Do you win anything for two Powerball numbers?

Winning the Powerball jackpot is incredibly difficult, with odds of 1 in 292 million. While matching all six numbers is rare, players still have chances to win smaller prizes by matching some of the numbers. So what can you win if you match just two numbers playing Powerball?

Quick Answer

Matching only two numbers in Powerball does not win any prize. To win a Powerball prize, players must match at least 3 numbers, with larger prizes for matching more numbers. Matching just the Powerball number also does not win anything.

Do You Win Anything for Matching Two Powerball Numbers?

While the Powerball jackpot and largest prizes come from matching all six main numbers, smaller prizes are available for partially matching numbers. Powerball prizes start at matching 3 numbers, with the prize money increasing for matching 4, 5, or 5 numbers plus the Powerball.

Here is the Powerball prize structure:

Prize Match Odds (1 in…) Average Prize
Jackpot 5 numbers + Powerball 292,201,338 Varies
$1 million 5 numbers 11,688,053 $1 million
$50,000 4 numbers + Powerball 913,129 $50,000
$100 4 numbers 36,525 $100
$7 3 numbers + Powerball 575 $7
$0 3 numbers No odds – doesn’t win $0
$0 2 numbers + Powerball No odds – doesn’t win $0
$0 1 number + Powerball No odds – doesn’t win $0
$4 0 numbers + Powerball 38 $4

As the prize chart shows, players must match at least 3 numbers to win a Powerball prize. Matching just 2 numbers, or 2 numbers plus the Powerball, does not win anything.

Why You Need At Least 3 Numbers for a Powerball Prize

Powerball requires players to match a minimum of 3 numbers because of the game’s very long odds. With 69 numbers to choose from in the main pool and 26 numbers in the Powerball pool, the odds of randomly matching 2 numbers is quite high.

For example, the odds of matching just 2 of the 69 main numbers is around 1 in 23. Matching 1 main number and the Powerball is 1 in 54. To keep the game challenging and prevent too many small winners, Powerball set 3 as the minimum number to win a prize.

The Odds of Matching 2 Numbers

Let’s take a closer look at the odds of randomly matching just 2 numbers playing Powerball:

  • Odds of matching 2 of the 69 main numbers: 1 in 23
  • Odds of matching 1 main number and the Powerball: 1 in 54
  • Odds of matching 0 main numbers and the Powerball: 1 in 26

With odds like this, nearly every Powerball ticket would win a small amount if prizes started at 2 numbers. Powerball sells millions of tickets for each draw, so reducing the minimum match to 2 numbers would result in millions of small prize winners.

Prize Funds Would Be Strained

To keep the game profitable and ensure there is enough prize money to fund the jackpots, Powerball cannot offer prizes for matching just 2 numbers. The prize fund would quickly be depleted.

Powerball tickets cost $2 per play. If Powerball paid out $1 million in prizes for matching 2 numbers, they would need to collect $2 million in ticket sales just to recoup the prize money. This scale would be unsustainable for every draw.

Small Prizes Would Be Worth Very Little

Even if Powerball did offer prizes for 2 numbers, the prizes would be very small. With potential millions of winners each draw, a $1 million prize fund would result in prizes worth just pennies or a few dollars.

For matching 2 numbers, players could expect wins in the range of $1-$5. Prizes this small are not practical for Powerball to award and not worthwhile for players.

Ways to Improve Your Chances Beyond 2 Numbers

While matching just 2 numbers won’t win a Powerball prize, there are some tips to improve your odds beyond randomly choosing numbers:

  • Buy multiple tickets – more tickets equals more chances to win
  • Join an office or pool syndicate to buy more tickets
  • Use a lottery wheeling system to select a mix of number combinations
  • Play consecutive numbers or a pattern across your ticket instead of random digits
  • Avoid choosing all high or low numbers
  • Always include at least one number 31 or higher in your selection

These tips can help increase your chances, but luck is still required to match those all-important minimum of 3 numbers.

Can You Win Money for Just the Powerball?

Like matching just 2 numbers, getting only the Powerball number does not win any major prize in Powerball. The one exception is if you play the Power Play option.

When you add Power Play to your Powerball ticket for an extra $1 per play, matching just the Powerball number will multiply any lower-tier prizes you win by the Power Play number drawn. For example, if the Power Play number is 3x, matching only the Powerball would win $12 instead of the usual $4.

The Power Play multiplier only applies to wins below the jackpot level. Matching just the Powerball alone does not qualify for the $4 prize unless you play Power Play. The Power Play feature is the only way to win money for just the Powerball.

Should You Bother Playing If You Only Match 2 Numbers?

While matching only 2 numbers won’t win a Powerball prize, there are still reasons you may want to check your tickets after a drawing if you match 2:

  • Verify you did not match any additional numbers besides the 2 you identified. It’s easy to overlook a matched number.
  • Ensure the Powerball number does not match for a $4 prize
  • Check if you played Power Play. A matched Powerball could win $12.
  • Enter your ticket into the Powerball Double Play drawing for a second chance.

Matching 2 numbers may feel frustratingly close to a win, but with no prizes for just 2 matched, your efforts are better spent trying again in the next Powerball drawing.

Should You Play Powerball If You’re Only Trying to Match 2 Numbers?

It is not a good strategy to play Powerball with expectations of winning a prize by matching only 2 numbers. Since Powerball does not award prizes for matching fewer than 3 numbers, you would be spending money with no chance of winning.

The only exception is if you are intentionally playing just for the entertainment value and excitement of participating. In that case, winning is just a bonus. But playing with the goal of winning a prize, you should know 2 numbers gives you no chance at all.

How Many Numbers Do You Need for a Chance to Win Powerball?

To have a mathematical chance at winning a prize in Powerball, players must match a minimum of 3 numbers on their ticket. Matching 2 or fewer numbers does not qualify for any prize.

Here are the Powerball prizes again and the required matched numbers:

  • Jackpot: Match 5 numbers and the Powerball
  • $1 million: Match 5 numbers
  • $50,000: Match 4 numbers and the Powerball
  • $100: Match 4 numbers
  • $7: Match 3 numbers and the Powerball
  • $4: Match just the Powerball (with Power Play)

Winning a Powerball prize comes down to luck. But by knowing you need at least 3 matched numbers for a shot, you can set realistic expectations while playing.

Should You Keep Playing Powerball If You Only Ever Match 2 Numbers?

Some Powerball players may notice they frequently match 2 numbers when checking their tickets. If you consistently match just 2 numbers, is it a sign you should keep playing?

Unfortunately, matching 2 numbers often is still no indication you are getting close or on the verge of matching 3 or more. The odds are unchanged each draw. Some players are simply more likely to match 2 based on the patterns or selections they make.

There is no guarantee persistently playing the same numbers and matching 2 will eventually yield 3 or more matches. Luck is still the biggest factor in matching numbers. So regularly matching just 2 numbers is not a good reason alone to keep spending on more tickets.

Consider Changing Your Number Selection Strategy

If you find you often match 2, it may be worth trying a new approach to choose your numbers. Rather than stop playing altogether, you could:

  • Switch from special numbers like birthdays to random quick picks
  • Use a lottery wheeling system to select new sets of numbers
  • Avoid previous patterns you’ve played
  • Add or remove the Powerball from your usual selections

Changing your selection strategy can help shake up your number combinations. Matching a new set of numbers may improve your odds versus repeatedly matching 2.

Take a Break from Playing

If you feel stuck repeatedly matching 2 numbers, consider taking a break from Powerball for a period of time. This can help you reset and come back later to make new number selections.

Keep perspective that even if you match 2 numbers frequently, your overall odds of winning a Powerball prize are still very small. Don’t let matching 2 sway you to overspend on tickets week after week.

Key Takeaways

Matching only 2 numbers playing Powerball leaves you short of winning any prize. Key points to remember include:

  • You need to match a minimum of 3 numbers to have a chance at winning a Powerball prize
  • The odds of randomly matching 2 numbers are relatively high at 1 in 23
  • Powerball cannot offer prizes for just 2 numbers or the prize fund would be unsustainable
  • Try changing your number selection strategy if you find you often match just 2 numbers
  • Understand matching 2 numbers provides no mathematical advantage to win future draws

While winning Powerball is challenging, you at least need 3 matched numbers for a shot. Matching 2 by itself will leave you with no prize to show for your efforts.


Matching only two numbers playing Powerball does not yield any prize. This is because the odds of hitting two numbers are quite high at 1 in 23, which would result in far too many winners each draw if prizes started at just two matches. To keep the game profitable while also offering the chance for players to win substantial prizes, Powerball requires matching a minimum of three numbers to win anything.

If you frequently match only two numbers playing Powerball, your best bet is to change your number selection strategy. However, persistently matching two numbers does not necessarily mean you will eventually progress to matching three or more. Each draw the odds reset, regardless of how many past numbers you matched. Ultimately, winning Powerball requires a lot of luck, no matter how many numbers you are trying to hit.

Knowing you need at least three matches for a prize can help set realistic expectations when playing Powerball. While winning is challenging, you have zero chance if you match fewer than three numbers. So hold out for that lucky third number next time you have two matches and hopefully it will complete your prize-winning combination!

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