The US Powerball has made countless millionaires over the years, but some of them have made their way into the lottery’s hall of fame. Their stories will show you how much of a difference a lottery ticket can make.
The winners we are going to tell you about were all regular people before they put in their lucky tickets, but then, they became millionaires or even billionaires. Playing Powerball has changed their lives overnight!
For some of them, it took a lot of perseverance and for a few others, it took being in the right place at the right time. However, all those lucky winners have something in common, they bought a Powerball ticket! Find out who are the biggest Powerball winners of all time!
1. $2.04 Billion – November 7th, 2022
After 41 rollovers, the Powerball offered a new world record amount on November 7, 2022: $2.04 Billion! It was the very first time any lottery in the world offered a jackpot that reached $2 billion! To this day, no other lottery has managed to break this amazing record.
In February 2023, just over 3 months after the historic draw took place, the winner, Edwin Castro from California, came forward to collect his prize.
Having chosen the lump sum option, he walked away with $997.6 million. The lucky ticket was bought at Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, California. For selling the winning ticket, the shop received a $1 million bonus.
Mr. Castro released a statement, in which he said that he was elated not only with his win but also with the fact that as a result of the jackpot, the public education system of California received $156.3 million from the California Lottery.
2. 1.765 Billion – Oct. 11th, 2023
2023 offered 2 consecutive Powerball wins that exceeded $1 billion! After 35 draws without a winner, a player from California finally scooped the Powerball jackpot as it had reached $1.765 billion on October 11, 2023.
The winner has a choice between taking the lump sum payment of $774.1 million and the Cash option.
3. $1.58 Billion – January 6th, 2016
The US Powerball was the first lottery in history to exceed the $1 billion threshold for a jackpot. As the jackpot got bigger back at the end of 2015, more and more people wanted to play Powerball for a chance to take home what was known as the biggest jackpot of all time. Then, on January 6, 2016, the Powerball first prize reached an unbelievable $1.58 billion. There were 3 winning tickets for the enormous pot, from Tennessee, Florida, and California and everybody was curious to find out who the big Powerball winners were.
Lisa and John Robinson
The first of the three winners to come forward were Lisa and John Robinson from Tennessee. They came forward to claim their third of the Powerball jackpot just a few days after the draw and they did so in style. They made an appearance on The Today Show, where they told their story to the entire world.
They said they wanted to keep a normal lifestyle even after winning $526.6 million.
They also declared wanting to keep their jobs and the desire to continue living in their home. “These big fancy houses are nice, but you gotta clean ‘em.”, said John. However, keeping a low profile was not as easy as they thought it would be.
Lisa went back to work the very next day after claiming the jackpot, but, sadly, she was not received well. Two years after their Powerball win, the Robinsons did move to a new home, a $6.2 million 10-bedroom house complete with a private lake and a home cinema. Aside from their home upgrade, the Robinsons have been laying low since becoming Powerball winners.
Maureen Smith and David Klatschmidt
The second couple to claim their share were Maureen Smith and David Klatschmidt from Melbourne Beach, Florida. They chose the lump sum payout on their share of the jackpot, which netted $327.8 million. They were so shocked by this enormous win that they kept it a secret until they got in touch with a lawyer to help them through the prize-collecting process.
They claimed the money as the “Nickel 95″ Trust and they said they want to take their time with planning out how to spend their lottery fortune. “It’s going to change my day-to-day life. Instead of designing airplanes, I’m going to be doing, you know, charities and tax strategies and investments,” said David Kaltschmidt.
A few years later, some pictures of the couple appeared in the media. Even with their Powerball millions in the bank, they were still shopping at Costco. Their splurging was limited to buying a $90,000 Tesla and an SUV. They were among the few Powerball winners who actually managed to stick to a regular lifestyle after such a large lottery win.
Marvin and Mae Acosta
While the first two claimants of the $1.58 billion jackpot came forward very early on, the Powerball winners of the third winning ticket took their time. It took over 6 months for them to actually come forward, and people were starting to wonder if they ever would.
Marvin and Mae Acosta wanted to get solid financial and legal backup before claiming their share of the jackpot and they waited until they felt comfortable to do so.
