Enthusiastic ticket-buyers pushed the record Powerball jackpot to $949.8 million for Saturday night's drawing, but no ticket matched all six numbers, boosting the expected payout for Wednesday's drawing to a whopping $1.3 billion. The winning numbers were 16-19-32-34-57 and the Powerball number 13. All six numbers must be correct to win, although the first five can be in any order. The odds to win the largest lottery prize in US history were one in 292.2 million. Officials with the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs the Powerball game, said they expected about 75% of the possible number combinations would have been bought for Saturday night's drawing. Since Nov. 4, the Powerball jackpot has grown from its $40 million starting point as no one has won the jackpot.
Such a huge jackpot was just what officials with the Multi-State Lottery Association hoped for last fall when they changed the odds of matching all the Powerball numbers, from about one in 175 million to one in 292.2 million. By making it harder to win a jackpot, the tougher odds made the ever-larger prizes inevitable. The US saw sales of $277 million on Friday alone and more than $400 million were expected Saturday, according to the executive director of the Texas Lottery. The record jackpot lured an unprecedented frenzy of purchases. Anndrea Smith, 30, said Saturday that she already had spent more than she usually does on Powerball tickets. "I bought four yesterday, and I usually never buy any," said Smith, manager of Bucky's gas station and convenience store in Omaha, Nebraska. She's not alone, saying the store sold "about $5,000 worth of tickets yesterday. Usually on a Friday, we might sell $1,200 worth." (Read more Powerball stories.)