Powerball jackpot hits record $700M – here's how likely you are to win

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The Powerball jackpot reached a record $700 million Thursday – and it's only expected to grow before Saturday night's drawing.

After no one won the $500 million jackpot in Wednesday's drawing, the jackpot jumped up to $675 million, and then grew again to a record $700 million – that's an estimated cash value of $428.4 million, according to the lottery's website.


The previous U.S. record for largest lottery jackpot was a $656 million Mega Millions jackpot that was won in March 2012, The Associated Press reports.

Because of the high interest in the Powerball this week, lottery officials say the jackpot could grow even more – perhaps to $800 million by Saturday's drawing.

And if no one wins then, the jackpot has the potential of reaching $1 billion, TIME says.

“We could be on the verge of creating the first lottery billionaire,” Gordon Medenica, director of the Maryland Lottery, told the Washington Post. “This is uncharted territory. This has never happened.”

Tips on how to play

Those who want to play the Powerball this week must buy a $2 ticket before Saturday's 10:59 p.m. EST drawing. The sales cut-off time varies, but is usually 1-2 hours before the drawing, Powerball notes.

But before you buy your tickets, visit the Minnesota Lottery's website to find out details on ways to win – and your odds for each combination of correct numbers.

We can tell you your odds aren't very good.

Players have a 1 in 292,201,338 chance of winning the Powerball jackpot. But your chance of winning at least some money is a little greater.

You could though actually guarantee a win if you've got a um, bit of extra cash to spare.

CNBC explains if you bought every single possible Powerball combination it would cost a little under $400 million – but says maybe that's worth it when the jackpot is as high as it is.

For those who don't have quite that much squirreled away, there's a 1 in 38 chance you'll win $4 – so at least you have a decent shot at winning back the money you spent on the ticket.

Previous Powerball winners are giving away some of their secrets, telling ABC News it's best to let the computer pick the numbers if you don't play frequently. ABC analysis of winning Powerball numbers found that if you do pick your own, it'd be smart to include 8, 54, 14, 39 and 13 – they are the most frequently drawn numbers.

The Associated Press has a list of "things to know" about the Powerball, including tips if you're planning on going in on office or group lottery tickets.

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