DES MOINES, Iowa - It's all about the odds.
With four out of every five possible combinations of Powerball numbers in play, someone is almost sure to win the game's highest jackpot during Saturday night's drawing, a windfall of hundreds of millions of dollars - and that's after taxes.
The problem, of course, is those same odds just about guarantee the lucky person won't be you.
(The winning numbers: 10, 13, 14, 22, 52 and Powerball 11.)
The chances of winning the estimated $600 million prize remain astronomically low: 1 in 175.2 million. That's how many different ways you can combine the numbers when you play. But lottery officials estimate about 80 percent of those possible combinations have been purchased.
Those longest of odds have not deterred people across Powerball-playing states - 43 plus Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands - from lining up at gas stations and convenience stores Saturday for their chance at striking it filthy rich.
At a mini market in the heart of Los Angeles' Chinatown, employees broke the steady stream of customers into two lines: One for Powerball ticket buyers and one for everybody else. Some people appeared to be looking for a little karma.
"We've had two winners over $10 million here over the years, so people in the neighborhood think this is the lucky store," employee Gordon Chan said as he replenished a stack of lottery tickets on a counter.
Workers at one suburban Columbia, S.C., convenience store were so busy with ticket buyers that they had not updated their sign with the current jackpot figure, which was released Friday. Customer Armous Peterson was reluctant to share his system for playing the Powerball. The 56-year-old was well aware of the long odds, but he also knows the mantra of just about every person buying tickets.
"Somebody is going to win," he said. "Lots of people are going to lose, too. But if you buy a ticket, that winner might be you."