If Winning the Powerball Jackpot Were a Matter of Time...

For those still trying to get their minds around the probability of winning the Powerball jackpot, here's another example. Suppose the 292,201,338 combinations in the game were seconds. That's the equivalent of over 81,000 hours, more than 3300 days, or just over 9 years.

Imagine then a game in which at one time of your choosing during the next nine years, you get to press a button for one second. If that one second is exactly the one right second during that 9 year period, you win the game. Otherwise, too bad.

The chance of winning that game is the same as your chance of winning the Powerball jackpot on a single ticket.

If you buy 10 tickets, the equivalent would be that you have to hit the button at exactly the right second in the next 338 days.

For a mere $2,000, you'd need to pick exactly the precise second in the next 3.38 days. Or you could press the button 1000 times over 9 years.

In other words, buying many lottery tickets increases your chance of winning, but even so your chance is very small. You'll just be that much more aggravated, and that much less rich, after you've spent that much money to lose!