Charrlene Cebrianwarned her boss at Steve's Lunch in Cross Street Market on Wednesday that she might not come into work for her next shift.
The Powerball player was just one of millions who hoped the 11 p.m. drawing would bring them the $588 million jackpot. Though the odds of winning were astronomical — one in more than 175 million — the money convinced many to join in.
The hefty jackpot jumped almost $200 million Wednesday with the increase in sales as more players bought the small sheets of paper bearing what they hoped would be the winning numbers, which turned out to be 05 16 22 23 29 with a Powerball of 06.
Winning tickets were purchased in Arizona and Missouri, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association.
Carole Everett, Maryland Lottery spokeswoman, said on one hand, she is glad the buying frenzy is over. "But it would have been cool, if the thing had rolled over again and we had a jackpot that was close to $1 billion."
A Marylander has won the second-tier prize of $2 million, she said. That winning ticket was purchased at Herb's Deli and Spirits in Edgewood.
Total one-day Powerball sales Wednesday reached $9.45 million, Everett said, not quite a record. That goes back to March when Mega Millions hit $650 million.
Everett said buyers should still check their tickets.
"There were more than 225,000 winning tickets sold in Maryland, some with $10,000 or $100 prizes," she said. "Those can be nice consolation prizes."
Powerball tickets are sold in 44 states and jurisdictions. Powerball tickets cost $2 and players are required to select five numbers from 1 to 59 and one number between 1 and 35.
Maryland had two in-state jackpot winners last year, according to the state lottery. A Pennsylvania couple bought a $128.8 million winning ticket from Wesley's in Elkton, and a Harford County couple bought their $108.8 winning ticket at Wine World in Abingdon.
Cebrian, the employee at the Cross Street Market lunch counter, said that despite the odds, she couldn't pass up the large jackpot.
If she did win, after quitting her job, she said, she would move to Texas "and relax."
Bobby DeSantis, 45, from Baltimore, stepped into the Cross Street Market to buy a ticket of his own. He said he was spending Wednesday purchasing numbers at a half-dozen different locations.
He stopped off at Santoni's grocery store before stopping at Fenwick's Choice Meats. He said he plays lottery games every day and has won smaller prizes in the past — a few thousand dollars is the most he's claimed. But he said he didn't have a ritual.
He just planned to have a couple of cold beers and stay up late (for him) to watch the drawing.
The first order of business if he wins? "Buy my own island," he said.
In Baltimore County, players were hoping luck would strike twice, after three Maryland school employees won part of a $656 million jackpot in the separate Mega Millions game in March. That winning ticket was purchased at a 7-Eleven in Milford Mill.
Ade George of Upper Marlboro, who stopped at Towson Town Center mall on Wednesday, said he has never played the lottery before, but with such a big prize, there was only one answer when his friends asked if he wanted in on their group of tickets.
"I'm in," he said.
And even though his holiday shopping is done, George admitted there would be nothing wrong with shopping for next year — especially if he had a couple hundred million dollars to his name.
Likewise, Bel Air resident Carine Golden fantasized about having $550 million to spend on Christmas gifts for her family and friends.
"It would be a lot easier for me," she said. "I could buy anything I want without checking the label."
Reuters contributed to this story.