By Chris Isidore
Someone could win the largest lottery prize in American history Wednesday night.
Not to be a killjoy, but there’s only a 0.0000003% chance it will be you.
The Powerball jackpot has reached $700 million, the second largest in U.S. history.
The only larger jackpot was a $1.6 billion prize that was split by three winning tickets in January 2016. If there’s only one winner Wednesday night, that person will walk away with more cash than any of those three.
One thing that’s fairly certain is that the winner or winners won’t choose to take the full $700 million prize. Only two Powerball winners in the past 10 years have chosen the annuity option — the full jackpot paid over 29 years.
The vast majority choose a smaller upfront payment — $443 million in Wednesday’s case, before taxes.
Of course, there’s also a chance there will be no winner tonight, just as there haven’t in the 20 Powerball drawings since the last winner on June 10.
Powerball added numbers to the game in October 2015 so the jackpot would roll over more often and the prizes would be bigger. But more numbers also means longer odds. The odds of any one ticket winning Wednesday night are 1 in 292 million. Before the switch, the odds were 1 in 175 million.
Seven of the 12 largest Powerball jackpots have come since the odds were increased.
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