Try to win the lottery

Posted to Statistics  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

The Powerball Lottery is big news in the United States right now. The jackpot sits at $800 million, they draw the numbers on Saturday, and it’s likely someone is going to suddenly be rich soon.

This naturally comes not long after the Gaming Commission changed the rules last October, which increases the odds of winning something but decreases the odds of winning the jackpot.

In case you’re not familiar with the rules of the game: Players choose five numbers and one “Powerball” number. The first five numbers used to range from 1 to 59 but since October, they range from 1 to 69. Conversely, the Powerball number used to range from 1 to 35, but now they’re 1 to 26. That shifts the odds of winning the jackpot from about 1 in 175 million to 1 in 292 million.

So something very unlikely, became much more unlikely. Hence the current big jackpot.

Screw the odds though. That’s a lot of money and will buy you enough tacos to make your head spin. Jon Schleuss for the Los Angeles Times provides a simulator to try your hand.

Lose your paycheck for pretend here.

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