Unraveling the Odds: What Players Should Know About Today's Powerball Game

  1. Home
  2. News
  3. Unraveling The Odds: What Players Should Know About Today's Powerball Game
  • Author:
    Shaun Greer
  • Published:

Here’s what Powerball players need to know about the odds or the math behind the game so you can be more educated when you’re playing Powerball.

Powerball continues to be somewhat of an all-American pastime. It’s easy and affordable to play. It’s exciting to consider the prospect of winning, even at the smaller prize amounts. And while matching all the numbers for the Powerball jackpot is always on your mind, you’re just as hopeful you can match just a few to be a small prize winner. But what do you really need to know about the odds?

The Math Behind the Odds of Winning the Powerball Jackpot

Let’s start with the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot. If you’re playing one set of numbers on one ticket of play, your chances of winning seem pretty slim. In fact, it’s about one in 292,201,338. Don’t let that deter you, though. Plenty of Powerball winners will tell you they never expected to be that one, but in a game of chance, the hope and anticipation are part of the allure.

There’s real math behind those odds, too. In every Powerball drawing, there are five white balls or numbers selected, along with one red Powerball number. There are 69 possible number combinations for the first ball, 68 for the second, 67 for the third, etc. This is because the same number cannot be drawn twice. So, in possible white ball combinations alone, there are 11,238,513 odds. Adding in the 26 different possible digits for the Powerball (which you’d actually divide by the aforementioned total,) you get the one in 292,201,338 odds.

What About the Odds of Smaller Powerball Prizes?

One of the reasons so many love to play Powerball is the additional chance of winning non-jackpot prizes. Sure the odds of winning the big prize are big. But matching a few other number combinations can still be life-changing, especially if you opt for the Power Play. But what are the actual data-driven odds of winning at some of the other prize points? When you think about having a one in 25 chance of earning ANY prize, it seems more likely you’ll have a shot.

Here is a simplified breakdown of the odds for other number combinations:

  • Five white balls only – one in 11,688,054 to win $1 million

  • Four white balls, plus the Powerball – one in 913,129 to win $50,000

  • Four white balls only – one in 36,525 to win $100

  • Three white balls, plus the Powerball – one in 14,494 to win $100

  • Three white balls only – one in 580 to win $7

  • Two white balls, plus the Powerball – one in 701 to win $7

  • One white ball, plus the Powerball – one in 92 to win $4

  • Powerball only – one in 38 to win $4

These figures and odds, again, are based on a single two-dollar play, with odds rounding to the nearest one.

Is There Any Possible Way to Increase Your Odds of Winning?

Because each Powerball drawing is an independent game, not based on or swayed by previous numbers drawn, the odds reset with each game. Your chances are exactly the same if you play special numbers of your choosing or random selection based on the machine at the counter, as well. But there are other ways to potentially increase your odds.

  1. Buy more tickets: the more Powerball games you play, the better your chances are of winning, even at the smaller prize levels.

  2. Play with less competition: When the Powerball jackpots swell to incredibly large amounts, more people, who may not normally play, decide to try their luck. When you play at smaller jackpot amounts, there could be fewer players, thus potentially increasing your chances.

  3. Choosing above the number 31: It won’t increase your odds of winning but selecting numbers outside of the calendar days (considering people tend to play birthdays and anniversaries as their numbers) can reduce the chances of you having to share your Powerball prize.

Now that you understand the math behind the odds of winning Powerball, all you have left to do is get out there, buy a ticket and play! The even playing field ensures every player has the same odds of winning at every game. And remember, you can’t win anything if you’re not actively playing.

We use cookies to personalize content and ads, and to analyze our traffic. By using our site, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.