What Are the Odds of Winning the US Powerball?

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November 9, 2021
6 minutes
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By Jonny Gamer

As nerds, we all love digging deep into topics and exploring things that people tend to be oblivious about. The odds of winning the US Powerball is one such topic, which is quite an interesting one as this is one of the most played lotteries in the world. With an average jackpot prize paid out at $141 million and a record-holding payout of $1.58 billion, it is also one of the biggest lotteries in terms of prize pools.

But is it actually a good idea to play the US Powerball or is this lottery just a pile of poop painted in gold? Let’s find out by telling you all about the odds of winning, the prizes awarded, and more!

The Odds of Winning Any Prize in the US Powerball

Whether you play the lottery online or offline, the odds of winning any prize in the US Powerball remain the same. They are 1 in 24.9. In other words, on average you have to buy 25 entries into the lottery before you win anything at all.

In the US, an entry costs $2, which means that you have to invest $50 to win something. Playing online, ticket prices can be twice as high, which would mean an investment of $100.

What Are the Odds of Winning the US Powerball?

So, how much can you win in the lottery? Prizes in the US Powerball start at $4 and go up to $1 million + the progressive jackpot which has an average payout of $141 million.

The Odds of Hitting the Jackpot (First Prize)

The odds of winning the 1st prize in the US Powerball are 1 in 292,201,338.00 (1 in 292 million). The jackpot pays a minimum of $20 million, has an average payout of $141 million, and has paid $1.58 billion at most. To win, you need to match 5 numbers out of a pool of 69, along with a Powerball number out of a pool of 26.

The Odds of Winning the Second Prize

The odds of winning the 2nd prize are 1 in 11,688,053.52 (1 in 11 million). This pays $1 million or $2 million if you’ve added the optional Powerplay feature to your ticket for an additional cost. To win, you need to match 5 numbers.

The Odds of Winning the Third Prize

The odds of winning the 3rd prize are 1 in 913,129.18 (1 in 913 thousand). This pays $50,000 or up to $500,000 if you’ve added the Powerplay feature to your ticket. To win, you need to match 4 numbers + the Powerball number.

The Odds of Winning the Fourth Prize

The odds of winning the 4th prize are 1 in 36,525.17 (1 in 36 thousand). This pays $100 or up to $1,000 if you’ve added the Powerplay feature to your ticket. To win, you need to match 4 numbers.

The Odds of Winning the Fifth Prize

The odds of winning the 5th prize are 1 in 14,494.11 (1 in 14 thousand). This pays $100 or up to $1,000 if you’ve added the Powerplay feature to your ticket. To win, you need to match 3 numbers + the Powerball number.

The Odds of Winning the Sixth Prize

The odds of winning the 6th prize are 1 in 579. This pays $7 or up to $70 if you’ve added the Powerplay feature to your ticket. To win, you need to match 3 numbers.

The Odds of Winning the Seventh Prize

The odds of winning the 7th prize are 1 in 701. This pays $7 or up to $70 if you’ve added the Powerplay feature to your ticket. To win, you need to match 2 numbers + the Powerball number.

The Odds of Winning the Eight Prize

The odds of winning the 8th prize are 1 in 92. This pays $4 or up to $40 if you’ve added the Powerplay feature to your ticket. To win, you need to match 1 number + the Powerball number.

The Odds of Winning the Ninth and Last Prize

The odds of winning the 9th and last prize in the US Powerball are 1 in 38. This pays $4 or up to $40 if you’ve added the Powerplay feature to your ticket. To win, you need to match only the Powerball number.

How Would the Odds Change if You Enter a Syndicate?

If you would play the US Powerball in a syndicate, the odds of winning would heavily increase. By how much depends on the number of people who are in the syndicate.

If we assume that you enter a syndicate where 100 people chip in 1 ticket each, the odds of winning the jackpot would be 1 in 2.92 million. The odds of winning the second prize would be 1 in 110 thousand and the third prize only 1 in 9 thousand.

Most jackpots are won by syndicates.

How Many Lifetimes Would It Take to Win the US Powerball if You Never Missed a Draw?

The US Powerball has 3 draws per week which result in 156 draws per year. If you play the lottery from the age of 20 up until the age of 90, that’s a total of 10,920 draws. Only playing 1 line per draw, it would take 26,758 lifetimes to win the jackpot in the US Powerball.

If we look at these odds, you would have to invest more than $50,000 on each draw to stand a chance of winning the jackpot during your life.

What Has Better Odds: Hitting the Powerball Jackpot or Being Killed by a Bee Sting?

Being killed by a bee sting is incredibly unlikely. However, the risk is still 5400 times lower than the chance of winning the jackpot in the US Powerball. Estimated by The National Safety Council, the odds of dying from a bee sting are 1 in 54,093.

Food for thought; should you be afraid of bees or should you be afraid of playing the US Powerball?

How Much of the Jackpot Should Powerball Winners Receive?

About two-thirds of the jackpot. You may think that winning the US Powerball means that you get to keep it all, but the fact of the matter is that all jackpot winnings are taxable. How much tax you have to pay depends on the state you live in, but approximately 35% is taxed.

Which Is the Luckiest Number in American Powerball?

Having scraped all lotto numbers drawn in the US Powerball from 2015 – 2020, the number pulled the most is 23 at 2.08% of all draws.

If you’re looking for the luckiest combination to play, the top 5 numbers that were pulled the most include 23, 32, 61, 53, and 69. These are all above the average of 1.44%.

Based on the same period of time, 46 and 34 are the unluckiest numbers of all, only being pulled 1.02% of the draws. This is half as much as 23!

Conclusion: Are the Odds in the US Powerball Good?

Most certainly not. For the most part, you don’t win anything at all and when you do win, prizes tend to be very low. There’s only a 1 in 25 chance to win something and to win just $100, which is basically nothing, the odds are 1 in 36 thousand. In other words, on average you have to win a prize 1,440 times before you get a taste of that sweet or maybe not so sweet $100.

However, if you don’t play, you can’t win the jackpot and this is what the US Powerball is all about. The chances of winnings are beyond slim, but if you do win, you and all of your relatives are set for life.

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