Powerball is changing. And, one of the important changes is the Powerplay option. No longer will players wonder what prizes they will win when they purchase Powerplay. Now, beginning after January 15, 2012, all Powerplay prizes will be fixed.
Like before, the Powerplay option will cost players $1 more. But the new Powerbal ticket with Powerplay will cost a total of $3 (rather than $2).
For this cost, all players matching the 5 white balls but not the Powerball will receive $2 million before taxes, which is a two times multiple. Those matching 4 white plus Powerball will receive $40,000, a 4 times multiple.
The lesser prizes for matching 4 white only, and 3 white with or without Powerball get double the standard prize. Matching 1 white with the Powerball will net a 3 times multiple, while the Poweball only prize payout will be a 4 times multiple.
But, it depends on the size of the Jackpot.
How would you know when to buy it?
If your lottery playing strategy is to win the Jackpot only, we advise that you never buy the Powerball option because paying $3 for a single ticket is a lot of money. If you buy 5 straight Powerball tickets, your cost will be $10. But, it you opt for the Powerplay, you will spent $9 for only 3 tickets. This means that your chance of winning the Jackpot jackpot with 3 Powerplay tickets increases to 1 in 58+ million, compared to about 1 in 35 million when buying 5 regular tickets.
However, if your lottery playing strategy is to win the $2 million second place prize, then we recommend that you only purchase the Powerplay option when the jackpot is below the breakeven level.
For the 2012 Powerball game, the Breakeven is now $112.5 million: Buy the Powerplay Option whenever the Jackpot is below this value. Never above this. Put the extra dollar towards an extra ticket instead.
The illustration above compares the overall returns of a single 2012 Powerball game ticket verses its Powerplay ticket. As shown, the Powerplay tickets return more to the players when the annuity jackpot is in the range of $40 million to $112.5 million. After that, the single ticket prize payouts always return more money. This is because the jackpot itself is always fixed. Thus, as it increases above $112.5 million, the jackpot value far out weights the lower tier prizes.
To help you assess the value of the Powerplay option, we have constructed a page that will always illustrate the current jackpot level and tell you if you should buy this option. You can see this by clicking on the image above or the following link: