Powerball general information - how to play, payouts, odds, jackpot info, links, Powerball states map.

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Powerball Lottery General Information

Powerball is a multi-state lottery game played in 42 states plus the District of Columbia with a jackpot starting at $40 million and growing by at least $10 million until someone wins. Powerball, together with Hot Lotto, Wild Card2, and 2By2 is administered by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL).

The Powerball game consists of two sets of numbers where the player selects 5 numbers 1 through 59 from the first set and one number (called the Power Ball or Red Ball) 1 to 35 from the second set. Powerball costs $2 per game, but you may optionally spend one more dollar to add a Power Play that increses lower prizes.

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Powerball drawing schedule: Powerball drawings are held at approximately 11 p.m. EST every Wednesday and Saturday night in Orlando, Florida. Powerball sales are cut off at least 59 minutes before the draw. Check for local cut-off time.

Powerball drawing method: The winning Powerball numbers are drawn using mechanical machines and ball sets. Five white balls are drawn out of a drum with 59 balls, and one red ball is drawn out of a drum with 35 red balls.



How to play Powerball

Powerball slip

Just like any multi-number game, Powerball is a very easy game to play. Two sample panels from a Powerball playslip are shown here; the actual playslip contains 5 panels.

Select 5 numbers from 1 through 59 on the upper section and 1 number from 1 through 35 on the lower section. Alternatively, you can mark the Quick Pick (QP) (Easy Pick (EP) in some states) to let the Lottery terminal randomly select your numbers for you. If you want to play more numbers, then fill out panels B, C, etc. Each one costs $2.

If you make an error, DO NOT ERASE, instead mark the Void box for that play.

Power Play :If you want to multiply your lower-tier Powerball winnings up to 5 times, then just choose the Power Play feature on your Powerball play slip (not shown on our figure). You may also ask the retailer to add the Power Play option to your game. Unlike the old format, no Power Play multiplier will be drawn in the new Powerball format; it now pays a fixed amount listed further below for all draws.

The new Powerball format is in effect for draws of January 18, 2012 and later.

In the old Powerball format, at every draw of Powerball, in addition to the 5 + PB winning numbers, a Power Play number was also drawn from 2 to 5. A typical winning number was reported as,
01-07-27-36-49 PB 39 PP 5, or as 01-07-27-36-49**39x5. Now, in the new Powerball, the PP 5 or x 5 part will be dropped.

Note that since the order in which the numbers are drawn doesn't matter, the winning numbers are reported in their natural order from smallest to highest.

The Power Play does not affect the the jackpot prize. If you have added Power Play and matched 5-of-5, the prize will be $2,000,000 instead of $1,000,000 (in the old format, $1,000,000 instead of $200,000). The prizes for matching lower than 5-of-5 was multiplied by the drawn Power Play number in the old case, but now, the prizes are pre-set.

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How Do You Win Powerball? - Prizes and Odds

The following two tables list a summary winner prizes and the odds of winning for the new and old Powerball, respectively.

NEW Powerball Prize Structure and Odds
Valid for draws of January 18, 2012 and later
MatchPrize Without Power PlayPrize With Power PlayOdds
5-of-5 + PB$40,000,000 +$40,000,000 +1 in 175,223,510
5-of-5$1,000,000$2,000,0001 in 5,153,633
4-of-5 + PB$10,000$40,0001 in 648,976
4-of-5$100$2001 in 19,088
3-of-5 + PB$100$2001 in 12,245
3-of-5$7$141 in 361
2-of-5 + PB$7$141 in 707
1-of-5 + PB$4$121 in 111
Only PB$4$121 in 56

Note that you do not win anything by matching 1 or 2 numbers without matching the Power Ball (Red ball)

With a $2 ticket the player wins the prizes listed under "Prize Without Power Play" column. However, the player has the option of adding Power Play for additional $1, in which case the prizes listed under "Prize With Power Play" column will apply. Power Play does not affect the jackpot prize.

The jackpot starts at $40 million and grows by at least $10 million at every draw where there is no jackpot winner.


OLD Powerball Prize Structure and Odds
Valid for draws prior to January 18, 2012
Prize WithoutPrize With Power Play
MatchPower Playx 2x 3x 4x 5Odds
5-of-5 + PB$20,000,000 +$20,000,000 +1 in 195,249,054
5-of-5$200,000$1,000,0001 in 5,138,133
4-of-5 + PB$10,000$20,000$30,000$40,000$50,0001 in 723,145
4-of-5$100$200$300$400$5001 in 7,585
3-of-5 + PB$100$200$300$400$5001 in 13,644
3-of-5$7$14$21$28$351 in 359
2-of-5 + PB$7$14$21$28$351 in 787
1-of-5 + PB$4$8$12$16$201 in 123
Only PB$3$6$9$12$151 in 62

Note that you do not win anything by matching 1 or 2 numbers without matching the Power Ball (Red ball)

Note also that whatever multiplier (Power Play number) is drawn, the 5-of-5 match prize will be $1,000,000 cash, while the lower prizes are multiplied by this number. All set prizes and Power Play prizes, including the 5-of-5 match prize, may be reduced if claims exceed available prize fund.


