How to Play Mega Millions Lottery? 5 Steps for Beginners

We’ve all seen the incredible winnings that happen on the Mega Millions Lottery. Are you one of the many lotto players who have a fleeting thought of what it must be like to win that type of money? It’s possible, but there’s one thing that the Mega Millions Lottery has in common with other lottery games—if you want to stand a chance of winning it, you need to play the game.

If you’ve never played Mega Millions, you might be wondering what you need to do to get in the action. If that’s you, then this post is for you. Keep reading as we take a look at a few tried and tested steps that will have beginners playing Mega Millions like pros in no time! It may just increase your chances of winning.

What is The Mega Millions Lottery?

Mega Millions is a well-known US state lottery that has gained a lot of popularity since it was founded in 2002. This game replaced the Big Game lottery. It’s similar to Powerball in that it’s a big jackpot game that features enormous lotto prize winnings that range from hundreds of thousands to billions of dollars.

Since the founders of Mega Millions continuously strive to replace Powerball as America’s Favorite Lottery Game, the new game format has increased its jackpot odds by 40%.

Five Easy Steps to Play the Mega Millions Lottery

The good news is that playing the Mega Millions lottery is easier than you might think. Simply follow these easy steps.

Step 1: Purchase a Ticket

A Mega Millions ticket costs $2 to play. If you want to add the megaplier, you looking at a cost of $3. Fortunately, there’s no limit to the number of tickets you can purchase at one time.

* Recommended sites to buy your first Mega Millions tickets:

When you buy your ticket, you start by choosing six numbers. The criteria for choosing these numbers include the following:

  • The six numbers you select are divided into two parts. Five main “white” numbers can range anywhere between 1-70. A gold “mega ball” number must range between 1-25.
  • When choosing numbers, you have the option of choosing your own numbers or opting for what is referred to as an “Easy Pick” ticket where the numbers are randomly selected for you.

For the most part, Mega Millions Lottery tickets can typically be bought at grocery stores, gas stations and even smaller convenience stores. Mega Millions can be played in most states and in some states you can even purchase tickets online.

Currently, the Mega Millions Lottery tickets can’t be purchased outside the United States and players must be 18 years or older to play. This may require you to show your ID at the time of buying a ticket. However, lottery sites enable people from around the world to join in on the fun by buying tickets online.

Purchase a Ticket

Step 2: Double-check Your Numbers on Game Day

The Mega Millions draw takes place every Tuesday and Friday night at 11:00 PM EST. It’s important to note that your ticket will only be valid for the first drawing after the purchase. Keep the following few pointers in mind during the drawing:

  • Always verify the winning numbers from a credible source such as a lottery app, your favorite lottery site or the official Mega Millions website.
  • Additionally, the weekly Mega Millions draws are also posted on their official YouTube channel.

Double-check Your Numbers on Game Day

Step 3: Understand What You Need to Win

If you’re going to get into the Mega Millions Lottery game, it’s important to understand how the game works. Essentially, you’ll win the weekly jackpot if your ticket matches all six of the numbers of the winning draw. There are also smaller prizes that you can win if you only have a few of the numbers that are the same.

The smaller prize amounts are all fixed while the actual jackpot isn’t. The smaller winning amounts that you could stand a chance of winning include:

  • Five main/white numbers – $1,000,000
  • Four main/white numbers and the mega ball – $10,000
  • Four main/white numbers – $500
  • Three main/white numbers and the mega ball – $200
  • Three main/white numbers – $10
  • Two main/white numbers and the mega ball – $10
  • Any main/white number and the mega ball – $4
  • The mega ball only – $2

Step 4: How do You Claim Your Winnings?

Any ticket holder whose numbers match those drawn will be a winner. In this instance, you will need to take your ticket to an authorized lottery sales agent for verification. This is the process that applies if you believe you have won any amount of money:

  • Any vendor that is authorized to sell Mega Millions Lottery tickets also has the authority to accept the winning ticket.
  • Before handing in the winning ticket, you will be required to sign your full signature on the back.
  • In instances where the prize exceeds $599, you may be required to complete an official claim form and forward it to the particular state’s lottery commission.
  • Check the date on the ticket and be sure to claim your prize before the deadline which varies between states. Always check the back of your ticket for this information.

Step 5: Review Strategies to Increase Your Odds

The more you start playing the Mega Millions Lottery, the more interested you may become in trying out the various strategies that previous winners claim to have used. Some strategies are easier than others and each one may increase or decrease your odds, depending on factors like the day – or even your horoscope. So, pick wisely.

