The Powerball jackpot has been raised to a $222 million annuity value - representing a record $144.5 million dollar cash prize for the Wednesday, May 8 drawing. Another large jackpot is found in the Mega Millions for Tuesday, May 7. The Mega Millions jackpot has grown to a $139 million annuity value ($104.8 million dollar cash prize.)
Recently, Thuan Le of California won a $14 million dollar lottery by mistake. She decided to buy five dollars' worth of lottery tickets at her local CVS, but the single mother of four boys made a mistake and put in six dollars. She decided to use the extra dollar to buy a SuperLotto Plus ticket, which ended up winning her $14 million.
But in the world of the Powerball jackpot, not everyone can be so lucky. What influences your chances of hitting the Powerball jackpot? Past winners of the Powerball and other lotteries reveal their tips and tricks for increasing your lottery odds.
Many people think that it logically doesn't matter whether or not you choose your Powerball numbers deliberately, or if you go for a "quick pick" - when the computer randomly assigns you your lottery numbers.
However, Richard Lustig is a 7-time lottery winner who advises against quick picks. Lustig claims that picking your own numbers in a lottery keeps you from getting combinations of recent winners, thus increasing your chances. He also advises that one checks the state lottery to see if old winning numbers are available online.
"[Playing the lotto is] like any investment. You have to invest money to get something out of it," says Lustig, 59, a former singer and drummer from Florida. "Most people buy a $1 ticket and win $10 and they put the $10 in their pocket." Those people are playing the game wrong. Instead, according to Lustig, if you win $10, then you should buy $11 worth of tickets because "if you lose, you only lost a $1." This process earned the man $98,000 after he played the Fantasy 5 game in Florida.
"If you're going to play lottery games try to use some common sense," says Lustig. "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand the more you play the better chances you have a winning." He wrote a 40-page book about how to increase your odds of winning the lottery.
Professor Marcus du Sautoy has his own theory about how to increase chances of winning the lottery. As a part of his mathematical research in number patterns and coincidences, Marcus came to a conclusion after he studied results from the lottery for his book The Number Mysteries.
"My advice is to pick consecutive numbers, like 31, 32, 33. Not many people do, but it is just as likely as any other combination. In fact, if you do win the jackpot with consecutive numbers, you probably won't have to share it with as many other winners."