Powerball is played across 48 US states and juristictions each Wednesday and Saturday. Find out everything you need to know about how to play this record-breaking lottery. Get information on the latest Powerball numbers and prizes on offer, as well as details on the history of the game and previous jackpot winners.
From August 23 2021, Powerball will start to take place on Monday evenings as well as the current Wednesday and Saturday draws. You can find more details on these changes here.
How to Play Powerball
This is how you can play Powerball:
- 1. Choose five main numbers between 1 and 69.
- 2. Select a Powerball number between 1 and 26.
- 3. Choose whether to add Power Play, offering the chance to multiply non-jackpot prizes.
- 4. Purchase your tickets by the cut-off time in your state or online. This ranges from 6:45pm PST in Washington to 10pm EST in New York and Florida. Players in Puerto Rico can play until 10:59pm when the clocks switch forward an hour over winter.
Once you have your Powerball tickets, simply wait for the drawing, which takes place on Wednesday and Saturday nights in Tallahassee, Florida at 10:59pm EST, and check the Winning Numbers page soon afterwards to find out if you are due a prize.
What is Power Play?
Power Play is an option you can add to your ticket that multiplies the value of the non-jackpot prizes you win. Visit the Power Play page for more information.
Powerball players can win prizes in nine different tiers, from matching just the Powerball right up to the jackpot for matching all five numbers plus the Powerball.
Aside from the jackpot, which starts at $20 million (*During the Coronavirus pandemic, the starting jackpot may be lower than this) and keeps getting bigger until it is won, the prize tiers in Powerball have fixed cash amounts. Here's a breakdown of the prize tiers and the odds for winning in that tier:
|Prize Tier||Odds of Winning||Prize|
|Match 5 + Powerball||1 in 292,201,338||Jackpot|
|Match 5||1 in 11,688,053||$1 million|
|Match 4 + Powerball||1 in 913,129||$50,000|
|Match 4||1 in 36,525||$100|
|Match 3 + Powerball||1 in 14,494||$100|
|Match 3||1 in 579||$7|
|Match 2 + Powerball||1 in 701||$7|
|Match 1 + Powerball||1 in 91||$4|
|Powerball only||1 in 38||$4|
|Overall odds of winning a Powerball prize are 1 in 24.87.|
The only exception to this chart is California, where cash prizes in lower tiers are pari-mutuel. Their values are determined by the number of winners in each tier and the number of tickets sold.
Powerball creates hundreds of thousands of winners in each draw, as players from across the U.S go in search of life-changing jackpots. The top prize starts at a minimum of $20 million (*During the Coronavirus pandemic, the starting jackpot may be lower than this) and regularly grows into nine figures, sometimes even ten! The game has been responsible for many of the biggest winners in lottery history.
Here are the largest Powerball jackpots ever...
|Amount||Cash or Annuity?||Date||Winner Details|
|$1.58 billion||Shared the cash option of $983.5 million||January 13th 2016||The largest lottery jackpot of all time was shared by three ticket holders. John and Lisa Robinson from Munford in Tennessee quickly came forward, telling the world about their win on the Today show. David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith from Melbourne Beach in Florida soon claimed their share of the money, but it was another six months until Marvin and Mae Acosta from Chino Hills in California made themselves known to lottery officials.|
|$768.4 million||Took the cash option of $477 million||March 27th 2019||Manuel Franco from Milwaukee claimed a gigantic $768.4 million when he matched all the numbers to end a three-month wait for a jackpot winner. It was a new record for the largest prize ever won on a single ticket and the 24-year-old said that he had just felt a ‘really lucky, weird feeling’ when he bought his ticket. He gave up work straight away and announced that he wanted to ‘help out the world’.|
|$758.7 million||Took the cash option of $480.5 million||August 23rd 2017||A player from Massachusetts banked an incredible $758.7 million in August 2017, the biggest jackpot ever won on a single ticket at the time. Mavis Wanczyk came forward the next day to claim the prize, revealing that she had already quit her job in a hospital and would celebrate by going to ‘hide in bed’.|
|$731 million||TBC||January 20th 2021||This huge jackpot went to a player from Maryland, who bought their ticket at Coney Market in the former mining town of Lonaconing. It was the largest lottery payout in Maryland’s history and came more than four months after the jackpot had last been won.|
|$687 million||Both winners took the cash option of $198 million each||October 27th 2018||The jackpot was split by two winners, Lerynne West of Redford, Iowa and Robert Bailey of New York City. West almost lost her ticket in her sister's pickup truck. She later launched a charitable foundation named for her grandson, The Callum Foundation. Retired government employee Bailey played the same numbers for over 25 years after being given them by a friend, and has no plans to stop.|
|$590.5 million||Took the cash option of $370.9 million||May 18th 2013||Gloria MacKenzie of Zephyrhills, Florida, had previously held the record for the biggest prize won on a single ticket when she landed $590.5 million on May 18th 2013.|
