Is there a way to pick the best Powerball numbers?

The $1bn Powerball jackpot found a lucky winner in California

Meredith Clark
New York
Thursday 20 July 2023 14:19 BST

Woman wins $10m after accidentally pushing wrong button on lottery machine

The Powerball jackpot found a lucky winner in California, after their winning ticket matched all six numbers in Wednesday night’s drawing.

The ticket, which was purchased at the Las Palmitas Mini Market in downtown Los Angeles, included the winning numbers: 7, 10, 11, 13, 24 and red Powerball 24. According to Powerball, final ticket sales pushed the jackpot beyond its earlier estimate of $1 billion to $1.08 billion at the time of the drawing, making it the third largest Powerball jackpot and sixth largest US lottery jackpot ever won.

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292m. To play Powerball, hopefuls must pick five numbers between 1 and 69 and then choose one Powerball number between 1 and 26. The first five numbers drawn appear on the white balls, while the Powerball number is shown using a red ball. If a player has a ticket that matches all of the five winning numbers plus the Powerball number, then they win the jackpot.

While there’s no determining exactly what the lucky numbers will be at the next drawing, as it all comes down to random chance, it doesn’t stop players from relying on a number of tricks and estimations.

One strategy players are known to rely on when it comes to picking Powerball numbers is choosing the lottery’s most commonly drawn numbers. According to Lotto Numbers, which tracks Powerball statistics over time, these are the most common white ball numbers that have been drawn from 2015 to 2023.

The number 61 has been pulled 89 times throughout the past 912 Powerball drawings, the most recent time being 3 July. Next on the list of most common white ball numbers is 32, with a total of 86 times. Twenty-one, 36, 23, 63, 69, 39, 62, 59, 64, 37, 28, 33, 20, 47, 53, and 3 are also very common.

Out of the Powerball numbers – those displayed on the red ball – the most popular winning number is 18 with a total of 48 times, as recently as three days ago.

As for the least common numbers pulled, the least common white ball numbers have been 13, 34, 49, 26, 25, 4, 29, 46, 35, 60, 51, 65, 48, 7, 24, 43, 5, and 1. For the Powerball drawing, the least common winning red ball number is 15.

However, it is important to remember there is no difference between picking the numbers most chosen or relying on random numbers, as it all comes down to chance.

“You’re not really going to learn anything about what the likely picked numbers are going to be based on the previous picks, because they’re all done completely at random,” Dr Mark Glickman, Senior Lecturer on Statistics at Harvard University, told The Independent. “The information in previous drawings doesn’t give you any information about the likelihood of picking numbers on any given day.”

Although, Derek Smith, professor of mathematics at Lafayette College, told The Independent that there are some strategies to help avoid splitting the jackpot with other players. “Nothing can improve the odds that you will win the jackpot each time you play,” Professor Smith said. “That said, if by some great ridiculous luck your numbers do match the numbers drawn, you’ll have to split the jackpot if other folks picked the same set of numbers.”

Players often choose numbers such as birthdays, ages of children, or anniversary dates for their lottery numbers, but experts warn against using this strategy because it limits the number range between one and 31. “If you do play, you might try to choose sets of numbers that reduce your chances of matching others’ picks,” Professor Smith added.

This is only the third time the Powerball jackpot has reached over $1 billion in its 30-year history, according to the lottery website. The winner will have the choice between an annuitized prize of $1.08 billion or a lump sum payment of $558.1 million.

This article was amended on November 4 2022. A previous version implied that there might be an advantage in choosing numbers that have previously come up more frequently, but that is not the case. Each number has the same probability of being randomly generated, each time.

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