Every Wednesday and Saturday just before 11 p.m. EST, five white balls and one red ball get picked out of a drum with the potential to change someone’s life. This Saturday’s Powerball jackpot, which hit $800 million late Friday morning, is the largest in U.S. lottery history, and players are expected to be watching eagerly to see if they could match their numbers with those fateful picks.
For those who have never played Powerball before, the process is simple. Five white numbered balls are picked out of a drum of 69 and lined in order, followed by one red numbered ball picked from a pack of 26, according to Powerball’s website. The jackpot is won by matching all the white balls in order as well as the red ball.
Even if you don’t match the red ball, matching the white balls in order gets you a prize as well — $1 million, paid in cash. Matching just the red ball will get you some prize as well.
Powerball jackpot tickets cost $2, but by paying an additional $1 ticket buyers get in the “power play,” which can multiply winnings, Syracuse.com reported. After deciding to buy the ticket, you then have to decide how your numbers will be chosen.
Picking your own numbers is one option — significant other’s birthday, lucky numbers — as is the quick pick, in which a computer generates your numbers. No matter the option, you have to check your receipt before you leave the place you’re buying the ticket from, verify the numbers and the date, and sign the receipt.
Not every state in the U.S. participates in the Powerball. Six states, including Hawaii, Alaska, Nevada, Alabama, Mississippi and Utah, don’t have the game, while Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin islands and Puerto Rico do particulate in the Powerball, CNN Money reported.
While the $800 million may be mouthwatering to some, the odds of winning are not in anyone’s favor. The chance of winning the jackpot is 1 in 292,201,338, meaning you have a higher chance of being struck by lightning, becoming U.S. president or being killed by a vending machine, the Hartford Courant reported.