Ultimate guide on Powerball lottery

A woman has a winning Powerball ticket

Powerball lottery, which history officially begins from 1992, is loved for its simple rules and best jackpots. Almost every person in the world knows about it and dreams of winning the lottery. After reading this post you will know everything about the lottery and find an answer to every question you wanted to ask.

History of Powerball

The first draw of Powerball’s predecessor - Lotto America - was held in 1988. Its rules were different from the ones that we know now. Later, the game underwent some changes, and Powerball was finally launched in a new format that everyone knows now. The first draw of the lottery took place on the 19th of April, 1992.

By the way, Powerball really paved the way and used two drums - one with regular and one with special balls. That was a brand new system that made lotteries even more attractive. Later this concept was also used in the Big Game (called MEGA Millions now), and later in Powerball Australia, etc.

There was a funny story about the Powerball draw that took place in March 2005. More than 100 players matched five numbers that turned out to be winning. Lottery officials paid out approximately $ 20.000.000. It turned out that there was a New York biscuit company that printed six numbers (five of them were eventually drawn) and placed them into fortune cookies. Finally, the numbers were proved as lucky ones! Unfortunately, there was number 40 printed into this note, while number 42 was a winning one.

After numerous changes made to Powerball, there were lots of headlines regularly made about big prizes won, like a then-record $ 590.000.000 prize won by 84-year-old lady Gloria MacKenzie in 2013. After another list of changes from October 2015, this spectacular lottery started to offer more huge jackpots on a regular basis since that day.

Read about another amazing American game MEGA Millions!

And then a historical moment came: a Jackpot of almost $ 1,6 billion was scooped in January 2016. This was the first moment in Powerball history when such a great Jackpot was scooped. There were three winners that took a part of such a tasty little deal to their homes, and that moment has significantly changed their lives forever.

In March 2019 the biggest single prize was won by Manuel Franco from Wisconsin. This win has set a brand new record in a prize ever won by just one person. Earlier, Mavis Wancyk, a nurse, took home a prize of $ 758.000.000 in August 2017. So, it seems that Powerball lottery just gains momentum, so in future, we will be witnessing far bigger prizes than now, and new records will be set!

Changes that made Powerball unique and popular nowadays

There were radical changes that made Powerball to be claimed as the most popular lottery in the world. If you add to this mix the fact that the minimum Jackpot amount is $ 40 million now, you’ll get an awesome lottery that attracts millions of players from all over the world.

First of all, we have an increase in ordinary balls number. Now a player has to choose from 69 numbers instead of 59.

Moreover, now you have to choose one special number from 26, not 35 (how it was some time ago). It will mean that the overall odds of winning any prize decreased to 1:24,87. Unfortunately, the chances of hitting the Jackpot have increased to 1:292.000.000. And that’s sad, but yet achievable. The first draw with updates was carried out on October 7th, 2015.

The sum of winnings for matching the “4+1” prize category was increased to $ 50.000.

The minimum Jackpot started at $ 40.000.000 in 2012. This fact, along with $ 1.000.000 for matching five numbers, allowed more people to become millionaires, and it also made the game more popular. However, not only big winners were affected by these updates to the lottery - the minimum prize was increased to $ 4.

Where to view Powerball drawings

All the drawings are broadcasted on the local television in the USA. Carrier stations air all the drawings whether they are live or not, or display winning numbers on the screen. It’s also worth checking YouTube service to find recordings of Powerball drawings.

In which states Powerball tickets are offered?

The lottery was initially sold in just 15 states of the USA, but later it grew rapidly. Now lottery tickets of this lottery are sold in 47 jurisdictions across the US (including Washington DC, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico).

The biggest expansion of this popular lottery came in 2010 when MUSL and the MEGA Millions’ organizers have signed a contract that gave a right to retailers to sell both lotteries. At that time tickets of that lotto were offered in 12 more sales stocks.

Powerball is not held in Alaska, Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Hawaii, and Nevada.

How to play Powerball

Since the year 2015, Powerball lottery contains 69 regular numbers and 26 regular balls.

