(NEXSTAR) – You’ve probably heard of the Powerball jackpot, which, according to the lottery, has reached an estimated world record of $1.6 billion after 39 consecutive draws without a winner. If you’re ready to try your luck for the biggest pot in history, but aren’t sure how to play, we’ve got you covered.
Powerball is one of the most popular lottery games in the US and is played in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. The game has been played since 1992.
Since 2021, Powerball draws are held three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays (previously, draws were held on Wednesdays and Saturdays) at 10:59 PM ET.
A ticket, which can be purchased from several retailers, will set you back $2, plus an additional $1 if you sign up for Power Play (more on that later). In some states, tickets can only be purchased with cash.
When you buy a lottery ticket you can select five numbers from 1 to 69 and one Powerball number from 1 to 26. When choosing your numbers you can decide to multiply non-jackpot prizes by 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10 times using the Power Play option. The 10-fold multiplier is not available when the jackpot exceeds $150 million, as it is now.
Too much pressure to choose the numbers that can change your life? You can ask for a Quick Pick instead, which means the system generates your numbers.
If you are willing to pay an additional $1, you can replay your Powerball numbers for the Double Play draw, which will be held after the Powerball draws. This option is only available in 13 jurisdictions, according to Powerball.
Ticket sales stop before each draw, usually half an hour to an hour in advance, depending on your state. Some lotteries also sell Powerball tickets online, but only to individuals residing within their jurisdiction.
During the draw, five white balls are first drawn. Their order doesn’t matter, just the number. The red Powerball number drawn must match the one on your ticket.
If any of your numbers match, hold your ticket and sign it. If you lose your winning ticket and another person finds it, they can claim it – unless you signed it.
There are nine ways to win Powerball ranging from $4 to the jackpot, which will continue to grow until it is won. Where to claim your prize and how long to collect it also varies by jurisdiction.
If you are lucky enough to hit the jackpot, you can receive your pot as an annuity (30 tiered payments over 29 years) or as a lump sum. Federal and local income taxes apply to both.
However, you may want to think twice before collecting the cash option. Giant jackpot winners almost always take the cash, and financial advisors say this could be a mistake.
Officials urge anyone lucky enough to win a Powerball jackpot to consult a financial advisor before showing up at a lottery office for an oversized check.
Your total chance of winning a prize while playing Powerball is 1 in 24.9. Your chance of winning the jackpot is 1 in 292.2 million.