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Behind the math in winning the estimated $700 million Powerball jackpot

Posted at 5:53 AM, Jan 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-08 05:54:52-05

HOBOKEN, N.J. – The Powerball bonanza is now an estimated $700 million – the largest in jackpot history.

The drawing for the life-altering pool is scheduled at 10:59 p.m. Saturday. If no one matches all five numbers, they kitty will continue to grow, possibly up to a billion.

The largest Powerball ever was $590.5 million, won in Florida in May 2013.

An 84-year-old woman from Florida bought the ticket after another customer let her go ahead in line.

The record-breaking $700-million Powerball jackpot is the stuff of dreams, but it alls boils down to math.

IF YOU WIN: 

$700 million jackpot, paid out over 30 years or as an immediate $428.4 million in cash.

Those figures are before federal and state taxes, which will eat up roughly half of the cash-option prize.

THE ODDS:

Ticket holders have a 1 in 292.2 million chance in winning.

To put it in perspective, the odds of hitting the jackpot are about the same as you odds of flipping a quarter and getting heads 28 times in a row.

IMPROVE THE ODDS:

Don’t pick. There’s no trick to playing the lottery, but your tiny odds of winning are a bit better if you let the computer pick rather than choosing yourself.

That’s because when people use birthdates or other favorite figures, they generally choose numbers 31 or below.

That ignores the fact that there are 69 numbered balls.

It does help to buy more tickets.

Your odds increase with additional tickets, but it’s important to keep in mind how small they are to begin with.

Experts say its better to take the money over time. Not a payout so you don’t spend it all in one place.

If you have extra cash and are thinking of buying all possible number combinations, that is allowed, but it wouldn’t be very smart. At $2, a ticket, the strategy would cost about $584 million, and when taxes are subtracted, you’d end up losing money.

WKYC compiled data from Powerball.com records and revealed the winningest numbers: http://on.wkyc.com/1OOjIom