Powerball fever has hit Michigan and 43 other states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands. Tickets are being purchased at record volumes, resulting in lower odds for participants, but dramatically increasing the payout. After nine straight weeks without a winner, the twice a week drawing will be worth more than $800 million Saturday night. And, that amount could go up even further.

Here are a few things to keep in mind. If you're wanting to buy a ticket or twenty for tonight's drawing, they are $2 each. Tickets must be purchased by 9:45PM Saturday for the 10:59PM drawing. The announced jackpot total of $800 million is determined by the Multi-State Lottery Association, and is based on what the association would pay out in a 30-year annuity. A single winner could elect a lump sum payment of almost $500 million before taxes. If there are multiple winners, they will split the total prize amount.

According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, the Multi-State Lottery Association changed the Powerball rules in October. White balls are now numbered 1 through 69 instead of 59; red Powerballs are now 1 through 26 instead of 35. These changes raised the stakes; odds of winning the jackpot amount are 1 in 292 million, up from 1 in 175 million. The changes were an effort to increase jackpot amounts. I'd have to say the plan succeeded.