What Are the Odds of Winning Powerball?

A guide to working out the odds of winning the USA Powerball Lottery.
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  • Author:
    Shaun Greer
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You’ve probably wondered if you have a chance of ever winning the Powerball jackpot. While you statistically have a better chance of winning the next US election than winning the jackpot, there are odds to consider.

Read on, as we take you through the statistics behind one of the biggest lotteries in the world.

It’s All a Little Odd

If you played just one set of numbers, your odds of winning the Powerball would be 1 in 292,201,338.

That’s a hefty number, for sure. But you can improve your odds of winning by buying more tickets, playing more combinations and joining a lottery syndicate.

Would it make a big difference? Not particularly. No matter which way you look at it, the odds of winning Powerball aren’t the most favourable. After all, in a game that features a jackpot that soars into the millions, it would be rather unreasonable to expect anything else.

Know Your Numbers

When it comes to working out the Powerball odds, there is a little mathematics involved. We’ve tried to keep it simple, so stick with us here.

Firstly, for every single Powerball draw, 5 white balls and one red ball are drawn. These are the winning numbers.

With that, comes a variety of different combinations for the main white balls. There are 69 possible numbers for the first ball. Then there are 68 possible numbers left. A number cannot be drawn more than once in a single draw. So, you get the drift.

If we multiply 69x68x67x66x65, we get 1,348,621,560 potential combinations for the 5 white balls.

Now here’s the catch. The order of the numbers doesn’t make a difference to winning. If you have the right numbers, you’ll win no matter what order they are drawn in.

This means we need to add an extra step to the math by dividing the number of potential combinations with the number of likely orders in which the 5 numbers may be drawn. So, it looks like this:

5x4x3x2x1 = 120 potential orders for 5 numbers.

But this only takes the first 5 numbers into account. We’ve still got to take into consideration the chance of matching the red Powerball if you want to figure out your odds of scooping the main jackpot.

As you know, the red Powerball is drawn separately from a set of 26 numbers, which means there’s a 1 in 26 chance of matching it. Now, divide the previous number with this and you get 292,201,338 – the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot, just like we said in the beginning.

So, Is There Any Chance of Winning?

These odds, you need to keep in mind, are only for the grand prize. The math we’ve used shows you that there are more than 292 million potential combinations of winning numbers, and the odds of you matching them to a tee.

But if you think about the fact that there are 8 other prize tiers in Powerball, then your chance of winning something doesn’t actually seem that bad. In fact, there’s a 1 in 25 chance of earning any prize.

If that’s okay with you, and you’re happy to win at least a little something, then your Powerball odds don’t seem as dreary. You might just end up like winner Richard Lustig who never won a big jackpot, but he did win a bunch of lottery prizes. There’s also the story of the Stocklas brothers who each won the lottery in different ways – one won $7 while the other won a mega $291 million!

Can You Really Calculate the Powerball Odds?

Well, using the formula we’ve shown you, try it for yourself and see. Or, use an online lottery odds calculator and see what you discover.

While you still have more chance of becoming the next American president than winning the Powerball jackpot, there is always the chance of winning at least a little something when you play the lottery.

See this week’s latest draw results at Powerball.ca.

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