 2016 is due to a format change that made the odds longer.

Given the changes coming in 2021 detailed above, we can expect Powerball jackpots to continue reaching astronomical amounts in the coming years. The $20 million minimums will kickstart new jackpot rolls faster, and the improved overall odds of winning any prize will likely spur higher ticket sales. More tickets sold leads to bigger and faster rising jackpots.

## Gaming the Odds

Realistically, there’s no secret trick that can help you win Powerball frequently. The odds are stacked astronomically against picking the winning 5 numbers and Powerball. But there are still some things savvy players do to maximize their chances:

- Stick to your own numbers versus using Quick Pick. Repeating the same numbers gives you a slight edge over always changing randomly selected numbers.
- Buy tickets when the jackpot is bigger. The surge in ticket sales offsets the slightly worse odds due to more number combinations covered.
- Avoid popular drawings. The rush of casual players on big jackpots means potentially having to share the prize.
- Buy all number combinations. For “only” $584 million you can buy every number combo and guarantee victory. Sadly, not viable for most.

Mostly, your fate comes down to pure luck. But little optimizations can help shift the infinitesimal odds a tiny bit more in your favor. The key is playing regularly; you can’t win if you don’t have a ticket. Keep those Powerball dreams alive and one day you might just get wildly, incredibly lucky. Stranger things have happened.

## Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common Powerball questions players have:

### How many total balls are used in Powerball?

Powerball drawings use a total of 69 white balls numbered 1-69 and 26 red Powerballs numbered 1-26. So in total, there are 69 + 26 = 95 balls.

### What nights are the Powerball drawings held?

Drawings are held every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday night at 10:59 p.m. ET.

### How much does a Powerball ticket cost?

Powerball tickets cost $2 per play. You can add on the Power Play option for $1 more to increase non-jackpot prizes.

### Where does the Powerball drawing take place?

The drawings happen live at the Florida Lottery draw studio in Tallahassee, Florida using two separate ball drawing machines.

### What is the difference between the annuity and cash options?

The annuity pays the full jackpot out gradually over 29 years. The cash option is a one-time, reduced lump sum paid immediately. For the $1.5 billion jackpot, the cash value was $930 million.

### Can you remain anonymous if you win Powerball?

In most states, lotteries are required to publicize winners’ names and hometowns. But a handful of states allow you to claim anonymously. Check your state’s rules.

### What are the odds of winning Powerball?

The overall odds are 1 in 24.9. The odds for the jackpot are 1 in 292 million. Matching other prizes ranges from 1 in 4.9 to 1 in 11,688,054.

### Can you buy tickets online?

Some states allow Powerball ticket purchases online. However, you need to be physically in that state to play. Lotteries use geolocation to confirm location within state borders.

### What is the minimum Powerball jackpot?

Currently the minimum starting jackpot is $40 million. After upcoming format changes in 2021, the minimum jackpot will be $20 million.

## Conclusion

In the end, Powerball balls contain just a single number each between 1-69 for the white balls and 1-26 for the red Powerball. It takes matching all 6 numbers to win the multimillion dollar jackpot. With long odds and millions of players, Powerball regularly produces enormous jackpots, sometimes in excess of a billion dollars. Strategies like picking uncommon numbers can very slightly improve your probability, but there’s no secret method to consistently beat the odds and no substitute for sheer luck. Still, with Powerball jackpots starting at a minimum of $40 million and frequently climbing much higher, the appeal for players is the potential for life-changing winnings from just $2 ticket. For the cost of a cup of coffee, an unimaginable fortune could be yours if the lucky numbers align.