How to Play Powerball

Powerball is played across 48 US states and jurisdictions every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Find out everything you need to know about how to play this record-breaking lottery. Get information on the latest Powerball numbers and prizes, as well as details on the history of the game and previous jackpot winners.

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Playing Powerball

This is how you can play Powerball:

  • 1. Choose five main numbers between 1 and 69.
  • 2. Select a Powerball number between 1 and 26.
  • 3. Choose whether to add Power Play, offering the chance to multiply non-jackpot prizes.
  • 4. Choose whether to add Double Play (select lotteries only) for a second chance to match your numbers in a separate draw with prizes up to $10 million.
  • 5. Purchase your tickets by the cut-off time in your state or online. This ranges from 6:45pm PST in Washington to 10pm EST in New York and Florida. Players in Puerto Rico can play until 10:59pm when the clocks switch forward an hour over winter.

Once you have played your Powerball tickets, simply wait for the drawing, which takes place on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday nights in Tallahassee, Florida at 10:59pm EST, and check the Winning Numbers page soon afterwards to find out if you are due a prize.

What is Power Play?

Power Play is an option you can add to your ticket that multiplies the value of the non-jackpot prizes you win. Visit the Power Play page for more information.

What is Double Play?

Double Play is an option you can add to your ticket in select jurisdictions. It costs an extra $1 and offers a second chance to win on your numbers in a separate draw with cash prizes of up to $10 million.

16 lotteries offer the Double Play option, and more may choose to do so in the future: Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Washington.

Head over to the Double Play page for more details.

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Powerball players can win prizes in nine different tiers, from matching just the Powerball right up to the jackpot for matching all five numbers plus the Powerball.

Aside from the jackpot, which starts at $20 million and keeps getting bigger until it is won, the prize tiers in Powerball have fixed cash amounts. Here's a breakdown of the prize tiers and the odds for winning in that tier:

Powerball Prizes
Prize Tier Odds of Winning Prize
Match 5 + Powerball 1 in 292,201,338 Jackpot
Match 5 1 in 11,688,053 $1 million
Match 4 + Powerball 1 in 913,129 $50,000
Match 4 1 in 36,525 $100
Match 3 + Powerball 1 in 14,494 $100
Match 3 1 in 579 $7
Match 2 + Powerball 1 in 701 $7
Match 1 + Powerball 1 in 91 $4
Powerball only 1 in 38 $4
Overall odds of winning a Powerball prize are 1 in 24.87.

The only exception to this chart is California, where cash prizes in lower tiers are pari-mutuel. Their values are determined by the number of winners in each tier and the number of tickets sold.

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Biggest Winners

Powerball creates hundreds of thousands of winners in each draw, as players from across the U.S go in search of life-changing jackpots. The top prize starts at a minimum of $20 million and regularly grows into nine figures, sometimes even ten! The game has been responsible for many of the biggest winners in lottery history.

Here are the largest Powerball jackpots ever...

Amount Cash or Annuity? Date Winner Details
$2.04 billion Took the cash option of $997.6 million November 7th 2022 After 40 straight drawings without a winner, the jackpot pushed past $2 billion for the first time in history. A single ticket ended up matching all the numbers in the historic drawing, landing the lucky player a jackpot of $2.04 billion. Edwin Castro from California claimed the money more than three months later, having purchased his ticket at a gas station in Altadena. He described himself as ‘shocked and ecstatic’, and decided to take the lump sum payout.
$1.58 billion Shared the cash option of $983.5 million January 13th 2016 The largest lottery jackpot of all time was shared by three ticket holders. John and Lisa Robinson from Munford in Tennessee quickly came forward, telling the world about their win on the Today show. David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith from Melbourne Beach in Florida soon claimed their share of the money, but it was another six months until Marvin and Mae Acosta from Chino Hills in California made themselves known to lottery officials.
$768.4 million Took the cash option of $477 million March 27th 2019 Manuel Franco from Milwaukee claimed a gigantic $768.4 million when he matched all the numbers to end a three-month wait for a jackpot winner. It was a new record for the largest prize ever won on a single ticket and the 24-year-old said that he had just felt a ‘really lucky, weird feeling’ when he bought his ticket. He gave up work straight away and announced that he wanted to ‘help out the world’.
$758.7 million Took the cash option of $480.5 million August 23rd 2017 A player from Massachusetts banked an incredible $758.7 million in August 2017, the biggest jackpot ever won on a single ticket at the time. Mavis Wanczyk came forward the next day to claim the prize, revealing that she had already quit her job in a hospital and would celebrate by going to ‘hide in bed’.
$754 million Took the cash option of $407.2 million February 6th 2023 After 33 draws without a winner, a Powerball player from Washington hit the jackpot in this draw to grab one of the biggest prizes in the lottery’s history. The winner was revealed to be Becky Bell from Auburn. She planned to bring forward her retirement from her job with Boeing, but she did not want to let the company down so she would train others to replace her first.
$731 million Took the cash option of $546.8 million January 20th 2021 This huge jackpot went to anonymous winners in Maryland who called themselves ‘The Power Pack’. They purchased one Quick Pick ticket at Coney Market in the former mining town of Lonaconing. When they came forward four months later, they said they wanted to help their families and local communities for generations to come.
$699 million Took the cash option of $495.9 million October 4th 2021 The first-ever Monday winner was Scott Godfrey from Morro Bay in California, who matched all the numbers after the jackpot had rolled for 40 drawings in a row. It was the largest Powerball payout in the Golden State and Godfrey admitted he had to ‘do a double take, no more than a double take – a triple take’, after he found out he had won with one of the 10 Quick Picks he had bought at an Albertsons store on Quintana Road.
$687 million Both winners took the cash option of $198 million each October 27th 2018 The jackpot was split by two winners, Lerynne West of Redford, Iowa and Robert Bailey of New York City. West almost lost her ticket in her sister's pickup truck. She later launched a charitable foundation named for her grandson, The Callum Foundation. Retired government employee Bailey played the same numbers for over 25 years after being given them by a friend, and has no plans to stop.
$632.6 million Both winners chose the cash option of $225.1 million January 5th, 2022 Two players - one from California and one from Wisconsin - split this gigantic jackpot at the start of 2022. Tammy and Cliff Webster, from Oneida in Wisconsin, were the first to claim their money. The second half of the money went to California’s Orlando Zavala Lozano.
$590.5 million Took the cash option of $370.9 million May 18th 2013 Gloria MacKenzie of Zephyrhills, Florida, had previously held the record for the biggest prize won on a single ticket when she landed $590.5 million on May 18th 2013.

