DES MOINES - It's all about the odds.
With four out of every five possible combinations of Powerball numbers in play, someone is almost sure to win the game's highest jackpot during Saturday night's drawing, a windfall of hundreds of millions of dollars - and that's after taxes.
The problem, of course, is those same odds just about guarantee the lucky person won't be you.
Joe Fajardo poses holding his Powerball lottery ticket after buying it at a store Saturday, in the Barrio Logan neighborhood of San Diego.
The chances of winning the estimated $600 million prize remain astronomically low: 1 in 175.2 million. That's how many different ways you can combine the numbers when you play. But lottery officials estimate about 80 percent of those possible combinations have been purchased, so now's the time to buy.
"This would be the roll to get in on," said Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich. "Of course there's no guarantee, and that's the randomness of it, and the fun of it."
That hasn't deterred people across Powerball-playing states - 43 plus Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands - from lining up at gas stations and convenience stores Saturday for their chance at striking it filthy rich.
At a mini market in the heart of Los Angeles' Chinatown, employees broke the steady stream of customers into two lines: One for Powerball ticket buyers and one for everybody else. Some people appeared to be looking for a little karma.
"We've had two winners over $10 million here over the years, so people in the neighborhood think this is the lucky store," employee Gordon Chan said as he replenished a stack of lottery tickets on a counter.
The latest jackpot is the world's second largest overall, just behind a $656 million Mega Millions jackpot in March 2012. The $600 million jackpot, which could grow before the numbers are drawn at 10:59 EDT Saturday, currently includes a $376.9 million cash option.