There's a chance to win twice a week, with draws every Wednesday and Saturday. At each draw, five white balls from 1 to 69 are randomly chosen, followed by a separate selection for one red Powerball from 1 to 26.
To win the jackpot, a ticket needs to match all six numbers drawn. The Powerball must match exactly, while the five white ball numbers can be matched in any order to win - that is, it doesn't matter if you match them as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, or any other combination.
Since there are two sets of numbers, the chances of winning depend on combining the odds for both sets of numbers for all prize categories. There are more than 292 million potential combinations of numbers that could be drawn.
You could try to increase your chances of winning by buying more tickets and selecting different number combinations, but in reality the impact is tiny.
The odds of winning the jackpot are the same in all 48 Powerball lottery jurisdictions. When you buy a ticket, your chances of hitting the top prize are the same as any other player's, regardless of where you live or purchased your ticket.
There's more to Powerball than the jackpot, with eight other ways to win cash prizes. The second prize is $1 million for matching all five main numbers (odds are 1 in 11,688,053). The third prize is $50,000 for matching four white balls plus the Powerball.
The Power Play option multiplies prizes below the jackpot and costs an extra $1.00. Power Play doubles Match 5 wins to $2 million and can increase lower-tier prizes between two and 10 times.
Are the Odds Better Since the Jackpot Has Been Lowered?
In April 2020, Powerball removed the starting jackpot due to falling sales amid the coronavirus outbreak. Previously, the jackpot would reset to a minimum of $40 million after it was won. So far, the starting jackpot has been cut in half to $20 million.
Regardless of the change to the top prize's value, the odds of hitting the jackpot remain exactly the same - over 292 million. The jackpot's size - whether $20 million or its record high, $1.58 billion - does not affect the chances of winning.
Jackpot Analysis and Taxes
If you do win the jackpot, how much will you owe Uncle Sam? Your tax bill depends on where you live - visit Powerball Jackpot Analysis to calculate your federal and state withholdings on the current annuity and lump sum.