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Powerball heats up with $317 million jackpot

PowerballPowerball: Powerball heats up with $317 million jackpot
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Largest Powerball jackpot in a year; 12th-largest cash value in US lottery history

By Todd Northrop

Big multi-state lottery jackpots may have been missing somewhat in 2014, but just a month into 2015 lottery players are already seeing a second massive grand prize looming.

The Powerball jackpot for Wednesday, February 4, 2015, now stands at $317 million — the largest jackpot for the game in nearly a year.  The last time a Powerball jackpot was this large was on Feb. 19, 2014, when a Star Wars fan from California purchased the sole winning ticket for a $425.3 million Powerball jackpot.  (See Sole winner of $425M February Powerball jackpot claims prize, Lottery Post, Apr. 2, 2014.)

Just a couple of weeks ago the other huge multi-state lottery game, Mega Millions, featured a $270 million grand prize that was won by a single ticket sold in Illinois.  (See $270 million Mega Millions jackpot won in Illinois, Lottery Post, Jan. 18, 2015.)  The prize has not been claimed yet.

Still, it's taking a good number of rollovers before the multi-state jackpots are getting into the range where even casual lottery players run out for tickets.  The Powerball jackpot has rolled over 18 times from its starting point of $40 million before reaching Wednesday's level of $317 million.

Wednesday's estimated annuity payout stands as the 22nd-largest US lottery jackpot of all time.  But the cash value is a different story.

The lump-sum cash payout value of Wednesday's Powerball jackpot is a whopping $220.6 million, putting it at number 12 on the all-time US lottery cash value list.  After-tax cash and annuity prize amounts are reported state-by-state on the Jackpot Analysis page at USA Mega, a web site devoted to the Powerball and Mega Millions multi-state lottery games.

Players should note that jackpot amounts are conservative estimates provided by the lotteries, and are often somewhat higher by the time the drawing occurs.

The winning numbers for Saturday, January 31, 2015 were 5, 11, 16, 26, and 50, with Powerball number 34.  The Power Play number was 2.

Even though nobody won the jackpot Saturday, 8 lucky players matched the first 5 numbers for a $1,000,000 prize: 1 from California, 2 from Florida, 2 from Kentucky, 1 from New York, 1 from North Dakota, and 1 from Wisconsin.

The California second-prize winner will be awarded $1,430,588, because California does not award fixed prizes. By law, California awards all prizes on a pari-mutuel basis, meaning the prizes will change each drawing based on the number of tickets sold and the number of tickets that won at each prize level.  Because there was only one second-prize winner in California, that one ticket will take home the entire pool of money allocated for second prize.

None of the second-prize tickets was purchased with the Power Play option.  If a second-prize ticket were purchased with the Power Play option, the prize would automatically be doubled to $2 million.  Power Play is not available in California, because the fixed nature of the prize increase offered in Power Play is not compatible with California's pari-mutuel payouts.

52 tickets matched four white numbers plus the Powerball and won $10,000.  Of those tickets, 7 were purchased with the Power Play option, increasing the prize to $20,000, and 2 of the tickets were sold in California, where the prize was worth a fantastic $30,821 this drawing.

Following the Saturday drawing, the Powerball annuity jackpot estimate was raised $28 million from its previous amount of $289 million. The cash value was raised by $22.2 million from its previous amount of $198.4 million.

The next Powerball drawing will take place Wednesday night at 10:59 pm Eastern Time.

When a Powerball ticket is purchased with the Power Play option for an extra $1 per ticket, any non-jackpot prize is increased according to a fixed prize schedule, which can be found on the Powerball Drawing Detail page at USA Mega, as well as on the Powerball Prize Payouts page at Lottery Post.

Powerball is now played in 44 states, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Drawings are Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Time.  Tickets cost $2 each.

Powerball lottery results are published within minutes of the drawing at USA Mega (www.usamega.com).  The USA Mega Web site provides lottery players in-depth information about the United States's two biggest multi-state lottery games, Mega Millions and Powerball.

Top 25 United States lottery jackpots of all time

Wednesday's Powerball jackpot currently stands as the 22nd-largest lottery jackpot of all time in the United States.  That position may rise before the drawing Wednesday night, as lotteries are typically conservative in their initial estimates, and brisk sales may push the jackpot estimate higher by draw time.

If nobody wins Wednesday, it's anyone's guess how high it will go.

  1. Mega Millions: $656 million, Mar. 30, 2012 - Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  2. Mega Millions: $648 million, Dec. 17, 2013 - California, Georgia
  3. Powerball: $590.5 million, May 18, 2013 - Florida
  4. Powerball: $587.5 million, Nov. 28, 2012 - Arizona, Missouri
  5. Powerball: $448.4 million, Aug. 7, 2013 - Minnesota, New Jersey (2)
  6. Powerball: $425.3 million, Feb. 19, 2014 - California
  7. Mega Millions: $414 million, Mar. 18, 2014 - Florida, Maryland
  8. Powerball: $399.4 million, Sep. 18, 2013 - South Carolina
  9. Mega Millions: $390 million, Mar. 6, 2007 - Georgia, New Jersey
  10. Mega Millions: $380 million, Jan. 4, 2011 - Idaho, Washington
  11. Powerball: $365 million, Feb. 18, 2006 - Nebraska
  12. The Big Game: $363 million, May 9, 2000 - Illinois, Michigan
  13. Powerball: $340 million, Oct. 19, 2005 - Oregon
  14. Powerball: $338.3 million, Mar. 23, 2013 - New Jersey
  15. Powerball: $337 million, Aug. 15, 2012 - Michigan
  16. Powerball: $336.4 million, Feb. 11, 2012 - Rhode Island
  17. Mega Millions: $336 million, Aug. 28, 2009 - California, New York
  18. The Big Game: $331 million, Apr. 16, 2002 - Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey
  19. Mega Millions: $330 million, Aug. 31, 2007 - Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia
  20. Mega Millions: $326 million, Nov. 4, 2014 - New York
  21. Mega Millions: $319 million, Mar. 25, 2011 - New York
  22. Powerball: $317 million, Feb. 4, 2015 - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  23. Mega Millions: $315 million, Nov. 15, 2005 - California
  24. Powerball: $314.9 million, Dec. 25, 2002 - West Virgina
  25. Powerball: $314.3 million, Aug. 25, 2007 - Indiana

For those keeping score, the number of jackpots in the top 25, by lottery game, are:

  • Powerball: 13
  • Mega Millions: 10
  • The Big Game: 2

The Big Game is the original name of Mega Millions, from the game's first drawing on Sep. 6, 1996 through May 14, 2002.  The name was changed to Mega Millions starting with the May 17, 2002 drawing.

Top 25 cash value jackpots

Since many lottery winners collect their winnings in cash, the lump-sum payout is an important measure of what a winning ticket could be worth.

Looking at the cash value, the upcoming Powerball jackpot ranks as the 12th-largest cash value in U.S. history.

  1. Mega Millions: $471 million cash, Mar. 30, 2012 ($656 million annuity) - Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  2. Powerball: $384.7 million cash, Nov. 28, 2012 ($587.5 million annuity) - Arizona, Missouri
  3. Powerball: $370.9 million cash, May 18, 2013 ($590.5 million annuity) - Florida
  4. Mega Millions: $347.6 million cash, Dec. 17, 2013 ($648 million annuity) - California, Georgia
  5. Powerball: $258.2 million cash, Aug. 7, 2013 ($448.4 million annuity) - Minnesota, New Jersey (2)
  6. Mega Millions: $240 million cash, Jan. 4, 2011 ($380 million annuity) - Idaho, Washington
  7. Mega Millions: $233.1 million cash, Mar. 6, 2007 ($390 million annuity) - Georgia, New Jersey
  8. Mega Millions: $230.9 million cash, Mar. 18, 2014 ($414 million annuity) - Florida, Maryland
  9. Powerball: $227.8 million cash, Feb. 19, 2014 ($425.3 million annuity) - California
  10. Powerball: $224.7 million cash, Aug. 15, 2012 ($337 million annuity) - Michigan
  11. Powerball: $223.3 million cash, Sep. 18, 2013 ($399.4 million annuity) - South Carolina
  12. Powerball: $220.6 million cash, Feb. 4, 2015 ($317 million annuity) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  13. Mega Millions: $214 million cash, Aug. 28, 2009 ($336 million annuity) - California, New York
  14. Powerball: $211 million cash, Mar. 23, 2013 ($338.3 million annuity) - New Jersey
  15. Powerball: $210 million cash, Feb. 11, 2012 ($336.4 million annuity) - Rhode Island
  16. Mega Millions: $202.9 million cash, Mar. 25, 2011 ($319 million annuity) - New York
  17. Mega Millions: $197.5 million cash, Nov. 4, 2014 ($326 million annuity) - New York
  18. Mega Millions: $194.4 million cash, Aug. 31, 2007 ($330 million annuity) - Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia
  19. Mega Millions: $185 million cash, Nov. 15, 2005 ($315 million annuity) - California
  20. The Big Game: $180 million cash, May 9, 2000 ($363 million annuity) - Illinois, Michigan
  21. Mega Millions: $177.3 million cash, Jan. 16, 2015 ($270 million annuity) - Illinois
  22. Powerball: $177.3 million cash, Feb. 18, 2006 ($365 million annuity) - Nebraska
  23. Powerball: $170.5 million cash, Dec. 25, 2002 ($314.9 million annuity) - West Virginia
  24. Mega Millions: $168 million cash, July 2, 2004 ($294 million annuity) - Massachusetts
  25. Mega Millions: $167.7 million cash, Feb. 22, 2008 ($275 million annuity) - Georgia

The number of jackpot cash values in the top 25, by lottery game, are:

  • Mega Millions: 13
  • Powerball: 11
  • The Big Game: 1

Lottery Post Staff

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66 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by hsg2000.
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haymaker's avatar - Lottery-012.jpg
Egg Harbor twp.south Jersey shore
United States
Member #112968
June 29, 2011
3856 Posts
Offline
Posted: February 2, 2015, 5:27 pm - IP Logged

I might be tempted to buy a ticket for this draw, anyone think it's going to roll again ?

Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds    -- Charles Mackay  LL.D.

    Avatar
    California
    United States
    Member #141204
    April 7, 2013
    280 Posts
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    Posted: February 2, 2015, 5:30 pm - IP Logged

    I got my tickets. Good luck everyone.

      hearsetrax's avatar - 0118

      United States
      Member #52345
      May 21, 2007
      2659 Posts
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      Posted: February 2, 2015, 5:39 pm - IP Logged

      I might be tempted to buy a ticket for this draw, anyone think it's going to roll again ?

      Skeptical should be a most curious drawing this Wednesday......... but time will spin a most curious yarn

      personally I hope it keeps rolling till April

        maximumfun's avatar - Lottery-030.jpg
        Lavender Rocket

        United States
        Member #124616
        March 16, 2012
        2642 Posts
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        Posted: February 2, 2015, 6:03 pm - IP Logged

        317M$A or 220M$C?  I would take the cash - but depending on the day, I would opt for the annuity - more options for starting fresh each year.  What lovely problems to have!  Already in the top 25!  Good luck everyone!

          IPlayWeekly's avatar - avatarmoney
          Columbus, Ohio
          United States
          Member #128906
          June 5, 2012
          591 Posts
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          Posted: February 2, 2015, 6:56 pm - IP Logged

          Just 2 more days

            ThatScaryChick's avatar - x1MqPuM
            Idaho
            United States
            Member #56506
            November 21, 2007
            6537 Posts
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            Posted: February 2, 2015, 7:18 pm - IP Logged

            I bought one ticket today. Good luck everyone.

            "No one remembers the person who almost climbed the mountain, only the person who eventually gets to the top."

              mikeintexas's avatar - tx avatar-1.gif
              Texas Panhandle
              United States
              Member #136843
              December 20, 2012
              1280 Posts
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              Posted: February 2, 2015, 7:52 pm - IP Logged

              I splurged and got two lines for the next drawing.

              If I don't win it, I hope someone else in here does.  Well, maybe "some" of the someone else.


              A people that elect corrupt politicians, impostors, thieves and traitors are not victims...but accomplices.
               - George Orwell

                IPlayWeekly's avatar - avatarmoney
                Columbus, Ohio
                United States
                Member #128906
                June 5, 2012
                591 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: February 2, 2015, 9:04 pm - IP Logged

                I'm predicting at least 10 (1 million dollar) 2nd place winners for the next drawing.

                  SammyJoe10's avatar - disney37
                  Middle of Nowhere NC
                  United States
                  Member #151289
                  January 12, 2014
                  428 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: February 2, 2015, 9:32 pm - IP Logged

                  Good luck everyone! That's a lot of money. Wink

                    Avatar
                    Baton Rouge, LA
                    United States
                    Member #4602
                    May 7, 2004
                    699 Posts
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                    Posted: February 2, 2015, 9:37 pm - IP Logged

                    I have one ticket for myself and 3 tickets in my office lottery pool which if won, will be shared amongst 11 people. $14million after taxes still isn't too bad.

                    Prisoner Six

                    "I am not a number, I am a free man!"

                      mypiemaster's avatar - 2015021003pileofcash
                      JACKPOT HUNTER

                      United States
                      Member #141034
                      April 2, 2013
                      1408 Posts
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                      Posted: February 2, 2015, 9:38 pm - IP Logged

                      Kudos to the Chief{Todd}. He is the King of Stats. I am pleasantly surprised about the cash value ranking of #12. I already got my 5 lines with powerplay{self pick} and 2 lines with powerplay {quick pick}. I hate to be the guy who waited till the last minute and then turn around and whine about it. I'll buy more if necessary. Happy jackpot hunting to everybody!!!

                      Seek and ye shall find -Matt. 7:7 ...Ask and ye shall receive -John 16:24 ...Give and it shall be given unto you -Luke 6:38 ...Be careful what you ask for!!! -Mypiemaster 1:1

                      Having Money Solves Problems That Not Having Money Creates Yes Nod ****John Carlton****

                        Marilyn222's avatar - thumb 350-286546.jpg
                        Denver
                        United States
                        Member #117684
                        October 12, 2011
                        552 Posts
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                        Posted: February 2, 2015, 9:40 pm - IP Logged

                        Good luck to everybody!

                        White Bounce

                          Drenick1's avatar - villiarna
                          USA
                          United States
                          Member #152799
                          February 25, 2014
                          1092 Posts
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                          Posted: February 2, 2015, 9:47 pm - IP Logged

                          I will get two QP's on Wednesday. No big expectations but hoping Lady Luck will one day bless me.

                            maringoman's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcTbRxpKQmOfcCoUqF2FyqIOAwDo7rg9G-lfJLAALPGWJWwiz19eRw
                            Massachusetts
                            United States
                            Member #37433
                            April 14, 2006
                            2747 Posts
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                            Posted: February 2, 2015, 9:51 pm - IP Logged

                            Twitch After the blizzards we got the last 2 weeks I'm ready for some good news.

                            That money's gone fo ever