OK, you can get back to work now, Kane County.
The $1.5 billion Powerball lottery presented at 10 p.m. Wednesday night on WGN came and went for most of us. If you happen to have won, congratulations! If you’re like the rest of us, on to the next.
For posterity, those numbers were 4-8-19-27-34—10.
They included a lot of good numbers for Chicago sports fans, including but not limited to Jonathan Toews (19), Walter Payton (34) and Ron Santo (10.)
We let the machine pick our numbers. If it were up to me, I’d play the 1969 Cubs infield, with Ferguson Jenkins on the mound and Ernie Banks in the Powerball slot: 9-10-11-18-31—14. But that’s just me.
Three folks in three states shared the $1.59 billion prize, according to the Chicago Tribune. Two Illinoisans won the $1 million prize for matching all five numbers, but not the Powerball.
If you go to Powerball.com right now, the current estimated jackpot is a paltry $40 million. Hardly worth your while, right?
Government programs are among the winners in this event, according to the Associated Press article. And that’s probably a good thing. Problem gamblers are among the losers, according to the article, and that’s probably a not-so-good thing.
One of the other good things is the general camaraderie that goes with a big Powerball drawing. It’s a moment when one topic grabs a lot of people’s attention without there being a catastrophe along with it. We used to have more of those moments as a nation, when there were only five television stations and not the myriad choices we have today.
If you’re looking to get back in next week, the following information from Powerball.com might come in handy.
Read that, then get back to work, Kane County!
Why Powerball Got So Big and How It Works
Beginning in October 2015, Powerball® became an even larger combined large jackpot game and cash game. Every Wednesday and Saturday night at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Time, Powerball draws five white balls out of a drum with 69 balls, and one red ball out of a drum with 26 red balls. This change means bigger jackpots. It also means that your odds of winning some prize are improved.
The jackpot — won by matching all five white balls in any order and the red Powerball — is either an annuitized prize paid out over 29 years (30 payments counting the first immediate payment) or a cash lump sum payment. If you choose the cash, then you get the cash, pay the tax, and can invest what is left over. If you choose the annuity, then we can invest the cash amount pre-tax, less an immediate first payment (more to invest means more earnings). With the annuity, you get an annual payment that is increased by 5 percent each year to keep up with the cost of living.
The second prize — won by matching five white balls in any order — is $1 million paid in cash (no annuity option). You win by matching at least three white ball numbers. Any time you match the red Powerball, you win a prize. The overall odds of winning a prize in the game are approximately 1 in 25. Players win a prize by matching one of the 9 Ways to Win.
Each ticket costs $2. Draw sales cut off at least 59 minutes before the draw, but a state may cut off sales earlier. Check with your state lottery for your cut-off time.
For Future Reference
Q: HOW DO I CLAIM MY PRIZE? CAN I CLAIM OUT OF STATE?
A: You can generally claim a prize of under $600 at any retailer in the state where you bought the ticket, but be advised that some retailers will not carry the cash needed to pay higher prizes. You can claim any prize — and prizes over $600 — at the state lottery headquarters. You can even claim winning tickets by mail. Click on a state at this map link to find the address and possibly a claim form.
Q: DO POWERBALL TICKETS EXPIRE?
A: Yes. The Universe is decaying and nothing lasts forever. Ticket expiration periods vary from state to state — from 90 days to one year.
Q: IS THERE A SECRET TO IMPROVE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING POWERBALL?
A: Yes. There is a way to improve your chance of winning the dual-drum games (Powerball, Mega-Millions, Hot Lotto, and Wild Card). But you have to promise to keep the secret — called THE BIG SECRET TO WINNING POWERBALL — between you and me.
First, we need to cover some things that don’t work. Swinging a live chicken above your head while wishing for the future numbers does NOT work. There is no improvement to be had by swinging a chicken. Although I have not tested it, swinging a bucket of extra crispy is not likely to work either. We have had winners who played their fortune cookie numbers — on two occasions — but such things are just bound to happen sometimes. It is also no good to follow the alignment of the planets or the arrangement of tea leaves or any other such thing. Any of these ideas will win sometimes, but that is just chance working its magic.
It is obvious that buying more tickets will help, but the odds are still high and hitting the jackpot is still a question of fate. The secret to the dual-drum games is that they pay a prize for matching just one number from the second drum. There are 35 numbers in Powerball’s second drum and so, if a group buys 35 tickets in the Powerball game, each with unique red Powerball number, then you are 100 percnet guaranteed to win the $4 prize, at least. At first, that $4 might not seem like much, but if you think about it, you can see just how special this secret can be for a group.
In a regular (pick 6) lotto game, a group can buy lots of tickets and sometimes never win anything. In Powerball (and the other dual-drum games), you can buy a set of tickets that will have a winner EVERY TIME. A lottery may occasionally offer special pricing on a ticket package, but why wait for the lottery to run a limited-time promotion? With this secret you can create your own discount (a rebate really) for EVERY draw.
This is a little pricey for most individual players, but if you are in a group you might consider covering all of the red balls.