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What is Powerball jackpot?

The Powerball jackpot is the grand prize in the multi-state Powerball lottery game. It starts at $40 million and continues to grow until someone wins the jackpot. The jackpot increases each time there is no Powerball jackpot winner. The jackpot grows based on game sales and interest rates.

How does the Powerball jackpot work?

The Powerball jackpot starts at $40 million and grows larger each drawing when there is no jackpot winner. For each drawing, a percentage of sales is allocated to the jackpot prize pool. The more tickets sold, the bigger the jackpot grows. The jackpot increases by at least $10 million between drawings. There is no cap on how large the jackpot can grow. The Powerball jackpot is paid out as an annuity paid out over 29 years or as a one-time cash lump sum. Most winners choose the cash option.

What are the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot?

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are incredibly small – 1 in 292,201,338. This means you have a 1 in nearly 300 million chance of matching all 5 white balls plus the red Powerball to win the jackpot. While the odds seem daunting, it only takes one ticket to win.

What are the largest Powerball jackpots?

Here are the top 10 largest Powerball jackpots to date:

Amount Date Winning Numbers
$1.586 billion January 13, 2016 4-8-19-27-34 PB 10
$768.4 million March 27, 2019 16-20-37-44-62 PB 12
$758.7 million August 23, 2017 6-7-16-23-26 PB 4
$731.1 million January 20, 2021 40-53-60-68-69 PB 22
$687.8 million October 27, 2018 8-12-13-19-27 PB 4
$590.5 million May 18, 2013 10-13-14-22-52 PB 11
$587.5 million November 28, 2012 5-16-22-23-29 PB 6
$564.1 million February 11, 2015 11-13-25-39-54 PB 19
$559.7 million January 6, 2018 28-30-39-59-70 PB 10
$487.0 million July 30, 2016 7-11-33-66-67 PB 21

As you can see, the largest Powerball jackpot to date was a whopping $1.586 billion on January 13, 2016. One lucky ticket sold in California matched all numbers that night. The winner chose the lump sum cash option of $983.5 million (before taxes).

Where does the Powerball jackpot money come from?

The Powerball jackpot prize pool comes from proceeds from ticket sales. Tickets cost $2 each plus any optional Power Play add-on. Of each $2 ticket, approximately half goes towards the jackpot and the other half funds the lower tier prizes. The jackpot grows based on game sales and interest rates. If there are consistently high sales, the jackpot increases faster. Lower ticket sales mean a slower rate of increase.

What happens if no one wins the jackpot?

If no one matches all 6 numbers to win the Powerball jackpot, the money rolls over and the jackpot increases for the next drawing. This continues every drawing until there is finally a jackpot winner. There is no limit to how high the jackpot can grow. The rollovers can lead to absolutely massive jackpots if there are no winners over the course of several weeks. For example, the record $1.586 billion jackpot on January 13, 2016 rolled over 25 times before being won.

Can multiple people win the jackpot?

Yes, it is possible for multiple players to win the Powerball jackpot if multiple tickets match all 6 numbers. If there are multiple winning jackpot tickets, the prize pool is evenly divided among all winners. Winners can choose between the annuity prize or the reduced cash value amount. For example, if there were 5 jackpot winners, each ticket would be entitled to 1/5 of the full jackpot prize pool.

Where can the Powerball jackpot be won?

The Powerball game is currently offered in 45 states including Washington DC, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. You must purchase your Powerball ticket from an authorized retailer in one of the participating jurisdictions. Some states that do not participate include Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah. You can win the jackpot from any participating state.

What are the Powerball jackpot payment options?

Powerball jackpot winners have two options for collecting their prize:

  • Annuity Option – The full jackpot prize is paid out as an annuity over 29 years with 30 graduated payments. The payments increase each year to account for inflation. The 30 payments represent each year from the draw date to the final payment.
  • Cash Option – A one-time, lump-sum payment equal to the jackpot cash value. The cash value is typically 50-70% of the advertised jackpot and is reduced by applicable taxes.

The vast majority of winners opt for the reduced cash payout instead of the annuity. But the annuity offers protection against overspending and allows you to pass remaining payments to heirs.

What are the Powerball jackpot taxes?

Federal taxes are required to be withheld from Powerball jackpot winnings. The amount withheld for federal taxes depends on a few factors:

  • Whether you choose the annuity or cash option
  • Whether you are a US citizen or a foreign national
  • The jurisdiction where you purchased the winning ticket

State taxes may also apply depending on where you live and where you purchased the ticket. The lottery organization will withhold applicable federal and state taxes before paying out the cash option jackpot. Annuity winners are responsible for paying taxes on each payment at tax time.

Can you remain anonymous if you win Powerball jackpot?

