For the record, the actual “grand prize,” the big jackpot, was $613 million. Nobody won it, however, so it rolled over once again. After 31 consecutive games without a jackpot winner, the grand prize had grown to an estimated $653.5 million. Grand indeed!
Is the second-place Powerball prize always so “grand”?
I haven’t memorized the entire Powerball rulebook. In general, the second-place prize (matching 5 white ball numbers but not the red “Powerball” number) does not offer an almost $4 million payout.
For example, this Powerball webpage, under “Past Winning Numbers,” shows prize amounts for the February 1, 2023 drawing. The row for 5 winning numbers, but not the Powerball number, indicates no prize winners but a prize amount of $347,442. A lovely prize, no doubt, but a long way from the $3.9 million for the same prize in the previous drawing.
Where was the “non-jackpot but still grand” Powerball ticket sold?
The $3.9 million prize-winning ticket was sold at a California Arco AM/PM convenience store. The location is shown on the map below.
How long does the California winner have to claim their prize?
Since this was not a jackpot, they will have 180 days from the date of the drawing.
Winning the jackpot, however, is different. According to the California Lottery Powerball FAQ:
“If you’ve won the Powerball jackpot, you have up to a year from the date of the draw to claim it.”
What were the winning numbers for the Powerball drawing?
This video shows the Powerball drawing for January 30, 2023. Check your numbers!
What are the odds of winning the jackpot, the “big one”?
According to the Powerball website, the odds of matching “All 5 of 5 and Powerball” are 292,201,338 to one. Sounds pretty intimidating.
But let’s break it down. I am not a professional mathematician, so these are just my observations.
Powerball drawings are held three times a week. If you play every game without fail, that is 156 in a year. Let’s call it 150 just to simplify things.
As for the odds, they vary from game to game but in this case, they are close to 300 million to one. My non-professional guess is, with those odds you would need to play about half, or 150 million, of those games to have even odds of hitting a jackpot.
You begin to see the problem, right? Dividing 150 million games by 150 games a year tells us, roughly, how long it would take to play that many games: one million years.
But hey, somebody will win it!
How do you feel about odds like that?
The situation does improve when you look at the second-place odds. Second-place can still be a nice payday, as the California winner will discover when they claim their money. With odds of 11,688,054 to one for this drawing, it works out to about 39,000 years for an even chance at a winner. A lot better than the “jackpot odds” but still pretty daunting.
If you like, let me know in the comments how you feel about these long odds. And if you enjoyed this article, even with my somewhat gloomy analysis of the odds, please hit the “like” button and share it with friends. I plan to write more about personal finance issues, including lotteries, so follow me for more content like this. Thanks!
Comments / 5