TODAY | November 24, 2012
>>> across the country, many people are hoping to have something extra to be thankful for this holiday weekend, a lottery ticket worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
>> i would not say no to that. tonight's power ball jackpot stands at $325 million. as mark potter reports, that has plenty of people dreaming of winning big.
>> reporter: when power ball gets to be this big, it's the stuff of dreams and about the millions of dollars someone is about to take home and millions of people who dream they will be that lucky someone.
>> always the dream.
>> never know.
>> reporter: power ball began 20 years ago and is played in 42 states, plus the district of columbia and the virgin islands . the current jackpot of $325 million is the fourth largest in the game's history. the chances of winning it are about one in 175 million. if you do win and win it alone, here are your option in this game of numbers. you can take a one-time cash payment of nearly $213 million and pay taxes on it, or you take 30 annual payments, averaging about $11 million and pay taxes on them. most winners take the lump sum. it's not the full amount, but it's not chump change either. and it's still a fine return on a $2 ticket. the largest power ball jackpot was shared in 2006 by eight workers at a nebraska meat-packing plant. their winning ticket bought together, won a $365 million prize.
>> you never dream something like this would happen.
>> reporter: history has shown that some big money power ball winners have not fared well. big money , big problems. but few standing in line worry about that. many dream of fancy cars, yachts, big homes, vacations and the freedom of never having to work again. others are willing to share.
>> oh, i don't know. i'd give a lot to charity.
>> reporter: all are sure they will be the ones who will be just fine with all those millions. for "today," mark potter , nbc news, miami.
>> and of course, we can't stop chatting about what would you buy first, what would your first phone call be.
>> you know what my sister used to do? she was convinced she would win. my sister, for years, who is the most generous, lovely person in the world, whitney, i love you, she kept a list every time of who would get one. my in-laws made the list. you should talk to my sister.
>> so you're all in agreement up front. no questions down the red.
>> no, i know what i'm getting. it's fine. thank you.