Are you playing? These are the most common Powerball numbers

  • Powerball tickets are in hot demand with a jackpot of more than $800 million.

      Powerball tickets are in hot demand with a jackpot of more than $800 million. JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer, December 2010

  • Jay Patel of Elk Grove Village bought a Powerball ticket from the Shell station on Higgins and Arlington Heights Road in Elk Grove Village.

      Jay Patel of Elk Grove Village bought a Powerball ticket from the Shell station on Higgins and Arlington Heights Road in Elk Grove Village. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 1/11/2016 9:18 AM

Over the course of Powerball's 24-year history, no numbered red ball has popped out of the lottery's drawing machine more frequently than the one with the number "20" stenciled on it.

It's happened 75 times out of the 2,475 drawings since April 1992.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Keep in mind that during that time lottery officials decreased the number of red numbered balls. Today, there are only 26 red balls whirling around the clear barrel before one is drawn, so the chances of No. 20 getting sucked out are more likely than back at the start of Powerball when there were 45 red balls floating around the kettle, crashing into each other.

Meanwhile, there are more white numbered balls in the other kettle today than ever before. But the white balls labeled with 26, 41, 16, 22 and 42 have found their way out the most, at least 253 times each. The No. 26 white ball has been drawn 266 times, which is the most of any number.

Despite the frequency of their appearance as winning numbers, the combination of these six balls being drawn together has never happened.

While billions of tickets have been sold during Powerball's nearly quarter-century existence, only 304 drawings have resulted in winners. That's just 12.3 percent of the time.

Only five winners have been Illinois residents, and two of those Land of Lincoln winners bought tickets in neighboring states, according to Powerball historical records.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

So why do we continue to play?

"This is not about something that's rational," said Dr. Stephen Goldbart, a psychologist and co-director of the Money, Meaning & Choices Institute in San Francisco. "The lottery is a socially acceptable form of mass gambling."

Goldbart, who has written extensively on the psychology of lottery players, says there are essentially two reasons why people play the lottery: hope and collaboration.

"On one hand there are those that play because of the childlike fantasy of how our lives could radically change through a simple action," he said. "The other is jumping on the bandwagon and we don't want to feel left out."

For those in the fantasy camp, Goldbart said they are likely to play more frequently if there's a bigger "gap between what their life is like and what they want it to be like."

The other type of lottery player is the group player.

"We are wired to be collaborative. It's tribal," he said. "We don't want to feel left out. It not only feels great to join the group and feel good to enjoy this childlike fantasy, but you might also win."

0 Comments
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.