Powerball jackpot: 260M reasons to play

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- A mere $2 could change your life if you play the lottery. After rolling over and over and over, Wednesday night's Powerball jackpot is an estimated $260 million.

While that's a little less than half of November's record $550 million jackpot, which was split between a Fountain Hills man and a Missouri couple, it's not chump change either. The cash value of the prize is slightly more than $161 million.

That kind of dough can buy you some really nice things. The world's most expensive car, for example, is the Bugatti Veyron Super Sports. With a price tag of $2.4 million, you could buy one for every day of the week and have plenty of money left over to buy one for your 60 closest friends.

If cars aren't your thing, perhaps you could consider buying a private island. Or two.

While you wouldn't be able to swing the most expensive house in the world, you could take your pick of five of the top 10. If you'd prefer to stay local, you certainly could buy one -- or even two or three -- of the ritziest properties in Phoenix.

The chances of winning the jackpot are just 1 in 175 million. A person has better odds of becoming president, dating a super model and dying from a snake bite -- combined!

In order to win the whole enchilada, you need to match all six numbers -- five on white balls plus the red Powerball. It's not as easy as it might sound. According to the Arizona Lottery website, odds of nailing it are 1 in 175,223,510.

The good news is there are eight other winning combinations with prizes starting at $4 -- doubling an investment in a single ticket -- and going up to $1 million. Your odds of winning something -- anything -- are about 1 in nearly 32.

There are three ways to play the game.

1. You can let the computer choose all of your numbers. (While quite common, a seven-time grand-prize winner from Florida says that's a really bad idea.)

2. You can choose all of your own numbers by whatever method you like.

3. You can choose either just the white balls or just the Powerball and let the computer choose the rest.

According to the Arizona Lottery, the 10 most-drawn numbers are 5, 23, 56, 3, 44, 8, 14, 20, 41 and 59. The most-drawn red ball is 29. The five least-drawn numbers are 2, 37, 12, 25, and 31. The least-drawn red ball is 15.

Arizona has had 19 million-dollar winners in the past year. One Tempe couple actually won twice.

You have until 6:59 p.m. to buy your tickets.