$500 million Powerball madness grips the Internet

From Reddit to Twitter, everyone's talking about what they would do if they won the record jackpot.


Mike Fenn


Published Nov 28, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 6:33 am CDT

Internet users want their millions.

On Nov. 28, the estimated annuity value of the Powerball lottery’s jackpot climbed to $500 million, the largest ever for the multi-state game (a March 2012 Mega Millions jackpot holds the record for the biggest jackpot in history, an estimated $656 million dollar annuity prize). Its cash payout option is worth roughly $327 million.

Because these financial windfalls can be claimed with one lucky $2 ticket purchased in any of the 44 states that host Powerball, many are dreaming big as the drawing approaches.

On Twitter, the hashtag #powerball is trending in the United States. According to Topsy, the term has been tweeted over 78,000 times in the past week.

“If I win Powerball, yall already know I’m hittin the gangnam style dance on the CEO of Sallie Mae’s desk,” January Louise tweeted.

“If I win powerball I’m gonna buy everyone that lives in this shitty town a house elsewhere and live here by myself,” Mike Apotria tweeted.

Some Twitter users are even feeling generous.

“LISTEN UP: IF I WIN, Anyone who retweets this #powerball will receive a portion!” YA BOY BILL NYE tweeted, adding a photo of his ticket for effect. So far, his claim has been retweeted over 1,100 times.

On Reddit, a Nov. 26 thread asked redditors what they would do if they won the historic jackpot. The thread has received over 8,000 comments.

“Pay off my student loans, then use the remainder to buy a burger,” user I_are_facepalm commented.

“I’d give $10 million to Wikipedia so jimmy wales will stop bugging everyone about donations for the time being,” user hamburgerdan commented.

Elsewhere on reddit, user qwertisdirty submitted a thread to r/personalfinance, asking for suggestions as to what a new jackpot winner should do upon seeing their numbers drawn. User BongoMadness replied with a series of steps:

  • Don’t tell a single person except for step 2. No spouses, children, parents, or friends.
  • Set up a blind trust and claim the winnings through a trust attorney.
  • Take an annuity rather than a lump sum (if possible).
  • Set up a second cell phone plan and number and don’t give the number to anyone. In case your ID does get out, your original phone will ring off the hook. Screen your calls and only call back people you care about from the second line.
  • Hold on to the money for as long as possible without telling anyone, just take some alone time on this and get used to having a sudden, massive amount of wealth.
  • Quietly pay off your debts.
  • Don’t spend any on anything big and obvious for 6 months or a year.
  • Spread the money around across different banks and accounts that pay a decent interest rate.
  • Live off your interest.

Users who plan to take a chance on Powerball can use the Powerball Simulator to visualize the 1 in 175,000,000 odds they face. The program allows for individual number selections or the “quick pick” option and displays the frequency of different winning combinations.

For example, if you were to select 1,2,3,4, and 5 as your numbers and 6 as the Powerball, the simulator calculates that playing this set twice per week for a full year would result in a total win of $12. Selecting the “quick pick” option twice per week for the same amount of time would net double that amount.

If such odds calculators do not faze you, you can check out Zyra’s Novel and Amusing Ways of Selecting Your Lottery Numbers, including using Tea Leaves or Playing With Office Equipment at Night in Winter. Whatever you do, do NOT swing a live chicken above your head while wishing for numbers. According to the actual Powerball website, this will not work.

If you do play (or retweet YA BOY BILL NYE), good luck!

Photo via Jessica Mullen/Flickr

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*First Published: Nov 28, 2012, 2:17 pm CST