Before You Try Your Luck on the $750M Powerball Jackpot, Consider These Odds

Updated at 1:30 p.m. March 26, 2019: This story was originally published in October 2018 and has been updated to reflect the latest Powerball odds.The top prize for Wednesday's Powerball jackpot drawing is estimated at a jaw-dropping $750 million.But even if you know that you've got the luckiest numbers, don't put in an order for that gold-plated sports car just yet. To win all that money — the fourth-largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history — you'll have to overcome some incredibly long odds: 1 in 292,201,338.To put that into perspective, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the country's population is a little less than 329 million. Your chances of winning the lottery would hardly be better if Powerball scrapped the numbered balls and a U.S. resident were chosen at random instead.So, yes, it's unlikely that you'll pick the winning numbers, but are you more likely to get bitten by a shark or become a professional athlete than hit the jackpot? Here's a look at some other long shots:Animal encountersThanks largely to Jaws, a shark attack seems possible anytime you dip a toe into the ocean. But as deeply ingrained as this fear is in the American psyche, these encounters are exceedingly rare: The Florida Program for Shark Research has said that the chances of an unprovoked attack are about 1 in 11.5 million. (That number drops to 0 for people who avoid the beach entirely.)  Continue reading...

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