Powerball help & faq

Powerball statistics

Why is the cash option different than the advertised jackpot?

The Powerball jackpot is an estimated 29-year annuity value, with a total 30 payments (the first payment happens right away, followed by 29 annual payments).  When players choose
the annuity option for their prize, the state lottery pays the prize out over 29 years (30 payments) by
buying U.S. Government Treasury Securities, which earn interest and mature annually over
the 29 years.  That annual return is the amount the winners receive each year for the
29 year period.  With the cash option, the state lottery will take the amount of
money that would have been invested and will pay it directly to the winner in one
payment.  Both payment options have federal and applicable state taxes deducted
from them, although with an annuity option you pay taxes gradually on each annual payout, not all at once like with the cash option.

If I live in a state that taxes prizes, but bought my ticket in a state with no tax on prizes, do I still need to pay state tax?

Yes, you do.  Think of lottery prizes as regular earned income from a job.  Just because you may work in a different state, that doesn’t permit you to get away with not paying state income tax in your state of residence.  The lottery works the same way.

Whether it’s income from a job or income from gambling, the state where the money is won will tax the prize first at their out-of-state tax rate (assuming the state taxes lottery winnings).  If your state of residence has the same or lower tax rate, then you won’t owe anything else.  But if your state has a higher rate, you will get a credit for what you paid in the other state, and pay the difference to your state.

If the other state has no tax, you just pay the entire tax bill to your state.

The net result is that you end up paying whichever tax rate is higher between your state of residence and the state where you purchased the ticket.  Of course, the tax law is quite complex and it’s possible that some condition or arrangement exists between the two states and a good tax attorney and/or accountant could discover a tax-saving loophole.  That’s why we always recommend that major prize winners do not make any major decisions before first hiring a good legal and financial team.

One other option to consider, depending on how much in taxes you’re looking to save: the residency requirements as they relate to prize claims, state taxes, and income reporting.  Since you aren’t responsible for paying taxes until you claim the prize, perhaps there is time to establish residency in the state where you purchased the ticket before the prize claim period expires.  However, that is something you would definitely need to explore with an attorney before taking any action to assess the feasibility.  You would also need to decide if it would be worth the risk of that important little piece of paper not getting lost, damaged, or destroyed in the time you spend arranging everything.

Statistical : object

Kind: global namespace

  • :

Statistical.μ(freq) ⇒

Calculate arithmetic mean of ball-count

Kind: static method of Returns: — Arithmatic Mean of weights

Param Type Description
freq A single ball-frequency array from

Example (Get Arithmetic Mean of Red Balls)
var f = powerball.frequencies(winners)
Example (Get Arithmetic Mean of White Balls)

Statistical.gmean(freq) ⇒

Calculate geometric mean of ball-count

Kind: static method of Returns: — Geometric Mean of weights

Param Type Description
freq A single ball-frequency array from

Example (Get Geometric Mean of Red Balls)
var f = powerball.frequencies(winners)
Example (Get Geometric Mean of White Balls)

Statistical.median(freq) ⇒

Calculate median of ball-count

Kind: static method of Returns: — Median of weights

Param Type Description
freq A single ball-frequency array from

Example (Get Median of Red Balls)
var f = powerball.frequencies(winners)
Example (Get Median of White Balls)

Statistical.range(freq) ⇒

Calculate range of ball-count

Kind: static method of Returns: — High/low range of numbers for weights.

