Powerball drawing offers a $400 million jackpot you’re not going to win


Powerball tickets are for sale at this Philadelphia newsstand today. (Matt Rourke/AP)

The next Powerball drawing is Wednesday night at 10:59 p.m. Eastern time. There’s a massive potential jackpot — an estimated $400 million, according to Powerball! — so lots of people are going to run out and buy tickets.

Here are three facts about the Powerball:

  1. You have a one-in-175 million chance of winning.
  2. Even if you don’t win the Powerball (see below), if you insist on buying a ticket, make sure to see if any of the other numbers match up. Your odds of winning $7 (one-in-360) are much better than your odds of winning, say, $1 million (one-in-5 million).
  3. The $400 million dollars (which isn’t really $400 million dollars — the actual value is $227.8 million, according to Powerball) would be the fourth-highest jackpot in Powerball history and the sixth-biggest lottery jackpot overall, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association, which operates Powerball. The top four Powerball jackpots were won over the past two years, following a change to Powerball’s rules in 2012 that increased the payoffs and, therefore, meant we’re going to see these “Guess how big the Powerball is?” stories more often. The biggest jackpot was last year’s $590.5 million that someone won in Florida, because apparently not all of the news out of that state is terrible for everyone.

One thing about the Powerball that is not a fact but is as close to a fact as a thing can be without technically being a fact:

  1. You’re still not going to win, probably.

And just in case, just because we’re a full-service operation, a guide to what you should do if you win.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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Mark Berman · February 19