How to Win Powerball

Absolutely anyone can win Powerball. The trick is to beat the odds. While nobody can guarantee a win, there actually are some statistically accurate ways to win Powerball by increasing your odds.

In this article, we cover the importance of knowing the odds, winner case studies, and some real methods of improving your chance of hitting it big. While the odds are still going to be stacked against you, any little bit will help.

How to win Powerball: First Know the Odds

How to Win PowerballThe first step toward succeeding at any challenge is to know as much about the task as possible. We would never have got to the moon if we hadn’t taken the time first to figure out all the difficulties posed by the trip. There’s no engineering solution to winning Powerball, but it’s still a good idea to learn the odds against a win.

The table below shows the odds of winning Powerball from several different jackpots at random since 2000.

Odds of Winning Powerball  
DateOddsSize of Jackpot
2/28/20001 in 80,089,128$150 million
10/2/20031 in 120,526,770$76 million
6/9/20041 in 120,526,770$48 million
1/5/20081 in 146,107,962$152 million
1/11/20111 in 195,249,054$51 million
2/3/20151 in 175,223,510$247 million
3/3/20151 in 175,223,510$50 million
7/11/20151 in 175,223,510$101 million
10/19/20151 in 292,201,338$100 million
1/13/20161 in 292,201,338$1.3 billion

Also see: 10 Reasons Warren Buffett is a Billionaire

Those odds are astronomical. For comparisons, see the table at the bottom of this article. There, we explain it’s actually a lot more likely to get struck by lightning or abducted by aliens than it is to win the Powerball. That said, there are ways to improve those odds, now that you know how big they are.

How to Win Powerball by Managing the Odds

How to Win Powerball by Managing the OddsLet’s get this out of the way right off: This is not a scam. Right on Powerball’s home page, they say in the FAQ section that there actually is a way to improve the odds. In other words, the question, “How to win at Powerball” actually does have a real answer, and it isn’t just “Buy a ton of tickets” or “get a lucky rabbit’s foot.”

That said, the method isn’t 100% effective. In fact, while it does increase the odds of winning, those odds are still very, very long.

The table below shows the method Powerball suggests:

How to Win Powerball Dual Drum GamesThese games pay for matching only one number from drum #2.
Drum #2 has 35 numbers. A group of 35 people that buys 35 tickets and plays a different red Powerball number is guaranteed to win at least $4.
With the above method, you can still lose $31, but...If a group plays many tickets, they cut their odds a tiny bit with each ticket they buy. Using the method above gives at LEAST an 11% discount on the tickets and lets the group buy more.
How this method helps win PowerballA Powerball jackpot in the billions, split between a thousand people is still $1 million each. Tickets bought at a discount using the drum method mean more tickets can be bought. That increases the odds of winning.
Does this method work?The drum method certainly increases the odds of winning Powerball. As proof, groups do win. See the table below for lists of groups that have won Powerball.

Also see: How to Raise $28 Million from Richard Branson

The method in the table above won’t guarantee winning Powerball. It’ll boost the odds of winning, but what it really does is make it cheaper to buy Powerball tickets in bulk. This method is a terrible idea for a single player. That’s because a single player would have to spend too much money and would still face almost certain failure.

However, a group can use the method above to chip in and buy lots of tickets. This increases their odds of winning. While they’ll also split the jackpot, 1/1000th of $1 billion is still $1 million each. As proof, look at the table below of groups who’ve won Powerball.

Groups That Have Won Powerball

To prove that the “drum” method works to improve the odds, here are twelve groups that won Powerball by pooling their resources:

Powerball Group Winners  
Avondale Revocable Trust11/4/2015Won $144 million Powerball
Rocklin Four3/25/2015Won $40 million Powerball
TL Management Trust2/11/2015Won $127 million Powerball
FlaMass Family Lottery Joint Venture4/23/2014Won $148 million Powerball
Ocean's 168/7/2013Won $86 million Powerball
The Williams Trust5/25/2013Won $10 million Powerball
The Shipping 206/13/2012Won $241 million Powerball
SEPTA 484/25/2012Won $173 million Powerball
Ohana Trust3/7/2012Won $60 million Powerball
Louise White/Sherbert Trust2/11/2012Won $336 million Powerball
Putnam Ave Family Trust11/2/2011Won $254 million Powerball
1937 Flatbush Avenue Dodgers LLC6/1/2011Won $202 million Powerball

Also see: 4 Easy Ways to be Richer Than Most Americans

Roughly 30% of all Powerball winning tickets were bought by groups. Since groups contain anywhere from four to thirty members, most Powerball winners play in groups.

It’s important to realize that even playing in a group, the odds of winning Powerball are still incredibly low. They’re just higher than the incredibly low odds of playing alone.

How to Win Powerball: 9 Ways

There are nine ways to win Powerball, according to the Powerball website. The odds for each method are listed below:

How to Win Powerball: 9 Ways   
Way #How to WinPrize WonOdds of Winning
1Match 5 balls plus the red powerballGrand Prize1 in 292,201,338
2Match 5 balls$1 million1 in 11,688,053.52
3Match 4 balls plus the red powerball$50,0001 in 913,129.18
4Match 4 balls$1001 in 36525.17
5Match 3 balls plus the red powerball$1001 in 14,494.11
6Match 3 balls$71 in 579.76
7Match 2 balls plus the red powerball$71 in 701.33
8Match 1 ball plus the red powerball$41 in 91.98
9Match the red powerball only$41 in 38.32

How to Win Powerball Odds

Is Powerball a Tax on Stupidity?

Powerball TaxOf course if you ask most people how to win Powerball, the answers are stuffed with jokes. Some say to pray, get a rabbit’s foot, bribe the officials, etc. Most people who know anything about statistics will tell you none of those ways work. They’ll also say Powerball is a tax on stupidity. The idea is that the odds are so high that only stupid people would play.

Certainly anyone who uses Powerball as an investment strategy needs their head examined. Since the odds are so high, there’s no way to guarantee a win. Every dollar spent on a Powerball ticket is a dollar that might as well be set on fire.

But there’s another way to look at Powerball. A ticket that costs $1 is better than $1 set on fire because the burned dollar is just burned. By contrast, the dollar spent on Powerball is admission fee to taking part in a national dream. At that, the going rate is cheap, whether we can figure out how to win or not.

Powerball Odds vs Other Events

Check out the odds of winning Powerball vs the odds of some other unlikely events. You can see that even with playing in a group, your odds of winning millions still aren’t that great.

Odds of Winning Powerball1 in 292,201,338
Odds of Being Abducted by Aliens1 in 112,305,118
Odds of being hit by a car and killed1 in 701
Odds of being killed in a plane crash1 in 7,200
Odds of dying from a bee sting1 in 80,000
Odds of becoming a pro athlete1 in 22,000
Odds of being struck by lightning1 in 3,000
Odds of being elected President1 in 10,000,000

Do I Know How to Win Powerball?

Let’s face it, if I really knew how to win Powerball, would I be writing articles about it? The odds are so, so high against winning that it’s just not worth it. Now I’m off to buy a ticket, because $1.3 billion. Damn.