For Jay Silverstein, investing $20 to play in Wednesday's Powerball drawing means the possibility of winning the $425 million jackpot and finally retiring after working for several decades.
"It's a couple of dollars and a dream," said watch engineer Silverstein, 71, of Farmingdale, who said his plan, should he win, is to buy a villa in Costa Rica and hire a chef. "That's all it comes down to."
Lottery officials said the top prize for the Powerball drawing will be a record $425 million or more, after no one won the $325 million jackpot Saturday.
The Powerball numbers for Saturday were 22-32-37-44-50, and the Powerball was 34. That was the fourth-largest jackpot in the game's history. But Wednesday's drawing will now be the biggest one ever for the game.
"It's a big jackpot," said bartender Gary Hertzberg, 37, of Holbrook, adding that he plans to buy a few tickets before the next drawing. "Plus, I hope to get back my $10 I lost from playing last week."
Lottery officials said the Wednesday total could go even higher than the estimated $425 million because sales tend to pick up before record drawings as people seek to win big.
"You got to be in it to win it," said Mary Burns, 53, of Melville, adding that if she won she would reconstruct homes for superstorm Sandy victims and take a trip to South Africa. "It's a chance."
A winner from Wednesday's drawing could choose a lump sum of $278.3 million or annuity payments for $425 million over 29 years after initial payment, said New York Lottery spokeswoman Carolyn Hapeman.
There were three New York second prize winners from Saturday night's drawing for matching the first five numbers, Hapeman said. One was a $2 million Powerball Power Play winning ticket bought at a 7-Eleven on 125 Crooked Hill Road in Brentwood. Two $1 million prizes were purchased in Manhattan -- one at a newsstand at 206 Varick St. and another at the International News and Magazine on 302 E. 86th St.
"Every penny helps in a small store," said Gary Dhindsa, owner of One Stop Cards & Convenience store on Main Street in Farmingdale, who welcomes the 6 percent return on each ticket sold, adding that lottery tickets make up more than 75 percent of his business.
The prior record for a Powerball top prize was $365 million, won in 2006 by eight workers from ConAgra Foods in Lincoln, Neb. In March, Mega Millions had a jackpot of $656 million.