How to play powerball

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How to play Powerball

Following the April 8, 2020 drawing, guaranteed starting jackpot amounts and minimum jackpot increases will be eliminated, and future jackpot increases will be determined and announced by the Product Group prior to each drawing.In April 2020, Powerball announced changes to the starting jackpot amount. More information here.

Think of how to play Powerball in terms of colors and numbers. You must select numbers for five white balls and one red ball (the Powerball) for a total of six numbers. Click for a closer view of the playslip to learn more.

Here are the ways to play Powerball:

  • Choose your own numbers on a playslip. Pick five different numbers from 1 through 69; then, select one Powerball number from 1 through 26.
  • Or you can choose Easy Pick and let the computer choose your numbers
  • You can also use a combination of these play methods: Pick some of your favorite numbers, and let the computer fill in the rest.
  • Each play (six numbers) costs $2.
  • Powerball draws are held every Wednesday and Saturday at 11 p.m.

The Secondary Prizes in the Powerball

If you don’t manage to win the incredible top Powerball prize, there are some fabulous secondary prizes that you can look forward to. The US Powerball offers a total of 9 prize divisions, including the jackpot.

Matching all of the main numbers, but not the Powerball, earns players a fabulous $1 million prize. The next prize tier is worth $50,000 and it goes to players who match 4 of the 5 main numbers with the Powerball.

Remember that the second prize in the Powerball can reach $2 million and the third prize can reach $100,000, $150,000, $200,000, $250,000, or even $500,000 for winners playing the Power Play option.

As for the following prize divisions (4th to 9th), they are worth $100.00 and less, but they will provide players with an excellent incentive to keep playing this fabulous lottery.  They will also be increased by the Power Play multiplier, which makes it well worth trying out.

Types of Lottery Services

There are two types of online lottery services. The first is a messenger service which employs a specialist secure courier to buy the ticket on your behalf. A small fee is charged to buy the ticket but there are no commissions on any prizes whatsoever.

The second type of lottery service is where you bet on the outcome of the Powerball lottery. The odds, prizes and most importantly of all, the jackpot, are exactly the same. Large jackpots are covered by using sophisticated insurance models. The cost of the ticket is often exactly the same as the face value of the real Powerball ticket. Again, there are no commissions on any of your winnings. Whatever you win you get to keep all of it.

Prizes and Odds of Winning

You must match all five numbers and the PowerBall to win the jackpot, but you can win a prize even for just matching the PowerBall on its own. The table below shows how many numbers you need to match to win in each prize division, as well as the odds of winning:

PowerBall Prizes and Odds
Prize Division Numbers Matched Odds of Winning* Percentage of Prize Pool Average Prizefor the past 365 days’ draws
1 5 + PowerBall 1 in 42,375,200 70.73% R52,852,137.40
2 5 1 in 2,230,274 5.19% R208,577.63
3 4 + PowerBall 1 in 188,334 3.25% R18,014.30
4 4 1 in 9,912 5.51% R1,082.59
5 3 + PowerBall 1 in 4,280 6.23% R513.57
6 3 1 in 225 5.19% R22.28
7 2 + PowerBall 1 in 299 3.9% R21.91
8 1 + PowerBall 1 in 57 Fixed R15 R15.00
9 PowerBall Only 1 in 35 Fixed R10 R10.00
* The overall odds of winning a PowerBall prize are 1 in 18

The prizes in the eighth and ninth division are fixed at R15 and R10 respectively. The prizes in the upper seven divisions are pari-mutuel, meaning each division receives a percentage of the total Prize Pool. Fixed prizes are paid out first, with the remainder of the Prize Pool divided between the seven other divisions according to the percentages in the table. The value of a prize in these divisions can vary, depending on how many winners there are and how much money is in the Prize Pool.

Do you think you’ve won a PowerBall prize? Visit the How to Claim page to find out more about claiming prizes, whether you played online, with your bank or through a retailer.

PowerPlay

PowerPlay is your chance to boost any non-jackpot prizes you win and it only costs an extra US $1 per ticket. The Power Play is drawn using a random number generator (RNG). One selection is made from a pool of 42 balls, each marked with a multiplier amount: 24 marked 2x, 13 marked 3x, three marked 4x, two marked 5x, and a single 10x multiplier which is added as well if the jackpot for that draw is below US $150 million.

If you win a non-jackpot prize in the main draw, and have selected the Power Play option on your ticket, then you are guaranteed to have your prize increased according to the multiple on the ball drawn — up to an impressive 10x. The only exception to this is if you match five numbers, when the increased prize is fixed at US $2 million.

