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What are the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot?

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The odds of winning this week's Powerball drawing are 1 in 292 million, and there isn't much a player can do to increase those chances, according to one expert. 

Buying multiple tickets at once does fractionally increase a player's odds, but that strategy also requires spending more upfront while running the risk of having to split the payout with another winner, Harvard University statistician Mark Glickman told CBS News.

"Even if you're buying 50 tickets, the likelihood is that you're almost certain to still lose and not win the jackpot," Glickman said. "In fact, the chance at winning even $4 by playing is still pretty small."

No winner announced yet

The Powerball jackpot rose this weekend to $975 million.The next Powerball drawing is set to take place on Monday night, as it does weekly, beginning just before 11 p.m. Eastern time. Powerball drawings are broadcast live every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday night from the lottery draw studio in Tallahassee, Florida.

On Saturday, the winning numbers were 12, 13, 33, 50, 52 and the Powerball 23. Someone last won the Powerball jackpot in January, with a winning ticket sold in Michigan for an $842.4 million payout. Since then, lottery officials have held 38 consecutive drawings without a jackpot winner. 

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If one or more Powerball tickets win on Monday, the estimated jackpot's cash value stands at $483.8 million, according to the lottery. As usual, winners can choose to collect their prize as either a lump-sum payment, which can be collected in full after applicable taxes are taken out, or as an annuity, which is paid in 30 graduated payments over 29 years.

Do "lucky" numbers work?

Of course, the likelihood of one person winning it all is vanishingly small — but, and hope springs eternal, it's not zero. By comparison, a Powerball player has a far better chance of being attacked by a grizzly bear at Yellowstone National Park — about 1 in 2.7 million, according to the National Park Service — or of finding a blue lobster in the ocean (1 in 2 million).

Massive lottery jackpots have become more common in recent years as lottery officials adjust game rules and ticket prices to pump up the top prizes. The most recent tweak came in August 2021 when Powerball officials added an additional drawing day, going from two drawings a week to three, in an effort to boost prizes and lottery ticket sales.

Glickman said the best number-picking strategy is to have no strategy at all. A computer randomly generates the winning digits, so he suggests avoiding techniques such as picking numbers tied to a birthday or anniversary. It's better to use a random ticket number generator — also known as quick picks — because those machines better match what the Powerball might do, Glickman said. 

"Really the best thing you can do is be level-headed about it [and] not buy too many tickets because you're throwing away your money," he said. "The key is to pick your picks at random because that will lower your chances of splitting the money with other people." 

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