They also chose the $327.8 million cash payout for their prize. They decided to stay away from the limelight as well.
“We are thankful and blessed for the rare gift that has been placed in our care,” said the Acostas. They did not do any publicity and they chose to remain anonymous. They said that they want most of their money to go to charities. A few years later, they started a foundation, which led to a string of internet scams and people asking for money in their name.
4. $ 1.08 Billion – July 19, 2023
An other Powerball winner scooped one of the biggest Powerball jackpots on July 19, 2023. He won $1.08 billion with the numbers: 07-10-11-13-24/24! The Californian winner is the only one that guessed right all numbers and entered the very restricted club of the lottery winners that won over $1 Billion. It was also the second time in less than a year that a $1 Billion Powerball ticket was sold in the Los Angeles County.
The lucky winner has not come forward yet, but we know he purchased his winning ticket at the Las Palmitas Mini Market in downtown Los Angeles. The jackpot even exceeded its previous estimate of $1 billion due to high ticket sales at the last minute.
5. $768.4 Million – March 27th, 2019
At the beginning of 2019, the US Powerball had another streak of rollovers and the jackpot surged to a whopping $768.4 million for the draw of March 27. A very lucky ticket holder from Wisconsin scooped this enormous jackpot single-handedly, which makes him Powerball royalty.
The jackpot was won by 24-year-old Manuel Franco from Wisconsin.
Manuel played Powerball for years before scooping the jackpot. He started on his 18th birthday and continued faithfully throughout the years. But on March 27,2019 Manuel felt that his day had come. He didn’t dream of the winning numbers, he didn’t have any visions, he just felt extremely lucky.
He bought $10 worth of Powerball tickets from a Speedway store and that was it. He became a multimillionaire that night and he has every intention of staying that way. “I’m sure you’ll never see me as like one of the people who went bankrupt or broke or anything like that. I plan to live my life normal as much as possible”, said Manuel Franco.
He took home the lump sum payout on his jackpot, worth $477 million and $326 million after taxes. He also hired a team of financial advisers to help him preserve his fortune “for years to come”. But before any more major changes, Manuel said “I want to take a break, let it sink in.”
6. $758.7 Million – August 23rd, 2017
Back in 2017, Mavis Wanczyk of Massachusetts made all the headlines when she won $758.7 million all on her own on August 23, 2017. At the time, she became the biggest Powerball winner but also the world’s biggest lottery winner on a single ticket.
Mavis was 53 years old when she scooped her huge jackpot.
She had been working for many years as a healthcare worker in a local hospital, but as soon as she found out she won the Powerball, she called the Mercy Medical Center and told them “I will not be coming back.”
“I had a pipe dream, and my pipe dream has finally come true. I wanted to retire, and it came early.”, said Mavis. Her main plan for the lottery life was to “sit back and relax”. Mavis chose the lump sum payout on her jackpot worth $477 million and as far as we can tell, she is enjoying it quietly. While she did come forward publicly to claim the jackpot, she has not made any headlines about her lottery life since.
7. $754.6 Million – February 6th, 2023
A numerical coincidence is what prompted this lucky Powerball winner to buy her winning ticket! Indeed, Becky Bell, from Auburn – Washington was a longtime supply chain analyst for The Boeing Company. The then-estimated jackpot was $747 million which seemed a good omen for Becky. She purchased an extra ticket which ended up making her a new multi-millionaire.
However, she didn’t realize right away she had won, as she put it, she “never won more than $20 in her life,”.
When she checked the Powerball results and realized that her numbers were matching the winning ones (05-11-22-23-69/07), she called her children, sisters, and mother to double-check she wasn’t mistaken.
She chose the cash option of $407.2 million.
8. $731.1 Million – January 20th, 2021
A single ticket purchased in the state of Maryland matched all six winning numbers of the draw held on Wednesday, January 20, 2021.
After 4 whole months without a big Powerball winner, the lottery delivered the fourth-largest jackpot in its history (at the time!). The final amount climbed to an estimated $731.1 million with a cash option of $546.8 million.
The lucky ticket holders became the biggest Powerball syndicate winners. The members of this syndicate were coming from a coal-mining town in West Maryland. They called themselves “The Power Pack” and claimed their prize anonymously. They chose the $546.8 million lump sum, which translated into about $366.6 million after federal and state taxes.
