Feeling lucky? 10 things more likely to happen than hitting Saturday’s $570M Powerball jackpot; what to do first if you win

VIRGINIA BEACH — After days of shoveling snow, wouldn’t it be nice to bring home a half a billion dollars to warm your spirit?

After no winners this past week, the Powerball jackpot has climbed to an estimated $570 million.

The jackpot has a $358 million cash value.

The next drawing is set for Saturday, at 11 p.m.

To check your numbers, and for Powerball rules, visit the Virginia Lottery’s website.

10 Things More Likely to Happen than Winning the Powerball

Han Solo may have said “Never tell me the odds” in “Star Wars,” but since you don’t have a Wookie by your side, you should at least know what you’re up against.


A $2 ticket gives you a one in 292.2 million (292,201,338 to be exact) chance at joining the hall of Powerball champions.

Virginia Lottery

However, if you like those odds, here’s a list of 10 things that have a better chance of happening to you than winning tonight’s Powerball jackpot:

  • Struck by lightning, while drowning (1 in 183 million)
  • Killed by an asteroid strike (1 in 700,000)
  • Have an IQ of 190 or greater (1 in 107 million)
  • Attacked by a shark (1 in 11.5 million)
  • Elected President of the United States (1 in 10 million)
  • Getting struck by lightning (1 in 164,968)
  • Being drafted by an NBA team (1 in 6.8 million)
  • Becoming a movie star (1 in 1.5 million)
  • Dating a supermodel (1 in 88,000)
  • Being killed by a vending machine (1 in 112 million)

Southside Lottery Winner Came Close

Think a lottery win can’t happen for you?

Retired Virginia Beach resident Teofilo Mesina won $1 million from the record $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot in 2016, after correctly picking five numbers — He missed only the Powerball number.

Mesina said he bought his ticket from a 7-Eleven at Lynnhaven Parkway and Salem Road in Virginia Beach.

“I would buy just sometimes,” he told Asian Journal. “I played a mix of my own numbers, and some computer pick numbers.”

His numbers – 04, 08, 19, 27 and 34 – were selected from significant dates for loved ones and friends, he said.

Which Powerball Numbers Hit the Most?

So which Powerball numbers are most likely to come up most often?

Market Watch ran the numbers and found that for the white balls, which number from 1 to 69, 12 numbers have beaten the average by more than one standard deviation: 32, 64, 16, 23, 28, 40, 52, 62, 33, 61, 63 and 69. Thirty-two has come up 75 percent more often.

Market Watch also found that among the Powerball numbers, which range from 1 to 26, that the numbers that have come up most often are 9, 10 and 21. Nine has apparently come up 84 percent more often than the statistical average.

Is Sharing Caring?

Some players feel that pooling their money with co-workers or friends will improve their chances of winning a big Powerball jackpot, but with such tiny odds, adding 50 or 100 chances won’t likely give you a leg up.

And if lady luck does bless your group by making it rain cash, lottery officials recommend that you make sure you’ve already put into writing how you plan to split the prize.

It’s easy for misunderstandings to crop up among a group when hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake.

What to Do First if You Win a Big Lottery Jackpot

Playing the lottery makes dreamers out of all of us, but the reality is, if you win, you and your family will have to make some big decisions.

But as Certified Financial Planner Robert Pagliarini explained to Business Insider, the first thing you should do is take a really deep breath.

Pagliarini is the author of “The Sudden Wealth Solution.”

“Research tells us that when we are under stress, our brain, [which is] responsible for planning and long-term decision making, shuts off and the part that takes over is the part that is responsible for our fight or flight response,” he told Business Insider. “The more we can ground ourselves and not get caught up in the frenzy, the better our decisions will be.”

Pagliarini said you shouldn’t rush into anything until you understand all of your options.

Next, he advised winners to call up the lottery association of the state where you purchased the ticket (In Virginia that number is 804-692-7777) and ask if you are allowed to sign the ticket.