Param Type Description
freq A single ball-frequency array from

Example (Get Range of Red Balls)
var f = powerball.frequencies(winners)
Example (Get Range of White Balls)

Statistical.σ(freq) ⇒

Calculate standard deviation of ball-count

Kind: static method of Returns: — Standard Deviation of weights

Param Type Description
freq A single ball-frequency array from

Example (Get Standard Deviation of Red Balls)
var f = powerball.frequencies(winners)
Example (Get Standard Deviation of White Balls)

Prizes and Odds of Winning

You must match all five numbers and the PowerBall to win the jackpot, but you can win a prize even for just matching the PowerBall on its own. The table below shows how many numbers you need to match to win in each prize division, as well as the odds of winning:

PowerBall Prizes and Odds
Prize Division Numbers Matched Odds of Winning* Percentage of Prize Pool Average Prizefor the past 365 days’ draws
1 5 + PowerBall 1 in 42,375,200 70.73% R46,809,045.67
2 5 1 in 2,230,274 5.19% R193,461.71
3 4 + PowerBall 1 in 188,334 3.25% R19,632.81
4 4 1 in 9,912 5.51% R1,068.65
5 3 + PowerBall 1 in 4,280 6.23% R515.65
6 3 1 in 225 5.19% R22.18
7 2 + PowerBall 1 in 299 3.9% R22.01
8 1 + PowerBall 1 in 57 Fixed R15 R15.00
9 PowerBall Only 1 in 35 Fixed R10 R10.00
* The overall odds of winning a PowerBall prize are 1 in 18

The prizes in the eighth and ninth division are fixed at R15 and R10 respectively. The prizes in the upper seven divisions are pari-mutuel, meaning each division receives a percentage of the total Prize Pool. Fixed prizes are paid out first, with the remainder of the Prize Pool divided between the seven other divisions according to the percentages in the table. The value of a prize in these divisions can vary, depending on how many winners there are and how much money is in the Prize Pool.

Do you think you’ve won a PowerBall prize? Visit the How to Claim page to find out more about claiming prizes, whether you played online, with your bank or through a retailer.

Powerball : object

Kind: global namespace

  • :
    • ⇒ |

Powerball.balls() ⇒

Get ball-maxes for a given date

Kind: static method of Returns: — white, red ball-max

Param Type Default Description
Date to check

Example (Current Ball Maxes)
// returns
Example (Old Ball Maxes)
// returns
powerball.balls(new Date(‘1/8/2009’))

Powerball.numbers() ⇒

Get past winning numbers

Kind: static method of Returns: — Resolves to array of winner objectsExample (Get Current Numbers)
powerball.numbers().then(winners => {

Powerball.frequencies(winners) ⇒

Calculate frequencies of white & red balls

Kind: static method of Returns: — keyed with number, value is frequency

Param Type Description
winners The winning numbers from

Example (Get Frequency Counts)

Powerball.predict(white, red, ) ⇒

Predict winning numbers

Kind: static method of Returns: — The numbers you should play

Param Type Default Description
white White ball-frequency array from
red Red ball-frequency array from
Different dates have differnt ball-sets

Example (Get Prediction)
var f = powerball.frequencies(winners)
console.log(powerball.predict(f.white, f.red))
Example (Predict For an Old Date)
console.log(powerball.predict(f.white, f.red, new Date(‘1/1/98’)))

Powerball.payout(pick, winner, powerplay) ⇒ |

Kind: static method of Returns: | — true for jackpot, if Number: amount you won

Param Type Description
pick Your number picks (6-length array)
winner A single draw from
powerplay Did you mark power-play on your ticket?

Example (Check If You Won)
powerball.numbers().then(winners => {
console.log(powerbal.payout(, winners.pop(), true))

Why is the cash option always a different percentage of the annuity from draw to draw?

If you’re calculating what percentage the cash value is of the annuity, then you’re looking at it backwards. The cash value is the starting point, as it is a direct percentage of ticket sales. Then the annuity amount is calculated from that, based on prevailing interest rates. Since the interest rates are constantly changing, the annuity amount calculated on one day will be a different number than if it is calculated the next day. So when a drawing occurs and the lottery has to estimate the next annuity jackpot, they first estimate the number of tickets that will be sold for the next drawing, which determines what the cash value estimate is (because a fixed percentage of each ticket sold goes toward prizes). Then they finally calculate what the annuity will be based on the current interest rates.

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