Wednesday night's winning numbers: 2 - 11 - 47 - 62 - 63 and PB: 17
Feeling lucky? The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 : 292,201,338.
And yes, you can play in Illinois! Powerball is a national jackpot game anyway. But Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill earlier this month authorizing the Illinois Lottery to resume all winner payouts. Previously, many had to wait to collect their prizes due to the state's budget impasse.
The jackpot will be the largest since a Powerball prize that climbed to $564.1 million last February before it was won by players from North Carolina, Texas and Puerto Rico. Powerball is played 44 states as well as the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
POWERBALL TICKETS SELLING FAST IN CHICAGO
The 7-Eleven at Wabash and Wacker sold a lot of Powerball tickets on Wednesday.
"That would be awesome to be able to sell the customer that winning ticket, change somebody's life," said Jim Baci, 7-Eleven.
Where you play might improve your chances. Pennsylvania ranks at the top with the most jackpot winning tickets sold with 16, followed by Indiana and Missouri with 11 jackpot winners.
Lacy Corker says he doesn't buy into the hype.
"Not playing," Corker said. "Because I never win and even if I did I would never check the ticket if I buy a ticket. So what's the point?"
Bridgette Jackson-Linton is already making plans for the cash.
"First I would quit my job. Then I would get to try to figure who I would talk to about making sure I don't spend it up and mess it over. You know what I am saying," she said.
Margaret James is prepared to deal with new relatives and friends who might come around if she wins.
"I know how to close the door. If they didn't come out the woodworks before there is no need in them coming after, no," she said.
Here are more details about the big lottery payoff.
HOW DOES THE JACKPOT RANK?
The jackpot would be the sixth-largest ever in North America. It's been growing since the last Powerball jackpot winner on Nov. 4 and will keep climbing if no one wins the big prize on Wednesday. If there isn't a jackpot winner, the prize for Saturday's drawing would be significantly larger, but it would still take some time to grow beyond the record. That was a $656 million Mega Millions jackpot won in March 2012. The largest Powerball prize was a $590.5 million jackpot won by a Florida woman in May 2013.
The $500 million prize is based on an annuity, which would pay out the money over 29 years. Or you can take the $306 million cash payment at once.
THE ODDS? NOT GOOD.
For some comparison, your chance of being struck by lightning in a year is about one in 960,000. But as lottery officials often note, you have no chance of winning if you don't buy a ticket.
POOLING YOUR MONEY
Some players feel they increase their odds of winning by pooling their money with co-workers, with a promise to split the winnings. Joining with colleagues and friends can increase the fun of playing, but the odds of winning are so tiny that adding 50 or 100 chances doesn't matter much. Lottery officials recommend that if people pool their money, they put down rules in writing for splitting the prize, as it's easy for misunderstandings to crop up when hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.