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  • Two California players won tickets worth $1 million each, but no one scooped the $1.2 billion jackpot
  • The Powerball grand prize soared to $1.5 billion since no one won Wednesday's drawing
  • The $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot marks the second-largest grand prize in the lottery's history

Who would've thought you could buy a lottery ticket for only $2 and beat the odds of turning that into $1.5 billion?

The multi-state Powerball lottery game's headline prize has ballooned to a whopping $1.5 billion ahead of the next drawing on Saturday.

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The odds got pushed from $1.2 billion to an estimated $1.5 billion since no one scored the jackpot for Wednesday night's drawing, which has been the case for the last 38 straight Powerball drawings since Aug. 3.

It would be a historical moment if one ticket were to win this Saturday. But winning Powerball jackpot prizes is very rare.

Interestingly, some lucky winners got a huge windfall from the famed lottery game in the past. We rounded up a list of the 10 biggest Powerball jackpots in history.

1. On Jan. 13, 2016, 3 bettors from California, Tennessee and Florida bagged a staggering $1.586 billion jackpot.

The one in California was sold to Marvin and Mae Acosta at a Chino Hills 7-Eleven store. The other ticket in Tennessee was sold to John and Lisa Robinson in Munford Naifeh's Food Mart. The third ticket from Florida was sold to Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt at a Publix grocery in Melbourne Beach.

The winners were able to collect through two payout options: an annuity plan where they would receive $528.8 million in 30 payments over 29 years or a lump-sum deal where they would receive $327.8 million.

The Robinsons, Smith and Kaltschmidt settled for the lump-sum option, while the Acostas took the annuity prize.

Lottery scratch
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2. History seemingly repeated itself since the current Powerball jackpot has shot up to $1.5 billion when no ticket managed to crack the magic combination last Wednesday.

However, two California tickets came close to winning the $1.2 billion grand prize before it increased by $300 million as the hopefuls matched the five winning numbers worth $1 million.

Additionally, 962,544 winning tickets matched the single Powerball and up to five of the winning numbers. Their payouts ranged from $4 to $20,000.

3. A Wisconsin citizen became a millionaire in a blink of an eye after winning the $764 million Powerball jackpot on March 27, 2019.

Manuel Franco had just gotten off work when he suddenly felt lucky and headed to a Speedway gas station in New Berlin to buy five Powerball tickets for $10.

"I honestly felt so lucky that I did look at the camera, and I really wanted to wink at it because I just had that lucky feeling," he happily recalled in a press interview with ABC News.

However, Franco admitted that the life-changing lottery results made him anxious at work.

"I really wanted to say something to anybody there, and I know that it was a bad decision, and I pretty much never showed up for work again," he said

Franco was an avid fan of buying Powerball tickets since he was 18 years old and won the jackpot when he was 24.

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4. The $758.7 million Powerball grand prize was the reason why a 53-year-old woman left her job of 32 years on Aug. 23, 2017.

Mavis Wanczyk did what almost everyone would do if they ever won the lottery: quit her job.

"I've called and told them that I will not be coming back," Wanczyk said in a press interview when asked if she would still work at the hospital. She worked in the patient care unit at Mercy Medical Center in Massachusetts.

When asked what she would do with the money, she replied, "The first thing I want to [do] is to sit back and relax. I had a pipe dream, and my pipe dream has finally come true. I want to retire in 12 and it came early."

5. Anonymous winners who have called themselves "Power Pack" In Maryland won the $731.1 million Powerball jackpot on Jan. 20, 2021.

The winning ticket was purchased at Coney Market in Lonaconing, a small town in Western Maryland, as per Powerball.

But the winners took four months to come forward and claim their prize.

The sheer idea of winning the lottery might compel some to fantasize about trips and gifts, but the "Power Pack" decided to use the money to maintain their existing lifestyles, make investments for their families and help their communities "for generations to come."

6. The lone winner of the $699.8 million jackpot was from California, who remained unnamed.

It all started when this lucky winner bought a ticket at an Albertsons grocery store in Morro Bay, near San Luis Obispo.

According to Powerball, the winner was presented with the option of receiving the money in the form of an estimated annuity of $699.8 million, paid in 30 graded payments over 29 years, or a lump sum payment of $496 million — both options were tax-free.

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7. Powerball bettors in Iowa and New York struck gold on Oct. 27, 2018, by winning $687.8 million, which was split in half.

This huge windfall, however, was slashed by 24% by the federal government, so the winners went home with $198.1 million each if they chose the lump sum award. Otherwise, they would sack $343.9 million through annuity payments.

8. Wisconsin and California Powerball players landed a jackpot amounting to $632.6 million on Jan. 5, 2022.

Wisconsin wasn't dubbed "WINSconsin" for no reason. The state is the proud owner of 19 Powerball jackpot victories.

Tammy and Cliff Webster, a Wisconsin couple, were the partial winners of the Powerball jackpot. They bought their winning ticket at Jackson Pointe Citgo on Packerland Drive in Green Bay.

"I was mumbling all the way to the kitchen table, like, 'You know how many people play in Wisconsin? You know what's the odds of us winning?'" Cliff said in an interview with Lottery Post.

And suddenly Cliff's luck aligned with the winning numbers at 4:30 in the morning.

"We're hugging and yelling, and it was one of the happiest moments of my life," he shared.

"We're standing there, 'What do we do? What do we do?'" Tammy added.

On the other hand, the winning California ticket was sold at a 7-Eleven in Sacramento.

9. A single winning ticket worth $590.5 million was claimed by an 84-year-old woman from Florida.

Gloria Mackenzie was allowed to skip in line at a supermarket in Zephyrhills, north of Tampa, to buy her Powerball tickets.

"While in line at Publix, another lottery player was kind enough to let me go ahead of them in line to purchase the winning quick-pick ticket," Mackenzie said, as per CNN.

Mackenzie obtained the money in a lump-sum deal, where she was able to clinch $370.9 million before taxes.

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10. Two players from Arizona and Missouri hit the $587.5 Million Powerball jackpot on Nov. 28, 2012.

The Powerball players from both states remained anonymous. According to USA Today, the winning ticket from Arizona was unidentified, whereas lottery officials in Missouri did not release a report or comment regarding the winner/s.