The Chippewa Valley has Powerball fever - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

The Chippewa Valley has Powerball fever

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - The jackpot for Wednesday night's Powerball drawing is now at 550 million dollars.

"We usually handle it ourselves, but we brought an extra person in just for this," says Kwik Trip General Manager Ron Kind.

Stores bring in more staff to keep up with demand.  Powerball tickets are being sold as fast as they can be printed.  

As of 5:30 Wednesday evening, the Kwik Trip on Golf Road has sold nearly $5,000 in Powerball tickets Wednesday alone. Lottery officials predict about 130,000 tickets are being purchased every minute. But does that change your chances of winning?

It seems the nation has caught Powerball fever.

"Mostly for the fun of it, and to see if we have to go to work or not. Most of us are thinking no, we're not coming into work tomorrow," says Nancy Mikkelsen, who bought a Powerball ticket

"We've bought them before. We haven't played in a while so we thought, oh what the heck, why not," says Debbie Starich, who also bought a Powerball ticket Wednesday.

"I scheduled one other person today just to run the lottery machine, because otherwise we wouldn't be able to keep up with the orders," says Kind.

So are there any tricks to making those Powerball picks? As it turns out: no.

They say it doesn't matter whether or not you pick the numbers yourself or whether or not they're computer drawn.

Unfortunately your odds of winning won't change the higher the jackpot goes.

"It has nothing to do with the amount of the jackpot, it simply has to do with the pool of numbers in which you have to select, so it's how many ways can you pick numbers from the possibilities, well it turns out there's 175 million different ways," says Dr. Jessica Kraker, a Mathematician at UW-Eau Claire.

Which means no matter what, your odds are still the same.

But that doesn't stop many people from dreaming of winning big bucks.

"I would want to do some travelling, that would definitely be what I would want to do, so probably take a cruise, we like to do cruises, and go to places I never dreamed of," says Parris Hanson, another ticket buyer.

And it seems the Chippewa Valley is in a giving spirit this holiday season.

"I would probably spend the money on my family and I would spend the money to help the churches, my church especially, Our Saviors Lutheran Church," Hanson adds.

"Give it to charity, I'd also share, because I believe in sharing when you're wealthy," says Mikkelson.

"My wife is going to be watching the news tonight so I better say I'd give the most to her," says Powerball ticket buyer Brian Johnson.

So what happens if you do win?

"The first thing I would do is I would actually do is actually do nothing. Just kind of sit back, obviously verify that you did win before you give notice to your employer that you're not coming to work, but in all sincerity, sit back, and I would put together a team first of advisors for yourself, and kind of get that team in place and get a game plan before you go public with the fact that you won," financial advisor Andy Schlafer says.

Mathematicians say with about 190 million Powerball tickets expected to be sold before tonight's big drawing, there's about a 66 percent chance that someone in the country will win.

But again, the odds aren't good that it's going to be you or me

We'll have the winning numbers for you Wednesday night at ten on WQOW News 18.

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