How to playthe powerball lottery

Powerball frequently asked questions (faq)

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% R54,694,796.03
2 5 1 in 2,230,274 5.19% R198,610.81
3 4 + PowerBall 1 in 188,334 3.25% R19,534.23
4 4 1 in 9,912 5.51% R1,080.60
5 3 + PowerBall 1 in 4,280 6.23% R518.38
6 3 1 in 225 5.19% R22.23
7 2 + PowerBall 1 in 299 3.9% R22.02
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.

FAQ

Find out more about PowerBall in the frequently asked questions below. Visit the general FAQs page for more information about playing lotteries in South Africa.

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+ What time does the draw take place?

The winning PowerBall numbers are drawn at approximately 21:00 every Tuesday and Friday.

+ How much does it cost to play?

PowerBall costs R5 per board and PowerBall Plus costs an additional R2.50 to play.

+ When was the first PowerBall draw?

PowerBall was introduced in 2009 by then-lottery operator Gidani as another opportunity for players to win multi-million rand prizes. The first draw took place on 23rd October that year, with a R30 million jackpot on offer – which was won that very draw.

+ What is the biggest ever jackpot?

The record for the highest ever PowerBall jackpot was set in February 2019, when a man from Capetown matched all five main numbers and the PowerBall to win R232 million. He chose to remain anonymous; the only information revealed about the winner was that he was a man in his fifties who worked in a blue collar job.

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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.

Can I play Powerball in the UK

Yes. There are a number of online providers which allow you to play Powerball from the UK. Some use a concierge service where a person in the USA will go out and physically buy your ticket for you. That ticket will then be scanned and put into your account online so you can see that it has been bought. Others will take a «bet» from you against that lottery. No ticket is physically purchased but you will be paid out the same as if you had actually bought the ticket (the betting companies take out expensive insurance to cover the eventuality of somebody winning). Both types of company are heavily regulated to make sure they will pay out, so your entry money is safe.

How to Play Powerball

Powerball draws are held every Wednesday and Saturday evening, with players required to select five main numbers between 1 and 69 and one Powerball from 1 to 26.

There is also the option to select Power Play for an additional fee. A Power Play number of either 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10 is drawn before the main game and non-jackpot prizes are multiplied by that amount. The exception is the second-tier prize of US$1 million, which is capped at US$2 million no matter which multiplier is drawn. The 10x Power Play can only be selected when the advertised jackpot is $150 million or less.

Players can win prizes just by matching the Powerball, while the jackpot is given away if anyone matches all five main numbers plus the Powerball. The top prize starts at $40 million and rolls over when it is not won.

U.S. players can buy tickets from retailers in authorised participating states or, in certain states, take part online. Powerball fans from outside the U.S. are able to win all the same prizes by choosing numbers online through sites such as Jackpot.com. Rather than buying tickets, it is a case of betting on the results, and you just have to select your game, pick your numbers and decide how many lines to enter.

Prizes & Odds

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million, but the chances of winning any prize are 1 in 24.87. Here are the odds of winning in each of the nine prize tiers, plus details of how the Power Play multipliers (x2, x3, x4, x5 and x10) can increase your payout.

Odds of Winning Powerball
Matched Odds of Winning Prize x2 x3 x4 x5 x10*
5 main numbers + Powerball 1 in 292,201,338 Jackpot N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
5 main numbers 1 in 11,688,054 $1 million $2 million $2 million $2 million $2 million $2 million
4 main numbers + Powerball 1 in 913,129 $50,000 $100,000 $150,000 $200,000 $250,000 $500,000
4 main numbers 1 in 36,525 $100 $200 $300 $400 $500 $1,000
3 main numbers + Powerball 1 in 14,494 $100 $200 $300 $400 $500 $1,000
3 main numbers 1 in 580 $7 $14 $21 $28 $35 $70
2 main numbers + Powerball 1 in 701 $7 $14 $21 $28 $35 $70
1 main number + Powerball 1 in 92 $4 $8 $12 $16 $20 $40
Powerball only 1 in 38 $4 $8 $12 $16 $20 $40
Approx. overall odds of winning a prize: 1 in 25

*The Power Play x 10 only applies when the advertised jackpot is $150 million or less.

History & Biggest Jackpots

Powerball was first drawn in April 1992, having developed from an earlier game called Lotto*America. More states joined over the years and in 2010 Powerball and Mega Millions reached an agreement in which state lotteries could offer tickets for both games as opposed to one or the other.

Jackpots were originally only paid as an annuity spread over 20 years, but in 1997 that changed to 25 years and the option was added to take a reduced cash lump sum. The annuity currently stands at 30 payments over 29 years.

Powerball often creates huge jackpots, the biggest of which was $1.58 billion, shared by David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith (claiming under the Nickel 95 Trust) from Florida, Tennessee’s John and Lisa Robinson, and Marvin and Mae Acosta from California, on Wednesday 13th January 2016. Each of the winning tickets received $528.8 million, or a cash payment of $327.8 million.

Another record was set on 23rd August 2017, this time for the largest jackpot won on a single ticket, when Mavis Wanczyk from Massachusetts scooped $758.7 million. She came forward the very next day, having already quit her job as a hospital worker.