“Lottery tickets are ‘bearer’ instruments. This means that whoever holds the ticket is the winner,” Pagliarini explained to BI. “I would also strongly suggest you take a photo and video of yourself with the ticket.”

The Virginia Lottery encourages players to sign the back of the ticket, in fact, they say it’s a good idea to sign every ticket you buy, even before you know if it’s a winner.

Because a ticket is a bearer instrument, by signing it, you protect yourself.

Lottery officials said you should never hand an unsigned ticket to another person, unless you are okay with that person claiming a possible prize.

If you hit the Powerball in Virginia, lottery officials say you have up to 180 days after the drawing to decide how to collect your jackpot prize.

However, it’s a good idea to always double check the fine print on your ticket. The expiration date is often listed on the back of your ticket. If the expiration date is not listed, check with the lottery office.

Next, Pagliarini suggests that you assemble a “financial triad” that includes an attorney, a tax person, and a financial adviser.

“This financial dream team can help you make smart financial decisions and help you plan for the future. They can also help shield you from the media and from the onslaught of money requests from others,” he told BI.

As plenty of lottery winners end up blowing it all, Pagliarini said the biggest difference between the ones who keep their wealth and the ones who lose it is mindset.

Lump Sum or Annuity?

Most winners take the lump sum cash payment up front, which is actually less than the full jackpot amount.

Roughly half of the cash payment will then go to taxes, leaving you with what’s still an enormous amount of money that may be tricky to hold on to, or plan with.

“If you’re not used to having that much money, it’s very easy to spend through it quickly,” CFP Lauren Lyons Cole explained to Business Insider. “It’s easy to be taken advantage of by financial advisors who might be interested in exploiting your winnings. So it’s important to educate yourself. No one cares more about your money than you do.”

For her money, Lyons Cole said she puts more stock in the annuity option, which distributes the jackpot winnings over 30 years, which increase by 5 percent each year to keep up with the cost of living.

“Whether you are coming into tens of millions of dollars or hundreds of millions of dollars, it’s a huge change to your financial situation and it’s going to take time to understand how to best manage that money,” Lyons Cole said. “So if you can spread it out over 30 years, you have a greater chance of holding on to your money than if you take it all at once.”

Advice from a Billionaire

Business Insider reached out to the billionaire Mark Cuban to ask if he has tips for lottery winners.

He shared some advice that he gave his local newspaper, The Dallas Morning News:

  • Hire a tax attorney first.
  • Don’t take the lump sum. You don’t want to blow it all in one spot.
  • If you weren’t happy yesterday, you won’t be happy tomorrow. It’s money. It’s not happiness.
  • If you were happy yesterday, you are going to be a lot happier tomorrow. It’s money. Life gets easier when you don’t have to worry about the bills.
  • Tell all your friends and relatives no. They will ask. Tell them no. If you are close to them, you already know who needs help and what they need. Feel free to help SOME, but talk to your accountant before you do anything and remember this, no one needs $1 million for anything. No one needs $100,000 for anything. Anyone who asks is not your friend.
  • You don’t become a smart investor when you win the lottery. Don’t make investments. You can put it in the bank and live comfortably. Forever. You will sleep a lot better knowing you won’t lose money.

Cuban also shared one last tip: “Be nice. No one likes a mean billionaire.”

Is it Even Worth Playing?

“At the end of the day, we have to remember, you know, you’re paying to play a game,” Lyons Cole said. “But if it makes you happy to be part of something, everyone’s excited about it, that’s fine.”

While the chances of striking it rich quickly via a lottery jackpot are low, there are three things you can do to raise your chances of winning, according to seven-time lottery game grand prize winner Richard Lustig.

“The three things you can do to increase your chances of winning a lottery game is to pick your own numbers and stick with them every time; set a budget; and never spend rent or grocery money to play a lottery game,” Lustig told Forbes.


Either way, good luck — we wish you good fortune.

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