Why do millions of people from all over the world want to play US Powerball? For the jackpots, of course! When people dream about winning the lottery, they dream big and there just isn’t a bigger game out there than the US Powerball. For some of them, those lottery dreams have come true. Here are the biggest Powerball winners! Read their thrilling stories and find out how they managed to win the biggest jackpots in the Powerball lottery!
1. $1.6 Billion – Jan. 13th, 2016
Back in 2016, the world watched with bated breath as the Powerball jackpot climbed higher and higher, shattering previous prize records along the way. For the draw of January 13th, 2016, the first prize got to an unprecedented $1.58 billion.
So, who won the world’s biggest jackpot? There were 3 winning tickets that night and they belonged to John and Lisa Robinson of Munford, Tennessee, Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt from Melbourne Beach, Florida, and Mae and Marvin Acosta from Chino Hills, California.
John and Lisa Robinson
The Robinsons were the first Powerball jackpot winners to come forward. Only a few days after the big draw, they went live on The Today Show on NBC and they announced to the world that they won a third of the $1.58 billion jackpot.
Their share of the prize amounted to almost $530 million and they chose the lump sum payout worth $327.8 million.
Initially, the lottery winner life did not seem too tempting to them. When asked if they would move into a bigger house now that they won, the Robinsons said “These big fancy houses are nice, but you gotta clean ‘em.”
As it turns out, they eventually warmed up to the idea of lottery luxury. After two years, they moved into a 10-bedroom house worth $6.2 million, that had everything including a private lake and a home cinema.
Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt
After the Robinsons, Maureen Smith and her husband, David Kaltschmidt came forward to get their share of the prize. She was one of the oldest Powerball winners at the age of 70, but with her amazing energy, she quickly won the heart of the press.
They also decided to go with the $327.8 million cash payout on their prize, but they were not quick to splurge it away on expensive vacations and luxury items.
In fact, Mrs. Smith and her husband have actually managed to keep a normal lifestyle after winning the US Powerball.
One year later, Maureen Smith was still doing her shopping at the local Publix store. They did not move to a bigger home, but they did upgrade their cars. When asked about their plans for their Powerball jackpot, Mr. Kaltschmidt said “Instead of designing airplanes, I’m going to be doing charities and tax strategies and investments.”
Marvin and Mae Acosta
Marvin and Mae Acosta were the last winners of the $1.58 billion jackpot to come forward. Six months had passed since the January 13th draw and nobody had claimed the final third of the world biggest jackpot. People could not believe that the winners were taking so long so they started wondering if the third winning ticket was lost.
After gearing up with the best financial and legal support, the Acostas finally came forward. “We are thankful and blessed for the rare gift that has been placed in our care,” they said. They were thrilled about the win, but they did not want to do any type of publicity.
They said that they wanted to donate most of their winnings to charity, and it was important to them to stay as far from the public eye as possible.
2. $768.4 Million – Mar. 27th, 2019
The draw on March 27th, 2019 brought the second largest jackpot in the history of the US Powerball. The $768.4 million prize was won by Manuel Franco from Wisconsin, who matched all the winning numbers – 16-20-37-44-62/12.
At the age of 24, he is Powerball’s biggest winner and he couldn’t be happier. He’s been playing Powerball on a regular basis since he was 18 and it certainly paid off for him because he is also one of the youngest Powerball winners. On March 27th, Manuel had the feeling that something big was about to happen. He knew that was his lucky day, so he went and bought $10 worth of Powerball tickets.
He even looked up to the camera in the store when he did, that’s how confident he was about his lucky strike. As it turned out, he was very right about it. That night, he won the $768.4 million jackpot.
How does it feel to win that much money at once? Manuel said: “I was going insane. My heart started racing. I screamed for about 5 or 10 minutes.” The next day, he tried to go back to his routine and went to work, but realized that he doesn’t have to do that anymore. He focused on collecting his prize instead.
He got the lump sum payout for the jackpot, which was worth $477 million. This left him with $326 million after taxes. Now that he has the money, Manuel intends to keep it for a very long time. “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.” He wants to use some of it to help the world, but his top priority is securing his future.
3. $758.7 Million – Aug. 23rd, 2017
In winning Powerball’s third largest jackpot, became the largest single winner of a jackpot in history (at the time). The 53-year-old from Chicopee, Massachusetts claimed her prize the next day after the Powerball results were announced and took home a cash lump sum of $480.5 million. The first thing she did after that was to quit her job.
Wanczyk, a mother of 2, was a long-time healthcare worker in a local hospital. When asked about her immediate plans, she responded: “I just want to sit back and relax,” Wanczyk said. “I had a pipe dream, and my pipe dream has finally come true. I wanted to retire, and it came early.” Needless to say, with that kind of money in the bank, Wanczyk can spend her retirement however she pleases!
