Thu. Dec 1st, 2022

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot Wednesday are 1 in 292 million, and there isn’t much a player can do to increase those chances, according to one expert. 

Sure, buying multiple tickets at once does increase a player’s odds slightly, but that strategy also requires spending more upfront while running the risk of having to split the payout with another winner, Harvard University statistician Mark Glickman told CBS News.

“Even if you’re buying 50 tickets, the likelihood is that you’re almost certain to still lose and not win the jackpot,” Glickman said. “In fact, the chance at winning even $4 by playing is still pretty small.”

An estimated $1.2 billion is up for grabs after no one stepped forward on Monday to claim the billion-dollar jackpot prize. A lump sum payment would bring the winner an estimated $596 million. 

The likelihood of one person winning it all is vanishingly small. Statistically speaking, a Powerball player has a far better chance of being attacked by a grizzly bear at Yellowstone National Park — about 1 in 2.7 million, according to the National Park Service — or of finding a blue lobster in the ocean (1 in 2 million).

Massive lottery jackpots have become more common in recent years as lottery officials adjust game rules and ticket prices to pump up the top prizes. The most recent tweak came in August, when Powerball officials added an additional drawing day — going from two drawings a week to three — in an effort to boost prizes and lottery ticket sales.


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Glickman said the best number-picking strategy is to have no strategy at all. A computer randomly generates the winning digits, so he suggests avoiding techniques such as picking numbers tied to a birthday or anniversary. It’s better to use a random ticket number generator — also known as quick picks — because those machines better match what the Powerball might do, Glickman said. 

“Really the best thing you can do is be level-headed about it [and] not buy too many tickets because you’re throwing away your money,” he said. “The key is to pick your picks at random because that will lower your chances of splitting the money with other people.” 



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