Powerball Quick Pick vs Own Numbers

When you fill in a Powerball playslip, there are two ways you can choose your numbers: you can either pick your own or you can opt for a Quick Pick. Both options are pretty simple, but a Powerball Quick Pick is the fastest way to play, as the store’s lottery terminal will randomly select your numbers for you. There is a common misconception that the odds of winning differ depending on whether you choose your own numbers or go for a Quick Pick. That is not true; your chances of winning are exactly the same in both cases.

Quick Picks

To play a Quick Pick, you just have to select the option on your playslip instead of marking the numbers you want to play. After you’ve done that, just hand the slip to the cashier and they will take it from there. In some cases you can just ask the cashier directly for a Quick Pick for a specific draw and they will do the rest. A random number generator inside the lottery terminal will then produce five main numbers between 1 and 69 and a Powerball between 1 and 26, and these numbers will be printed on your ticket. Here are the pros and cons of using Quick Picks:

Pros
  • Quick Picks offer the fastest way to play in-store, as you don’t even need to fill out a playslip. You can just ask the cashier for a Quick Pick entry.
  • While the odds of winning are the same as choosing your own numbers, there is more chance you won’t have to share the jackpot if you win it, as your numbers will be completely random and not based on commonly used selections and patterns.
  • Players who use the same numbers every week may feel like they’ve missed out if they don’t enter a particular draw and their numbers come up. There is no chance of this happening with a Quick Pick, as your numbers will be different every time.
Cons
  • You have no input into which numbers are selected, as they are picked at random. This means that you cannot select your line using Powerball statistics or meaningful numbers or patterns.
  • Checking whether you’ve won on a Quick Pick can take a bit longer compared to playing your own numbers, as you’re less likely to remember a completely random line so will need your ticket to hand.
  • You have to stick with the first line of numbers you are given. You cannot return Powerball tickets once they are printed, so if you do not like the numbers you are given, you cannot change them.

Selecting Your Own Numbers

This is the traditional way of playing the lottery, where you mark the numbers you want to enter on a Powerball playslip and then hand that to the cashier to print your ticket. See the pros and cons of choosing your own numbers below:

Pros
  • You have complete control over your entry, so you can pick your numbers using any method you want. Whether you use important dates, certain patterns, or you base your selection on statistics from previous draws, it is all up to you.
  • Playing your own numbers on a regular basis makes it easier to check whether you’ve won, as it is likely that you will be able to remember your numbers soon after you start playing.
  • You have more flexibility when it comes to entering multiple draws. If you want to play for several weeks in advance, you can choose the same numbers for each draw, different ones every time, or a mixture of both. With Quick Picks you will usually have to use the same numbers for every draw.
Cons
  • It takes longer. During busy periods, particularly when the jackpot approaches record amounts, you may have to first queue to fill in a playslip and then queue again to purchase your ticket.
  • There is more chance that you will have to share a jackpot if you use common numbers or patterns. For example, many players use birthdays or other important dates, which restricts the pool of numbers to between 1 and 31. While your odds of winning remain the same, the chances that someone else has chosen the same line are greater.
  • There is margin for error when filling out a playslip. It can be easy to mark a wrong number or forget to mark the Power Play box, and once your ticket is printed, you are not entitled to a refund.

Odds of Winning

Around 70 to 80 percent of Powerball players use Quick Pick tickets, and the same percentage of winning entries are Quick Picks. This shows that regardless of whether players choose to select their own numbers or not, the odds of winning remain the same. Whether you include meaningful numbers on your Powerball ticket or leave it all to chance with a random entry, your odds of hitting the jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338, with the chances of winning a prize in any category set at 1 in 25.

It is also worth noting that the cost of entry remains the same whether you choose your own numbers or opt for a Quick Pick, and in both instances you can add Power Play to your ticket.