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Compared to winning the Powerball lottery, what are the chances of other things happening?

Updated Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 | 11:58 a.m.

The odds of winning the estimated $550 million Powerball jackpot are long. Really long. One in 175,223,510, to be exact. So how does that compare with other occurrences? Here's a look.

    • Hitting a 00 in roulette

      There’s a 1 in 38 chance your number will come up by betting 00. Of course, the payout isn’t going to be as big as the lottery jackpot. But you’re likely to be able to play longer and have more fun. It’s one of the easiest games to understand in a casino.

    • Winning a progressive slot jackpot

      Want a chance at winning a lottery-sized jackpot with better odds? Play a wide-area progressive slot, such as Money Vault. Odds are a mere 1 in 25 million for those playing in Nevada. A U.S. Marine recently hit a $2.8 million jackpot on that machine at the Bellagio.

    • Picking a perfect NCAA bracket

      Welcome to the exception on this list — the item with odds far longer than winning Mega Millions. Nailing a bracket is practically impossible.Picking all winners in the first two rounds of the college playoffs alone carries odds of 13.46 million to 1.

    • Getting hit by lightning

      According to the National Lightning Safety Institute, there's a 1 in 280,000 chance of being struck by lightning.

    • Hitting a royal flush in video poker

      Dream small. Hitting a royal flush is video poker is something you've actually got a shot at. The odds are still long — the Wizard of Odds website puts it at once every every 40,387 plays on a full-pay jacks-or-better machine — but not insurmountable.

    • Being attacked by a shark

      According to the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida, the odds of being attacked by a shark is 1 in 11.5 million. That's based on 2000 data from U.S. East and West Coast beaches. You're actually more likely to drown at the beach — a 1 in 3.5 million chance.

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