Can you increase your odds of winning the $1.6B Powerball jackpot?
(NEXSTAR) – Yet another Powerball drawing has yielded no big winner, sending the jackpot to a record estimated amount of $1.6 billion ahead of Saturday’s drawing. The prize is only expected to grow before then as more and more Powerball players buy tickets.
You may be wondering if there’s a way to rise above the rest and snag that jackpot. Is it all luck of the draw, or can you really sway the odds of claiming the largest Powerball jackpot in history?
According to Powerball, your odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million. You have a greater chance of getting struck by lightning — less than 1 in a million, according to the CDC — than getting all six numbers right in a Powerball drawing.
Still, research has shown that there may be some numbers that have been drawn more frequently than others. Lotto Numbers, a site that tracks Powerball statistics over time, did some digging: According to their research, the numbers 61, 32, 63, 21, and 69 are the five most frequently drawn numbers over the last seven years, though none of these numbers have been pulled in the last five Powerball drawings.
Because six numbers are drawn — five white balls and a red Powerball — you may be focused on landing the right combination. All combinations have the same chance of winning, though, according to Rong Chen, Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Statistics in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. That means the exact combination of numbers pulled on Wednesday has the same chance of being drawn again on Saturday.
You can, however, select a combination of numbers that others will be less likely to choose. Chen suggests numbers larger than 31 (to avoid matching with anyone playing their birthday) or those found on the edges or corners of the ticket form. These strategies can help you avoid sharing a prize, Chen explains, but your chances of winning will still be the same.
There are other methods lottery players use to try to increase their chances of winning, like lottery wheeling — selecting a group of numbers and playing every combination or permutation of those numbers — or selecting numbers that have or haven’t been picked recently. Some also try the Delta Lotto System, which uses a bit of math to reduce the number of digits you’ll pick from, though many note it doesn’t take probability into account.
But, as Chen explains in this Rutgers blog post, there are no numbers or combinations of numbers that give you a better chance at the Powerball jackpot.
You can always increase your chances by simply buying more tickets. As Springfield College Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Andrew Perry explained to Nexstar’s WWLP, buying 100 tickets would cut your odds to about 1 in 2.92 million instead of 1 in 292.2 million.
With one ticket or 100, your chances at the jackpot are still pretty slim. But if you’re not focused on the jackpot, you may have a relatively decent chance of winning at least some sort of monetary prize. According to Powerball, the odds of winning a prize are 1 in 24.9. There are nine ways to win a Powerball prize, the smallest being $4 — enough to cover the ticket you purchased and maybe buy another one.
Regardless of your odds (which are the same as everyone else’s), it’s important to play responsibly.
“However you play, there’s a high probability of losing all your money. I would advise people not to risk money that they can’t afford to lose,” Perry said.
Powerball is played in 45 states, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Tickets are $2 per play, and drawings occur every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 p.m. ET.