Powerball is played across 44 states in the U.S. in addition to Washington D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The game underwent significant changes in October 2015, when the main ball pool was expanded and the pool for the Powerball was reduced in order to generate larger jackpots as well as reduce the overall odds of winning a prize.
The biggest jackpot in the history of the game was the $1.58 billion split between three players in January 2016. The ticket holders, from California, Florida and Tennessee, each won $528.8 million.
Powerball draws take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59pm EST in Tallahassee, Florida with the details of the draw appearing on the Powerball Results page soon after. The cut-off time for buying Powerball tickets varies from state to state and is usually in the region of one to two hours before the draw.
How to Play Powerball
As of October 2015, players choose five main numbers from 1 to 69 and a Powerball from 1 to 26. You can also select a quick pick at the point of purchase, which will randomly generate a line of numbers for you.
Powerball has nine winning prize tiers, with awards received for matching anything from just the Powerball, which nets you $4, up to the grand prize, which is won by matching all five main numbers and the Powerball. The jackpot begins at $40 million and rises quickly with rollovers, often hitting nine figures and sometimes even ten.
Players can also choose the Power Play option when buying their ticket, which increases the value of non-jackpot prizes won. Regardless of the Power Play number drawn, the second prize of $1 million will double to $2 million if the player matches the five main numbers drawn as well as the Power Play number, but every prize below that will multiply by the number on the Power Play ball. For example, a Power Play number of 5 will make the prize for matching just the Powerball $20 rather than $4, and so on. The Power Play game also changed in October 2015, with the introduction of a 10x Power Play option when the Powerball jackpot is worth $150 million or less. If the top prize rises above this amount, only 2x, 3x, 4x and 5x Power Play multipliers are offered.
Your chances of winning any Powerball prize stand at one in 24.87, with the odds of bagging the jackpot set at 1 in 292,201,338.
Winning Powerball Syndicates
Playing Powerball as part of a syndicate is a great way to increase your chances of winning a prize while lowering the cost of individual entry. Over the years, there have been a number of syndicates who have snapped up the Powerball jackpot after playing the game as part of a collective.
A group of employees from a cheese company in Plymouth, Wisconsin, became known as the 100 Miracles after scooping $208.6 million in the Powerball draw on 5th August 2006. The large syndicate had played for many years without any luck, but their fortune changed after rubbing the belly of a Buddha statue and keeping the idol on top of their tickets.
On 7th August 2013, a group of 16 employees from the Ocean County Vehicle Maintenance Department in New Jersey landed a share of a Powerball jackpot worth $448.4 million. The syndicate, who were instantly dubbed Ocean’s 16, were in possession of one of three winning tickets from the draw and chose to accept the cash lump sum option; this saw each member of the group walk away with around $3.8 million after taxes.
Prior to 1992, Powerball existed under another name - Lotto America. Once the game underwent changes to become the multi-state lottery we know today the name Lotto America was dropped. However, from November 2017, Lotto America was relaunched under a new format to offer another way USA lottery players to win big. Visit the dedicated Lotto America page for more information.