The Powerball PowerPlay Multiplier

For a very low extra cost, you can play Powerball with the Power Play multiplier. Let us tell you how the multiplier works! All you have to do is check the Power Play option on your ticket and you will be on your way to getting bigger prizes.

During the Powerball draw, lottery officials also draw a random number from 2 to 5, which will be the multiplier for that draw. If you have the multiplier option on your ticket, your winnings will be increased by the number of times indicated by the Powerball PowerPlay number.

Please note that according to Powerball rules, the multiplier does not apply to the US Powerball jackpot. Even the second prize in the Powerball lottery, which is worth $1,000,000, can only be doubled for winners who have played Power Play on their ticket.

However, all other secondary prizes can be increased 2, 3, 4, or even 5 times, depending on that draw’s multiplier. Additionally, when the US Powerball jackpot is lower than $150 MILLION, secondary prizes (except the $1 million second prize) can be increased 10 times.

US Powerball – Rules of the Game

As per the official Powerball rules, for each line you play, choose 5 main numbers from a guess range of 1 to 69 and a Powerball from 1 to 26. Once you have selected the numbers you want, your ticket for America’s biggest lottery is in!

You can also opt for the Power Play multiplier, for a small additional cost of $1.00 per line. This option can increase your winnings 2, 3, 4, or even 5 times.

If you successfully guess all the main numbers and the Powerball, then the huge jackpot is yours and you go home a BIG winner! Guessing the main numbers without the Powerball will win you the second prize, which is worth a full million.

Power Play Prizes

The table below shows how much your prize could be multiplied by in the additional Power Play game, which can be entered for an extra US$1:

Prize Tier Base Prize Amount Power Play x2 Power Play x3 Power Play x4 Power Play x5 Power Play x10
Match 5 + Power Play Jackpot
Match 4 + Powerball + Power Play $1 million $2 million $2 million $2 million $2 million $2 million
Match 4 + Power Play $50,000 $100,000 $150,000 $200,000 $250,000 $500,000
Match 3 + Powerball + Power Play $100 $200 $300 $400 $500 $1,000
Match 3 + Power Play $100 $200 $300 $400 $500 $1,000
Match 2 + Powerball + Power Play $7 $14 $21 $28 $35 $70
Match 1 + Powerball + Power Play $7 $14 $21 $28 $35 $70
Match Powerball + Power Play $4 $8 $12 $16 $20 $40
Match Powerball $4 $8 $12 $16 $20 $40
*A Power Play Match 5 prize will be set at $2,000,000 regardless of the Power Play number drawn.

Power Play odds when 10x Multiplier is in Place (Jackpot Worth US$150 Million or Less):

Power Play Multiplier Odds
10x 1 in 43
5x 1 in 21.5
4x 1 in 14.33
3x 1 in 3.31
2x 1 in 1.79

Power Play odds when 10x Multiplier is not in Place (Jackpot Worth More than US$150 Million):

Power Play Multiplier Odds
5x 1 in 21
4x 1 in 14
3x 1 in 3.23
2x 1 in 1.75

The Odds of Winning the US Powerball

Since the US Powerball is the most popular lottery in America and the entire world, there are millions of players who try their luck with every single draw. This ensures that the game’s jackpot reaches the tremendous amounts it has become well-known for.

While the odds of scoring the huge jackpot are quite difficult to beat with odds of 1 in 292 million, this fabulous prize is well worth trying because there is nothing like it out there in the lottery world. To stand any chance of winning the lottery, you’ve got to play it. So, submit your ticket and you could be that 1 in 292 million who takes home the fabulous Powerball jackpot.

Big Lottery Service Winners

There are plenty of examples of people winning lotteries from different countries having used an online lottery service.

In May 2016 Matthias from Berlin won a staggering €22 million after betting on the outcome of Germany’s 6aus49 lottery. The 39-year-old IT consultant didn’t tell anyone for weeks as he couldn’t believe how much he had won. He’s now happily retired.

In February 2016, a winner from Cornwall, Ontario won US $1 million on Powerball using The Lotter, an online lottery messenger service. ‘P’ as he is known, was out watching his son play hockey when the draw happened only checking his numbers later that night to find out he was a winner. ‘P’ took the first flight out to New Jersey to collect his prize in person.

Back in 2012, two overseas players shared US $1.25 million won in the US, and in 2015, a player from Iraq claimed US $6.4 million on the Oregon Lottery. All three played using online lottery messenger services, and all three received the prize money they were entitled to — along with anonymity for the men from Iraq and Ontario.

