Jackpot advice from 'shark' Kevin O'Leary

High hopes abound ahead of Wednesday night's drawing for a U.S. record $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot. For nearly all ticket buyers, dreams of vanishing debts, a mansion or a yacht will dissolve with the 10:59 p.m. ET drawing.

The Texas Lottery Commission expects $600 million in tickets will sell nationwide on Wednesday. For a one-hour span in Texas earlier, $7.81 million in tickets sold, or $2,169 per second. Even with the fervor, a winner is "by no means" guaranteed, said Gary Grief, executive director of the commission.

During a CNBC special report Wednesday, "Shark Tank" investor Kevin O'Leary advised the potential winner on what to do with the $1.5 billion jackpot. O'Leary, who flashed Powerball tickets of his own, said a winner should first take the lump sum to avoid the credit risk of a decades-long payout.

He recommended that a winner let the money sit for at least 30 days. Most of all, they should avoid giving money to family members, he said.

A sign advertises the Powerball jackpot outside of a store on January 13, 2016 in New York City.
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A sign advertises the Powerball jackpot outside of a store on January 13, 2016 in New York City.

Picking the right sequence out of the more than 292 million possible combinations will prove exceedingly difficult for lottery players. Even if someone does win and take the lump sum, they would only see $930 million in cash, and that's before a hefty tax hit.

If no lottery player strikes gold Wednesday, the pool will balloon even more. The jackpot would grow to $2 billion for a Saturday drawing.

The growing payout has an obvious allure to anyone seeking financial relief. But one past winner stressed that sudden riches come with potential pitfalls.

Kim Karkota was among 20 Costco employees who won a $202 million jackpot in 2011. Karkota, who still works at the warehouse retailer, said she never had to worry about paying for her kids' education after the win.

But she also warned against being too generous to family and friends.

"Don't be afraid to say no," she said.

Consumers buying tickets Wednesday at Rudy's Stop & Shop in Rosenberg, Texas had lofty goals for how they would use the money. The store, which is considered "lucky" because of a string of past winners, has sold tickets to 5,000 people since Wednesday morning.

One lottery player at Rudy's said she wanted to help fight poverty before buying goods for herself.

"I'm helping the poor. Maybe after that, then maybe," she said.

A second patron wanted to give money to her church. But another buyer said she would first hire a chef to cook for her and her husband.

CNBC's Jane Wells contributed to this report.