$400M Powerball jackpot among largest ever

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Numbers for what could be the sixth-largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history will be drawn Wednesday night.

The Powerball jackpot is at an estimated $400 million ($227.8 million cash value), according to Powerball’s website.

Tickets, which cost $2 each, must be purchased before 9 p.m. in Minnesota to be eligible for Wednesday night’s drawing, according to the Minnesota State Lottery. The drawing will be held at 9:59 p.m. Wednesday’s possible jackpot has been growing since Dec. 28, 2013, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

The odds of winning the jackpot are roughly 1 in 175 million (175,223,510 to be exact). But the odds of winning something ­– ranging from $4 to $1 million to the jackpot – off that $2 ticket are about 1 in 32, according to Powerball. The odds of winning the Powerball do not change with a growth of the jackpot, and change very little if you buy 10 tickets instead of just one, according to a list of five things to know about the Powerball jackpot put out by the Associated Press.

The list also says that if you do win, financial experts agree you should avoid those flashy, expensive purchases and instead set up annuities and long-term trusts for descendants.

In lottery history, the largest jackpot in U.S. history was $656 million, which was won in the Mega Millions lottery in March 2012 and split between winners in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland.

An 84-year-old Florida woman won the largest Powerball jackpot in history ($590 million before taxes) in May 2013. She took home the lump-sum payment of almost $371 million, according to the Chicago Tribune. Last August, Paul White of Ham Lake shared a Powerball jackpot worth $448 million with two others (including a group of 16 co-workers from New Jersey). White brought home a $149 million share of the jackpot.

Are you looking for a reason to buy a ticket? The Los Angeles Times describes a mathematical reason to buy a Powerball ticket after the jackpot hits $287 million. If you haven't purchased a ticket yet, click here for a list of the places in Minnesota that have sold the most winning lottery tickets since July 2010.

If there is no winner after Wednesday’s drawing, the jackpot will continue to grow. Drawings are held on Wednesday and Saturday nights.

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