To make an entry with this lottery, the player must choose 5 regular numbers from 1-69 range and 1 regular number from 1-26 range. Order of choosing the numbers doesn’t matter and it’s also important to note that regular ball number may match with the Powerball number.

To scoop the Jackpot, a player must match all 6 winning numbers correctly. So, if you want to win big, it’s better to choose more lines and choose different numbers in any of them. That’s how you may significantly increase your winning odds.

If a player doesn’t want to think of numbers, there is a Quick Pick – an option that will suit all the lazy players. It chooses random numbers for the player, so there’s no need in choosing them yourself. This option may be used by those who want to rely on pure luck!

Earlier Powerball was sold in the USA only. Now, thanks to Lotto Agent, you may buy tickets for this lottery from anywhere in the world.

How to make an entry for Powerball online?

Millions of people dream about getting their Powerball ticket and try their luck. But what if you are not a resident of the USA and want to play?

Many concierge services like Lotto Agent offer their services to you today. You may just fill in the ticket online and pay for it. Agents, who live in the country of the lottery, will buy a ticket for you, so you just need to wait! You will get your ticket sharp before the draw. And you can check your ticket - as lottery tickets are bought in the official sales stocks, all of them may be checked on the official lottery sites. So, you can play in any country you want!

What is the Power Play option and how to use it?

Powerball also offers an option that may multiple winnings several times (like a MEGA Millions’ Megaplier does). It is called Power Play, and it may lead to an increase in the sum of winnings many times! It is also working for matching numbers in 5+0 PB prize category. So, if you match five numbers in your ticket with Power Play, your Jackpot will be turned from $ 1 million to two million regardless of the drawn multiplier number.

Read everything about the American lotteries' unique feature multiplier!

The x10 multiplier first appeared after radical October changes in 2015. It works if Jackpot is below the sum of $ 150 million and your prize is $ 50.000 or less. Once the Jackpot sum rolls over higher than $ 150 million, then one of the remaining ones - x2, x3, x4 or x5 - will be chosen.

For example, a $ 4 prize that is paid for matching Powerball number, may become a $ 40 prize with this option. Surely, the multiplier is not working for a Jackpot, but in case of winning such a big prize, there will be no need in complaining!

California has no PowerPlay option to pick. Californian state law declares that all the Powerball prizes are to be paid on a pari-mutuel basis, e.g. according to tickets’ sales and a number of winners for every particular draw. As this basis won’t be working with Power Play, this option absent in that state.

Powerball payouts

When a player pays for a ticket, 50% of this sum goes to prizes (20% goes to a Jackpot pool and 30% is shared among all the other prize categories), and the remaining sum goes to a state where a ticket was bought to cover operational expenses, retailer expenses, and good causes, of course. Like medicine, education, etc.

The sum you win depends on a number of the numbers you have matched in your ticket. Of course, it means that the more numbers the player matches, the higher the prize will be. The most important decision a player must make is to choose the special ball number wisely - and get a prize of $ 4 for one’s lucky choice!

The prize chart from the official Powerball site. Source:

The overall chances of winning any Powerball prize are 1 : 24,87, while chances of scooping the Jackpot are extremely high (and yet desirable) - 1:292,201,338.

All prizes are fixed for that lottery, and can not be changed. However, this rule is not working for Powerball draws that are held in California today - in this state prizes are formed on a percentage basis by type of tote.

Every player is given a right to receive the full prize (if it’s not a Jackpot), even though there is a large number of winners in that category. However, the Jackpot will be equally divided between all the winners who had matched these winning numbers as well. If there are no winners in Tier 1, the Jackpot will be rolled over to the next draw, and its sum will increase by at least $ 10 000 000! The most exciting thing about Powerball is that the grand prize will be rolled over until the winner (or winners) will hit it one day!

There is a table of winning chances that will help you to evaluate your chances of winning in any of the following prize categories:

Powerball winning odds. Source:

What to do if the ticket is lost or damaged?

Powerball ticket is the only thing that may prove that you have played the lotto. Thus, it is necessary to keep it safe. You won’t be able to get your prize without presenting a ticket to lottery operators.