Pick the Best Play Format for You

When you play Powerball online on theLotter, you can expand your lottery experience with some advanced play formats. These will exponentially increase your chances of winning the Powerball, which makes them worth your attention. Here are the main formats you can try online:

Syndicates – Playing a Powerball syndicate means joining a group of registered players just like you. A syndicate includes a large number of tickets and the total price is divided into equal shares that you can buy. This means that you can have a lot of tickets in the game without making a colossal investment. If one or more tickets in the group have the winning numbers for Powerball prizes, the payout will be divided between the members of the syndicate according to the shares that they have purchased. For example, if a syndicate has a total of 100 shares, then the amount of the prize will be divided into 100.  Another advantage is that you don’t have to do anything to organize a syndicate when playing Powerball online with theLotter.

Bundles – If you thought it couldn’t get any better than this, let us tell you about bundles! These allow you to boost your odds of winning even more than syndicates do. Bundles are a great combination of a standard play and a syndicate. They always feature an individual ticket and at least one syndicate share. With bundles, you have multiple package choices, depending on the number of syndicate shares they include: Classic, Deluxe, and Premium.

Systematic Forms – On theLotter, you can play Powerball with every possible combination of 6 to 10 of your lucky numbers. This means that you will go into the game with a lot of tickets and a higher chance of scooping a prize. If you match even some of the winning numbers, you will have them on several tickets, which means that you can win more prizes. With systematic forms, you get your very own Powerball multiplier. If you also add Power Play to your tickets, you can boost your winnings through the roof.

Powerball Prizes

Powerball game prizes are split into divisional prize pools just as with the other lotto games. These run from Division 1 which is the top prize through to Division 9 which is the bottom prize. Here are the prize divisions and odds (per game):

PRIZE DIVISION COMBINATION ODDS PRIZE POOL %
Division 1 7 Numbers + Powerball 1:134,490,400 35%
Division 2 7 Numbers 1:7,078,443 1.8%
Division 3 6 Numbers + Powerball 1:686,176 1.1%
Division 4 6 Numbers 1:36,115 2%
Division 5 5 Numbers + Powerball 1:16,943 1.5%
Division 6 4 Numbers + Powerball 1:1,173 9.7%
Division 7 5 Numbers 1:892 7.6%
Division 8 3 Numbers + Powerball 1:188 15%
Division 9 2 Numbers + Powerball 1:66 26.3%

For Powerball System Entries see: Powerball Systems Prize Table

Powerball FAQ

We’ve gathered a few of the most frequently asked questions about the US Powerball, along with the answers to them. Take a look!

How do you play the Powerball lottery?

To play Powerball, you have to choose 5 main numbers from 1 to 69 and a Powerball number from 1 to 26. You have to choose a different set of numbers for each line you want to play.

Do you win with just the Powerball?

Yes, you can win a prize in the US Powerball by only matching the Powerball number. With this, you qualify for the 9th prize category, which amounts to $4.00.

How late can I buy Powerball tickets?

You can buy your Powerball tickets up until the cutoff time, which is 22:00 EST. When you play Powerball online, you can set to receive notifications about upcoming draws or you can set up subscriptions to never miss a draw.

Do you have to be a US citizen to play Powerball?

No, you do not have to be a US citizen to play Powerball. As per the official rules of the game, there is no citizenship restriction regarding participation.

How many draws is a Powerball ticket good for?

Each Powerball ticket can be used for one draw only. The number selection on the ticket will be compared to the drawn numbers from that day.

Do the Powerball numbers need to be in order?

No, there is no specific order that the Powerball numbers must be in. You only have to match the drawn main numbers and Powerball to qualify for the prizes in the game. However, the main numbers and the Powerball are not interchangeable as they come with separate guess ranges.

Do Quick picks ever win the lottery?

Yes, there are many Powerball jackpot winners who have won their fortunes by playing with random combinations of numbers. Probably the best-known example is Gloria MacKenzie, who was 85 at the time of her win. She scooped $590 million back in 2013 on a Quick Pick ticket that she bought after a good Samaritan let her cut in line at the lottery retailer’s office. Sometimes winning is fate!

Now that you know how Powerball works, it is high time you join the lottery players community and play Powerball online!

The Power Play Multiplier

The US Powerball offers a multiplier called Power Play, which is an optional feature that can increase the prizes in the game 2, 3, 4, 5, or even 10 times. You have to pay an additional $1.00 fee to add the multiplier to your ticket, but it can take your winnings to new heights. The Power Play number is drawn from a separate barrel during the Powerball draw. The multiplier does not apply to the Powerball jackpot, it only increases the secondary prizes in the game. It can double the $1 million second prize and it can increase the other prizes in the game 2, 3, 4, or 5 times. When the jackpot is below the amount of $150 million, a 10x Power Play number is also entered in the game.

Play options

It’s always great to have options, so mark the OPTIONAL PLAYS box on your playslip for any of the following.

