It’s a long shot, but lottery players reach for $400 million Powerball jackpot

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(CNN) — Dating a supermodel. Becoming an astronaut. Simultaneously being struck by lightning and attacked by a shark.

The chance of any or all of that happening to you is probably greater than winning Wednesday night’s Powerball drawing.

Still, millions are buying up tickets, thinking more about the dream than the odds. “I do it because I have a slight chance,” said Fabrizo, a New Yorker who gave only his first name. “I think if I won, I’d quit my job for sure, even without notice.”

It’s a safe bet that Fabrizio will be at work Thursday.

Powerball fever is back in a big way, with Wednesday evening’s jackpot estimated at $400 million, with a cash value of $223 million, the Multi-State Lottery Association said.

It’s the fourth-largest lottery prize in U.S. history. The biggest in American history was $665 million in the Mega Millions game in March 2012. The greatest Powerball jackpot was the $590.5 million won with a single ticket in Florida this past May.

Powerball is played in 43 states, Washington and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Sonya Georgieva, who lives in Queens, New York, purchased her Powerball ticket Tuesday. “It’s just a little hope,” she says. “I think you have to believe you will win, and then it will happen.”

That’s one strategy. And statistically speaking, it doesn’t add up. The Multi-State Lottery Association says the odds of winning the grand prize are one in 175,223,510.

Consider that number for a moment. And then consider that you probably have a much better chance of dating someone like Kate Upton. According to the “Book of Odds,” the chances of having a romantic relationship with a supermodel are about one in 88,000.

Here are some other interesting probabilities:

From the Harvard School of Public Health:

• Dying from a bee sting: one in 6.1 million.

• Dying from a lightning strike: one in 3 million.

From U.S. Hole in One, which insures golf prizes for holes in one:

• A golfer hitting a hole in one on consecutive par-3 holes: one in about 156 million.

From a 2011 State Farm study on collisions between vehicles and deer:

• Hitting a deer with a vehicle in Hawaii, the state where State Farm says deer-vehicle collisions are least likely: one in 6,267.

From the National Weather Service:

• Being struck by lightning over an 80-year lifetime: one in 10,000.

From the Florida Museum of Natural History, based on U.S. beach injury statistics:

• Drowning and other beach-related fatalities: one in 2 million.

• Being attacked by a shark: one in 11.5 million.

Yet the lines are forming at convenience stores and shops across the country and beyond. It seems just about everybody wants to strike it rich with Powerball. But for Nick Abazi, a New York personal fitness trainer, just the thought of having all that money was simply too much to bear. “I’d probably go nuts,” he said.

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