What is the Power Play?

Power Play is an option that is currently offered in all states that sell Powerball tickets except California.  For an extra $1.00 per ticket you can increase your non-jackpot prize winnings by 2, 3, 4, 5, or 10 times.  (The 10 times Power Play is only available when the jackpot is $150 million or less.)  The Power Play number is randomly drawn from a pool of multipliers that includes two 5Xs, three 4Xs, 13 3Xs, and 24 2Xs, plus one 10X when the jackpot is $150 million or less.

Power Play is not available in California because of state law that requires all lottery prizes to be paid out on a pari-mutuel basis.

The Power Play multiplier number is chosen at random just before the Powerball winning numbers are drawn.

A player must choose the Power Play option when they buy their Powerball ticket, and then the ticket must match one of the 9 Ways to Win (except the jackpot) before the multiplier takes effect.  Power Play costs an extra $1 per play.  See How to Play Powerball for more information.

How Will You Know When You Win the Powerball Lottery?

To find out if you’ve won a Powerball prize, you need to check your numbers. If you are contacted by someone telling you you’ve won a jackpot, you’re probably dealing with a lottery scam.

Many television stations broadcast the Powerball drawings live. You can also check your local newspaper or Google for the results online.

You can bring your ticket to a gas station, convenience store, or other location which sells tickets, to let them check your winnings for you. Just be sure to sign your ticket first, to avoid being scammed out of a win. It’s best to ask for the winning numbers and check yourself than to hand over your ticket and ask if you’ve won.

There are also lottery apps that make it easy to check winning numbers. Some will even notify you if the tickets you have purchased come up as winners.

If you want to check the winning numbers online, see my list of winning lottery numbers by state for the right links.

Go For Medium & Small Wins

When you wheel numbers in any lottery draw you give yourself multiple chances of winning multiple prizes. For example, if you are fortunate enough to pick all the correct numbers then you will win much more than just the 1 jackpot prize. Because the winning numbers you chose will come up on multiple lines (because you wheeled your numbers) you will have multiple entries with different combinations of those numbers on it. Thus you will win the jackpot, plus additional prizes.

For example, if you wheel 8 numbers and 6 of your numbers are in the winning numbers in a 6 from 49 game you will win 1 jackpot prize, plus at least 1 match 5 prize, multiple match 4 prizes and multiple match 3 prizes – thus increasing your overall winnings.

Obviously you will be more likely to only pick 5, 4 or 3 correct numbers but the principle remains the same; you will win multiple prizes and not just 1 when you have enough winning numbers in your wheel that would win only one prize for someone who is not wheeling their numbers.

This is where the power of wheeling truly lies because you can win multiple small and medium prizes by matching only a few correct numbers. And, when you can do this consistently over many games you can build up your profits nicely. If you reinvest a portion of your winnings so you can wheel even more numbers you can quickly start earning good regular money from your lotto plays.

This is how to win the lottery powerball prizes that can make you rich in the long-term rather than relying on just 1 jackpot win. Rather than winning one massive prize you can win multiple smaller prizes and win them consistently over weeks, months and even years.

How to Play Powerball

Powerball is easy to play — simply pick five main numbers from 1 to 69 and a Powerball number from 1 to 26. There are nine different prize tiers available in the main game, with the overall odds of winning any Powerball prize set at 1 in 24.87. All non-jackpot prizes have a fixed value.

For an additional US$1 per line, you can add the Power Play multiplier to your ticket, which could increase the value of any non-jackpot prize you might win. A separate Power Play number is drawn alongside the main balls in every game. The second-tier prize for matching five main Powerball numbers is typically US$1 million (DKK6.6 million), but if you match the Power Play number on the same ticket, your prize will increase to US$2 million (DKK13.3 million). With lower-tier prizes, your winnings could be multiplied by as much as five times if the 5x Power Play is drawn and you match it. However, the 10x feature is only an option when the advertised jackpot is worth US$150 million or less.

How to Play Powerball from Denmark

You can play Powerball from Denmark, with or without Power Play, by joining a syndicate of international players. When more people group together to buy tickets, they can better their odds of winning a Powerball prize. A syndicate of international players will link you to people across the globe in the hopes of landing a huge prize or even the coveted jackpot!

Powerball Prizes and Odds of Winning

There are a number of different prizes to be won on Powerball, starting with a fixed prize of US$4 for matching just the Powerball number itself and climbing all the way to the jackpot, which can easily reach nine figures in USD. Here are the different prize tiers, the odds of winning and the prizes available:

Prize Tier Odds of Winning Prize
Match 5 + Powerball 1:292,201,338 Jackpot
Match 5 1:11,688,053.52 $1 million
Match 4 + Powerball 1:913,129.18 $50,000
Match 4 $1:36,525.16 $100
Match 3 + Powerball $1:14,494.11 $100
Match 3 1:579.76 $7
Match 2 + Powerball 1:701.32 $7
Match 1 + Powerball 1:91.97 $4
Match Powerball 1:38.32 $4

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.

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