Personal Finance

Powerball's jackpot surges to $540 million — yet doesn't even crack the list of 10 largest lottery wins

Key Points
  • The jackpot has been growing for three months and through 38 drawings, with no ticket matching all six numbers pulled.
  • For Monday night's Powerball drawing, the cash option for the $540 million jackpot is $384.3 million (before taxes).
  • Your chance of winning the game's top prize is about 1 in 292 million.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

The Powerball jackpot just won't quit.

Through 38 drawings over three months, no ticket has managed to match all six numbers drawn. For Monday night's drawing, the jackpot is now $540 million.

Yet the prize still isn't enough to vault it into the top 10 largest lottery jackpots. The crown goes to a 2016 Powerball jackpot worth $1.58 billion when three winners — from California, Florida and Tennessee — hit the motherlode. Not far behind is a $1.53 billion Mega Millions jackpot in 2018 that was claimed by a sole winner in South Carolina.

To enter the top 10, a jackpot would have to reach more than $648 million — that's the amount in 10th place, which was split in 2013 by two Mega Millions players, one from California, the other from Georgia.

What to do if you win the lottery
What to do if you win the lottery

Of course, there are winners of smaller amounts in each drawing.

In the last Powerball pull, held Saturday, a ticket sold in Florida landed $10 million in the game's "Double Play," which not all jurisdictions offer. Additionally, someone in Maryland won $2 million, and three tickets — sold in Arizona, California and Florida — are worth $1 million each. 

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The advertised prize amounts are based on the winner taking their loot as 30 payments over 29 years. Most jackpot winners, however, choose the lower, immediate cash option. For this $540 million Powerball prize, that cash amount is $384.3 million (before taxes).

Meanwhile, the Mega Millions jackpot is $244 million for Tuesday night's drawing. The cash option is $172.5 million.

The chance of a single ticket hitting the jackpot in either game is tiny: 1 in 292 million for Powerball and 1 in 302 million for Mega Millions.