9. $699.8 Million – October 4th, 2021
After 40 draws without a jackpot Powerball winner, a single ticket sold in California made its owner very happy and very rich. More precisely, nearly $700 million richer.
The winning ticket was sold at a grocery store in Morro Bay, located along the state’s central coast.
The winner came forward two months later and decided to take the cash option worth $496 million before taxes. After federal taxes were paid, the remaining amount was $377 million.
10. $687.8 Million – October 27th, 2018
Before the rollover streak that led to the $768 million jackpot of 2019, the US Powerball had yet another huge jackpot on October 27, 2018. The first prize reached a whopping $687.8 million and it was won that night by two ticket-holders from Iowa and New York.
The first of the two jackpot winners to claim the prize was Lerynne West from Redfield, Iowa.
She came with her entire family to get the prize money and she happily announced that she would share this jackpot with her friends and family.
She chose the lump sum payout for her prize, which was worth $198.1 million.
Mrs. West also said she would set up the Callum Foundation to honor her late grandson, who was born prematurely.
The second jackpot winner to come forward is Robert Bailey from Harlem, New York. The retired federal employee said that he has been playing the same numbers in the lottery for the past 25 years.
He usually buys his tickets from 4 different stores, but this time, it was fated that Mr. Bailey stepped into a deli to get out of the rain.
That deli seems to have been his lucky charm because it was that ticket that brought him his half of the $687.8 million jackpot and made him one of the biggest Powerball winners.
As you can imagine, Mr. Bailey was thrilled about his win and he plans to take his time and enjoy spending it with his family. He wanted to buy a new house for his mother and use his new found wealth to make sound investments that would keep his family safe for years to come. As for his lottery habit, he had no plans of letting it go. “I will continue to play my numbers until this train runs out”, he said.
11. $632.6 Million – January 15th, 2022
Two Powerball tickets, one sold in California and one sold in Wisconsin matched the winning numbers of the draw on Wednesday, January 15, 2022. The winners split the $632.6 million jackpot, the 7th largest in the history of this American lottery at the moment of the win.
Tammy & Cliff Webster
The ticket purchased in Oneida – Wisconsin, brought $316.3 million ($153.9 million, after taxes, with the Cash option) to a Native American couple: Tammy & Cliff Webster.
Cliff said: “I got up the day after the draw. I started getting ready to go to work. I had my coffee, watched the news that said they had two Powerball winners. I felt all sad and they said they had one in California and one in Wisconsin. Do you know how many people play in Wisconsin? What were our chances of winning? I pulled out our ticket and started comparing numbers. I noticed that my second number matched, there were numbers that matched! I couldn’t believe it!”
Orlando Zavala Lozano
Orlando Zavala Lozano is the second Powerball winner of January 5, 2022. He too, chose the Cash option, which brought him $225.1 million after taxes.
He said he only bought one ticket, with no Power Play option, at a 7-Eleven in Sacramento. In fact, the store in question received a $1 million bonus for selling a winning ticket.
12. $590.5 Million – May 18th, 2013
In May 2013, Gloria Mackenzie from Zephyrhills, Florida made lottery history when she singlehandedly claimed a Powerball jackpot worth $590 million. At the time, this was the largest prize that anybody had ever claimed on a single lottery ticket. This was before Mavis Wanczyk, Manuel Franco or Edwin Castro…
The story of her win makes you think that some things are simply meant to be. Mrs. Mackenzie went to get her ticket at a Publix supermarket. As she was waiting in line, a kind lady offered to let her go ahead of her. Mrs. Makenzie bought her Quick Pick entry, and the lady bought one as well after her. It was this good deed that earned Gloria MacKenzie her fortune and that cost the good Samaritan hers. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time, it seems.
Two weeks after the Powerball draw of May 18, 2013, Gloria Mackenzie came forward to collect her jackpot accompanied by her son, Scott. She chose the lump sum payout for her winnings, worth $278 million after the due taxes were paid out.
Half of the money went to her son, and with her half, Mrs. Mackenzie set up a charitable foundation aimed to support projects for education development. She donated an impressive amount to the Florida school where she used to work and where her daughter teaches.
