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The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292 million. However, the odds of winning any prize are a very reasonable 1 in 24.87 so it’s not all doom and gloom.

If you match the Powerball at all, you’re guaranteed a prize, even if you don’t match any of the main five draw numbers. The prize for just matching the Powerball is US $4, and it’s roughly a 1 in 38 chance. It isn’t a 1 in 26 chance, because some people who match the Powerball will also match main draw numbers and win a higher prize.

Even if you don’t match the Powerball, you can still win by matching three, four or five of the main draw numbers. The odds of this start from 1 in 580 for three balls, and a payout of US $7, up to odds of nearly 12 million to one for matching five numbers, which has a US $1 million prize.

Matched NumbersPrizeOdds
5 + PowerballJackpot1 in 292,201,338
5US $1,000,0001 in 11,688,054
4 + PowerballUS $50,0001 in 913,129
4US $1001 in 36,525
3 + PowerballUS $1001 in 14,494
3US $71 in 580
2 + PowerballUS $71 in 701
1 + PowerballUS $41 in 92
0 + PowerballUS $41 in 38


Power Play is a multiplier option. For an extra US $1 per ticket you can add Power Play. You don’t have to choose any extra numbers for this. Rather than improving your chances of a win, Power Play increases the amount of prize money you receive if you do win.

One Power Play number is randomly selected from a pool of 42, marked with multipliers from 2x to 5x. If the jackpot is less than US $150 million, one extra 10x multiplier is added. Whichever multiplier is drawn, non-jackpot prizes are multiplied by that amount, for winning tickets with the Power Play option selected. This excludes the jackpot and any wins for five numbers matched (where the top prize is doubled to US $2 million).


Power Play Multiplier2x3x4x5x
Odds1 in 1.751 in 3.231 in 141 in 21
5-ball prize: US $2 million. All other prizes multiplied by the number on the selected multiplier.
Power Play Multiplier2x3x4x5x10x
Odds1 in 1.791 in 3.311 in 14.331 in 21.51 in 43
5-ball prize: US $2 million. All other prizes multiplied by the number on the selected multiplier.

Annuity vs. Cash

98% of Powerball jackpot winners chose to take the cash option. Or to put it another way, only 4 winners in the last 13 years (2003 – 2016) chose the annuity option.

If you win the Powerball jackpot, you have the option of taking an annuity – an annual payment over 30 instalments – or a cash lump sum paid to you in full. You’ll see there’s quite a difference between the two. This is because the cash lump sum pays out whatever’s in the jackpot fund, whereas the annuity includes both the cash sum and the interest generated by investing it over the next 29 years. The value of the annuity option also has the added benefit of increasing by 5% annually.

The cash option is taxed in full when it is paid out – and taking the annuity option can also mean that more of the prize money is taxed at a lower rate over time. You can also leave the annuity to your family if you die, so there’s no risk of losing out on your prize money if you’re not expecting to live another 30 years.

Powerball Jackpot Winners – Cash or Annuity

This table illustrates the number of Powerball jackpot winners who took the cash or annuity option from 2003 to 2016.

YearJackpot WinnersCash OptionAnnuity Option
2013 118170
2011 113120
2006 211110

Year contains one or more unclaimed jackpots.

 Mixed cash and annuity option taken by one or more winners.