Powerball jackpot hits $800M, largest US lottery prize ever

The record-breaking Powerball jackpot just got higher. The prize for Saturday night's drawing has jumped to $800 million.

The jackpot had gone from $450 million at the beginning of the week to $700 million on Thursday.

Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

If a ticket contains all the numbers drawn Saturday night, the holder could select a cash option of $496 million, before taxes are deducted, or the full $800 million in an annuity that would pay out the money over 30 years.

Ticket holders have a 1 in 292.2 million chance of winning. These are the same odds as getting heads 28 times in a row when flipping a quarter, according to Jeffrey Miecznikowski, associate professor of biostatistics at the University at Buffalo.

No one has matched all five white balls and one red Powerball to win the jackpot since early November. This is why the prize has grown incredibly large. In turn, the bigger prize encourages more people to buy tickets, thereby driving up the jackpot even more.

Source: Graphiq

Increased ticket sales also make it more likely there will be a winner, simply because extra tickets mean more number combinations are covered.

Thinking of purchasing tickets for every combination? That would cost $584 million, amounting to a loss after taxes are collected.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.