Enthusiastic ticket-buyers pushed the record Powerball jackpot to $949.8 million for Saturday night's drawing, but no ticket matched all six numbers, boosting the expected payout for Wednesday's drawing to a whopping $1.3 billion.
Here's a rundown of some key figures — if not the winning numbers — connected to the drawing.
Saturday's nearly $950 million jackpot already was the largest in U.S. history, but after Saturday night's rollover, Wednesday's drawing will be worth $1.3 billion, said Texas Lottery official Kelly Cripe.
ODDS OF WINNING
To put it gently, not good. The odds of winning Saturday's jackpot were one in 292.2 million. Realistically, you were really, really, really unlikely to win. One hopeful thought: Scott A. Norris, an assistant professor of mathematics at Southern Methodist University, says your tiny odds improve a bit if you let the computer pick your numbers rather than choosing yourself.
POSSIBLE NUMBER COMBINATIONS
There are 292.2 million possible combinations of the five white balls and red Powerball. That's where the one in 292.2 million odds comes from, and they stay the same regardless of how big the jackpot grows or how many people buy tickets.
LUMP SUM VS. LIFETIME PAYOUT
Once you beat the astronomical odds and win, you'll get to choose between being paid $1.3 billion through annual payments over 29 years or one $806 million cash payment. Those figures are before federal and state taxes, which will eat up roughly half of the cash-option prize. What's your best bet? Olivia S. Mitchell, a professor of insurance and risk management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, says a safe option to avoid the risk of overspending or an investment mishap would be to take the annuity.
SINCE THE LAST WINNER
The jackpot started at $40 million on Nov. 4 and has been growing since then because there have been no big winners for the twice-weekly jackpots. Because the payout is based on sales, the prize has grown more quickly as people rush to buy tickets. More ticket sales also make it more likely there will be a winner, as all the extra tickets mean more number combinations are covered.
STATES WHERE THE GAME IS PLAYED
Powerball is played in 44 states as well as the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
A regular ticket costs $2 — about the same as a gallon of gas. Tickets must be bought with cash only.