Claiming Powerball Prizes: Usually prizes of less than $600 can be claimed at any retailer. However, every state has its own rules for claiming lottery prizes. Please see your state's info page on this web site or go to the Powerball page of the official site of your state by clicking on the map further below.

Also, how long you have to collect a Powerball prize depends on the state where you bought your tickets. The time period for claiming a prize ranges from 180 days to 1 year from the draw date.

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Summary of what changed with the new Powerball structure.

Here are the main differences between the new and old Powerball structure:
  • The cost of a Powerball ticket is raised from $1 to $2.
  • The new Powerball matrix is 5/59 + 1/35 instead of 5/59 + 1/39. That is, the Red Ball numbers are reduced by 4 while the White Ball numbers remain the same.
  • As a consequence of the new matrix, the odds of winning the jackpot are now 1 in 175,223,510 instead of 1 in 195,249,054. The odds of lower tier matches are also reduced.
  • No PowerPlay number is drawn. So, the Power Play option pays a fixed amount at every draw.
  • The jackpot starts at $40 million instead of $20 million, and increases by at least $10 million there after when there is no jackpot winner.
  • The second prize is $1 million without PowerPlay instead of $200,000. And, with PowerPlay, it is $2 million instead of $1 million.
  • The third and lower prizes are unchanged except that matching the PB only gets you $4 instead of $3.
  • The general effect of the PowerPlay is somewhat reduced since none of the prizes are multiplied by 5, and only the third prize is multiplied by 4. The rest of the prizes are multiplied only by 2 except the last two which are multiplied by 3.


About Powerball Jackpot

The Powerball advertised jackpot starts at $40 million (about $20 mil actual) and rolls over to the next drawing if nobody wins. Initially the jackpot grows by a few millions, but later it may grow by as much as $25 million after every draw. When there is a winner it goes back to $40 million. The jackpot is always paid on pari-mutuel basis, that is, it is divided among the winners if there are more than one.

The jackpot winner has the option of choosing the payment method as CASH or ANNUITY. The cash jackpot (about half of the advertised jackpot) is all the money that Powerball has on hand from the sale of tickets in the game. If a player chooses the cash option, then the lottery will pay the entire cash amount to the winner (less income tax withholding amounts required by federal and state laws). In the case of ANNUITY option, the jackpot is paid over 29 years (30 payments), to finally sum up to the advertised amount.

The following is sample jackpot payment examples compiled from past winnings.

AnnuityCashDate won
$20,000,000$9,402,914October 10, 2007
$35,300,000$17,175,336May 17, 2008
$58,600,000$30,207,012October 29, 2008
$85,700,000$47,770,485July 31, 2010
$116,000,000$63,050,992September 18, 2010
$141,400,000$69,682,459February 6, 2010
$211,700,000$101,600,000March 13, 2010
$258,500,000$124,875,122April 21, 2010

From this table listing and other winners' data, the cash payout (actual jackpot) can be anywhere between 47% and 54% of the annuity payout (advertised jackpot).

Is the Powerball Jackpot as advertised? ABSOLUTELY NOT! The actual Powerball jackpot is about half of what is advertised. What the Powerball people are saying is "You are dumb, we are smart. We can invest your money and double it over 30 years." And the smart jackpot winners are saying "Kiss my A..". That is why out of the 102 jackpot winners from 2003 to August 2010, only 3 winners chose the annuity, while 99 chose the cash option.

You can see the list of Powerball jackpot winners here

Match 5 Bonus Prize

Whenever the Powerball jackpot reaches a "new" record level, the amount of the jackpot prize is limited to increases for each draw of no more than $25 million. The jackpot prize money collected in excess of the maximum $25 million increase is then placed into a new Match 5 Bonus prize pool and will accumulate until there is a jackpot winner. When there is a jackpot winner, the Match 5 Bonus prize pool will be divided equally among all winners of the Match 5 prize. The prize will be paid in one cash lump sum.

The Match 5 Bonus prize is in addition to any Power Play prizes that may be won. The Match 5 Bonus prize is not multiplied. For example, a Match 5 Power Play winner will get the regular $1 million prize (since, in the new game, the multiplier is always 5x). Then the Match Bonus pool will be split evenly among all Match 5 winners. If the share of the Match 5 Bonus pool is $500,000, then each Match 5 winner gets an extra $500,000 (for a total of $700,000) and each Match 5 Power Play winner gets a total of $1,500,000. Although it is unlikely, if no Match 5 winner exists, then the Match 5 Bonus prize pool will be paid out to the Match 4+1 winners.

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Powerball States

Powerball States

The map shows the states where Powerball is currently played. California is the only 'lottery state' where Powerball is not played. Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming do not play any lottery game.

You can click on a Powerball state to be directed to that state's Powerball page. For DC click here.

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Links to some Powerball Official Web Site Pages

Although we have tried to cover all the pertinent information of the Powerball lottery game, we recommend that you also look at the following pages at the Multi-State Lottery Association official web site.

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Powerball at US-Lotteries.com

The main purpose of this web site (US-Lotteries.com) is to present a well formatted latest and past results; analysis and statistics of past winning numbers, digits, pairs, triads; search to see if your favorite numbers have ever won or have come close to winning the jackpot; mathematical tools such as combinations generators and wheels. The complete list of all Powerball pages of this web site are listed below.







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All Lottery States

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