How many numbers do you have to have in Powerball to win something?

Powerball is one of the most popular lottery games in the United States, with millions trying their luck to win big prizes every drawing. But how many of the numbers do you need to match to actually win a prize in Powerball? The quick answer is – you need to match at least 3 numbers to win a prize. Let’s take a deeper look into the Powerball format and odds to understand this better.

Powerball Format

In order to play Powerball, you need to pick 5 numbers from 1 to 69, and 1 Powerball number from 1 to 26. The Powerball number is drawn separately from the first 5 numbers. So in total, you need to pick 6 numbers when playing Powerball.

During the Powerball drawing, first 5 numbers are drawn from a set of 69 white balls, and then the Powerball is drawn from a set of 26 red balls. If you match all 6 numbers in your ticket to the drawn numbers, you hit the Powerball jackpot which starts at a minimum of $40 million and keeps growing until a winner is found.

But it’s not necessary to match all 6 numbers to win a prize. You can win smaller prizes by matching some of the numbers. Let’s look at the different prize levels:

Powerball Prize Levels

Numbers Matched Prize Amount
Match 5 numbers + Powerball Jackpot
Match 5 numbers only $1 million
Match 4 numbers + Powerball $50,000
Match 4 numbers only $100
Match 3 numbers + Powerball $100
Match 3 numbers only $7
Match 2 numbers + Powerball $7
Match 1 number + Powerball $4
Match Powerball only $4

As you can see, matching 3 numbers is the minimum requirement to win a prize in Powerball, which will get you $7. Even if you just match the Powerball and no other numbers, you can still win $4.

Odds of Winning

The odds of winning a Powerball prize depend on how many numbers you match. The more numbers you match, the lower the odds. Here are the odds for each prize level:

Prize Level Odds (1 in)
Jackpot 292,201,338
Match 5 numbers 11,688,053
Match 4 numbers + Powerball 913,129
Match 4 numbers 36,525
Match 3 numbers + Powerball 14,494
Match 3 numbers 579
Match 2 numbers + Powerball 701
Match 1 number + Powerball 91
Match Powerball 38

As you can see, the odds of matching 3 numbers is 1 in 579, while the odds of matching 2 numbers + Powerball is 1 in 701. So your chances of winning something with just 3 numbers is much better than winning with 2 numbers.

This clearly shows why you need to match a minimum of 3 numbers in order to have a decent shot at winning a prize. With just 1 or 2 numbers matched, your odds are extremely high and chances of winning very slim.

Some Examples

Let’s take some hypothetical Powerball draws and see prizes you can win by matching 3, 4 or 5 numbers:

Example 1:
Winning numbers: 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 Powerball: 5

If you match:

  • 3 numbers (e.g. 10, 30, 50) – You win $7
  • 4 numbers (e.g. 10, 20, 30, 40) – You win $100
  • 5 numbers (e.g. 10, 20, 30, 40, 50) – You win $1 million

Example 2:
Winning numbers: 18, 27, 29, 54, 61 Powerball: 22

If you match:

  • 3 numbers (e.g. 18, 27, 54) – You win $7
  • 4 numbers (e.g. 18, 29, 54, 61) – You win $100
  • 5 numbers (e.g. 18, 27, 29, 54, 61) – You win $1 million

Example 3:
Winning numbers: 5, 9, 15, 23, 42 Powerball: 19

If you match:

  • 3 numbers (e.g. 5, 15, 23) – You win $7
  • 4 numbers (e.g. 9, 15, 23, 42) – You win $100
  • 5 numbers (e.g. 5, 9, 15, 23, 42) – You win $1 million

As you can see in all these examples, matching 3 numbers consistently wins you $7, while matching 4 numbers wins $100, and matching 5 numbers wins the $1 million 2nd prize.

Should You Play With 3 Numbers?

While it is possible to win a small prize by matching just 3 numbers, your chances are still very low at 1 in 579. You would have to spend $579 in Powerball tickets, on average, in order to win that $7 prize.

So while playing with 3 numbers meets the minimum requirement to win something, your odds are not great.

