When it comes to winning the Powerball jackpot, there is no definitively “lucky” number to choose. The odds of winning are determined entirely by chance, no matter what numbers you select. However, some numbers have historically been drawn more often than others. While past drawings don’t predict future outcomes, playing these frequent numbers may give the feeling of having “lucky” picks.
How Powerball Works
First, it’s important to understand how the Powerball lottery works. To play, a player selects 5 main numbers between 1-69, and 1 Powerball number between 1-26. During the draw, 5 white balls are drawn from one pool of 69 balls, and the Powerball is drawn from a separate pool of 26 red balls. A player wins the jackpot by matching all 5 white balls plus the Powerball. The odds of this occurring are 1 in 292,201,338.
Most Common Powerball Numbers
The most frequently drawn Powerball main numbers since 2003 are:
And the most common Powerball numbers are:
As you can see, the numbers 61, 32, 63, 21, and 69 have been the most frequently picked main numbers in Powerball drawings over the past two decades. For the Powerball, the numbers 24, 18, 4, 21, and 10 have made the most appearances.
Strategies Using Frequent Numbers
Some players use these statistics to employ certain strategies when choosing numbers:
- Only play the most common numbers listed above
- Ensure 1 or 2 of the most frequent numbers are always in your selection
- Avoid the least common numbers
- Play the same set of numbers every draw
Following these approaches doesn’t actually increase your odds, since all number combinations have an equal chance of being picked. But some people feel playing the more common numbers enhances their chances in a psychological way.
Odds and Probabilities Remain the Same
It’s important to remember that in Powerball, every potential number combination has exactly the same probability of being chosen. The balls and drawn numbers have no memory. So history can’t influence what numbers will be picked in the next draw.
For example, if the number 20 hasn’t been picked in the last 10 drawings, it doesn’t mean it’s “due” to come up soon. Its odds of being chosen this next draw are still calculated as 1 in 69, the same as every other number.
So while some numbers have appeared more often in the past, the future odds aren’t affected. Playing the most frequent numbers can’t boost your chances of winning versus someone who plays a random set of numbers.
Near Misses Feel “Lucky”
While the frequent numbers won’t increase your odds, they may bring you more near-miss wins where you match some numbers correctly, but not enough for a prize. By playing the top numbers, you’re more likely to get 4 out of 5 main numbers simply because those numbers come up more often.
When this happens, you may feel you came close and were “lucky.” But mathematically, matching 4 numbers has the exact same 1 in 701 chance of occurring whether you play the popular numbers or not. Those near misses are bound to happen eventually based on the probabilities, with or without the frequent numbers.
Go With Your “Lucky” Hunch
At the end of the day, there are no definitively “lucky” numbers when it comes to Powerball. The game is completely random. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun playing numbers that feel fortuitous to you!
If you have a lucky hunch about certain numbers, go ahead and play them. You have as good a chance of winning as anyone else. Just remember the number frequencies and statistics can’t change those odds. Your fate in the Powerball is all about the luck of the draw!