Do You Feel Lucky?
“Somebody’s got to win, so why not me?” Millions of Americans are saying that to themselves as they fork over cash at convenient stores for a chance at the nearly $500 million Powerball jackpot. So what are the odds?
The chance of a ticket winning a Powerball jackpot is 1 in 175,223,510 (slightly better than the chance of winning a Mega Millions jackpot, which is 1 in 175,711,536). Here are a few unlikely scenarios that, we’re sorry to say, are much more likely than you taking home this jackpot.
From the Harvard School of Public Health:
- Dying from a bee sting: 1 in 6.1 million.
- Dying from being struck by lightning: 1 in 3 million.
From U.S. Hole in One, which insures golf prizes for holes in one:
- An amateur golfer making a hole in one on a par-3 hole: 1 in 12,500.
- A golfer hitting a hole in one on consecutive par-3 holes: 1 in about 156 million.
From a 2011 State Farm study on collisions between vehicles and deer:
- Hitting a deer with a vehicle in Hawaii, the state where State Farm says deer-vehicle collisions are least likely: 1 in 6,267.
From the National Weather Service:
- Being struck by lightning over an 80-year lifetime: 1 in 10,000.
From the Florida Museum of Natural History, based on U.S. beach injury statistics:
- Drowning and other beach-related fatalities: 1 in 2 million.
- Being attacked by a shark: 1 in 11.5 million.
The odds are astronomical, but a Floridians have the best chance of winning today’s Powerball jackpot of approximately $500 million.
That’s because they are No. 1 in Powerball ticket sales. Lottery officials note that since the game began its dry spell on Oct. 3, Florida players have bought $83 million worth of tickets. That’s more than anywhere else in the country.
Florida ranks third in overall lottery-ticket sales, with more than $4 billion per year, behind New York ($7 billion) and Massachusetts ($4.8 billion). Both of those states also offer MegaMillions.
The odds get better for taking just a piece of the enormous jackpot.
You have a one in 5.1 million chance of getting all five numbers right without the Powerball for a prize of $1 million.
You can win $10,000 by matching four numbers plus the Powerball. Your odds of that are one in about 648,000.
If you match four of the numbers without the Powerball, you win $100. You have about a one in 19,000 chance of that. You can also win $100 if you get three of the numbers right plus the Powerball. The odds of that win are one in about 12,200.
For a $7 prize, you need to get three numbers right or two numbers right plus the Powerball. The odds are one in 360 and one in 706.
For a crack at a $4 prize, you need one number plus the Powerball or just choose the Powerball correctly. Your chance are one in 110 or one in 55.
These statistics are from the Powerball website based on a $2 play.