Tonight's Powerball jackpot is big, but not close to the biggest

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(NewsNation Now) — Wednesday night’s Powerball jackpot is more than $600 million, probably settling around $610 million by the time all the sales are counted. That’s a big chunk of money, but it’s nowhere near the largest jackpot ever.

In 2016, after a protracted period without a jackpot winner, the biggest Powerball jackpot ever hit $1.586 billion. As you’d expect with such a number, there were multiple winners, with one each in California, Florida and Tennessee.

In 2019, the real lottery dream hit, with $768 million won by a single person somewhere in Wisconsin. This might explain the explosion in artisanal cheese factories there in the last couple of years. Third place is occupied by a paltry $759 million in 2017 won by a single ticket in Massachusetts.

As we media killjoys always have to say, you are 290 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to win the Powerball. So maybe drive to somewhere without thunderstorms in the area and buy your ticket when you’re well away from any celestial fireworks.

Powerball is played in 45 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Drawings are held every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 ET. Purchase times cut off from one to two hours before the drawings depending on your state.

Good luck!

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