The Powerball jackpot is now worth a record-shattering $700 million. Getting the winning numbers and walking away with a sizeable slice of the pie — if not all of the money — is what’s on everyone’s mind. It turns out there are ways to increase your chances at winning. At least, according to Good Morning America and Yahoo News.
When GMA asked previous winners for some helpful hints, here are some of the suggestions they had in mind for choosing the Powerball numbers that could change your life forever.
— KXAN News (@KXAN_News) January 7, 2016
First bit of advice? Get at least one quick pick. You may have heard this tip before, but it seems to hold up as a whopping 70 percent of past Powerball winners did so with a quick pick rather than carefully selected numbers. Perhaps it would be best to attack Powerball numbers both ways: have carefully selected numbers and a couple of quick picks. It couldn’t hurt, right?
Turns out if you’re a regular lottery player, that’s closer to the truth than it is for the casual Powerball gambler.
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) January 7, 2016
Lottery expert Richard Lustig says that people who regularly play Powerball would be more likely to benefit from playing the same numbers over and over. To the casual player (someone who only jumps in after the Powerball jackpot gets in the hundreds of millions), Lusting had this to say.
“The only advice I can really give people is [to] buy as many tickets as you can afford.”
According to the official Powerball site, the odds of winning the jackpot with a single ticket is “1 in 292,201,338.00.” Some people participate in office Powerball pools to directly increase their odds. Others have spent hundreds or thousands of dollars trying to increase their odds of winning.
— News 13 (@MyNews13) January 7, 2016
Not everyone is happy with general tips and would like a more “mathematical” approach to winning. CNBC asked Scott A. Norris, an assistant professor of mathematics at Southern Methodist University for his take on increasing one’s odds of selecting winning numbers. He too advised going the quick pick route, but his reasoning may astound you.
You see, many lottery players choose numbers with sentimental value. A birthday. A wedding day. The day you bought your first car. Well, the process that selects winning numbers isn’t tied to sentimentality, only random generation. And these date-specific numbers rarely go above the number 31, which is cutting off ticket buyers from a significant portion of potential winning numbers.
Even if you don’t go the quick pick route, it may be best to select random numbers in your own way.
— KSDK NewsChannel 5 (@ksdknews) January 6, 2016
After all the careful calculating, ticket buying, and what have you, there’s a chance that you just might win the Powerball jackpot after all. Believe it or not, this is where the hard part starts.
“We know the average American is quite financially illiterate,” says Olivia S. Mitchell, a professor of insurance and risk management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
That’s why she strongly suggests that if you happen to win, you go with the annuity option. Many people opt for cash option, thinking it would be best to have all of their winnings to themselves up front. However, Mitchell said taking the annuity would give you a large payout over 30 years. It would protect you from going broke, which happens to lottery winners quite a bit.
So there you have it: Opt for quick picks whenever possible and buy as many tickets as you can if you’re a casual player or stick to a set of numbers for the long haul if you play all the time. And should you win, the annuity payment option is your best bet for not being broke in a few short years.
Do you have any winning advice for selecting Powerball numbers that you’re unselfish enough to share? Put it in the comment section below!