What is the highest Powerball jackpot on record?

The highest Powerball jackpot on record is $1.586 billion, won on January 13, 2016. This jackpot was split between three winning tickets purchased in California, Florida, and Tennessee.

Powerball is a popular multi-state lottery game in the United States that is coordinated by the Multi-State Lottery Association. It holds the record for the largest lottery jackpot in world history at $1.586 billion.

Winning the Powerball jackpot requires matching all 5 white balls (numbered 1-69) and the red Powerball (numbered 1-26). The odds of winning the jackpot are incredibly slim, at just 1 in 292.2 million. This makes winning the jackpot akin to a once-in-a-lifetime event for most players.

The base Powerball jackpot starts at $40 million and continues to grow larger as more people play and the jackpot rolls over to the next drawing. The jackpot increases based on ticket sales and interest until somebody finally wins it. This is how the jackpot was able to reach the record $1.586 billion amount.

The Record $1.586 Billion Powerball Jackpot

The largest Powerball jackpot, and biggest lottery jackpot of any lottery in the world, was $1.586 billion. It was for the drawing held on January 13, 2016.

The jackpot had rolled over 25 times since it was last won in November 2015. This long roll over sequence with no winners allowed the advertised jackpot estimate to skyrocket to $1.5 billion ahead of the January 13 draw. Strong ticket sales pushed it to the final $1.586 billion total.

The winning numbers on January 13, 2016 were:

  • White balls: 4, 8, 19, 27, 34
  • Red Powerball: 10

The jackpot was split between three winning tickets:

  • Purchased in Chino Hills, California – Sold at 7-Eleven – One quick pick ticket won $528.8 million
  • Purchased in Melbourne Beach, Florida – Sold at Publix – One quick pick ticket won $528.8 million
  • Purchased in Munford, Tennessee – Sold at Naifeh’s – One ticket with manually selected numbers won $528.8 million

Each of the three winning tickets shared the full $1.586 billion jackpot equally. After federal and jurisdictional taxes, each ticket ended up with about $327 million paid out as the cash option. This makes each of the three winners eligible for the title of the biggest lottery winner of a single ticket in U.S. history.

Why The Jackpot Was So Big

There were a few key reasons why the Powerball jackpot rolled over and grew to become so large:

  • No jackpot wins – The jackpot kept rolling over drawing after drawing with no winner. This allowed the published estimated jackpot to continue increasing every few days.
  • Long roll over sequence – The roll over sequence lasted for over 2 months and 25 drawings. This sustained sequence maximized the jackpot growth.
  • Game changes increased odds – Powerball implemented rule changes in 2015 that decreased the overall odds of winning any prize to 1 in 24.87. Longer odds result in bigger jackpots.
  • Ticket sales surged – As the advertised jackpot estimate increased, more players purchased tickets hoping to win. More ticket sales meant faster growth.

All of these factors combined in a kind of perfect storm to push the Powerball jackpot to its record maximum.

Biggest Winners From the $1.586 Billion Jackpot

The three ticket holders who split the $1.586 billion jackpot were obviously the biggest winners. But there were some other beneficiaries as well:

  • The federal government – Collected over $300 million in taxes from the winners’ shares.
  • California public schools – Received $36 million for education thanks to California’s lottery beneficiary laws.
  • Florida public programs – An estimated $114 million went to the state’s general fund for public programs.
  • Tennessee Lottery-funded education initiatives – Got $13 million transferred for K-12 education, college scholarships, and after-school programs.

In total, over $500 million of the jackpot money went to public benefit and good causes due to how state lottery beneficiary laws allocated some of the proceeds.

Has the Powerball Jackpot Been Won Since?

Yes, there have been several notable Powerball jackpot wins since the record:

  • August 23, 2017 – Single ticket won $758.7 million (cash option of $480.5 million) – Sold in Massachusetts
  • March 27, 2019 – Single ticket won $768.4 million (cash option of $477 million) – Sold in Wisconsin
  • January 20, 2021 – Single ticket won $731.1 million (cash option $546.8 million) – Sold in Maryland

While massive, these jackpots all fell well short of the $1.586 billion record. The next largest Powerball jackpot at the moment is estimated at $550 million and growing for the next draw on February 6, 2021.

Powerball officials and players are hopeful the game will produce another billion dollar jackpot. With strong ongoing sales and a streak of rolls without a jackpot winner, the jackpot could conceivably challenge the record once again.

Game Changes After the Record Jackpot

The Multi-State Lottery Association implemented some changes to Powerball in the aftermath of the world record jackpot:

  • Increased number selections – Players choose from 69 white balls instead of 59, and 26 red Powerballs instead of 35.
  • Improved overall odds – The odds of winning any prize improved from 1 in 24.87 to 1 in 24.9.
  • Increased guaranteed minimum jackpot – The starting jackpot changed from $40 million to $50 million.
  • Added future annuity option – Jackpot winners can choose to receive their winnings as an annuity paid annually over 29 years.

These changes were calibrated to produce larger jackpots somewhat faster, while still keeping the core game balanced and appealing to players.

Advice for Current Players on Winning Big

Current Powerball players hoping to win a massive jackpot should keep a few tips in mind:

  • Persistence pays off – Keep playing consistently with multiple tickets each drawing.
  • Think big on your wager – Purchase the Power Play addon for bigger minor prizes to offset costs.
  • Go with quick picks – Letting the computer randomly select your numbers increases your coverage of the number field.
  • Take advantage of promotions – Look for retailer promotions with bonus entries or free plays as a perk.
  • Play the long game – Stick with Powerball over months and years for your best shot at a truly huge jackpot.

While winning still remains an extremely long shot, following this advice provides today’s players the optimal strategy to potentially take home the next record Powerball jackpot.


Powerball made lottery history in January 2016 when its jackpot smashed records by reaching $1.586 billion. This far exceeded any previous lottery jackpot, proving the immense popularity and appeal of Powerball.

Despite additional massive jackpots in the hundreds of millions in the years since, the $1.586 billion record still stands tall. It serves as motivation for current players to aspire to win Powerball’s next truly epic world record-breaking jackpot.

Leave a Comment