$245 Million Powerball jackpot: Chandler barber giving away tickets

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Spending $1 today could win you $245 million tonight. According to the Arizona Lottery, that's the estimated jackpot for Wednesday night's Powerball drawing.

The last time the jackpot climbed over $200 million was in August. A single ticket in Minnesota won that on Aug. 10.

This current Powerball jackpot has been rolling over since the Sept. 11 drawing.

Papa Joe's Barber Shop in Chandler (Warner Road and Arizona Avenue) is giving away a free lottery ticket with your haircut. (A basic haircut is $16.) Papa Joe has been doing the ticket giveaway for as long as he can remember, more than 25 years.

He said $20 million used to be the big thing. Today, that's where the Powerball jackpot starts.

"Now nobody gets excited until it gets over $200 million," he told 3TV's Tess Rafols. "When it gets over $200 million, well here I am, giving free lottery tickets to people. … We've had a few winners. … They won maybe $50 to $100. … I'm hoping that someone will hit it eventually."

Papa Joe, who said he normally doesn't even buy a ticket for himself, will give you a choice between a Powerball ticket and a Mega Millions ticket. That jackpot is estimated at $12 million for Friday's drawing. With the possibility of $245 million, it's likely that most people will go for the Powerball tickets.

Those who can't make it to Papa Joe's for a haircut today will have to buy their own tickets or take part in group pools.

When it comes to choosing numbers, there are three ways to do it. You can let the computer choose for you; you can select your own numbers; or you can do a combination in which you pick either the white numbers or the red Powerball and let the computer choose the rest.

The majority of those who play Powerball let the computer draw their numbers for them, and the majority of winning tickets are Quick Pick numbers.

For those who pick their numbers themselves, the 10 most-drawn balls (as of Nov. 2) are 20, 41, 32, 22, 52, 7, 23, 37, 49 and 12. The most-drawn red ball is 23. The five least-drawn numbers are 29, 2, 35, 25 and 33. The least-drawn red ball is 28.

The odds of winning the grand prize are about 1 in 195,249,054.

To put that in perspective, the odds of being struck by lightning in the U.S. at some point during an 80-year lifetime are about 1 in 10,000, according to the National Weather Service. Based on estimated deaths and injuries, you have a 1 in 775,000 chance of being struck by lightning in the U.S. in any given year.

The Arizona Lottery says the overall odds of winning any Powerball prize are about 1 in 35. There are nine payout levels ranging from $3 to $200,000 plus, of course, the big jackpot. Powerball, which has been played in Arizona since 1994, also is played in 41 other states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

You have until 6:59 p.m. to buy your ticket for Wednesday’s drawing. If there is no winning ticket, the jackpot will roll over to Saturday’s drawing. If the jackpot is won, it will reset to $20 million for Saturday.

If you win the jackpot, you have 60 days to choose either a 30-year annuity or a lump-sum cash payment that's a little more than half of the announced jackpot. In this case, that’s a cool $146.2 million. The majority of jackpot winners since 2003 have opted for the lump-sum payment. Four of those winners – one each in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2010 -- were from Arizona.

If you are a winner, you have 180 days from the drawing to claim your prize.

While $245 million is not chump change, it's nowhere near the largest jackpot the Powerball has ever handed out. According to the Arizona Lottery, the biggest Powerball jackpot in history was $365 million.

What would you do if you won the $245 million Powerball jackpot? Share your comments below.