Theodore Wayman has tried his hand at the Powerball jackpot in South Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky. He hasn’t won yet, but that won’t stop the North Charleston man from taking a shot at the $550 million prize up for grabs in tonight’s drawing.

The top prize is the jackpot’s largest to date.

After Saturday’s drawing did not produce a winner, lottery officials estimated that the prize would be worth a record $425 million.

That number increased to $550 million today after a boost in ticket sales, and could potentially be raised again before tonight’s cutoff, S.C. Education Lottery spokeswoman Holli Armstrong said.

“As we get closer and closer, and as word spreads, ticket sales do typically pick up,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong described ticket sales across the state as being “brisk,” but said exact numbers weren’t in Tuesday afternoon.

If he wins, Wayman said he’d donate a large sum of the money to children’s groups and charities.

“You know, just to give back. Do something positive with the money,” Wayman said.

He wasn’t alone in having a giving spirit.

While buying a lottery ticket at a Sunoco gas station in North Charleston, Vera Cohen said if she won, the first thing she would do is donate to her church.

“But not just my church, I’d give to all the local charities and things like that,” Cohen said.

“I would do that too,” one of the gas station’s clerks said with a smile, handing over a ticket.

“If I won, I’d buy every pair of Jordans (sneakers),” another clerk joked behind the counter.

While buying his ticket, Greg Springer said he hopes to pay off his mortgage.

Three men in line with him said the gamble was a waste of money.

“There’s no point,” one man laughed. “No one in this store is going to win. It’s always someone far away.”

The previous top Powerball prize of $365 million went to ConAgra Foods workers in Lincoln, Neb., in 2006.

Tickets must be purchased by 9:59 p.m. to qualify for Wednesday’s 10:59 p.m. drawing, Armstrong said.

Saturday’s numbers were 22-32-37-44-50, and the Powerball was 34.

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at

What would you do with $550 million?