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Are you one of the millions of Americans who snatches up a Powerball ticket when you hear about the mega-jackpots? Or, are you like manyâ€"one that figures why bother? You may think that you are never going to win anyway. That’s what Tim Guderian was thinking on the day he purchased a Powerball ticket that turned out to be worth $200.8 million dollars. What are the odds of winning Powerball? Here is a look at the ins and outs of the popular lottery.

The Powerball lottery is administered by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), which is a non-profit, government-benefit organization owned and operated by its 31 member lotteries. All profits made through the lottery stay in the individual states and are used to support causes approved by the state legislatures.

Now for the ins and outs of the game: Powerball is a lotto game that rewards both jackpot and cash prizes. Every Wednesday and Saturday, the MUSL draws five white balls out of a barrel of 55 white balls and one red ball out of a barrel of 42 red balls. By matching chosen numbers, winners have nine opportunities to win. The jackpot is won by matching all five of the white balls and the red Powerball. A Powerball ticket costs players $1 a piece. Players can also pay an extra $1 for the PowerPlay, in which any prize winnings are multiplied by up to five times the normal prize (not including the jackpot amount). The multiplier is chosen randomly at the same time the Powerball numbers are drawn.

If you are lucky enough to win the Powerball jackpot, you have the choice between receiving the prize paid out over 29 years (30 payments) or in one lump sum payment. The largest jackpot prize awarded so far in 200 was an annuity payment of $365 million or a lump sum payment of $177 million.

So, you ask, what are the odds of winning the Powerball? When playing with a $1 ticket, the Powerball website quotes an odds ratio for the grand prize jackpot of 1 in 146,107,962. Your chance of winning $200,000 by matching all five of the white balls rises to 1 in 3,563,608.83. A $10,000 prize can be won by matching four of the white balls and the red Powerball at an odds ratio of 1 to 584,431.85. One person out of roughly 13,000 will win $100 by matching either four white balls or three white balls and the red Powerball. There are two chances to win $10, at odds ranging from 1 in 290 to 1 in 745, by matching three white balls or two white balls and the red Powerball. For a four-dollar prize, you’ll be 1 out of 126 people who match one white ball and the red Powerball. Finally, for a prize of $3, one person out of 68 will match only the red Powerball. Lotto organizers quote the overall odds of winning any prize at 1 in roughly 36.

Statisticians sometimes come up with odds of winning the jackpot at 1 in 17 billion. The discrepancy between this number and the MULS statistic arises because the statisticians often require a match in exact order, which Powerball does not.

To some people, these odds sound like a chance worth taking. Others, however, disagree. Hopefully, understanding the ins and outs of the lotto game and the odds of you winning it has helped you to make up your mind. Whatever your conclusion, remember that all Powerball lottery profits benefit your stateâ€"and, you never can tell when, like Tim and Kellie Guderian, it’ll be your lucky day.

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Comment: The article has nothing to do with the title. I suggest less alcohol.

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