You Gotta Be In It To Win It


What would you do if you woke up tomorrow with $100 million, after taxes, in your bank account? Someone is going to win the Powerball lottery, why not you? I would say that it might happen to me, but I don’t usually play the lottery.

You’ve heard the catch phrase, “You gotta be in it to win it,” but I work hard for my money. I never understood throwing good money away for an infinitesimal chance of winning $100 million. Of course, I get caught up in Lotto Fever as much as the next guy and will usually plunk down a few sheckles when the jackpot reaches a couple of hundred million.

Everyone knows the odds of winning the Powerball lottery are astronomical, roughly one in 292 million. When the Powerball jackpot gets huge, you’ll find many articles delving into ridiculous things that are more likely to happen to you than winning the lottery. Things like getting killed by a vending machine (one in 112 million) or being struck by an asteroid (one in 74 million) really put your chances of winning the one in 292 million top prize into perspective.

But why concern yourself with the odds when everything is relative? If you are a person that kicks and shakes a vending machine, you have a much better chance of being crushed than the average guy calmly retrieving his Snickers bar for a buck.

As long as the lottery is on the up and up (and it better be), you have the same chance as anyone of picking the five numbers and matching the Powerball. Whether you pick the numbers yourself, or the machine picks them for you, there are more than 292 million possible combinations. Why not get two tickets while you’re there? To use another catch phrase, “Hey, you never know…”

I would like to think I would be calm and level-headed if I won. I wouldn’t be Ralph Kramden, handing out $100 bills for no reason or ordering a boat with three propellers on it, but I bet I’d have a lot more friends and a much better wardrobe.

In my dreams, I’d buy a large parcel of land and put a couple of houses on it for the kids. I’m definitely getting a car and a driver because at my age, I don’t have enough time left to wait for a driverless car. Yeah, yeah, I’ll put plenty aside for the kids and any future grandchildren. After all, I’m loaded.

No more nose-bleed seats for me. Now I’ll buy the VIP package for any performer I want to see in concert. I’ll be that guy hanging out backstage, getting my picture taken with Bruce Springsteen.

Vacation you say? How great would it be to go on vacation where money was no object? We can order anything on the menu and drink expensive wine. No more worrying about the size of our hotel room and from now on, we only travel in first class. If the question is, “Where would you go on vacation?” the answer would be, “Anywhere we want.”

I would never see a snowflake in-person again. I’d love to live here on the East Coast in the summer, but I’ll be somewhere else when it comes time to remember where I put the rock salt. All you need is “a dollar and a dream.”

So, let’s do the math. There are 11,238,513 possible combinations when you must pick five out of 69 numbers, but when you also must pick an extra Powerball number (there are 26 of those), the possible combinations skyrocket past 292 million, hence the odds are about 292 million to one.

Even with millions of people playing the Powerball lottery across the country, there hasn’t been a winner for more than two months. Eventually, someone will win, someone always wins in the end. I know what I would do if I won. Send me an email at and let me know what you would do if you won.

If I don’t win, I hope someone I know does. Maybe they’ll take me with them on their “money is no object” vacation, so I could order the steak.

Hey, you never know.

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