$800M Powerball Jackpot is Game’s Second-Largest Prize Ever, Next Drawing Saturday
The Powerball jackpot continues to elude players.
Wednesday night’s drawing was the 36th time in a row that the interstate lottery game’s machines turned up five white ball numbers and a red Powerball that didn’t match the numbers on a single ticket. The Powerball jackpot has been rolling over since a $206.9 million prize was won on August 3.
The jackpot for Powerball’s October 29 drawing is an estimated $800 million, with a cash value of $383.7 million. Saturday’s prize is forecasted to be Powerball’s second-largest all-time jackpot behind only the $1.586 billion jackpot that the game delivered three lucky winners in January 2016.
At $800 million, Saturday’s Powerball jackpot would be the fifth-largest lottery prize ever in the United States.
The Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots more frequently climb toward the billion-dollar mark because the gameplay of the two popular lottery games was overhauled in recent years. And those changes only made winning the jackpot more difficult.
In 2015, Powerball reduced the number of red Powerball balls by, nine but increased the number of white balls by 10. The change lengthened the odds of hitting the jackpot from one in 175.2 million to one in 292.2 million.
Mega Millions followed two years later by lengthening its jackpot odds from one in 258.9 million to one in 302.5 million. The game’s jackpot chances were extended by increasing the number of gold Mega Balls by 10.
These games, they’re all about the jackpots,” Gordon Medenica, then the director of the Maryland Lottery, said in 2018.
The gameplay adjustments are why the 10 largest lottery jackpots in US history have all been set since 2018. Eight of Powerball’s 10 largest jackpots have also been set since more white balls were added.
Though no Powerball ticket matched all six numbers on Wednesday night, six tickets matched the five white numbers to win the game’s second-best prize of $1 million each. None of those tickets, unfortunately, opted for the $1 add-on Power Play, which would have doubled their wins to $2 million after the Power Play turned up 2x last night.
The Power Play number ranges from 2x to 5x when the Powerball jackpot is over $150 million. The Power Play number is determined prior to the televised Powerball drawing using a random number generator with weighted values for each multiplier option.
The odds favor the 2x Power Play. For each draw, there are 24 2x values, 13 3x values, three 4x values, and two 5x values.
Along with the $1 million wins, 48 tickets matched the four white balls and the red Powerball to win $50K each. Eleven of those winners purchased the Power Play to double their wins to $100K a piece.
In all, the October 26 Powerball drawing was a winner for more than 2.1 million tickets that collectively won $21.1 million.
The Powerball jackpot has been hit only five times this year. Millions of people are hoping they hit the game’s sixth bounty this weekend.
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