Here’s how likely it was that no one won the Powerball jackpot Wednesday night
In a Powerball drawing, five numbered white balls are chosen from a drum containing 69 balls, and a single red ball is chosen from a drum of 26 balls. To win the jackpot, your numbers must perfectly match the numbers drawn.
There are 11,238,513 ways to draw the five white balls from the drum of 69 balls. Multiply that by the 26 red balls, and you get a total of 292,201,338 total possible Powerball draws. That means for every ticket you buy, you have a 1 in 292,201,338 chance of winning the jackpot, or a 0.00000034% probability.
Another way of looking at that is that a single ticket has a 99.99999966% chance of losing the jackpot. That extremely high chance of not winning the jackpot is one of the main reasons why it probably isn’t a good financial decision to play Powerball.
But this is just looking at one ticket. What happens when we consider the millions of people who bought lottery tickets before Wednesday night’s drawing?
As long as we make the reasonable assumption that people are generally picking their Powerball numbers randomly and in such a way that one person’s picks have no influence over anyone else’s picks, it turns out that it’s fairly straightforward to estimate the overall probability that no one won the jackpot based on the number of tickets sold.
That assumption that individuals aren’t influencing each other’s picks is called statistical independence. The handy thing about independent events is that if we want to know the probability that a whole bunch of independent events all happen together — like, say, the probability that several million people all lost the Powerball jackpot — all we have to do is multiply together the individual probabilities of each of those events.
According to lottoreport.com, a website that uses lottery sales figures to estimate the number of tickets sold for any given drawing, 176,143,630 tickets were sold before Wednesday night’s drawing. So, we can find the probability that all of those tickets were duds by multiplying together the probability that any one ticket is a dud — as we saw above, about 99.99999966% — 176,143,530 times. That is, we take 99.99999966% raised to the 176,143,530th power.
While that would be daunting to try to do by hand, this is trivial for a computer. Indeed, we can estimate quite easily the probability that no one wins a Powerball jackpot for just about any number of millions of tickets sold.
Based on all this, there was about a 54.7% chance that we had Wednesday night’s outcome of no one winning the jackpot:It turns out that it was basically a coin flip whether or not someone won the jackpot.
If no one wins powerball
Meet the latest winners from your favorite lottery games. Remember, it only takes one ticket to win!
Lawrence Ginn / $1,000,000
RALEIGH – Lawrence Ginn of Washington, N.C. took home Wednesday a $1 million Powerball prize.
Ginn put together a set of lucky numbers that matched all five white balls in the Oct. 21 drawing, beating odds of 1 in 11.6 million.
Richard Martinez / $1,000,000
LANSING, Mich. – Patience paid off – to the tune of $1 million – for a Saginaw man who regularly plays Powerball.
Richard Martinez, 72, matched the five white balls – 05-12-34-45-56 – in the Aug. 15 drawing to win the big prize. He bought his winning ticket at the 7-Eleven, located at 7970 Gratiot Road in Saginaw.
Shelley Arnold / $1,000,000
Salem, Ore. – When Shelley Arnold realized she had won $1 million playing Powerball no one could see how happy she was.
“I was at Safeway and when I realized I won $1 million, my husband and the clerk couldn’t see how happy I was because I had a mask on!” she said. “I was very happy, in fact, I didn’t believe it.”
Not only did Arnold use the self-serve Lottery ticket scanner, she also had the clerk scan it, and she checked the numbers again at home.
Peter & Tammy Van Winkle / $1,000,000
Lincoln, NE – Peter and Tammy Van Winkle of Grand Island won $1 million playing Powerball from the Nebraska Lottery.
Van Winkle purchased his winning ticket at Fast Mart at 6835 North 27th Street in Lincoln. The ticket contained a single quick pick play that matched five out of five winning numbers (05, 21, 36, 61, 62) but not the winning Powerball number (18) from the July 25 drawing.
Thomas Cook & Joseph Feeney / $22 Million
MADISON, Wis. (July 23, 2020) – Friends Thomas Cook and Joseph Feeney shook hands in 1992, swearing if either one won the Powerball jackpot, they would split the winnings…no matter who bought the ticket. Tom, of Elk Mound, and Joe, of Menomonie, made good on that handshake when Tom realized a Powerball ticket he bought at Synergy Coop Exit 45 on 2100 County Rd. B in Menomonie for the June 10 drawing was the $22 Million jackpot winner.
Anonymous / $1,000,000
Dover, Del. – A 48-year-old Millsboro woman has won a $1,000,000 prize, before taxes, by matching the 5 white balls in the May 16th POWERBALL® drawing. The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, purchased the winning Quick Pick ticket at Royal Farms #123 – Oak Orchard in Millsboro.
Shanika Miller / $2,000,000
RALEIGH – Special numbers made up of birthdays and ages proved the right combination that unlocked a $2 million Powerball win for Shanika Miller of Durham.
“I keep my same numbers,” said Miller. “I never switch them up.”
Joe B. / $2,000,000
Congratulations to “Joe B” from Pueblo! Back on March 25, he won two $1 million Powerball prizes and he finally came in to claim them today.
Joe likes to play one play of his own numbers, and a couple more plays with Quick Picks. He bought a few Powerball plays in the morning at 7-Eleven on 926 Lake Ave, then stopped and bought a few more plays in the evening at Loaf N’ Jug on 2050 Lake Ave. Can you believe what amazing luck!
Dorothy Coffey / $50,000
Dorothy Coffey of Oliver Springs won $50,000 playing Powerball from the Tennessee Lottery. Coffey matched four white balls and the red Powerball in the April 8, 2020 drawing. She bought her winning ticket at Lucky’s Express Market on East Tri-County Blvd. in Oliver Springs, Tennessee.
Stephen Piechocinski / $1,000,000
Stephen Piechocinski of St. Louis is a frequent Powerball player with a morning routine of buying a ticket at his local convenience store on the way to work. As luck would have it, the morning Piechocinski’s routine was shaken up was the very day he would buy a ticket worth $1 million.
All winning tickets must be redeemed in the state/jurisdiction in which they are sold.
Copyright© Multi-State Lottery Association. All Rights Reserved.If no one wins powerball Meet the latest winners from your favorite lottery games. Remember, it only takes one ticket to win! Lawrence Ginn / $1,000,000 RALEIGH – Lawrence Ginn of ]]>