Your chances of winning tonight’s Powerball grand prize of an unfathomable $1.5 billion are 1 in 292,000,000. That’s an incredible number — like being chosen at random from the entire population of the United States. But almost two billion dollars…it’s still worth it right?
Here are 8 terrible things more likely to happen to you this year:
- Dying in a motor vehicle accident — 1 in 9,000
- Dying falling down the stairs — 1 in 150,000
- Dying from a dog bite — 1 in 9,000,000
- Dying from a lightning strike — 1 in ~10,000,000
- Dying from a bee sting — 1 in 25,000,000
- Dying in a firework explosion — 1 in 51,000,000
- Being obliterated by an asteroid — 1 in 75,000,000
- Dying from a captive reptile attack — 1 in 200,000,000
However, there was one terrible thing much less likely than winning the Powerball: death by captive bear. According to the Responsible Exotic Animal Ownership organization, your chances of being killed by a captive bear this year are 1 in 2,500,000,000.
Of course, you could easy slice the Powerball odds in half buy buying another ticket, or two, or three. Buying three tickets means that you have a 1 in 97,000,000 chance of winning the grand prize — still more likely to die in cosmic fire and brimstone but hey, you’re improving.
The problem with the lottery isn’t the fairness of the bet–the expected return of the grand prize outweighs the cost of a ticket–it’s practicality. You’d have to buy so many tickets to bring the odds down in your favor that you’d bankrupt yourself first. That doesn’t mean you can’t play smart. Joan Ginther famously used statistics (and enormous sums of money ) to win the lottery four times. But like a lottery win itself, Joan is an outlier.
Still, someone has to win, right?
IMAGE: Wil C. Fry