The odds of winning thejackpot are 1 in 292 million, and there isn't much a player can do to increase those chances, according to one expert.
Sure, buying multiple tickets at once does increase a player's odds slightly, 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 since August
Therose to $1.9 billion over the weekend, setting another record after no player won the grand prize in on Saturday. 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.
Thewent to a winning ticket sold in Pennsylvania in early August, and the prize fund has been increasing since then. On Saturday, the winning numbers were 28, 45, 53, 56 and 69, with a Powerball of 20. It marked the 40th Powerball drawing since the last jackpot win. If no one wins during Monday night's drawing, this Powerball run will become the longest in the game's history without a grand prize winner.
If one or more Powerball tickets win on Monday, the estimated jackpot's cash value stands at $929.1 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. Statistically speaking, 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 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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