To have a reasonable chance of winning, you ideally want to match 4 numbers or more. And matching 5 numbers has excellent odds of 1 in 11.6 million to win $1 million.

Here are the key takeaways:

  • You need to match a minimum of 3 numbers to win a Powerball prize.
  • With just 3 numbers, your odds of winning are very low at 1 in 579.
  • To have a decent shot, you want to match 4 numbers or more.
  • Matching 5 numbers has great odds of winning $1 million.
  • While 3 numbers meets the minimum requirement, your real goal should be 4+ numbers.

Tips to Increase Your Chances

Here are some tips that can help increase your odds of winning a prize:

  • Play Quick Picks which give you random number combinations, instead of manually choosing numbers.
  • Buy multiple tickets for the same drawing to gain more number coverage.
  • Join an office pool or lottery syndicate so you have many tickets and number combinations.
  • Use lottery wheeling systems which strategically combine more combinations of numbers.
  • Always check your tickets carefully to avoid missing out on a prize.

While there are no guarantees, following these tips can help optimize your chances of matching more numbers and winning a prize.

Past Powerball Winners with 3 or 4 Numbers

While the biggest jackpot winners match all 6 numbers, there have been many winners over the years who won nice prizes by matching just 3 or 4 numbers:

  • In May 2019, a $150,000 winning ticket with 4 numbers was sold in New Jersey.
  • In January 2020, two Florida tickets won $50,000 each for matching 4 numbers.
  • In September 2021, five $50,000 winning tickets matching 4 numbers were sold across five states.
  • In November 2022, a California ticket won $1 million by matching 4 numbers plus the Powerball.
  • In June 2022, over 400,000 tickets won $7 each for matching 3 numbers across the country.

So while your best odds come from matching more numbers, matching 3 or 4 has won many players prizes over the years ranging from $7 up to $50,000 or even $1 million.

How to Play Powerball Responsibly

When playing any lottery game including Powerball, it is important to do so responsibly by:

  • Setting a budget for spending on lottery tickets and sticking to it.
  • Balancing lottery expenditures with daily necessities and financial goals.
  • Playing for fun without excessive spending in search of a big win.
  • Understanding the very low odds of winning the jackpot.
  • Avoiding playing on credit or with money you cannot afford to lose.

The lottery thrives when played in moderation as entertainment with money that is discretionary, rather than as a path to riches. Keeping your playing reasonable maximizes the enjoyment factor for players.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about winning prizes in Powerball:

Q: Can you win money in Powerball without matching any numbers?

A: No, you need to match a minimum of 1 number plus the Powerball, or just the Powerball itself, to win a prize. Matching no numbers at all always results in no prize won.

Q: What is the minimum number of numbers you need to win in Powerball?

A: You need to match a minimum of 3 numbers to win any prize amount in Powerball. Matching fewer than 3 numbers will not win anything.

Q: Can you still win if you only match 2 numbers and the Powerball?

A: No, matching just 2 numbers plus the Powerball will not win anything in Powerball. You need to match at least 3 numbers to win a prize.

Q: Is it worth playing Powerball if you only match 2 numbers?

A: No, it is not worth playing with just 2 numbers matched since this cannot win a prize. You should play only if you match 3 or more numbers to have a chance to win.

Q: What can you win for matching 3 numbers in Powerball?

A: Matching exactly 3 numbers in Powerball wins a fixed prize of $7. While low, it meets the minimum requirements for winning a prize.


In the Powerball game, you need to match a minimum of 3 numbers to win a prize. Matching fewer than 3 numbers cannot win anything, even if you match the Powerball.

While playing with 3 numbers meets the minimum requirement, your odds of winning are just 1 in 579. To have a reasonable shot, you ideally want to match 4 numbers or more. This can win prizes ranging from $100 up to $50,000.

Of course, your best odds are hitting 5 numbers to win $1 million or the jackpot for matching all 6. But matching 3 or 4 numbers has won many players thousands in prizes over the years.

So while playing responsibly, don’t be afraid to try your luck with 3 numbers. Though the $7 prize is small, a win is still a win! And who knows, maybe matching 3 could set you on the path to matching even more and winning bigger prizes down the road.

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