Man, this week seems to be going by very slowly. I can’t believe it’s only Wednesday! It feels like at least Thursday… I’d even believe Friday.
Anyway, seeing as how today is yet another day when I didn’t really get to take a full lunch break, I just wanted to post a brief update now about — what else? — Powerball. Tonight’s jackpot is $170 million, and my office bought 55 tickets. I contributed $5 to the pot, meaning I stand to win roughly $15.5 million (before taxes) if we hit it big.
The odds of that happening: 1 in 2,191,396. (That’s 55 in 120,526,770, for those inclined to check my math.)
AFTERTHOUGHT: Of course, the odds above fail to take into account the possibility of somebody else also winning, resulting in a split jackpot. So the odds of me winning $15.5 million are somewhat below 1 in 2,191,396. But the odds of me winning 1/11th of a piece of the jackpot — whatever the amount of a single jackpot piece ends up being — are 1 in 2,191,396.
Now, here’s a question for the math whizzes. The odds of winning at least $3.00 (that’s the minimum prize, if you get only the “Powerball” right and nothing else) are supposedly 1 in 36.06, which, by my calculations, comes to 3,342,395 out of 120,526,770. What is the correct way to calculate our odds of winning at least $3.00, given that we have 55 tickets? It can’t be 55 times the numerator, because that would end up producing odds of 1 in 0.66 — i.e., we have a better than 100% chance of winning — and that can’t be right, since there are fully 117,184,375 non-winning tickets out there. So what is the correct way to do that math? I’m drawing a blank…. Mike? :)