|$587.5 million||Shared the cash option of $384.7 million||November 28th 2012||This gargantuan jackpot was split between two winning tickets after a drawing on November 28th, 2012. Both Matthew Good of Arizona and Missouri grandparents Mark and Cindy Hill chose a lump sum payout of $192 million before taxes.|
|$564.1 million||Shared the cash option of $381.1 million||February 11th 2015||Three ticket holders from North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Texas split a Powerball jackpot of $564.1 million, with each receiving a $188 million share. The Puerto Rican winner remained anonymous, while the Texan player claimed their massive windfall through a trust in March 2015. Only Marie Holmes of North Carolina came forward to the press.|
|$559.7 million||The winner took the cash lump sum of $352 million rather than the annuity option||January 6th 2018||The winner claimed the jackpot through the Good Karma 2018 Nominee Trust, but only after a long-running saga over her right to remain anonymous. New Hampshire laws dictate that a winner’s information should be disclosed, but the winner wanted only to be known as Jane Doe and won her legal fight not to have her identity revealed. She bought her ticket at Reeds Ferry Market in Merrimack and vowed to help a number of charitable organizations.|
|$488.4 million||Shared the cash option of $258.1 million||August 7th 2013||Three winning tickets shared this fantastic jackpot. Paul White from Ham Lake in Minnesota bought one of the winning entries, while the other two prizes were claimed in New Jersey. A 16-strong lottery pool from Oceans County, known as ‘Oceans 16’, took one of the prizes, while the other went to Mario Scarnici from Monmouth Junction.|
Powerball is famous worldwide for its record-breaking jackpots. This trend towards sky-rocketing prizes began in July 2013 when Colleen DeVries and Leslie Robbins of Wisconsin claimed $111.2 million, the first nine-figure top prize pool, and new highs have been reached regularly since.
Powerball is one of the biggest lottery games in the United States and regularly boasts eight, nine or even ten-figure jackpots. Read on to discover more about how this multi-state game came into existence and how changes in format have made Powerball one of the most popular and exciting lotteries in the world.
- Powerball’s roots can be traced back as far as September 1987, when lottery officials from Washington D.C., Iowa, Kansas, Oregon, Rhode Island and West Virginia joined to form the Multi-State Lottery Association.
- In February 1988, the Multi-State Lottery Association launched a brand new lottery known as Lotto*America. Eight additional states (Wisconsin, Montana, Idaho, Minnesota, Indiana, South Dakota, Kentucky and Delaware) joined the game between August 1989 and January 1991.
- Lotto*America was phased out in 1992 and Powerball was born. The first drawing took place on Saturday April 22nd 1992, with a two-drum draw machine and new ball sets being introduced.
- Between April 1994 and November 1995, the states of Arizona, Nebraska, Louisiana, New Hampshire and Connecticut joined the Powerball family.
- In July 1996, a number of live Powerball drawings were held at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. Special drawings have since taken place across the country to commemorate specific events or anniversaries.
- New Mexico began offering Powerball in October 1996.
- On March 7th 2001, Power Play, an optional multiplier, was added to the game. For an extra $1, players could increase the value of any non-jackpot prize. The game continues to this day.
- Powerball opened its doors, as Colorado, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, North Dakota, Tennessee, Maine, Oklahoma and North Carolina were all welcomed to the game between August 2001 and May 2006.
- Florida and Arkansas both joined the game in 2009, with the former landing the responsibility of hosting future drawings.
- 2010 was a big year for Powerball, as Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington all joined in January, before Ohio and the U.S Virgin Islands began participating later in the year.
- The price of a Powerball ticket increased to $2 ($3 including Power Play) in January 2012.
- The state of California began selling Powerball tickets in 2013, but refused the offer the Power Play option, while Wyoming and Puerto Rico joined the following year.
- In early October 2015, various changes were made to the game, with the number of balls in the main pool increasing from 59 to 69, while the Powerball pool decreased from 35 to 26. This significantly altered the odds of winning, with the chances of winning any prize increasing, however, the jackpot became more difficult to win.
- On Wednesday January 13th 2016, the Powerball jackpot reached a record-breaking $1.58 billion, the biggest prize total ever offered by any lottery in the world. The prize was shared between three ticket holders - John and Lisa Munford of Tennessee, David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith from Florida, and Marvin and Mae Acosta of California.
- On Wednesday March 27th 2019, the Powerball jackpot reached $768 million, and was won by a single ticket bought in New Berlin, WI. This the largest single-ticket jackpot win in Powerball history.
- Powerball tickets went on sale in Mississippi for the first time ever on January 30th 2020, after the launch of the state lottery in November 2019.
- It was announced in March 2021 that draws will being to take place on Monday, in addition to the draws on Wednesday and Saturday, from August 23 2021.