4. $731.1 Million – Jan. 20, 2021
2021 started in an amazing way with a fascinating jackpot of 731.1 Million scooped by a single ticket from Maryland on January 20.
This jackpot made history in more than ways than one: not only did it enter the Hall of Fame of Powerball’s largest jackpots, it is also the first time in history that both the US Powerball & the Mega Millions offered jackpots exceeding $700 Million in the same time!
The lucky winners of the mouth-watering prize were a pool of people from a coal-mining town in West Maryland. “The Power Pack” as they called themselves, claimed their prize only in the month of May. Moreover, they decided to remain anonymous. They do not plan to change their lifestyle, but instead want to invest to take care of their families and hope to positively affect their communities “for generations to come.”
5. $699.8 Million – Oct. 4th, 2021
After a long rollover streak and 40 sets of numbers that did not produce a big Powerball winner, the draw of October 4th, 2021 was the lucky one! The top prize had been growing since early June when a ticket sold in Florida won $286 million. A single ticket purchased in California matched all six winning numbers of the draw. Its owner(s) will be the lucky winner(s) of the nearly $700 million jackpot prize. This jackpot ranks as the 7th largest prize in the entire history of U.S. lottery and the 5th biggest for Powerball.
The winner came forward two months later. The lucky guy, Scott Godfrey from Sacramento, California decided to take the lump-sum prize amount of nearly $496 million before federal taxes. The federal tax of 24% will shave about $119 million off the top, leaving Scott Godfrey with a hefty $377 million.
“It feels great to win big, of course, but I’m especially happy that this jackpot means $78 million was raised for California public education,” Godfrey said. “Even the times I’ve played in the past and didn’t win, I always felt, well, at least a few bucks of this will be going to help schools.” Godfrey described himself and his family as private people. He said they intend to remain that way and declined any further media exposure. He also spoke about their previous involvement in charitable work throughout their lives and about their plan to scale those efforts with their new wealth.
6. $687.8 Million – Oct. 27th, 2018
Excitement built up in October 2018 as the US Powerball went on a rollover streak. When the first prize reached $687.8 million, everybody wanted a chance to scoop this enormous pot. But on the draw of October 27th, two lucky ticket-holders from New York and Iowa matched all the main numbers and the Powerball. The two winners will receive an equal share of the enormous jackpot amounting to $343.9 million.
The first of the two to come forward is Lerynne West from Redfield, Iowa. She bought her lottery ticket from Casey’s General Store. She went out with her sister to celebrate that Lerynne had bought her first home. They got pizza and coffee and then Lerynne also bought a Powerball ticket.
The $343 million ticket actually fell from her purse and it was left on the floor of her sister’s car. The next day after the Powerball draw, a friend texted Lerynne to ask how she did in the lottery. It was then when she realized that her ticket was missing and called her sister, who, luckily, found it. She sent Lerynne a photo of the ticket and she checked her Powerball numbers online. Much to her surprise, she had won the grand prize.
She opted for the lump sum payout worth $198.1 million and plans to share this amazing prize with her family and friends. She also wants to make a difference for people in need. She has set up the Callum Foundation in honor of her grandson who was born prematurely and passed away. As for her short-term plans, Lerynne wants to buy a big car for family vacations.
The second of the Powerball jackpot winners is Robert Bailey, 67, from Manhattan, New York. He is a retired federal employee and he has been playing the same numbers in the lottery for the last 25 years. He said that he usually buys Powerball tickets from four different stores, but before the Powerball draw of October 27th, Mr. Bailey bought his tickets from a Harlem deli that he went into to get out of the rain. Whether it was fate or not, it was that time that his numbers came up, all the five main numbers and the Powerball.
Mr. Bailey said that he is very happy with his jackpot and that he plans to take his time with spending it. He wants to buy a new house for his mother and make smart investments that will keep his family safe for many years to come. In case you were wondering, he also plans to keep playing his lucky lottery numbers. “I will continue to play my numbers until this train runs out”, said Robert Bailey.
7. $632.6 Million – Jan. 5th, 2022
The numbers on two tickets matched all six winning numbers of the Powerball draw held on January 5th, 2022. The two winning tickets were sold in California and Wisconsin and they will split the $632.6 million prize. The jackpot ranks as the 7th largest in Powerball history and has a cash value of $450.2 million. Each of the two winning tickets is worth an annuitized $316.3 million or $225.1 million cash prior to taxes. The identity of the ticket holders is not known yet.
8. $590.5 Million – May 18th, 2013
Gloria Mackenzie from Florida is the oldest Powerball winner. Since she was the sole winner of the huge $590.5 million Powerball, she was the biggest lottery winner in 2015. But what makes her story truly remarkable is how she managed to win the pot. While waiting in line at the grocery store, another patron was kind enough to let the 84-year old Mackenzie cut in front of her.
