Even The Powerball Consolation Prize Could Still Make You A Millionaire

There has been unprecedented frenzy over Wednesday night's Powerball drawing, which could instantly make someone a billionaire (or close to it, after taxes), but the chances of winning the $1.5 billion jackpot are pretty slim. In other words, don't quit your day job just yet. However, even if you don't win the jackpot, Powerball offers numerous consolation prizes that you'll have much better odds of winning. So even if you don't win the big jackpot, you can still walk away with a considerable chunk of money.

In order to win the $1.5 billion jackpot, a player must match all five numbers (in any order), plus the Powerball number. The odds of this happening are one in 292,201,338, so, yeah, good luck. But just because winning the jackpot is a tall order, that doesn't mean you have to walk away empty-handed. In fact, you are far more likely to win the runner-up prize, which is a cool million — not too shabby.

The complete list of consolation prizes for Powerball are as follows:

  • Match five numbers and get $1 million (the odds are one in 11,688,053.52)
  • Match four numbers and the Powerball and get $50,000 (the odds are one in 913,129.18)
  • Match four numbers and get $100 (the odds are one in 36,525.17)
  • Match three numbers and the Powerball and get $100 (the odds are one in 14,494.11)
  • Match three numbers and get $7 (the odds are one in 579.76)
  • Match two numbers and the Powerball and get $7 (the odds are one in 701.33)
  • Match one number and the Powerball and get $4 (the odds are one in 91.98)
  • Match the Powerball and get $4 (the odds are one in 38.32)

OK, so walking away with an extra $4 might not make you jump up and down with joy (what is that after taxes, anyway?), but winning $1 million or $50,000 would still be incredible returns on your $2 investment.

But if you're feeling extra lucky, you can actually double down on your ticket by choosing the Power Play option for a dollar more and see your winnings multiply. Depending on the multiplier for the specific drawing, a player's winnings can be multiplied two, three, four, five, or even 10 times. However, winnings can only be multiplied tenfold if the jackpot is less than $150 million and your winnings are $50,000 or less. But this option could still make you a very wealthy person. Here's how the Power Play breaks down:

To give you a better sense of how much more likely it is to win one of these sweet consolation prizes, just look at Saturday night's drawing. Nobody succeeded in hitting the jackpot, but 25 lucky winners walked away with $1 million and three people who invested in the Power Play walked away with $2 million. The $1.5 billion jackpot might be creating a frenzy, but you should be quietly hoping for these prizes instead.

Image: Lottery USA