The Powerball jackpot is now at $400 million after players failed to hit the winning numbers this past Saturday. If one lucky winner hits the correct numbers come Wednesday, they would manage to earn the third-largest Powerball jackpot ever and the fourth-largest lottery prize ever, according to reports.
The Powerball numbers that formed the winning combination on Saturday were 21. 24, 36, 42 and 45, with a Powerball number of 15. Because the money rolls over after everyone fails to hit the jackpot, the winner can now receive $400 million, which, in a lump sum, would come to $230.3 million after taxes.
The record for the highest jackpot is $590.5 million, which was won by a Gloria Mackenzie of Zephyrillis, Fla. Her lump sum earned her $278 million after taxes.
The higher Powerball jackpots recently can be attributed to a 2012 redesign of the game, which doubled the prices for lottery tickets to $2. It has helped the jackpots to grow faster, which leads to more players and more of a fervor to win.
The advent of quicker-growing jackpots has caused some to adopt strategies to win. There is tracking, which means players play "hot" numbers consistently hoping to win, or "cold" numbers that haven't hit in a while hoping for an easy jackpot. The very first winner to ever take home the Texas Lotto Jackpot was a tracker.
Another strategy is wheeling, which means playing multiple tickets in different arrangements. The coded system even has experts who claim their wheel is a guaranteed win.
A popular method is pooling, which simply means many players come together to purchase a group of tickets, then share the winnings. Unfortunately, players run the risk of dishonesty on the part of the person buying the tickets.
Despite such strategies and the many others that exist, mathematicians say that such efforts are in vain, and that the odds of winning in the 43 states that play remain at 1 in 175.2 million.
Not all agree though, including Richard Lustig, who has won the lottery seven times in the past 20 years.
"Luck has absolutely nothing to do with it," he said in an interview with Fox 4. "How can anybody in their right mind say this guy's won seven times he's just a lucky guy? Come on. Nobody can be that lucky."