SAN LORENZO, Calif. (KGO) --Oh what $2 can buy! Americans keep buying Powerball tickets, hoping to win the largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, $800 million and growing. Lottery officials are keeping a close eye on ticket sales and say they will adjust the jackpot accordingly. So we're looking at the potential for even bigger numbers Saturday. Could it go to $900 million?
It's Powerball frenzy across the Bay Area. Lines stretched out the door at Kavanagh Liquors #1 in San Lorenzo. Kavanagh has sold five lottery tickets worth $1 million in the past.
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"We're all optimistic that any one of us could win, at any time, with any number," said Fremont resident Beth Stutzman. "And, why not me?"
Stutzman organizes an office pool every week and says her colleagues have a plan if they were to win.
"First thing we do is put the winning ticket in a security box at the bank, and then we get a lawyer," she said.
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In San Lorenzo, the parking lot outside of Kavanagh was packed.
"Eight hundred million is a long shot," said Hayward resident Tawana Flourney. "But hey, you don't know if you don't try!"
Flourney waited in line for nearly 30 minutes to buy tickets.
"I was like, lord this is a long line," she said. "So I bought them out of the machine. I don't think everybody knows that you can get the same tickets out of the machine as you do when you stand in line and wait to get to the man at the counter."
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Statisticians say the chances of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292,000,000.
"If every time you drive a mile you buy one Powerball ticket, you'll have to drive an average distance of 611 roundtrips to the moon before you win the jackpot," said statistician Michael Orkin, Ph.D.
In California, Powerball tickets are being sold at the rate of 3 million per hour.
Despite the odds, these players don't seem to mind.
"Everybody's trying to win," said Oakland resident Ed Flenaugh. "We got bills to pay. These bills, they don't vacation."
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For others, it's a sentimental shot at the big prize.
"Today is actually the anniversary of my dad's death, and he would've had me here if he was still alive," said Hayward resident Jennifer McGriff.
A little bit of hope and optimism in the New Year; all of them wanting a piece of the largest jackpot in Powerball history.
The deadline to buy a Powerball ticket is 7 p.m. Saturday.
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