  • Want to play the same numbers for more than one draw on a single ticket? A Multi-Draw ticket lets you play up to 26 consecutive draws on one ticket. Please keep in mind that the ticket price increases for each draw you add.
  • Thinking ahead to a special date? You can buy a ticket for one future draw date. It’s called a Future draw. Mark the Optional Plays box on your playslip, and let the clerk know which future draw date you have in mind.
  • Love those numbers so much you want them on more than one ticket? You can Repeat your play and have the same numbers printed on more than one ticket up to 20 times.
  • Tell your clerk which option you want when you present your playslip. Keep in mind that playing in more than one draw increases the ticket price by the number of draws you choose.

You can find different VA Lottery Powerball retail locations in the Virginia Lottery app or by using the Find a Retailer tool. Download the app to scan your non-winning tickets and check out our newest Scratchers too!

How to Win Powerball

Now that you have your tickets, it’s time to wait for the twice-weekly drawings to see if your Powerball numbers come up. How do you win Powerball?

If you’ve matched all five numbers plus the Powerball number, you win the current jackpot. Congratulations! It’s important to note, however, that the Power Play multiplier doesn’t apply to jackpot wins.

According to Powerball rules, if you match five numbers but miss the Powerball, you can win $1 million (if you do not purchase Power Play) or $2 million (if you do purchase Power Play). Note that the Power Play multipliers do not apply here. Selecting Power Play just increases your win from $1 million to $2 million.

Without Power Play, four numbers plus the Powerball number wins $50,000. With Power Play, you can win between $100,000 and $250,000. Without the Powerball, matching four numbers wins between $100 and $500 — the same amount you’ll win if you match three balls and the Powerball.

Three balls by themselves, or two balls and the Powerball, wins between $7 and $35. One ball plus the Powerball or the Powerball by itself wins between $4 and $20.

If the annuity jackpot is equal to or more than $150 million, the 10x Power Play ball is removed from the drawing.

About This Article

wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 23 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. This article has been viewed 1,040,576 times.

141 votes — 67%

Co-authors: 23

Updated: March 22, 2020

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Categories: Games of Chance

To play Powerball, start by selecting 5 numbers between 1 and 69, which will be the white balls in the drawing, and 1 number between 1 and 26, which will be the red ball. Then, after the drawing, compare the numbers you chose to the winning numbers. If all of your numbers match, including all the white balls and the red ball, you win the jackpot! However, you can still win smaller prizes even if only some of your numbers match. For example, if you match the red ball and 3 of the white balls, you win $100 USD! To learn how to tell if you won other prizes based on the numbers you chose, keep reading!

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The Powerball Prizes

There are 9 prize divisions in total in the US Powerball. The top prize begins at a mouth-watering $40 million and it only goes up from there. In fact, the Powerball was the first lottery to ever pass the $1 billion threshold. In 2016, it has set the world record for the largest prize ever awarded with its $1.58 billion pot. But there are 8 more reasons for you to play Powerball. One of them is the second prize is worth a full $1 million, and if you play with the Power Play multiplier, you can make it worth $2 million. Even if you only match the Powerball number, you can still win the complimentary 9th prize, which is worth $4.00, and that can get as high as $40.00 with Power Play.

Prize Division Match Prize
1st Prize 5+PB Jackpot
2nd Prize 5 $1,000,000
3rd Prize 4+PB $50,000
4th Prize 4 $100
5th Prize 3+PB $100
6th Prize 3 $7
7th Prize 2+PB $7
8th Prize 1+PB $4
9th Prize 0+PB $4

How to Play

While picking numbers every week is one way to play, it’s not your only option. Let’s take a closer look at the different ways to play the game.

First, you have Easy Pick, which lets the computer choose six random numbers for you. You can also do a combination; you select some numbers, and the computer picks the rest.

You also can purchase Power Play. For an additional $1 per play, you can earn between two and 10 times more money if you win a non-jackpot prize. The Power Play can multiply your winnings by two, three, four, five or 10 times based upon the Power Play ball that is drawn in a given drawing. There are 24 2x balls, 13 3x balls, three 4x balls and 5x balls each and one 10X ball.

A Multi-draw play means you’re playing with the same numbers over and over again. You can play up to 26 times in a row with the same six numbers.

A Repeat play means you’re getting the same numbers repeatedly for one drawing. You can purchase the same numbers up to 20 times per drawing.

There are Game Machines in 1,500+ stores across Virginia that allow you to skip the checkout lines and get your Powerball tickets without the hassle of going to a cashier. You can also create a Virginia Lottery account and purchase your tickets online while you are anywhere in Virginia.

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