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How rare is it to win the Powerball lottery?

Winning the Powerball lottery jackpot is extremely rare. The odds of winning are 1 in 292,201,338, making it one of the hardest lotteries to win in the world. To put those odds in perspective, you are much more likely to be struck by lightning, become a movie star, or be killed by a vending machine. Winning Powerball is often described as the long shot of all long shots.

What are the Powerball Odds?

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338. This means if you buy a single Powerball ticket, you have a 0.00000034% chance of matching all 5 white balls plus the red Powerball to win the jackpot prize.

Here is a breakdown of the Powerball odds:

Odds of winning any prize 1 in 24.87
Odds of winning $4 with just the Powerball 1 in 38.32
Odds of winning $7 with 2 winning numbers + Powerball 1 in 91.98
Odds of winning $100 with 3 winning numbers + Powerball 1 in 701.33
Odds of winning $50,000 with 4 winning numbers + Powerball 1 in 13,983.82
Odds of winning $1 million with 5 winning numbers (no Powerball) 1 in 11,688,054
Odds of winning the jackpot with 5 winning numbers + Powerball 1 in 292,201,338

As you can see, the chances are stacked heavily against you for the top prize but your odds increase dramatically for smaller prizes. You essentially have a 1 in 25 chance of winning something in Powerball, even if it’s just $4. But winning the jackpot remains astonishingly difficult.

Comparing Powerball Odds

To fully grasp the Powerball odds, it helps to compare them to more common events:

Odds of…
Being struck by lightning in your lifetime 1 in 15,300
Being killed by a shark 1 in 3,748,067
Getting a hole in one in golf 1 in 12,500
Becoming president of the U.S. 1 in 10 million
Dating a millionaire 1 in 215
Winning an Olympic medal 1 in 662,000
Winning the Powerball jackpot 1 in 292 million

As you can see, your odds of winning Powerball are far lower than many other unlikely events. You are over 18,000 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to hit the Powerball jackpot. Even becoming president is more likely than winning Powerball. This comparison shows just how lucky you have to be to pull off a Powerball victory. The stars really need to align in your favor.

What are the Chances of Multiple Winners?

While winning the Powerball jackpot is rare, having multiple winners is even less common. There have been 38 Powerball jackpot winners since 2016. Out of those drawings, only 7 produced more than one jackpot winner.

Having two jackpot winners is the most common multiple winner scenario. There has been one instance of three people hitting the jackpot and one case of four winners sharing the top prize. But generally, there is a single lucky winner smiling for the cameras and holding the giant check.

The chances of multiple winners come down to the simple math and probabilities behind Powerball. With 292 million possible number combinations, it’s very unlikely for more than one player to randomly choose the exact same winning numbers. Of course, the more people who play, the better chance there is for multiple winners to split the pot. But multiple winners remain a rarity overall.

Notable Multi-Winner Jackpots

Here are some of the most high-profile Powerball jackpots that produced multiple winning tickets:

  • January 2016: The world record $1.586 billion jackpot had 3 winning tickets from California, Florida, and Tennessee that split the prize.
  • August 2017: A $758.7 million jackpot had 2 winning tickets, one in Massachusetts and one in Missouri.
  • March 2018: A $456.7 million jackpot also had exactly 2 winning tickets, from Pennsylvania and Texas.
  • January 2020: The most recent multiple winners were 4 tickets that shared a $396.9 million jackpot from Florida, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

As you can see, having just 2-4 winners for some of the biggest jackpots is still extremely rare. It’s always big news when there are multiple Powerball jackpot winners because it happens so infrequently.

Who Has the Best Powerball Odds?

The luck of the draw means everyone technically has the same miniscule odds of winning Powerball. But your chances can improve slightly with these strategies:

Buy More Tickets

This one is obvious but buying more tickets directly increases your odds. Going from 1 ticket to 50 tickets improves your chances 50 times. However, you’d have to buy millions of tickets to make winning likely, which is unrealistic. But buying a few more tickets does fractionally improve results.

Join an Office Pool

Joining an office Powerball pool allows you to afford more tickets with multiple people contributing. Being part of a 20 person pool gives you 20 times more entries and chances. Just be aware you’ll also split any prizes 20 ways. But pooling money can result in improved odds.

Buy Consecutive Tickets

Buying consecutive Powerball tickets ensures your numbers are as different as possible. Each Quick Pick ticket will use a different set of numbers rather than random duplicates. This creates more number coverage and optimizes variability. Consecutive tickets hedge your bets better.

Avoid Popular Numbers

Many people play numbers like birthdays, anniversaries, or other popular dates. Choosing less common numbers theoretically means fewer players will have matching numbers. So even though the math stays the same, you avoid splitting a prize if you hit it. Unpopular numbers have a better payout chance.

Play Unpopular Days/Times

More players buy tickets for big drawings on weekends than quiet Wednesdays. Similarly, evening ticket sales are more popular than early morning. Playing at less busy times can reduce competition from other players slightly. Less competition can equal better odds.

How to Improve Your Luck

While the stated Powerball odds never change, there are some creative ways to try and give yourself an advantage by generating good luck. These methods likely have no real mathematical impact but can improve your mental outlook:

Visualize Winning

Positive visualization involves picturing yourself winning to attract good luck. Imagine giving the winning press conference or using the money for your dreams. Visualizing winning makes success seem more real. Athletes use this technique frequently.

Believe You Will Win

Having sincere faith and confidence you will hit the jackpot can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Manifesting your win through belief is said to influence outcomes by drawing in positive energy. Think abundantly and assume you will succeed.

