From Carney at CNBC's Net Net:
Now that the Powerball jackpot is worth over $500 million, it has become theoretically easy to guarantee a win. Picking the right numbers isn’t the problem anymore—it’s all a matter of logistics.
And the logistics are a nightmare.Ordinarily, guaranteeing a win at Powerball is a money-losing proposition. In order to assure that you will win the jackpot, you have to buy up every single combination of numbers. That would cost you nearly $400 million. But when the jackpot gets very high, it begins to make sense to play for a guaranteed jackpot.Six numbers are drawn from a tumbler with 59 white balls and the final “powerball” is drawn from a different tumbler with 39 red balls. Because each of the six white-ball drawings removes a possible number from the pool and the order of the numbers doesn’t matter, the odds aren’t quite as bad as they might seem.You need to buy just 195,249,054 tickets to guarantee a win by buying every single combination....MUCH MORE