Powerball jackpot winners are generally required to come forward publicly to claim the prize, but a small number of states do allow anonymity. The following states allow Powerball winners to remain anonymous upon winning:

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

In the other participating Powerball states, lottery winners are required to participate in a press conference and publicity tour. Some winners try to maintain some privacy by setting up trusts or limited liability companies to claim the prize while avoiding their name in public announcements.

Do you have to pay to play Powerball?

Yes, you must purchase an official Powerball ticket from an authorized retailer in order to play. Tickets cost $2 per play. You can add the Power Play option for an additional $1 per ticket to increase non-jackpot prize amounts. Tickets can be purchased until 9:59 p.m. ET on draw nights.

Can you buy Powerball tickets online?

In most states, Powerball tickets must be purchased from authorized retailers in person. However, these states do permit online Powerball ticket purchases within state borders:

  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania

You must be physically located within one of the states above to play Powerball online. All reputable online lottery ticket sellers will verify your location to meet state regulations.

When do Powerball jackpots reach their highest amounts?

Powerball jackpots tend to reach peak amounts when there are prolonged periods without anyone winning the jackpot. This allows weeks or even months for the prize pool to accumulate from continued ticket sales. The record $1.586 billion jackpot on January 13, 2016 rolled over 25 consecutive times before being won. Long streaks without a winner are rare, but each roll over contributes significantly more funds to boost the jackpot.

What should you do if you win the jackpot?

If you are lucky enough to win a Powerball jackpot, here are some recommended steps:

  1. Sign the back of your winning ticket and store it in a safe place.
  2. Hire a tax advisor, financial planner, and lawyer to help navigate your winnings.
  3. Determine whether to choose the annuity payments or cash option.
  4. Remain anonymous if it allowed in your state and you wish to maintain privacy.
  5. Set up trusts and other accounts to manage your money responsibly.
  6. Be prudent with spending. Don’t make quick major purchases.
  7. Use the money to better the lives of yourself, family and the causes you care about.

Has anyone won multiple Powerball jackpots?

In the history of Powerball, there has been just one person lucky enough to win multiple Powerball jackpot prizes. Joan Ginther from Texas won four significant jackpots between 1993 to 2010:

  • $5.4 million in 1993
  • $2 million in 2006
  • $3 million in 2007
  • $10 million in 2010

Ms. Ginther’s multiple big wins have been determined to be legit and not fraud. She seemed to have relied on a smart and strategic system to increase her odds and she beat 1 in millions odds multiple times. No one else has equaled her record yet.

Who has won the most Powerball jackpots?

Here are some of the luckiest multiple-time Powerball jackpot winners in the game’s history:

Winner # of Jackpots Total Winnings
Joan Ginther 4 $20.4 million
Anonymous 3 $108.5 million
Lona Williams 2 $27 million
Anonymous 2 $17.2 million
Anonymous 2 $15.25 million

While winning any Powerball jackpot is incredibly lucky, these winners have defied the odds multiple times to take home enormous prize totals.

What states have had the most jackpot winners?

Since Powerball began in 1992, the state that has sold the most jackpot winning tickets is Indiana with 39. Here are the top 5 states with the most Powerball jackpot winners to date:

  1. Indiana – 39
  2. Missouri – 31
  3. Minnesota – 22
  4. Kentucky – 20
  5. Louisiana – 15

Given the populations of these states, Indiana seems to be the luckiest. With only about 6.7 million residents, Indiana has had 39 residents win the Powerball jackpot over the years.

DoQuick Pick/random numbers have better odds?

There is no difference in odds between choosing your own numbers versus having Quick Pick randomly select your numbers. The odds are always 1 in 292 million regardless. Some players prefer to play a meaningful set of numbers like birthdays or anniversaries. Others believe letting the computer quickly pick random numbers increases their chances. Neither option affects the probability of matching the winning numbers.

Do the Powerball numbers follow a pattern?

No, the Powerball numbers are drawn completely randomly each time. There is no pattern, trend or predictable sequence that can be detected or relied on to win the jackpot multiple times. The selection process is designed to be truly random to ensure fairness.

Can Powerball numbers be predicted?

It is essentially impossible to accurately predict the next winning Powerball numbers. Because the drawings use certified random number generators, the sequence of numbers cannot be predetermined or foreseen. There are no secrets or tricks that give one player an advantage. The only guaranteed way to win is to buy a ticket and get incredibly lucky.

Do some numbers come up more often?

Some numbers may appear to come up more over a short span, but over time all numbers are equally likely to be drawn. Over thousands of Powerball drawings, each and every number has a equal mathematical probability of being chosen. Sticking with frequently drawn numbers does not affect long-term odds.


The Powerball jackpot captures the public’s imagination as it grows to staggering amounts making instant multi-millionaires. While winning requires matching 1 in 292 million odds, someone eventually snares the top prize after weeks or months of rollovers. Winners must make wise financial choices upon claiming their windfall. With dream-changing amounts of cash on the line, the Powerball jackpot always generates excitement across participating states as players hope to win big!