- Two California players won tickets worth $1 million each, but no one hit the $1.2 billion jackpot
- Powerball jackpot jumps to $1.5 billion after nobody wins Wednesday’s drawing
- $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot marks second largest jackpot in lottery history
Who would have thought that you could buy a lottery ticket for just $2 and win the odds to turn it into $1.5 billion?
The top prize in the multistate Powerball lottery game has grown to $1.5 billion ahead of Saturday’s next drawing.
The odds rose from $1.2 billion to about $1.5 billion as no one hit the jackpot for Wednesday night’s drawing, which has been the case for the last 38 consecutive Powerball drawings since Aug. 3.
It would be a historic moment if a ticket was won this Saturday. But winning Powerball jackpot prizes is very rare.
Interestingly, some lucky ones win a huge windfall from the famous lottery game in the past. We’ve compiled a list of the 10 biggest Powerball jackpots in history.
1. On January 13, 2016, 3 players from California, Tennessee and Florida hit an amazing $1.586 billion jackpot.
The one in California was sold to Marvin and Mae Acosta at a Chino Hills 7-Eleven store. The other ticket in Tennessee was sold to John and Lisa Robinson at Munford Naifeh’s Food Mart. The third ticket from Florida was sold to Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt at a Publix grocery store in Melbourne Beach.
Winners were able to collect through two payment options: an annuity plan where they would receive $528.8 million in 30 payments over 29 years, or a one-time deal where they would receive $327.8 million.
The Robinsons, Smith and Kaltschmidt settled for the lump sum option, while the Acostas took the annuity award.
2. History seemingly repeated itself after the current Powerball jackpot reached $1.5 billion when no ticket managed to crack the magic combination last Wednesday.
However, two California tickets came close to winning the $1.2 billion grand prize before it increased by $300 million as male contenders matched the five winning numbers worth $1 million.
Additionally, 962,544 winning tickets matched the unique Powerball and up to five of the winning numbers. Their payouts ranged from $4 to $20,000.
3. A Wisconsin man became a millionaire in the blink of an eye after winning the $764 million Powerball jackpot on March 27, 2019.
Manuel Franco had just left work when he suddenly felt lucky and headed to a Speedway gas station in New Berlin to buy five Powerball tickets for $10.
“I honestly felt so lucky that I actually looked at the camera and I really wanted to wink at her because I just had this lucky feeling,” he gleefully recalled at an ABC News press conference.
However, Franco admitted that his life-changing lottery results made him anxious at work.
“I really wanted to say something to anybody there, and I know it was a bad decision, and I almost never showed up for work again,” he said.
Franco has been an avid fan of buying Powerball tickets since the age of 18 and won the jackpot when he was 24.
4. The $758.7 million Powerball jackpot was the reason a 53-year-old woman quit her job of 32 years on August 23, 2017.
Mavis Wanczyk did what almost everyone would do if they ever won the lottery: quit her job.
“I called them and told them I’m not coming back,” Wanczyk said at a news conference when asked if she would continue working at the hospital. She worked in the patient care unit at Mercy Medical Center in Massachusetts.
When asked what he would do with the money, he replied: “The first thing I want [do] is to sit back and relax. I had a pipe dream, and my pipe dream finally came true. I want to retire at 12 and it came early.”
5. Anonymous winners calling themselves ‘Power Pack’ In Maryland won the $731.1 million Powerball jackpot on January 20, 2021.
The winning ticket was purchased at the Coney Market in Lonaconing, a small town in Western Maryland, according to Powerball.
But it took four months for the winners to show up and claim their prize.
The sheer idea of winning the lottery might make some fantasize about trips and gifts, but the ‘Power Pack’ decided to use the money to maintain their existing lifestyle, make investments for their families and help their communities “for generations to come”.
6. The only winner of the $699.8 million jackpot was from California, who remained anonymous.
It all started when this lucky winner bought a ticket at an Albertsons grocery store in Morro Bay, near San Luis Obispo.
According to Powerball, the winner had the option of receiving the money in the form of an estimated $699.8 million annuity, paid out in 30 graded payments over 29 years, or a $496 million lump sum — both options were tax-free .
7. Powerball players in Iowa and New York struck gold on October 27, 2018, winning $687.8 million, which was split in half.
That huge windfall, however, was cut by 24% by the federal government, so winners would go home with $198.1 million each if they took the lump sum prize. Otherwise, they would eliminate $343.9 million through annuity payments.
8. Wisconsin and California Powerball players won $632.6 million in jackpots on January 5, 2022.
Wisconsin wasn’t named “WINSconsin” for nothing. The state is the proud owner of 19 Powerball jackpot wins.
Tammy and Cliff Webster, a couple from Wisconsin, were the partial winners of the Powerball jackpot. They bought their winning ticket at the Jackson Pointe Citgo on Packerland Drive in Green Bay.
“I was mumbling all the way to the kitchen table, like, ‘Do you know how many people play in Wisconsin?’ Do you know what the odds are of us winning?'” Cliff said in an interview with the Lottery Post.
And suddenly Cliff’s luck aligned with the winners at 4:30 in the morning.
“We hug and shout and it was one of the happiest moments of my life,” she shared.
“We’re standing there, ‘What are we doing?’ What are we doing?'” added Tammy.
On the other hand, California’s winning ticket was sold at a 7-Eleven in Sacramento.
9. A single winning ticket worth $590.5 million was claimed by an 84-year-old woman from Florida.
Gloria McKenzie was allowed to go in line at a supermarket in Zephyrhills, north of Tampa, to buy her Powerball tickets.
“While I was in line at Publix, another lottery player was kind enough to let me go ahead of the line to buy the winning quick pick ticket,” Mackenzie said, according to CNN.
Mackenzie got the money in a one-time deal, where she was able to earn $370.9 million before taxes.
10. Two players from Arizona and Missouri hit the $587.5 million Powerball jackpot on November 28, 2012.
Powerball players from both states have remained anonymous. According to USA Today, the winning ticket from Arizona was unknown, while lottery officials in Missouri did not release a report or comment on the winner(s).