Some of the more popular strategies include the following:

  • Buy more than one ticket – This is the oldest—and according to some—the most effective strategy. This one really works if you choose a different set of numbers for each ticket.
  • Play fewer games – This option works by opting to buy two or three tickets for two games per month rather than one ticket for each game. Playing more tickets for each game rather than a ticket per game will increase your odds of winning.
  • Mix even and odd numbers – Another effective strategy is to mix odd and even numbers. The even-to-odd ratio usually only affects the five main white balls.
  • Choose high and low numbers – Generally, two or three of the five white balls should be between 1 and 38. Choosing the others between 39 and 70 will even out your odds of winning.
  • Balance out your numbers – While you’re drawing your five main numbers, it’s a good idea to add them together and calculate their total. Here you should get a sum between 140 and 240. This strategy is based on the belief that having your numbers in this range creates a balanced game with increased odds. You might be very interested to know that about 70% of past winnings have come from balanced combinations.
  • Skip number groups – In many instances, it’s unlikely that all the number groups (0s, 10s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s) will be represented in the winning selection. With that said, many players opt for numbers that represent between three and four number groups. You can alternate these on your various tickets if you’re buying more than one ticket.
  • Ignore the urge to bet on patterns – The Mega Millions is so random that it’s very unlikely that you will encounter a perfect pattern. And if you did, it most likely wouldn’t be the winning series of numbers. The more random your numbers are, the more likely you are to win anything.
  • Create a mix of hot and cold numbers – Sometimes there are numbers that feature prominently in many draws. They’re referred to as “hot” numbers. Generally, these numbers should feature in the last six games to be considered “hot”. On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find numbers that haven’t appeared in the draw in the last six games. They are then referred to as “cold” numbers. It’s always a good idea to create a mix of these two categories because you never really know when the hot and cold scenario will change. A cold number can enter circulation just as easily as a hot number can suddenly drop out.
  • Don’t opt for strings of consecutive numbers – A simple number string such as 1,2,3,4,5 may be one of the more common strings for creating a password, however, in the Mega Millions it doesn’t work. Any set of five consecutive numbers will also not increase your odds. It’s more common for only two consecutive numbers to make an appearance.
  • Avoid identical combinations – You’d be wrong to think that trying a previous winning combination will bring you any luck. Previous winning combinations are very unlikely to reappear. This is because the chances of the same random numbers lining up exactly the same way again are very slim. It’s also more constructive to change your own number string every time you play.
  • Play the “Easy Pick” a few times – Many new players get so wrapped up in the process of trying to choose random numbers that it all starts getting a bit overwhelming. Do you choose lucky numbers? Birthdays? Totally random numbers? In this case, you can play the “Easy Pick” a couple of times until you get the hang of choosing your own random numbers. Some players opt to buy one or two tickets of random numbers as well as a few “Easy Pick” tickets. This will help you determine which process seems to work better for you. Don’t get hung up on lucky or significant numbers—they’re not the only strategy to try.


The good news is that the Mega Millions Lottery is so easy to play that anyone over 18 can give it a try. There really is no hard and fast rule about the numbers you should play, although a few guidelines exist to help you achieve what other people have had success with.

Remember, Mega Millions results are so random that anything could change with any draw. The best is to buy your tickets and start choosing strategies that you believe will offer you the most luck. You won’t know which is the best strategy if you don’t try!


How many numbers are in Mega Millions?

Mega Millions has a general number field of 70 numbers and also boasts the Mega Ball that gets drawn from a separate pool of 25 numbers. It requires you to pick five numbers out of 70 and one number out of 25 to win the Mega Millions jackpot.

Do you win anything by getting two numbers in the Mega Millions?

There may be a prize when it comes to matching one white ball with the gold mega ball. However, there is no prize for simply matching two white balls. The smallest potential prize for Mega Millions is for matching three white balls.

Do your numbers have to be in the same order as they are drawn on the day?

The good news is that your guessed numbers don’t have to be in the same order as they are drawn. In Mega Millions the order of the numbers is not important, only that the same numbers have been drawn.

How is the money paid out to anyone winning the jackpot?

Essentially, there are two ways to receive your money from winning the Mega Millions. They are listed below:

  • Cash option - You can receive your payout as a one-time, lump-sum payment that is equal to all the cash in the Mega Millions jackpot prize pool, apart from taxes that are usually payable.
  • Annuity option - Mega Millions also has an annuity that is paid out as one immediate payment followed by 29 annual payments. In this instance, each payment is 5% bigger than the previous one. Opting for this method of payment protects the winner’s lifestyle as well as their purchasing power during times of inflation.

Do you have to pay taxes on the Mega Millions winnings?

As per US law, lottery winnings have to be taxed. For the Mega Millions, the amount taxable can be as high as 40%.