So you want to get in on the action? The $1.5 billion up for grabs Wednesday sure is tempting. That's nearly 27,000 times (yes, 27 thousand) larger than the median household income in the United States. So your family would do just fine for the next 27 millennia, or even better in the short term. Sure, there would be taxes. But who wouldn't love to pay taxes on that kind of sum. I would kiss the envelope before dropping it in the mail to the IRS. So now the kicker, how do you choose the winning Powerball number?
UPDATE: This post was originally published in January 2016. As of Aug. 23, 2017, the new Powerball jackpot has hit $700 million (and if there are no winners, it'll go to $1 billion). The Powerball will be drawn at 10:59 p.m. EST.
There is no clear "winning" strategy or I'd already have bought the winning ticket and would have politely declined writing this article so as not to share the payout. But since that is not the case, there are some options you might want to consider. How you choose may ultimately not be that important, but lottery expert Richard Lustig told Forbes that consistency is. Once you choose your numbers, always play the same combination. Think over the options and then choose five numbers between one and 69 for the white balls. Your final choice — the most important — is for the Powerball, the one red ball, which must be between one and 29.
The only, only, only, only proven way to increase your chances of winning the lottery is to simply... buy more tickets. But! If you're interested in some other strategies, check these out.
Buy A Quick Pick Ticket
This strategy has little more to it than handing over the cash and letting the computer decide your numbers for you. Lustig doesn't like this method, but his theory doesn't make sense to me, or some other experts. FOX25 News Boston reports that about "70 percent of past winners used Quick Picks."
Use Birthdays, Because Why Not
Using your kids' birthdays or your siblings' or the Royal Family's newest additions' could be one way to go about it. There's no proof that this will increase your odds but hey, you never know? There might actually be a value to "lucky numbers" or "good vibes." You can use between one and three depending on whether you use the full year and if digits repeat.
Use The Luckiest Numbers
Maybe you're not the sentimental type. LottoNumbers.com shows that according to their analysis the numbers 20, 6, 29, 2, and 18 are the most drawn common numbers. The Powerball? Number 26.
Buy A Ton Of Tickets
This tactic requires some savings to pull off, but according to an analysis from CNN's David Goldman, you would still make money if you bought every possible combination, some 292 million. It'd only cost you a cool $584 million to do so. The onnnnnnly other problem would be buying all the tickets. You have to purchase them in person, so assuming you have half a billion dollars lying around, time might be a concern: you probably can't buy them all before Wednesday. Sorry.
Use The Overdue Numbers
Also according to LottoNumbers.com, the most overdue numbers — meaning it has been a while since they've been picked — are 1, 3, 35, 24, 51, and 8. Maybe you can relate if you weren't good at gym class. I can.
Pick Unpopular Numbers
Most people choose lucky numbers like anniversaries and birthdays, but there are other numbers that most people don't pick. Some unpopular numbers? The higher numbers and 13. Try 32, 34, 40, 46 and 48 with the Powerball 13.
No matter which way you choose to play, may the Powerball odds be ever in your favor. And should you win after reading this, feel free to send a generous fruit basket as a thank you. Good luck!