PowerballOdds and Prizes

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The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292 million. However, the odds of winning any prize are a very reasonable 1 in 24.87 so it's not all doom and gloom.

If you match the Powerball at all, you're guaranteed a prize, even if you don't match any of the main five draw numbers. The prize for just matching the Powerball is US $4, and it's roughly a 1 in 38 chance. It isn't a 1 in 26 chance, because some people who match the Powerball will also match main draw numbers and win a higher prize.

Even if you don't match the Powerball, you can still win by matching three, four or five of the main draw numbers. The odds of this start from 1 in 580 for three balls, and a payout of US $7, up to odds of nearly 12 million to one for matching five numbers, which has a US $1 million prize.

Odds on Winning the Powerball
The calculation of winning the Powerball isn't really this complicated!
Powerball Odds and Prizes
Matched Numbers Prize Odds
5 + Powerball Jackpot 1 in 292,201,338
5 US $1,000,000 1 in 11,688,054
4 + Powerball US $50,000 1 in 913,129
4 US $100 1 in 36,525
3 + Powerball US $100 1 in 14,494
3 US $7 1 in 580
2 + Powerball US $7 1 in 701
1 + Powerball US $4 1 in 92
0 + Powerball US $4 1 in 38

PowerPlay

Power Play is a multiplier option. For an extra US $1 per ticket you can add Power Play. You don't have to choose any extra numbers for this. Rather than improving your chances of a win, Power Play increases the amount of prize money you receive if you do win.

One Power Play number is randomly selected from a pool of 42, marked with multipliers from 2x to 5x. If the jackpot is less than US $150 million, one extra 10x multiplier is added. Whichever multiplier is drawn, non-jackpot prizes are multiplied by that amount, for winning tickets with the Power Play option selected. This excludes the jackpot and any wins for five numbers matched (where the top prize is doubled to US $2 million).

PowerPlay Odds

Jackpot is over US $150m - Without 10x multiplier (42 multipliers in pool)
Power Play Multiplier 2x 3x 4x 5x
Odds 1 in 1.75 1 in 3.23 1 in 14 1 in 21
5-ball prize: US $2 million. All other prizes multiplied by the number on the selected multiplier.
Jackpot is under US $150m - With 10x multiplier (43 multipliers in pool)
Power Play Multiplier 2x 3x 4x 5x 10x
Odds 1 in 1.79 1 in 3.31 1 in 14.33 1 in 21.5 1 in 43
5-ball prize: US $2 million. All other prizes multiplied by the number on the selected multiplier.
Annuity vs. Cash

Annuity vs. Cash

98% of Powerball jackpot winners chose to take the cash option. Or to put it another way, only 4 winners in the last 13 years (2003 - 2016) chose the annuity option.

If you win the Powerball jackpot, you have the option of taking an annuity - an annual payment over 30 instalments - or a cash lump sum paid to you in full. You'll see there's quite a difference between the two. This is because the cash lump sum pays out whatever's in the jackpot fund, whereas the annuity includes both the cash sum and the interest generated by investing it over the next 29 years. The value of the annuity option also has the added benefit of increasing by 5% annually.

The cash option is taxed in full when it is paid out - and taking the annuity option can also mean that more of the prize money is taxed at a lower rate over time. You can also leave the annuity to your family if you die, so there's no risk of losing out on your prize money if you're not expecting to live another 30 years.

Powerball Jackpot Winners - Cash or Annuity

This table illustrates the number of Powerball jackpot winners who took the cash or annuity option from 2003 to 2016.

Year Jackpot Winners Cash Option Annuity Option
2016 9 9 0
2015 14 14 0
2014 11 10 1
2013 1 18 17 0
2012 16 16 0
2011 1 13 12 0
2010 17 17 0
2009 13 13 0
2008 11 11 0
2007 16 15 1
2006 2 11 11 0
2005 14 12 2
2004 13 13 0
2003 16 16 0
TOTAL 192 186 4

1 Year contains one or more unclaimed jackpots.

2 Mixed cash and annuity option taken by one or more winners.

Source: Powerball.com

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