8 Things to Know About Playing Powerball That Could Get You Closer to the $900M

The estimated prize for Saturday night's Powerball drawing soared again Saturday morning, hitting $900 million – the largest jackpot of any lottery game in U.S. history.

With the cash value of the prize at $558 million before taxes, Powerball fever has officially swept the nation. If Saturday’s numbers match a ticket, winners will have 180 days from the drawing to claim their prize.

But the odds of winning? Not that it's a surprise, but just one in 292.2 million. No one has matched all five white balls and one red Powerball to grab the jackpot since early November. But that’s still not stopping people from testing their luck.

So is there anything you can do to tempt fate? It helps just knowing the facts going in (and we need all the help we can get):

1. About 75 percent of past Powerball winners have won using computer-generated quick picks, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association.

2. If you do want to choose your own numbers, which some winners have sworn by in the past – remember to spread them out. When players use their favorite numbers or use family members' birthdays they generally choose numbers 31 or below, according to the Chicago Tribune, meaning they are ignoring the fact that there are 69 numbered balls.

3. You may want to consider driving to Indiana to buy your ticket. Indiana placed second in the nation with 11 jackpot-winning Powerball tickets sold since 2003. The luckiest state? Pennsylvania, with 16 Powerball winners in that time, according to NBC 5 affiliate WKYC.

4. The most commonly drawn numbers? 54, 14, 8, 29 and 39. The most commonly drawn red Powerballs are 7 and 17, according to Powerball.net. You can track your own numbers on Powerball's frequency chart updated after every drawing.

5. Most overdue numbers to be selected are 1, 34, 3, 35, 24 and 8, Powerball.net's statistics show. 

6. If you have been choosing numbers in the 60s you could be worsening your chances. Numbers that have been picked the least often? 61, 60, 65, 66, 67 and 63, according to the same report. The least-picked Powerball numbers are 4 and 8. 

7. You can’t win if you don’t buy a ticket – but don’t wait too late and miss your shot! The cut off to purchase the $2 ticket is 9:45 p.m. the day of Wednesday and Saturday drawings.

8. Stop throwing in extra money to pool for tickets with your friends and co-workers. Experts say buying multiple tickets really won’t help much in the end – yes by a fragment of a percentage, but when the odds are already so miniscule that whether you buy one ticket, 100 tickets or 1,000 tickets it won’t increase your odds by enough to make a difference.

To find our more about the math behind the madness of winning, see our story on the odds behind the Powerball. Note: Some of the Powerball numbers were adjusted to reflect a change in the game, limiting the number of Powerball numbers from 1-35 to 1-26.

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