Changes are coming to Powerball in October of this year, with the odds of winning the jackpot growing longer and the odds of winning lower-tier prizes getting shorter. The ball pool for the main numbers is increasing from 59 to 69, while the ball pool for the Powerball is decreasing from 35 to 26.
While you currently have a 1 in 175,223,510 shot at winning the top Powerball prize, in October your chances will be set at 1 in 292,201,338. However, your odds of matching at least the Powerball will drop from 1 in 55 to 1 in 38. Your overall odds of winning a prize will also improve, going from 1 in 31 to 1 in 24.
The base prize for matching four main numbers and the Powerball will increase from $10,000 to $50,000, with lower prizes retaining the same value, with amounts ranging from $4 for matching just the Powerball (or one number and the Powerball) to $100 for matching four main numbers or three main numbers and the Powerball.
The Power Play option is also changing. When the jackpot is worth $150 million or less, a 10x Power Play multiplier will be possible, exponentially increasing the value of tickets matching four numbers and the Powerball or fewer. When the top prize exceeds $150 million, the regular Power Play multipliers of 2x, 3x, 4x and 5x will be used.
While the jackpot might be harder to win, it does mean that the top prize could reach even higher amounts. Walt Hickey, a contributor for the FiveThirtyEight website, has run some simulations based on the new matrix and rules to assess the likelihood of a billion-dollar Powerball jackpot. He discovered that as the value of the jackpot increases, so do ticket sales, making it more likely that someone – or several people – will snap up the top prize.
Out of the 100,000 simulations he performed, there was a 63.4 percent chance of a billion-dollar jackpot being offered. As the jackpot will be harder to win – and fewer tickets tend to be submitted at lower levels – the prize may roll over for longer in the new proposed scenario, triggering the possibility of huge jackpots. â€œYou may not win as oftenâ€, writes Hickey, â€œbut whoever does has a decent shot at winning more money than ever.â€
The proposed changes wonâ€™t come into effect until October 4th, 2015, so thereâ€™s still plenty of time to play Powerball under the current rules. The jackpot has risen to $50 million (estimated cash value $30.5 million) for Saturdayâ€™s drawing after no ticket holder won the jackpot on Wednesday evening. Grab your tickets now for the chance to win big!