The jackpot leaped to $320 million Wednesday night — the lottery game’s sixth largest annuity ever.
The cash payout, $198.3 million, ranks even higher, fourth all-time, exceeded only by three jackpots last year.
The last time Powerball had such a huge prize was in late November, when it reached $325 million and rolled over a final time, producing the game’s record jackpot of $587.5 million for the annuity, $387.4 million for the cash. The two winning tickets were sold in Missouri and Arizona. The holders each took half the cash.
Wednesday night’s numbers were 13, 14, 17, 43 and 54, with a Powerball of 15.
Three tickets came close, matching all but the Powerball. Those $1 million winners were sold in Ohio, Kentucky and Florida.
Nobody won $2 million for having those numbers and the Power Play prize-boosting option.
Think those players are thinking, “What if?” Imagine matching just as many numbers — four of the first five, plus the Powerball — and winning “only” $10,000. That happened to 64 players, including six in Pennsylvania and four in New Jersey. Another ten tickets nationwide won $40,000 for the same matches while having the Power Play.
The current jackpot started a little higher and finished a little lower than its counterpart during November’s record run. Perhaps NCAA bracket betting diverted some of the cash, or perhaps the holiday gift-buying season helped fuel the last one.
Powerball has produced some of its biggest jackpots since raising its ticket price to $2 early last year, when it also boosted its starting jackpot to $10 million, guaranteed $10 million hikes for each subsequent jackpot rollover, and boosted the lowest second-place prize to $1 million.
Mega Millions. Friday’s jackpot will be worth $20 million for the annuity, $14 million for the cash because no one hit all the numbers drawn Tuesday night: 3, 6, 14, 21 and 37, with a Mega Ball of 35. Missing only the Mega Ball were tickets sold in New York, Virginia, Georgia, Colorado and California.