Powerball is one of the biggest US lotteries and has created hundreds of multimillionaires since its first draw was held on 22nd April 1992. Since then there have been a number of changes, including the introduction of the Power Play in March 2001. In January 2016, the Powerball jackpot broke all lottery records when it exceeded $1 billion for the first ever time in its history. An incredible $1.58 billion top prize was split among three winning tickets, with Marvin and Mae Acosta from California, Florida's Nickel 95 Trust and Lisa and John Robinson of Tennessee winning $528.8 million each.
With a minimum jackpot of $40 million, a guaranteed $1 million for any player matching five main white balls and a total of nine prize tiers on offer, it’s easy to see why Powerball remains one of the most popular games on offer.
The Powerball game format has changed a number of times over the years. Read more about the Powerball Changes further down the page.
How to Play Powerball
Powerball is played by selecting five numbers between 1 and 69 and one Powerball number between 1 and 26, either by choosing your own numbers or by asking for a randomly-generated entry. To win the jackpot, you must match all five main balls (white balls) and the Powerball (red ball). If no one is able to match the winning line drawn, the top prize will roll over and increase in value for the next game, which can result in the jackpot regularly reaching impressive amounts in excess of $400 million. Powerball draws take place twice a week in Tallahassee, Florida on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10.59pm EST. You can find the latest Powerball numbers here.
Powerball Power Play
In all participating states except California, Powerball offers a supplementary feature called Power Play, which increases the value of all non-jackpot prizes. If they match five main numbers as well as the Power Play number, their prize will be doubled from $1 million to $2 million. All other non-jackpot prizes will be multiplied by 2, 3, 4 or 5 times, depending on which Power Play number is drawn immediately after the main draw. When the jackpot is advertised at $150 million or less, a 10x feature on Power Play will also be available, offering the chance to boost the value of prizes by a factor of ten!
Powerball Prize Tiers and Odds of Winning
Powerball offers nine different prize tiers, with all but the jackpot offering fixed guaranteed rewards. The overall odds of winning a prize are approximately 1 in 25 and the tables below illustrates the chances of being successful in each tier.
|5 numbers + Powerball||1 in 292,201,338||Jackpot|
|5 numbers||1 in 11,688,053||$1,000,000|
|4 numbers + Powerball||1 in 913,129||$50,000|
|4 numbers||1 in 36,525||$100|
|3 numbers + Powerball||1 in 14,494||$100|
|3 numbers||1 in 580||$7|
|2 numbers + Powerball||1 in 701||$7|
|1 number + Powerball||1 in 92||$4|
|Powerball only||1 in 38||$4|
|Power Play Multiplier (With 10x Multiplier)||Odds||Power Play Multiplier (Without 10x Multiplier)||Odds|
|10x||1 in 43||N/A||N/A|
|5x||1 in 22||5x||1 in 21|
|4x||1 in 14||4x||1 in 14|
|3x||1 in 3||3x||1 in 3|
|2x||1 in 2||2x||1 in 2|
2012 Powerball Changes
Powerball players witnessed a number of key changes to the game on 15th January 2012, which included:
- The price of tickets increased from $1 to $2, with tickets for Power Play also increasing to $3.
- The minimum jackpot doubled from $20 million to $40 million.
- The pool of red Powerball numbers decreased from 39 to 35.
- Odds of winning the jackpot fell from 1 in 195.2 million to 1 in 175.2 million.
- Set value prizes were introduced for all tiers excluding the jackpot. Players able to match five main numbers were guaranteed a prize of $1 million.
2015 Powerball Changes
Further changes to Powerball were introduced on 4th October 2015, which included:
- The pool of white Powerball numbers was increased from 59 to 69, while the pool of red numbers was reduced from 35 to 26.
- The odds of winning the jackpot lengthened to 1 in 292.2 million, but the chances of winning any prize rose to a favourable 1 in 24.
- A guaranteed prize of $50,000 was made available to players able to match four main numbers and the Powerball.
- A 10x Power Play became available in draws with a jackpot of $150 million or less.
Powerball Participating States/Jurisdictions
Powerball is a multi-state lottery that is played in 44 US states, as well as Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.