Is Powerball a mug's game?

Is Powerball a mug's game?

Is Powerball a mug's game?

Previously published Slate articles made new.
Feb. 17 2006 5:04 AM

Is Powerball a Mug's Game?

It all depends on when you play—and what value you put on a dollar.

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The multistate Powerball lottery jackpot has swelled to $365 million, the largest lottery jackpot ever in America. In 2001, mathematician Jordan Ellenberg explained why you're not a sucker for buying a ticket when the jackpot gets this big. "The question to ask is: What is the expected value of a lottery ticket? If the expected value is more than a dollar, and the ticket costs a dollar, you should buy a ticket. If the expected value is less than a dollar, you should keep your money."