Time to start dreaming big dreams again, really big dreams.
After no one won Wednesday night's grand prize, Saturday's estimated Powerball jackpot will be $435 million, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association, which administers the game in 44 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
If the pot doesn't go up before the 10:59 p.m. ET drawing, it will be the eighth largest Powerball jackpot in history, just $300,000 less than a jackpot won in February with a ticket sold in Indiana. That $435.3 million prize, won by a resident of the Lafayette, Ind., metro area who was allowed to remain anonymous, was the 10th largest U.S. lottery jackpot ever.
Saturday's prize, which requires an exact match of five numbers from 1 to 69 and a Powerball number from 1 to 26, has about a $273 million cash value if its winner chooses to take all the money now rather than in 30 annual installments.
The odds of a win with your $2 ticket:
- Grand prize: 1 in more than 292 million
- $1 million: 1 in almost 11 million
- $4: 1 in about 38 if you match the Powerball only
When you buy a ticket, you can spend an extra dollar for a Power Play add-on that will multiply the original prize amounts for all but the two biggies: the grand and $1 million prizes though the Power Play option does double the $1 million prize
Wednesday's drawing produced a $2 million winner in North Carolina and three $1 million winners each in California, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
Since Sept. 30, 2015, when the game was changed to increase the number of balls drawn and the odds of winning, the most frequent red Powerball has been 9, which has happened 11 times. The numbers 5, 6, 10 and 25 tied for nine times each.
The least frequent? 14 and 26, three times each.
The change 20 months ago was designed to increase the odds of eye-popping jackpots, and Powerball delivered Jan. 13, 2016, with a record $1.59 billion prize, which ended up being split among three tickets sold in California, Florida and Tennessee.
Of course, since each drawing starts out fresh, no history of winning numbers really matters, but some people are superstitious.
If you look at the odds, your chances of becoming a Powerball winner are astronomical, well probably more than astronomical: The lifetime odds of dying from the impact of a regional asteroid or comet are 1.6 million, according to a 2014 paper from Stephen Nelson, an associate professor at Tulane University.
The Book of Odds by statistician Amram Shapiro pegs dying in a freak vending-machine accident at 1 in 112 million and dying from a shark attack at 1 in 250 million. You're more likely to get hit by lightning this year — 1 in 1.042 million, according to the National Weather Service.
While past performance is not indicative of future results, more winning Powerball jackpot tickets have been sold in Indiana, 39, than any other place since the game began in April 1992. Retailers across the state have sold 11% of all grand-prize-winning tickets in the past 25 years, according to Multi-State Lottery Association numbers.
Other states in the top 5: Missouri, 31; Minnesota, 22; Kentucky 18; and Pennsylvania, 17.
The most recent jackpot winner, who has not yet claimed the prize, came from the $60 million April 1 drawing, according to the Arizona Lottery. That ticket was bought at Scenic General Store in Littlefield, Ariz., along Interstate 15 in northwest Arizona.
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