Here are some tips that help players to save the ticket and avoid the damage dealt with it:

  • Story your lucky ticket in a safe place until you check the draw results.
  • Do not laminate the ticket or store a ticket near fatty substances like oil, milk or butter.
  • Avoid using microwaves, irons or dryers near the ticket, do not expose it to extreme sunlight or heat.
  • Do not store the ticket in a wet place for a prolonged time period as it will affect it.

May the Powerball prize expire?

Yes, like any other lottery prize may! The rules are different for every state of the US, so the time period may vary from 90 days to the whole year! It’s worth checking with the lottery rules in every particular state to find out how much time you have to come and get your prize.

All about Powerball prize options

There are two prize options to choose:

  • Annual payments. Powerball Jackpots may be paid in the form of 30 annual payments according to the rules of the lottery. The sum of annual payments is calculated in fine with the sum of the prize.
  • Cash option. Winners who do not want to receive the money in annual payments may receive the sum of winnings in a one-time lump sum of cash. In that case, winnings can be received by a bank transfer or a brokerage account registered in a winner’s name. However, lotto operators strongly recommend players to choose the wire transfer in case of a win instead of the other one.

American lotteries aren't tax free. Read about the American taxation!

What happens to the prize if it’s is not claimed on time

Once the claim period ends, the funds are returned to the prize fund according to their sales for the prize rollover series. For example, in Florida, 80% of all unclaimed Jackpot prizes go to good purposes, like the EETF (Educational Enhancement Trust Fund) that benefits education in that particular state. It’s important to note that all prizes that were not claimed on time stay in the state where the lucky ticket was sold.

When Powerball draws are held?

Draws of this magnificent lottery are held two times a week - on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59 PM EST in Tallahassee of Florida. The entries cut-off time for purchasing a Powerball ticket varies in different states. It is usually in the range of a few hours before the official draw time. All the draws are interactive and are broadcast on many local US channels and on the Internet.

What is the price of a Powerball ticket?

Buying a ticket online may be more expensive than in a sales stock because in big companies an agent’s fee is included in the ticket price beforehand. Thus, the “online player” pays for a traditional paper ticket printed in the official lottery sales stock, and a fee for a representative who buys a ticket. Usually, the price for a ticket in the official lottery sales stock is $ 2 - not a big sum of money for a chance to grab millions!

Usually, prices are final, and depend on a number of lines player chooses to a ticket. Lotto Agent has an offer for those who want to buy many tickets - the more lines you choose on a ticket, the bigger the discount you will get for a ticket!

How the Powerball Jackpot is set?

The sum of a Powerball Jackpot is set by MUSL for each draw that takes place. Usually, the sum of a Jackpot is calculated on the basis of sales for every particular draw, and funds that roll over from previous drawings and also interest rates for long-term investments. A sum of 34% is allocated straight to a Jackpot pool for every $ 2 ticket that is sold

A good chance to win - by playing in a syndicate!

Lottery syndicate (or a lotto pool), is a great way of increasing your winning odds significantly. A group of people (or employees) is called a syndicate when they buy lottery tickets together and then share winnings according to the contribution of every particular player. Of course, it is made in the proportion of every player’s contribution to that win.

On March 10, 2018, a group of women employees called “Lotto Ladies” won a sum of $ 1 million after matching 5 ordinary balls. As this syndicate was formed by 12 women, every winner received a sum of $ 83,333,33!

How to win a Powerball prize?

To win the Powerball prize, a player must match numbers that will be drawn, i.e. winning ones. There are nine ways to win - one for every prize category. So, the more numbers the player matches, the higher one’s prize will be. The smallest prize is $ 4 for matching the Powerball number, and the bigger one is a grand prize - for matching all the winning numbers in one line of a ticket.

All prizes of this lottery are fixed sums that will be paid out, while the Jackpot is shared among all winners in that prize category. The grand prize may be paid in 30 annual payouts, or as a lump sum of cash (but its amount will be reduced). It’s up to a winner what option to choose.

Top 5 biggest Powerball winners of all time

Powerball lottery granted thousands of people to become millionaires from the first draw held in 1992. It broke lots of records - even its own!