In 2019, however, Mrs. Makenzie has filed a lawsuit against her son, claiming that he has made poor investments with her lottery money. She has granted him power of attorney over her half of the jackpot, which he has invested in several affairs that have ended up costing his mother more money than they have made for her.
13. $587.5 Million – November 28th, 2012
On November 28th, 2012, the Powerball lottery had an enormous jackpot up in the running. At $587.5 million, it was its largest at the time. The first prize was won that evening and there were two winning tickets to claim it.
The first one belonged to Matthew Good from Phoenix, Arizona. He came forward to collect his half of the prize. He decided that having his name made public was all the exposure he would allow. He declined to participate in a press conference and he said he would like to remain anonymous further on. He chose the lump sum payout on his Powerball money, worth $192 million before taxes.
The second half of the Powerball jackpot was collected by Cindy and Mark Hill from Missouri. The Hills did participate to the press conference and they came with their entire family, including their adopted children. They also opted for the $192 million lump sum payout on their money. Their greatest plan for their Powerball jackpot was to use it to provide for their entire family and to give back to their local community.
14. $564 Million – February 11th, 2015
In February 2015, the Powerball jackpot reached $564 million and it was won by three ticket-holders: Marie Holmes from North Carolina, Andrew Weber from Texas, and an anonymous player in Puerto Rico.
While the Texas and Puerto Rico winners chose to stay as far from publicity as possible, Marie Holmes eventually made a lot of headlines with her Powerball winner’s stories.
Winning the US Powerball changed her life and it put an end to the days when she had to juggle multiple jobs to be able to provide for her three children.
Her personal life, however, did not head towards a leaner path. Several stories about her and her boyfriend broke out. Ms. Homes spent a lot of money bailing him out of jail for charges of drug dealing.
15. $559.7 Million – January 6th, 2018
On January 6, 2018, a woman from New Hampshire won $557.7 million in the US Powerball. While her ticket was cleared, she had a very important issue with claiming her lottery money. The woman wanted to remain anonymous in spite of state laws stating that the names and addresses of lottery winners are public information and, therefore, must be made available to the general public.
Jane Doe of New Hampshire took the matter to court and after a lengthy process, the Supreme Court ruled that she could claim her winnings through a trust and remain anonymous. This case raised awareness about the limited options that lotto winners have in terms of public exposure.
She got her Powerball prize via the Good Karma Family Trust and chose the lump sum payout worth $352 million. She said she wanted to use the prize money to do good and as soon as she got it, she started making donations. The first was of $150,000 to Girs Inc. and the second was of $100,000 to the End 68 Hours of Hunger association.
16. $487 Million – July 30th, 2016
A family Powerball syndicate from New Hampshire claimed an enormous $487 million jackpot on July 30, 2016. They wanted to remain anonymous after their win and luckily for them, New Hampshire is one of the states where lottery winners can claim their prizes through trusts.
Since they wrote this on the lottery ticket when they signed it off (as opposed to Jane Doe, the winner of the $557.7 million pot, who did not), the process was simple and their lawyers could get a hold of their Powerball money easily enough.
“There couldn’t have been two better people or a better family to win this money,” their attorney, William Shaheen, said. “They’re going to do great things with it.” They made a $100,000 donation to the End 68 Hours of Hunger foundation soon after their win and then, they continued to invest.
These are the amazing stories of the biggest Powerball jackpot winners. They have managed to beat the considerable Powerball odds and they took home the first prize in the world’s biggest lottery. They are the best proof that all it takes to win the lottery is putting in a ticket and having a bit of faith! What about you? Are you ready for the upcoming draw? Get your Powerball entries today and you could be the next big Powerball winner!
Powerball Winners FAQ
Edwin Castro is the biggest Powerball winner. He scooped $2.04 Billion on November 7, 2022.
Different states have different rules on whether winners can keep their identity secret or not. Some states require few informations made public: the winner’s name, where they live, what game they won and how much they won. Some states let winners use a trust to claim their prize, which can help them hide their identity from the public. However, no matter how you claim your winnings, the lottery needs to know who bought the winning ticket to make sure you are allowed to play and to follow other legal requirements.