Powerball is famous worldwide for its record-breaking jackpots. This trend towards sky-rocketing prizes began in July 2013 when Colleen DeVries and Leslie Robbins of Wisconsin claimed $111.2 million, the first nine-figure top prize pool, and new highs have been reached regularly since.

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Game History

Powerball is one of the biggest lottery games in the United States and regularly boasts eight, nine or even ten-figure jackpots. Read on to discover more about how this multi-state game came into existence and how changes in format have made Powerball one of the most popular and exciting lotteries in the world.

  • Powerball’s roots can be traced back as far as September 1987, when lottery officials from Washington D.C., Iowa, Kansas, Oregon, Rhode Island and West Virginia joined to form the Multi-State Lottery Association.
  • In February 1988, the Multi-State Lottery Association launched a brand new lottery known as Lotto*America. Eight additional states (Wisconsin, Montana, Idaho, Minnesota, Indiana, South Dakota, Kentucky and Delaware) joined the game between August 1989 and January 1991.
  • Lotto*America was phased out in 1992 and Powerball was born. The first drawing took place on Saturday April 22nd 1992, with a two-drum draw machine and new ball sets being introduced.
Lotto America relaunched under a new format in November 2017.
  • Between April 1994 and November 1995, the states of Arizona, Nebraska, Louisiana, New Hampshire and Connecticut joined the Powerball family.
  • In July 1996, a number of live Powerball drawings were held at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia. Special drawings have since taken place across the country to commemorate specific events or anniversaries.
  • New Mexico began offering Powerball in October 1996.
  • On March 7th 2001, Power Play, an optional multiplier, was added to the game. For an extra $1, players could increase the value of any non-jackpot prize. The game continues to this day.
  • Powerball opened its doors, as Colorado, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, North Dakota, Tennessee, Maine, Oklahoma and North Carolina were all welcomed to the game between August 2001 and May 2006.
  • Florida and Arkansas both joined the game in 2009, with the former landing the responsibility of hosting future drawings.
  • 2010 was a big year for Powerball, as Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington all joined in January, before Ohio and the U.S Virgin Islands began participating later in the year.
  • The price of a Powerball ticket increased to $2 ($3 including Power Play) in January 2012.
  • The state of California began selling Powerball tickets in 2013, but refused the offer the Power Play option, while Wyoming and Puerto Rico joined the following year.
  • In early October 2015, various changes were made to the game, with the number of balls in the main pool increasing from 59 to 69, while the Powerball pool decreased from 35 to 26. This significantly altered the odds of winning, with the chances of winning any prize increasing, however, the jackpot became more difficult to win.
  • On Wednesday January 13th 2016, the Powerball jackpot reached a record-breaking $1.58 billion, the biggest prize total ever offered by any lottery in the world. The prize was shared between three ticket holders - John and Lisa Munford of Tennessee, David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith from Florida, and Marvin and Mae Acosta of California.
  • On Wednesday March 27th 2019, the Powerball jackpot reached $768 million, and was won by a single ticket bought in New Berlin, WI. This the largest single-ticket jackpot win in Powerball history.
  • Powerball tickets went on sale in Mississippi for the first time ever on January 30th 2020, after the launch of the state lottery in November 2019.
  • It was announced in March 2021 that draws will being to take place on Monday, in addition to the draws on Wednesday and Saturday, from August 23 2021.
  • On Monday November 7th 2022, the Powerball record was broken again as it topped $2 billion for the first time. A player from California, later revealed to be Edwin Castro, banked the jackpot of $2.04 billion.
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