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$400 million for Christmas? Powerball jackpot grows ahead of Dec. 25 drawing

There hasn't been a jackpot-winning ticket in 34 drawings, but the odds are still against you: 1 in 292.2 million.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — How does a $400 million Christmas present sound? 

The Powerball jackpot this Christmas has reached nearly half a million, with the winning numbers drawn on Dec. 25. 

It is the third time this year that the jackpot has hit at least $400 million. While that's a significant chunk of change, it still pales in comparison to the record $1.586 billion prize in 2016. 

Since Aug. 23, Powerball drawings have been held three times a week to increase interest and grow prizes more quickly. Drawings are held each Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 p.m. EDT.

While the jackpot this time is large, the chance of winning all that money remains minuscule, at one in 292.2 million (the odds of winning in general are 1 in 24.9). It's not uncommon to have months go by without a grand prize winner.

According to the Associated Press, those are about the same odds as flipping a quarter and having it land on heads 28 times.  

On Oct. 4, one person took home $699.8 million off of a winning ticket, but there have been no jackpot-winning tickets for 34 drawings since then. 

The jackpot amount refers to the payout for winners who choose the annuity option, which provides 30 payments over 29 years. Nearly all winners opt for cash, which for Saturday's drawing would be an estimated $292 million.

Either option is before tax, but both leave winners with a hefty bit of extra money. 

Powerball is played in 45 states plus Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Tickets cost $2. 

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