Powerball is one of the two biggest multi-state lotteries in the USA, the other being MegaMillions. It started in 1988 as Lotto*America, and became known as Powerball in 1992. It is currently played in 45 states and also in Washington D.C, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
How to Play Powerball
Powerball draws take place three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10.59pm EST. To participate, players must select five main numbers from 1 to 69 and one Powerball number from 1 to 26. The jackpot is won by any player who matches all five main numbers and the Powerball. Smaller prizes are also available for those matching fewer numbers, as shown in the table below:
Numbers Matched |
Odds of Winning |
Prize |
5 main numbers + Powerball |
1 in 292,201,338 |
Jackpot |
5 main numbers |
1 in 11,688,053.52 |
$1 million |
4 main numbers + Powerball |
1 in 913,129.18 |
$50,000 |
4 main numbers |
1 in 36,525.16 |
$100 |
3 main numbers + Powerball |
1 in 14,494.11 |
$100 |
3 main numbers |
1 in 579.76 |
$7 |
2 main numbers + Powerball |
1 in 701.32 |
$7 |
1 main number + Powerball |
1 in 91.97 |
$4 |
Powerball only |
1 in 38.32 |
$4 |
The overall odds of winning any Powerball prize are 1 in 24.87. |
Powerball players also have the option to pay an additional fee to use the Power Play feature, which multiplies all non-jackpot prizes they might win. Anyone who matches five main numbers will have their $1 million prize doubled to $2 million, while all other non-jackpot prizes will be increased by 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10 times depending on which Power Play number is drawn. However, the 10X option is only available when the estimated jackpot is $150 million or less.
Odds when 10x Multiplier is in Place (Jackpot Worth $150 Million or Less):
Power Play Multiplier |
Odds |
10x |
1 in 43 |
5x |
1 in 21.5 |
4x |
1 in 14.33 |
3x |
1 in 3.31 |
2x |
1 in 1.79 |
Odds when 10x Multiplier is not in Place (Jackpot Worth More than $150 Million):
Power Play Multiplier |
Odds |
5x |
1 in 21 |
4x |
1 in 14 |
3x |
1 in 3.23 |
2x |
1 in 1.75 |
From August 2021, Powerball players gained another add-on feature option, this is known as Double Play. Double Play gives players another chance to win in a second drawing straight after the Powerball draw. If you match the five main numbers + the Powerball in the Double Play drawing you will win the $10 million prize.
Numbers Matched |
Odds of Winning |
Prize |
5 main numbers + Powerball |
1 in 292,201,338 |
$10 million |
5 main numbers |
1 in 11,688,053.52 |
$500,000 |
4 main numbers + Powerball |
1 in 913,129.18 |
$50,000 |
4 main numbers |
1 in 36,525.16 |
$500 |
3 main numbers + Powerball |
1 in 14,494.11 |
$500 |
3 main numbers |
1 in 579.76 |
$20 |
2 main numbers + Powerball |
1 in 701.32 |
$20 |
1 main number + Powerball |
1 in 91.97 |
$10 |
Powerball only |
1 in 38.32 |
$7 |
Big Powerball Winners
When nobody wins the Powerball jackpot, the prize rolls over and is added to the jackpot fund for the next draw. This rollover rule has helped to create some massive jackpots, the biggest of which was worth an amazing $1.6 billion, which was won by three ticket holders in January 2016.