1. The biggest prize of $ 1,58 billion was scooped in January 2016. Three winners - from Tennessee, California, and Melbourne - claimed their prizes after playing the lottery. Every winner got a sum of $ 528,8 million before taxes. Winners from California claimed their piece of a cake much later - in July 2016.

2. Here comes the largest single winner who took home a sum of $ 768,4 million. A 24-year old Manuel Franco from Milwaukee, Wisconsin claimed the prize with a ticket bought from a Speedway in New Berlin. Now he gave up his work and is working with financial experts who are helping him to invest the sum of $ 477 million wisely.

Manuel Franco, a 24-year old winner of Powerball draw that took place on March 27th, 2019.

3. Mavis Wanzcyk, 53, who earlier was the biggest single Powerball winner, now takes the third place with her prize of $ 758 million won in August 2017. Mavis quit her job immediately after knowing of her win, got the lump sum of $ 480 million and said that she’ll never go to a job again. Well, that’s fair for a person who won big!

4. October 2018 became the lucky day for two winners who scooped the Jackpot of $ 687 million. The Jackpot was rolling over 21 times and finally got its lucky ones. The first winning ticket was bought in West Harlem, Manhattan, while the second one - in Redfield near Iowa. This is the first big winner of that state! Every winner received a lump sum of almost $ 344 millions after taxes.

5. Powerball hits all records in the number of single winners! Gloria MacKenzie won a sum of $ 590 million in May 2013. This spectacular 84-year old lady purchased a ticket at the local Publix store, where another man let her go in front of the others in the queue, so she could grab her winning ticket!

Eight tips of winning Powerball

  • Pick the most commonly played numbers. On the word of Powerball statistics, most common winning numbers are 32, 64, 23, 69 and 61. So, when the lucky time comes, just pick your lucky lottery numbers and enjoy the winnings!
  • Don’t forget about the most popular Powerball numbers.These are supplementary numbers that you just must have to win the Jackpot. As per the same Powerball statistics, the most common winning Powerball numbers are 24, 21, 9, 13 and 25.
  • What about Quick Pick? Quick Pick numbers are automatically chosen for the player, so there’s no need for thinking of what lottery numbers to choose. Don’t forget that a ticket with Quick Pick brought Gloria MacKenzie her millions - and it’s also a great choice for those who enjoy the game, not statistics!
  • Choose numbers that mean a lot to you. But don’t forget to spread out your numbers because you have to choose five numbers from 1 to 69 and just 1 from 26. It may be rather uneasy. Keep these significant numbers in your mind and don’t use them so much - choose those lottery numbers that you like the most!
  • Overdue numbers have their right to be played! These numbers have no been chosen for a while. In fine with the Powerball statistics, the following numbers were not chosen for such a long time: 58 (drawn 173 days ago), 51 (134 days ago), 31 (127 days ago), 55 (117 days ago) and 69 (113 days ago). Numbers 9 (306 days ago), 16 (197 days ago), 19 (180 days ago), 22 (176 days ago) and 20 (166 days ago) are the overdue Powerball numbers.
  • Choose some unpopular numbers. There are numbers that are not chosen due to some superstitions today. For instance, the number 13 is considered an unlucky one, so players avoid choosing it. The lottery is a game of luck, not superstitions and that number may bring you a huge prize, so it’s worth giving it a shot! Other numbers that are also considered as unlucky are 32, 34, 40 and 46.
  • Don’t let go of an unlucky combination. If you have not won anything with the combination (or combinations) you have chosen, do not forget about it and keep it to use later. Find out if this set of numbers is a good one - maybe it is worth playing the lottery once more!
  • Just play more! It may sound banal, but the more tickets you buy, the higher your chances are. That’s an axiom! The lottery is a game of chance, so buying more tickets may increase your chances of winning significantly. Anyway, if you don’t win remember that your funds are spent on good things like education or charity, so it’s worth playing!

Let’s be clear: it’s not that easy to win that spectacular lottery. Besides having its pros and cons, Powerball is still the most popular lottery in the world. So, it’s always worth buying a ticket and feel that indescribable excitement until draw results come out!

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