Powerball is run by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MSLA). It is played in 42 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 195,249,054.00, while at the other end of the scale, the odds of winning $3 are 1 in 61.74.
Understand how Powerball works. There are two drawings a week, Wednesday night and Saturday night, during which six numbers are drawn. The first five come from a pool of 59 numbers and the sixth comes from a separate pool of 39 numbers. The sixth number is literally the "Powerball."
Go to a retailer, like a gas station, convenience store or grocery store. Ask for a play slip if you want to pick the numbers yourself. The play slip can hold up to five games. Each game costs $1. To play just one set of numbers, you mark the slip with five numbers in the top box and choose one number in the bottom box.
Play QuickPick if you want random numbers chosen for you by a computer. There is no difference between using your own six numbers or using quick pick numbers. Your chances of winning the different prizes are the same. You can tell the clerk you want a certain number of QuickPicks or, if you want some extra Quick Picks with your set of numbers, mark the QP box in the top and bottom of a game square and the computer will choose those numbers and print them out with the numbers you have chosen. Whether you play your favorite numbers or QuickPicks, the minimum cost is $1.
Check the Power Play box or have the clerk mark it on the QuickPick if you want to increase your possible payout. This costs an additional $1. After the Powerball numbers are selected, another number marked 2, 3, 4 or 5 is drawn from a different pool. If you win any of the prizes from $3 to $10,000 the amount is multiplied by the Power Play number that is drawn.