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Powerball was not always called that name. It officially was christened as Lotto America in 1988.The name was changed to Powerball on June 8, 199 by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) who also made a major change to how the game is played. The Multi-State Lottery Association is an independent lottery corporation that consists of twenty-nine states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia that creates and administrates lotteries for participating states.

PowerballThe main difference between the original version of the MUSL lottery called Lotto America and the Powerball we play today is that Lotto America required the gambler to choose 5 out of 45 numbers. Today’s Powerball requires the player to correctly select 5 out of 55 numbers and the sixth Powerball number from a list of numbers from 1 to 42. When you buy a ticket you will see two panels with both lists of numbers on it and you choose the 5 numbers in one panel and the one number in the others. It should be obvious that a lottery with two draws is harder to win then one with one number drawing.

As there are more options to play, an extra drawing and an extra number to play in Power ball, your chances of winning a jackpot are much less then in the original Lotto America which was a straight pick of five numbers. The odds of picking the winning jackpot numbers for Powerball are 1:146.1 million. The overall odds of winning any type of prize in Powerball are 1 in 36.61.

To play the game, a player pays one dollar to acquire a ticket and picks five distinct numbers from 1 to 55 and one number from 1 to 42, (the Powerball number). The player wins according to the following table. You can also find this table printed on the back of your Powerball ticket and on the Powerball website.

Payoffs for Matches Odds of Winning

Powerball singly $3 1 in 68.96
1 number and Powerball $4 1 in 126.88
2 numbers and Powerball $7 1 in 745.45
3 numbers and no Powerball $7 1 in 290.91
3 numbers and Powerball $100 1 in 11927.18
4 numbers and no Powerball $100 1 in 14254.44
4 numbers and Powerball $10,000 1 in 584431.85
All 5 numbers and no Powerball $200,000 1 in 3563608.83
All 5 numbers and Powerball Jackpot! 1 in 146107962

The player can also fork over an additional dollar in order to have any prize winnings (other than the jackpot) multiplied up to 5 times the normal prize. This option, which is known to be quite lucrative, is known as Powerplay and is a favorite feature of the beloved lottery game.

When you play Powerball, gambling experts recommend that you always also spend the extra dollar to play the Powerplay option (the option that can multiply any winning as much as five times.) This is because people who take advantage of the Powerplay option lose 51 cents on the dollar while people who don’t play the option lose 80 cents per ticket.

This means that if you spend a thousand bucks on 1000 Powerball tickets without ticking off the Powerplay option you will lose 803 dollars. However even though the Powerplay doubles the price of the ticket – if you buy 500 tickets that also employ the Powerplay option you will only lose $655 of your $1000 investment.

In the long run, for every 1000 dollars spent on tickets that do not employ the Powerball option, you will lose 803 of it. For every 1000 dollars spent on 500 tickets with the Powerplay option, you will only lose 655 dollars over the long term. This is important if you play the lottery often as realizing this type of thrift is part of not losing too much of your bankroll over a period of years.

Powerball Odds

Another rule of thumb when it comes to playing Powerball is that the more players there are in the system, the more your odds decrease and the payouts increase. Experts also argue that the only jackpot worth playing for is one that has a payout after taxes that is better than 146 million dollars to offset the odds of actually winning.

Powerball also gives winners a choice of how they want to receive their money. Winners can either receive their winnings as an annuity (the full amount dispersed as an annual income) or as a single lump sum cash payment (which is usually half of the won sum.)

If a player chooses to be paid an annuity, the 30 annuity payments are not equal but based on an increasing rate schedule which means that the amount dispersed annually to the winner increases every year. For example, the first annual gross annuity payment on the base US$15 million jackpot would be approximately $267,000 while the final annual payment would be approximately $834,000.

Powerball drawings are held every Wednesday and Saturday at MUSL's headquarters in Urbandale, Iowa. The drawings take place at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Time. Drawings are occasionally scheduled at remote locations for publicity purposes.

The largest payoff ever recorded for Powerball was on February 18,2006 and worth $365,000,000. It was won by a single player in Nebraska that was shared between eight employees in a meat packing plant. Prior to this the second largest prize was $340,000,000 that was awarded to a family in Jacksonville, Oregon.

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