The Historic Powerball Jackpot Hits $1.5 Billion—& Could Go Even Higher

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images.
Update: Following the Powerball drawing on Saturday night, where there was no winner to claim the record $949.8 million prize, the next payout is being estimated at $1.5 billion. The chances of no one winning the Saturday drawing were around 25%.
Update: As of Friday morning, the Powerball jackpot has now reached $800 million. You have until 10:59 p.m. EST on Saturday to get your ticket.

This article was originally published on January 7, 2015.

No one picked the winning numbers for Wednesday night's $500 million Powerball jackpot. That might sounds like bad news if you bought a ticket, but it also means the total prize for Saturday, January 9's drawing is at an all-time high. As of this morning, it was $675 million, but lottery officials predict it will grow to $700 million before the drawing.

Powerball is played in 44 states — just Nevada, Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Alaska, and Hawaii don't participate. If you did win the big prize on Saturday night and decided you wanted a lump sum payout, you'd take home around $430 million. Sure, the government just took $270 million, but $430M is still more than most of us have in our bank accounts (unless you're Mark Zuckerberg or Michael Bloomberg).

Unfortunately, the chances of actually winning are infinitesimally small. You've got a 1 in 292,201,338 chance of claiming the jackpot, according to the Powerball website. But a $2 ticket buys you a 1 in 24.87 chance of winning something. If you match four numbers and the Powerball, you can win $50,000. Not too shabby.

Yes, you could argue that it's a total waste of $2 (and we're always telling you to save!), but on a crummy work day, it's fun to sit around and imagine just how you'd spend that $675 million. You could buy a mansion next to Bey's, all the shoes, plan the most elaborate around-the-world vacation, save the whales — the sky's the limit. And hey, if you don't play, you can't win. You never know what could happen.
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