DES MOINES, Iowa - It's all about the odds.
With four out of every five possible combinations of Powerball numbers in play, someone is almost sure to win the game's highest jackpot during Saturday night's drawing, a windfall of hundreds of millions of dollars - and that's after taxes.
The problem, of course, is those same odds just about guarantee the lucky person won't be you.
The chances of winning the estimated $600 million prize remain astronomically low: 1 in 175.2 million. That's how many different ways you can combine the numbers when you play. But lottery officials estimate about 80 percent of those possible combinations have been purchased, so now's the time to buy.
"This would be the roll to get in on," said Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich. "Of course there's no guarantee, and that's the randomness of it, and the fun of it."
The latest jackpot is the nation's second-largest overall, just behind a $656 million Mega Millions jackpot in March 2012. The estimated $600 million jackpot included a $376.9 million cash option.
Charles Hill of Dallas said he buys lottery tickets every day. And he knows exactly what he'd do if he wins.
"What would I do with my money? I'd run and hide," he said. "I wouldn't want none of my kinfolks to find me."
Clyde Barrow, a public-policy professor at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, specializes in the gaming industry. He said one of the key factors behind the ticket-buying frenzy is the size of the jackpot - people are interested in the easy investment.
"Even though the odds are very low, the investment is very small," he said. "Two dollars gets you a chance."
10, 13, 14, 22, 52