Allmusic considered this song a standout cut. LA Times was positive: "Current radio staple “Winner” sets the template — big processed drums, creepy synths and lots of open space for Foxx’s capable runs." New York Times was positive, too: "On “Winner” there’s even some of the pseudo rapping that Justin Timberlake has been squeezing out of his system of late." PopMatters was negative: "“Winner” is another song that exists in spite of Jamie, and speaks only to the depth of his pockets. (...) The chorus of “Winner” splayed across ESPN and TNT promos for basketball games." Slant Magazine panned: "It's this kind of careless maximalism that produces junk like "Winner," a whirring waste of a Justin Timberlake appearance, a song whose basketball theme and cheesy dribble beat sound like something ripped from High School Musical." USA Today highlighted the song, positively.
The song was released on urban radio stations on April 6, 2010, and was released on May 4, 2010 to mainstream radio stations. The song debuted at #28 on the Billboard Hot 100 due to strong airplay and downloads, becoming T.I.'s, third, Timberlake's and Foxx's first "hot shot debut" on the chart.