Use Lucky Numbers

Lucky numbers have personal meaning, such as birthdays, addresses, anniversaries, jersey numbers, etc. Playing meaningful numbers you have an attachment to can seemingly bring more luck through cosmic favoritism. Lucky numbers feel fortuitous.

Pray for Good Luck

Praying to a higher power or the universe asking for luck is practiced by many spiritual people. Requesting divine intervention can seem to help your chances by earning favor. If God answers prayers, a Powerball prayer could pay off.

Carry Good Luck Charms

Many people carry a favorite rabbit’s foot, crystal, or other charm when buying lottery tickets. Having this lucky talisman on hand generates confidence and seemingly draws in fortune. Charms provide a sense of optimism.

When to Play Powerball

While the timing does not actually influence your Powerball probability, there are certain times that might be ideal in terms of convenience, jackpot size, and avoiding long lines.

When the Jackpot is Big

More casual players buy tickets when the jackpot is record-setting. Games over $500 million see higher participation. The upside is you win bigger. The downside is you may have to share the prize. Big jackpots also cause ticket mania.

At Less Busy Locations

Opt for grocery stores, gas stations, and pharmacies over dedicated lottery retailers. Fewer people translate to shorter lines and ease of ticket buying. The clerks will also be less hurried to help you.

Early Weekday Mornings

This is the ideal time frame when few people head to stores to buy tickets before work. You’ll avoid crowds and frustration. Retailers are also less likely to make mistakes with ample downtime.

When the Jackpot Rolls Over

If there’s no winner for a few consecutive drawings, more players will try their luck with a growing unclaimed jackpot. Taking advantage of the renewed excitement can benefit you.

Right Before the Cutoff

Buying tickets within an hour of the sales cutoff time ensures you don’t miss entering. Being among the last to play helps avoid possibly missing out. But waiting until the last minute also brings ticket crowds.

Should You Buy Powerball Tickets Online?

Playing Powerball online using lottery messenger services and apps has grown in popularity. Here are the pros and cons of purchasing your tickets virtually:


  • Don’t have to drive to a store
  • Buy tickets no matter where you are
  • Easily manage lottery pools and groups
  • Purchase tickets at the last minute
  • Automatically get your tickets each drawing
  • Some sites offer special promotions and discounts
  • Never lose or misplace tickets


  • Websites could mishandle orders
  • Processing fees apply on most sites
  • Can’t physically hold printed ticket
  • Potential technical issues
  • Prize payouts can take longer
  • Scam websites exist
  • State lottery does not operate online sales

Buying online offers big conveniences but some downsides to consider as well. Make sure to use a reputable and legally approved service.

Tips for Powerball Players

Use these strategies and tips to play Powerball more effectively:

  • Check your numbers carefully before leaving the store to confirm the ticket is correct.
  • Never throw away a ticket until the drawing occurs, just in case you have a winner.
  • Sign the back of your printed ticket for security once purchased.
  • Save losing tickets to help with taxes if you win.
  • Take a photo or photocopy of your ticket to prevent losing it.
  • Buy tickets only from authorized lottery retailers.
  • Always check the Powerball website for the official winning numbers.
  • Read all rules and details about game procedures and claiming prizes.
  • Play consistently for multiple drawings to increase your overall chances.
  • Join a reputable lottery pool or syndicate to increase entries.

These tips help lead to responsible play and more secure wins. Don’t forget, you can’t win if you don’t have a ticket.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common Powerball questions:

How do I play Powerball?

Powerball tickets cost $2 per play. You pick 5 main numbers between 1-69 and 1 Powerball number between 1-26. If you match all 6 numbers, you win the multi-million dollar jackpot. You can also win smaller prizes by matching just some of the numbers.

What days are the Powerball drawings?

Drawings are held every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 10:59 p.m. ET. Tickets cannot be purchased after 10 p.m. on drawing nights.

How do Powerball jackpots grow so large?

If no player wins the jackpot, the prize rolls over into the next drawing. This creates bigger and bigger prizes, especially after repeated rollovers. The jackpot keeps growing based on ticket sales until someone finally wins.

What’s the biggest Powerball jackpot ever?

The current record Powerball jackpot is $1.586 billion from January 2016. It was shared by 3 winning tickets in California, Florida, and Tennessee. The second largest was a $768.4 million prize won in March 2019.

Has anyone won Powerball multiple times?

Incredibly, a few people have defied the extreme odds and won Powerball jackpots more than once. One Michigan woman even won the jackpot twice within two years! Hitting the random numbers twice is super lucky.

Are Powerball prizes taxed?

Winnings are subject to both federal and state taxes. The top rate can be over 50% for the jackpot. Smaller prizes under $5,000 are usually taxed at your normal rate. Final take home pay depends on location.

Where does the Powerball money come from?

Powerball ticket sales fund all prizes. 50% of sales goes to the jackpot and lower-tier prizes. The other 50% assists public causes like education, senior citizens, and veterans services. A portion covers retailer commissions and operating expenses.

Can you remain anonymous if you win?

Powerball allows winners to claim anonymously in some states, while others require your name and photo by law. Check your local lottery rules to see if you can claim while protecting your identity.


Winning the Powerball jackpot is all about incredible luck. With odds of 1 in nearly 300 million, everything has to randomly line up perfectly to take home the top prize. While winning is extremely rare and difficult, history shows some individuals do get lucky and hit the random numbers. For a few lucky people every year, purchasing that $2 ticket with the right Powerball combination leads to life-changing riches beyond their wildest dreams. But for most, the jackpot will remain an elusive dream out of reach. Nevertheless, the power of possibility will continue to attract players with hopes of defying the overwhelming odds and becoming the next Powerball success story. After all, you can’t win it if you’re not in it!