If your boss isn’t handing out Christmas bonus checks this year, maybe you should plunk down $2 and play the Powerball lottery game. There hasn’t been a grand prize winner in the last 11 drawings, so the jackpot now stands at a whopping $180 million.
According to the Tennessee Lottery Commission, the last time the jackpot was given away was on November 4. One ticket holder, who chose not to reveal his or her name, won $144.1 million after purchasing a ticket at Hobson Tobacco and Beer in Antioch, Tennessee.
— MORBO (@MORBO_555) December 4, 2015
The next Powerball drawing takes place on Wednesday, December 16, at 11 p.m. ET. That means you have a few days to go out and purchase a ticket and wait to see if you can win yourself a holiday bonus.
According to USA Today, the odds of winning the Powerball are pretty dismal — one in 293 million. Players choose five white balls numbered 1 to 69 and one red Powerball numbered 1 to 26, or they can let the lottery machine pick a quick pick combination.
How to go about choosing the numbers is up to you and it seems to be all up to luck. Some big jackpot winners claim that they have used the quick pick method to pick their numbers and walked away with millions. According to Lottery World, between 70 and 80 percent of Powerball players use the quick pick when buying tickets and every so often letting the computer pick your numbers pays off.
— Lottery.net (@lotterynet) December 2, 2015
However, CBS reports that author Richard Lustig thinks people should ditch the quick pick and use his tried and true method of winning Powerball. After all, he did win a $98 million jackpot in 2010 and claims to have won seven other grand prizes in his lifetime.
“The lazy way out is to buy quick-picks,” Lustig tells CBS. “The computer picks out the numbers. Quick-picks are the worst thing you can do; you are playing with the worst odds.”
Lustig authored the book Learn How To Increase Your Chances of Winning The Lottery and doesn’t spill many secrets to his success freely — he wants you to buy his book. However, he does say that picking numbers manually is the way to go if you want a shot at beating the nearly impossible odds of winning the Powerball jackpot.
If you’re up for picking your own numbers for the next drawing on December 16, you may want to think about picking the numbers that are the most popular. Although you may end up sharing the jackpot if multiple players decide to pick numbers that come up most frequently, splitting $180 million with another ticket holder would still leave you with a huge pile of money.
According to the official Powerball site, the number 20 has come up as the red Powerball 49 times in the past 14 years. The most common white ball is 26, but 16, 20, 32, and 42 have also come up multiple times in the game’s history. There’s no guarantee that the popular numbers will help you win, but it may be worth a shot if you have $2 to spare.
If someone beats the odds and wins the $180 million jackpot on Wednesday night, they will have the option of taking home a one-time payment or getting their money over time by way of a 30-year annuity.
Keep in mind that you won’t get the full $180 million in your pocket if you do decide to take the lump sum payment. The payout will be based on the current cash value of the jackpot — $112.1 million. When you claim your winning lottery ticket at your state’s lottery headquarters, Uncle Sam will grab at least 25 percent for federal taxes and, if your state taxes lottery winnings, that percentage will come off the top as well.
Still, you’ll be left with a big chunk of money after taxes, with USA Mega reporting that a potential jackpot winner would take home over $84 million after federal taxes. Not a bad way to win your way to a Christmas bonus.
[Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images News]