With average jackpots reportedly above $80 million, and the potential to reach north of $500 million, Mega Millions is a big fish among noncasino-based gambling. The multistate (nine) jackpot lottery game boasts a minimum jackpot of $10 million, nine ways to win, and overall odds of 1 in 43 of winning a cash prize. Live drawings take place every Tuesday and Friday in Atlanta, Ga.

Here's how Mega Millions works: Players select five numbers between 1 and 52, plus a Gold Mega Ball number from an additional pool of numbers between 1 and 52. During the drawing, two lottery machines mix separate sets of balls between 1 and 52. The balls drop into a chamber where paddles, spinning in opposite directions, mix them. Under the watchful eye of an optical sensor, the correct number of balls passes through a sliding door and into a clear tube. Five balls are drawn from the first machine, and one Gold Mega Ball is drawn from the second. Players win if they match three, four, or all five numbers drawn. They also win if they match only the Gold Mega Ball, or one, two, three, or four numbers plus the Gold Mega Ball. Players win the jackpot if they match all five numbers and the Gold Mega Ball.

Odds of winning the jackpot? One in 135,145,920, much less than being hit once by lightning in your lifetime (1 in 685,000). But all is not lost -- you have a much better chance of taking home that jackpot than being hit by lightning twice (1 in 469,225,000,000).