Mackenzie’s winning Quick Pick ticket would have therefore gone to the kind stranger who gave up her place in line, as she also purchased a Quick Pick Powerball ticket.It’s fair to say that Gloria Mackenzie was at the right place at the right time! For everyone else, why bother with long lines at the store when you can play Powerball online!
As for Mrs. Mackenzie, she went on to split her Powerball fortune with her son and she used most of her half to set up the Gloria Mackenzie Foundation. The organization is aimed to support promising projects in education. She also made a sizable donation for the restoration of the school where she worked as a teacher and where her daughter is currently employed.
9. $587.5 Million – Nov. 28th, 2012
The $587.5 million jackpot was won by two players from Arizona and Missouri. The first to come forward was Matthew Good from Pheonix, Arizona. He said he purchased his lucky ticket in a food store and it ended up bringing him half of this enormous Powerball prize. Mr. Good chose the lump-sum payout for his share of the prize, which amounted to a whopping $192 million after the due taxes were paid out.
The owners of the second part of the jackpot were Cindy and Mark Hill of Missouri. They attended the press conference for their Powerball win with their three sons and their 6-year-old daughter, whom they adopted from China. They also opted for the cash payout on their share of the jackpot and cashed in $192 million.
10. $564 Million – Feb. 11th, 2015
There were three Powerball winners for the huge $564 million jackpot of February 2015 – Marie Holmes from North Carolina, Andrew Weber, who claimed it on behalf of a trust in Texas, and an anonymous player in Puerto Rico. Ms. Holmes became the most talked-about of the three winners. A mother of three, she was juggling two jobs trying to make ends meet before her Powerball ticket cashed in.
While her financial problems disappeared overnight, her personal life went on to be a rather tumultuous one. She made headlines for continuously bailing out her drug-dealing boyfriend, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. The last we heard, she was seeking help to turn her life around and come to terms with her incredible wealth. We wish her the best of luck!
11. $559.7 Million – Jan. 6th, 2018
2018 started out strong for the US Powerball. On January 6th, a huge jackpot worth $559.7 million was scooped in New Hampshire. After a while, there was news of a winner, but she wanted to keep her identity private. The state of New Hampshire does not permit lottery winners to claim their prizes anonymously, so the woman began formal proceedings asking to stay hidden from the public eye. The case made it all the way to the Supreme Court and, luckily for her, the ruling was in her favor.
She was eventually permitted to claim the full prize through a trust. The Good Karma Family 2018 Nominee Trust claimed the $559.7 million jackpot and chose the lump sum payout netting $352 million. The New Hampshire winner said she wanted to use their Powerball windfall to make the world a better place. Soon after she received the prize, she made a $150,000 donation to the Girls Inc. foundation from New Hampshire and a $100,000 donation to the End 68 Hours of Hunger foundation.
12. $487 Million – Jul. 30th, 2016
There was one winning ticket sold in New Hampshire for the $487 million jackpot of July 30th, 2016. The prize was eventually claimed by a family who wanted to stay away from the public eye. When their team of lawyers collected the prize, they said: “There couldn’t have been two better people or a better family to win this money.”
As for their plans for the jackpot, the lawyers said that they intended to use it to make good things. The first thing they did with their lottery money was to donate $100,000 to the End 68 Hours of Hunger foundation.
13. $448.4 Million – Aug. 7th, 2013
There were three winning tickets for the big $448.4 million Powerball jackpot of August 7th, 2013. The winners were a project engineer from Minnesota, a 70-year-old man in New Jersey, and the famous Ocean’s 16 syndicate.
The best-known of the three are the Ocean’s 16, a group of 16 public employees of the Ocean County, New Jersey Department of Transportation who played Powerball as a syndicate and changed their lives. To this day, they are some of the biggest Powerball syndicate winners and their story is truly one to remember.
Many of the syndicate members were victims of Superstorm Sandy and the Powerball jackpot gave them a second chance at life.
The Ocean’s 16 syndicate took their share of the prize as a cash lump sum and walked away with $86 million.
The top Powerball winners have won staggering amounts of money. Reading these incredible stories, it’s easy to daydream about the good life of a Powerball jackpot winner. Daydreams are definitely nice, but there’s something you can do to make your dreams come true: play Powerball online today!
Powerball Winners FAQ
The largest Powerball jackpot ever won was the $1.58 billion prize won back in January 2016. This was the first time a lottery prize ever passed the $1 billion threshold.
The biggest Powerball winner of all times is Manuel Franco from Wisconsin, who won $768.4 million on March 27th, 2019. He won the second largest jackpot in Powerball history, but he had the sole winning ticket for the prize, which made him the bigger winner.
Yes, Powerball’s $1.58 billion jackpot of January 2016 holds the record for the biggest lottery jackpot. To this day, it is the largest prize ever awarded in the lottery.