Mega Millions
Lottery balls wait to be dropped prior to a lottery drawing in Atlanta on Dec. 17, 2013. Reuters/Tami Chappell

The top prize for the U.S. lottery Mega Millions reached $868 million, the second-largest grand prize in the country's history ever, after no one won Tuesday night's jackpot.

The next jackpot, which will take place Friday at 11 p.m. EDT, soared from $667 million. For Friday's jackpot, the winner could get an up-front cash option of $494 million. If the winner chooses the annuity option, the jackpot would be paid out over 29 years. According to Mega Millions, each payment value is 5 percent higher than the previous one.

The winning numbers for Friday's $868 million jackpot will be announced on several local media channels and also on the Mega Millions' website. The current jackpot has been rolling since it was last won on July 24, $543 million, the largest prize ever won on a single ticket in a Mega Millions game.

Mega Millions says its previous record jackpot was a $656 million prize that was shared by winners from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland in March 2012.

"Everyone is talking about the jackpot and running out to buy tickets for tonight's drawing," Gordon Medenica, Mega Millions lead director and Maryland Lottery and Gaming director, said in a press release about Tuesday night's suspense.

Here’s what you can win if you play:

  • 5 numbers + gold mega ball match = jackpot
  • 5 numbers + no gold mega ball match = $1,000,000
  • 4 numbers + gold mega ball match = $10,000
  • 4 numbers + no gold mega ball match = $500
  • 3 numbers + gold mega ball match = $200
  • 3 numbers + no gold mega ball match = $10
  • 2 numbers + gold ball match = $10
  • 1 number + gold ball match = $4
  • 0 numbers + gold ball match = $2

How to play Mega Millions:

Those wanting to win the hundreds of millions of dollars have to purchase a Mega Millions ticket in one of the 44 participating states, Washington, D.C., or the U.S. Virgin Islands. Nevada, Utah, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi and Alabama do not participate in the lottery, according to the website.

Players must "pick six numbers from two separate pools of numbers — five different numbers from 1 to 75 and one number from 1 to 15 — or select Easy Pick," the lottery's website states. If the numbers match all six winning numbers in a drawing — then it means it’s a jackpot. The odds of winning a jackpot is 1 in 258.9 million for Mega Millions.

If you are the one who purchased the ticket with the winning numbers, it is always recommended you sign the back of your ticket before beginning the celebrations. This way, no one will be able to claim your ticket if you happen to lose it or it gets stolen.