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How to Play Powerball
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The object of Powerball is pick a total of six (6) numbers and hope that the numbers drawn match the ones you picked.
The easiest and quickest way to play is to choose a "quick pick", which is set of numbers randomly selected by the lottery machine.
If you choose to specify the numbers yourself, you select five distinct numbers between 1 and 59, and one "Powerball" number between 1 and 35. The Powerball can be the same as one of the first five numbers, because it is drawn from a separate number pool from the first five numbers.
When you play Powerball, you must select either Cash Option or the Jackpot Annuity. With Cash Option you choose to receive your portion of the Present Cash value of the advertised jackpot in one lump sum. The Jackpot Annuity awards you your portion of the full amount of the estimated jackpot, payable in 30 annual installments (over 29 years). Note: in some states you do not specify the cash option until you redeem your winning ticket.
Each play is $2.00 (or $2.00 + service fee online).
In most states that sell Powerball tickets you can choose to add the Power Play feature for an extra $1.00 per ticket. (The Power Play is not available in California.) The Power Play increases your non-jackpot prize winnings by 2, 3, 4, or 5 times, depending on the Power Play number drawn that evening. (Starting in January, 2012, the Power Play feature was changed to a fixed prize increase, but it was changed back to a random multiplier in January, 2014.) Mark the "YES" box under "Power Play" to select this feature for all playboards on the playslip.
Drawings are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Time (9:59 Central; 8:59 p.m. Mountain; 7:59 p.m. Pacific).
Tickets may be purchased up to approximately 10:45 PM Eastern Time the night of the drawing. (5:00 PM Eastern Time if you play Powerball online.) Check with a lottery retailer in your state for the precise ticket cutoff time.
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To see the different combinations of numbers that win, see the Ways to Win page.