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Nov 28, 2012 7:51 PM by Nathan O'Neal

Tucsonans bet their buck on $550 million Powerball

TUCSON - It's the biggest Powerball jackpot ever -- topping $550 million -- and while the odds aren't exactly in their favor, many Tucsonans are playing the game to think about the possibilities of how that kind of many could change their lives.

Eric Varela is just one of many playing the lottery in Tucson. He has high hopes for tonight's Powerball.

"So my arms are not that good... I think it's like 100 million something to one...but I'm that one," Varela said as he purchased two more tickets this afternoon.

So how do his odds stack up?

The chance of winning the lottery jackpot is one in 176 million.

Deborah Yoklic, an expert on statistics at Pima Community College, said stranger things are known to happen.

"The chance of being killed by a falling coconut is one in 60 million, so you have a three times greater chance of dying from a falling coconut then you have of any single ticket winning the lottery," Yoklic told News 4 Tucson.

While many people feel the urge to buy tickets whenever the jackpot gets big, experts say no matter how big the jackpot is, it doesn't make a difference.

But while the jackpot tops $550 million it also gives people a chance to dream.

"I actually bought a ticket because why not have five minutes to dream about what you would do, it's certainly fun and for two dollars that's pretty cheap entertainment," Yoklic said.

With the added interest in the jackpot, that means more tickets are being sold which increases the chances that a winner could be picked tonight.

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