Sioux Falls, SD
Chances are your mid-week errands included a stop at the store to buy a Powerball ticket. There's a lot riding on that $2 purchase: a $550 million jackpot. Powerball players in Sioux Falls couldn't bypass that big of a payoff.
And Lady Luck better be able to do the math because there are a lot of zeros and commas in the odds of winning Wednesday's Powerball jackpot drawing: one in 175,000,000. Despite that kind of long shot, there were still plenty of customers at the HyVee at 49th Street and Louise Avenue willing to try to beat the odds.
"Those that complain they don't win, they don't buy a ticket, I mean, it takes a ticket to win," Roger Braaten of Sioux Falls said.
Customers were snatching-up tickets as quickly as the Powerball machines could churn them out; all for a chance at that eye-popping jackpot topping a half-billion dollars.
"I'm just in the frenzy like everybody else, I want that $550 million," Janice Eppler of Sioux Falls said.
"I'd be happy with just $500,000. That would be nice. I'm not greedy," Brenda Kuhr of Sioux Falls said.
With such a huge jackpot up for grabs during the holidays, many Powerball players are planning on spending their winnings on the best Christmas gift, ever.
"Help my sister out and I have a little great-nephew, I'd give him money to make sure down the road he has a good college education," Chris Marshall of Sioux Falls said.
"My son just had my first grand-baby, so I'd like to get a house for them," Kuhr said.
"Take care of my family, buy some new cars," Eppler said.
Others are spreading the wealth around at work.
"Everyone in our office has pooled together also and we're all making a pledge that if we do win that we won't quit our jobs tomorrow. That would be an interesting thing to have the whole office emptied out," Braaten said.
The Powerball players realize it's unlikely they'll end up holding the winning ticket. But for the brief hours leading up to the drawing, it's been nice to dream of instant riches, however fleeting.
"We always have hope. Hope springs eternal," Eppler said.
Powerball's record jackpot is expanding the pool of players. We found one of those HyVee customers buying his very first-ever Powerball ticket.
• Odds of winning the Powerball jackpot: 1 in 175,223, 510
• Odds that your child is a genius: 1 in 250
• Odds of having quadruplets: 1 in 700,000
• Odds of having identical quadruplets: 1 in 15 million
• Odds of winning Mega Millions lottery: 1 in 135,145,920
• Odds of getting struck by lightning: 1 in 1 million