Powerball announced the six winning numbers for a record jackpot of nearly $950 million on Saturday, setting off a scramble among hopeful lottery players across the country to check if they held a lucky ticket.
The winning numbers - disclosed live on television and online - were 16-19-32-34-57 and the Powerball number 13. All six numbers must be correct to win, although the first five can be in any order. Texas state lottery spokeswoman Kelly Cripe said it was too early to know if any winning tickets were sold.
Cripe said the estimated size of the jackpot reached $949.8 million, the largest lottery prize in U.S. history. Earlier in the day, the Multi-State Lottery Association had said the jackpot was $900 million.
The record jackpot lured an unprecedented frenzy of purchases. If no one matches all the numbers on Saturday night, the next drawing is expected to soar to $1.3 billion.
Attorney John Belferman of Barnesville, Maryland, stopped in to Continental Wine & Liquor in downtown Washington to pick up a ticket on Saturday afternoon. He'll take a break if he wins.
"If I don't drop dead of a heart attack, I'll finish the work I'm doing now and maybe take a vacation," he said.
Belferman said he doesn't have to win the big jackpot.
"I'm not greedy," he said. "I'll take third place."
Since Nov. 4, the Powerball jackpot has grown from its $40 million starting point as no one has won the jackpot. Such a huge jackpot was just what officials with the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs the Powerball game, hoped for last fall when they changed the odds of matching all the Powerball numbers, from about one in 175 million to one in 292.2 million. By making it harder to win a jackpot, the tougher odds made the ever-larger prizes inevitable.
The U.S. saw sales of $277 million on Friday alone and more than $400 million were expected Saturday, according to Gary Grief, the executive director of the Texas Lottery.
The chance of no one hitting all five initial numbers and the Powerball number was growing slimmer, Grief said, anticipating that about 75 percent of all combinations will have been bought.
Anndrea Smith, 30, said she already had spent more than she usually does on Powerball tickets.
"I bought four yesterday, and I usually never buy any," said Smith, manager of Bucky's gas station and convenience store in Omaha, Nebraska. She's not alone, saying the store sold "about $5,000 worth of tickets yesterday. Usually on a Friday, we might sell $1,200 worth."
If she wins, her first purchase will be "a warm vacation," she said, as the temperature outside hovered in the single digits. "I'd share with family, too."
Sonja Peterson of Minneapolis said she never buys Powerball tickets, but on Saturday, she bought two with random numbers at Bobby & Steve's Auto World gas station - one for her, one for her boyfriend.
"We said, 'Let's have a little fun. Let's buy some tickets today,'" Peterson said.
Powerball announces winning numbers for record jackpot