$500 million! Powerball jackpot hits an even half-billion

The Powerball jackpot has reached half a billion dollars as anticipation builds for Wednesday night's drawing.

No one won Saturday night's jackpot estimated at $394 million, so it pushed the potential winnings to $500 million as Wednesday morning.


The lucky winner whose ticket matches all six numbers has the option of taking home a lump sum amount, which would exceed $300 million.

Still, the odds of winning the jackpot are slim – about 1 in 176 million.

A person is more likely to have an 11th toe, die from flesh-eating bacteria or be killed by an asteroid or shark attack.

Although the odds are low, that hasn't put a damper on lottery fever.

Brisk tickets sales from last week's drawing were credited for the latest increase.

Last week's jackpot wasn't an entire bust for two lottery players in Silver Lake and Norco, according to California Lottery officials. They won about $1.3 million each after their tickets matched five of the six numbers. They were missing the Powerball number.

No one has claimed a Powerball jackpot since Nov. 29, when a winning ticket was sold in Washington. The jackpot was $90 million.

The last time the jackpot reached more than $400 million was February 2014, lottery officials say.

B. Raymond Buxton purchased the $425-million winning ticket in a Milpitas gas station.

Powerball is played in 43 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Plays are sold at $2 apiece.

Wednesday night's draw time is 7:59 p.m. PST with ticket sales suspending at 7 p.m.

Staff writer Matt Stevens contributed to this post.


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