# What is “the powerball” in the powerball lottery?

What is “the powerball” in the powerball lottery?

I have asked this question oi nine or ten lottery players and invariably received an answer like, “that’s the name of the lottery”.

Clearly, this is an insufficient answer because, when the winning numbers are announced, the powerball is specified.

What is it that defines the powerball that is specified?

I believe the “powerball” is the sixth number. Most of the payouts require you to match the ‘powerball’ plus some other number of matches.

You can see the payout chart here.

To further clarify, the sixth Powerball number is drawn separately from the five other numbers so it make matching all 6 significantly worse odds. The ultimate result is that there are fewer winners and larger jackpots over time compared to a traditional 5 number drawing.

To further further clarify, the order in which the first five numbers are drawn doesn’t matter. So if you chose 1 - 21 - 32 - 43 - 45, and the balls drawn are 45 - 43 - 32 - 21 - 1 or 21 - 32 - 1 - 45 - 43 or any other order, you’ve still matched them and win the prize for matching the first five. However, you need to specify the Powerball. So, if you chose 1 - 21 -32 - 43 - 45 - PB 10, and the numbers are drawn 10 - 45 - 43 - 32 - 21 - PB 1, you’ve only matched four of the first five numbers and not the Powerball, so you get the prize for matching four numbers.

Saying this, in yet another way, the first 5 all come from one pool of balls, so there are no repeats. The Powerball comes from another pool, and may be a repeat of one of the first 5.

There have been many threads here on the statistics of lotteries. Back in the day, people I knew had “their numbers” – they always played those numbers, and bemoaned when something “close” to their numbers came up. Eventually people wised up in that regard.

many people let the system pick their numbers randomly. But for those that pick a lot pick numbers 31 and below due to birthdays.

The powerball lotteries I have seen don’t take the powerball from a different set of balls, it comes from the same set. It is simply one of the those drawn that is designated the powerball - usually the last.

The point is to provide a wider range of minor prizes and allow greater freedom in tuning the odds and prize values. If you have a simple 6 from 36 (or whatever number) there are only a small number of useful division, all 6, 5 and 4 numbers correct. Simply getting three number is going to be too common to allocate a prize division too. But add the power ball into the mix and you can have all 6, - which implicitly includes the powerball, 4 and powerball, 5, 3 and powerball. 4, and 2 plus powerball. Two plus the powerball is significantly harder odds than just three right, and is a minor division that can have a meaningful prize value (a few dolllars rather than a few cnets.)

Powerball has fiddled with the numbers of balls in each machine over the years, but it’s always had two different drawings from different sets of balls.

All the lottos in Australia work like this except the powerball which has the powerball selected from a separate set. As noted with a powerball lottery the powerball number can be amongst the numbers originally drawn.

The others that draw the final number(s) from the original set all refer to these numbers as supplementaries, not powerballs.

Interesting. I though that in Oz it dodn’t but I don’t take much notice.

Ah, ignorance fought. Since I never play Powerball I never noticed.

Ahh, I hadn’t realized there was an Australian lottery using the same name.

The equivalent in the Mega Millions (a competing game organized along the same lines) is the “Mega Ball.”

Right. Since any set of numbers is as likely as any other set of numbers, the only real lottery strategy is to pick higher numbers. This means that if you do win, you’re more likely to not split the prize with someone else.

It used to be that states with the lottery had either powerball or megamillions but now they can have both which most or all do. California also has a few different state lotteries of varies types plus scratch off tickets. This shit is an insane waste of money.

My department at work always pools together money when one of the lottos get big. It’s the only time I play. I don’t care how crappy the odds are. I will not be that one asshole who has to keep working while everyone else retires.

Same here. Fear of being left behind. Otherwise I’ve never paid the “tax on people who are bad at math”.

The only time I play the lottery is when it is huge, like MegaMillions is right now, (which, technically, gives you “pot odds”) or when someone has really pissed me off or betrayed me.

Some people have violent revenge fantasies, my revenge fantasy is winning the lottery and not sharing it.

I hope for your sake you never win, because the only thing worse than winning it outright is dealing with people who sue for their “share” when the pool wins. Invariably someone will say that they always throw in but was not asked this one time so they want their cut, or the guy who organizes it says that the ticket that won was one that he bought alone with his money.

Pools are never, ever a good idea. Buy your own ticket for all contests always.

Are there statistics on picked numbers, to show that this effect has not been removed though people becoming aware of it?

I buy expecting to not win, but I only buy one ticket a drawing when the jackpot is fairly sizeable.

I figure if I win, one is all I need. If I lose, one is all I can afford. I expect to lose, but at \$2, it’s a cheap and lovely daydream.

The only strategy I adopt if I play is to pick the same set of numbers 10 times. To annoy the other people who picked those numbers if I share the win.