Powerball-palooza: 1 wins $95M, 34 win $200K or $1M

Two big winners in one recent week in Michigan. (Too see more winners of giant jackpots, click "View Images" below.)

Let the counting of the cash begin.

Powerball produced a bumper crop of top winners Wednesday night by picking a bunch of low numbers.

While it didn't outdo the fortune cookie bonanza of 2005, the drawing produced more winners of at least six figures than any in more than a year.

One Arizona ticket hit the jackpot, an annuity worth $95 million.

Nine tickets won $1 million by matching the first five numbers, while also having the Power Play multiplier option.

And a whopping 25 tickets won $200,000 for having just the first five. Pennsylvania sold two of them, New Jersey one as well.

That's more 200K winners than the previous six Powerball drawings put together.

Some drawings don't produce that many winners of $20,000 to $50,000 for matching four plus the Powerball.

Still, the total falls far short of the 89 who matched the first five, winning $100,000 each, in the March 30, 2005, drawing, with another 21 also hitting the Power Play and winning $500,000.

All 110 reportedly played numbers found in fortune cookies manufactured in Queens.

This time, the likely explanation is the numbers were all low: 5, 10, 11, 12 and 20, with a Powerball of 2.

Low numbers tend to be popular, because many players like to play birthdays and simple lucky numbers.

Makes one wonder, though: How could 44 people pick the first five, but only one picked the number 2 from the choices 1 to 39 as the Powerball?

Florida sold three of the nine $1 million ticket combos, while New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Texas and Idaho each sold one.

New York produced a dozen of the $200,000 winners, while North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Colorado and Nebraska each had one.

New York's unusual cluster could have several explanations - one player playing those five numbers, with various Powerballs, for example.

Or maybe a local fortune cookie?

For more information, go to www.powerball.com.

Mega Millions. Friday's Mega Millions will be worth $62 million for the annuity, $41.3 for the cash, because no one matched all the numbers drawn Tuesday night: 11, 16, 19, 47 and 53, with a Mega Ball of 2.

Tickets sold in New York and Maryland each won $250,000 for matching the first five, while two such California were worth $184,941 under the state's pari-mutuel system. For more, go to www.megamillions.com.

Powerball and Mega Millions are both sold in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and about three dozen other states.

See also www.philly.com/philly/news/lottery.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.