How Does Progressive Slots Machines Work?

Winning progressive Jackpot

When people want to win a jackpot that is really big at a casino, they may think that the progressive slots machines are their best option. The progressive slot machines advertise jackpots that can be millions of dollars. Even the smaller jackpots can easily be $100,000 or more.

It is a good payout for a bet that is not really that big. The problem is that many people think that it is simple to play a progressive machine and win the big jackpot. Before they do that and put a bunch of money into a progressive slot machine, it may be better to learn how the machines work and what they have to do to win the big jackpot.

How the Jackpots Build?

How do Jackpots build
Progressive jackpots grow when people play the machine.

Progressive slots machines are not very different for the other slot machines found at the casinos. They can be 3 reel, 5 reel or video slot machines.

Most progressive machines will let the players know that they are this type and will have some type of display that shows what the progressive jackpot is. The player will notice that the jackpot always seems to be growing, even if they are not playing the machine.

Progressive jackpots grow when people play the machine. The way they grow quickly is because they are tied to machines in the same casino or in other casinos. The more machines that are tied into a jackpot, the faster it will grow.

Most progressive slots jackpots have to reach a minimum amount before they will payout. It is also common for the machines to have a maximum amount that when they reach means they will pay the jackpot fairly soon. It is very difficult to find out what these numbers actually are and even if a machine is at or above the maximum, there is no guarantee about when it will finally pay out.

Types of Progressive Slots

There are three types of progressive slots games that can be found at casinos

  • Standalone Progressives: Here the slot game has a jackpot ticker on the game, but only bets placed on that specific game  feed the jackpot. Most of such progressive slot games feature multiple machines that are linked together. These slots are generally found at real land casinos and the jackpot on the games will be under $10,000.
  • Local Progressives: These progressive slots games feature jackpots within a specific casino that are linked. Here the jackpots available on these games are under $1,000,000, or under $100,000.
  • Wide Area Network Progressives: These progressive slots are most popular at casinos and are linked to multiple casinos in the same zone there by increasing the jackpot amount to over $1 million or even $10 million. One good example of this type of progressive slot is Megabucks from IGT.

How do you win?

As important as it is to know how the progressive slot machines work, most people would rather know how to win the big jackpot. There are several things that a player has to do if they want a chance to win the jackpot.

  • Learn what it takes to win the jackpot – Progressive machines have different ways to pay out the big jackpot. Some pay out completely at random. If the person is playing the machine at the time when the jackpot hits, they will win. It does not matter what happened when they spun the wheels of their slot, the jackpot will be paid out win or lose.
  • Check the bets – One of the reasons that many people never have a chance to win the progressive jackpot is because they do not bet enough. It is very common to have to place a maximum bet to even have a chance. Make sure to check this before trying to win the jackpot.

The Optimal Strategy

If you are looking for any optimal strategy for progressive jackpot games then the straight forward answer is you won’t find many strategies for progressive games. Like for slots games there are no winning strategy or betting system which you can use to win over.

So if still interested to know an optimal strategy to play and win progressive jackpot game then keep on reading below.

  • Bet it. That’s right. You need to bet to win the jackpot. You must have heard that players hitting the magic combination, only to find out they only paid 1 or 4 credits, when the jackpot required was 5. So there’s one strategy that you can use to figure out the best time to play a progressive machine. But there’s a fair amount of math involved, and it’ll depend on the game you’re playing.
  • You need to figure out the breakeven point – the intersection of where there’s enough money in the jackpot relative to the odds of you hitting the winning combination. It’s at this point you’ll be at an advantage every bet you make. Every bet you make is profitable even when you lose a round. This bet is called a positive bet by professional players and punters. So one thing you have to remember is that gambling’s all about the long run. The jackpot could hit in a couple hands, or it could take thousands, even tens of thousands of plays to hit.

Therefore if you stick to proper strategy for the game you’re playing, not only will you make money in the long and give yourself a fighting chance at winning the jackpot – you can still win money or even breakeven in the short run. It’s hard to lose.

Currency plays a role, too  especially when playing online. Many casinos let you play in multiple currencies, so the breakeven point and RTP can change depending on the currency you play in. That’s because the jackpot can be converted so that the same amount is paid out no matter the currency choice – but the wager required to play is not.

Table Game Jackpots Strategy

How to win Jackpots in table games
Table Game Jackpots

According to Wikipedia in an example that consider a game that pays a $1000 / €900 / £700 jackpot, but requires a fixed $1 / €1 / £1 wager to qualify for the jackpot. In such cases, it is beneficial for the player to choose to play in dollars, as the qualifying wager is a smaller proportion of the jackpot. Thus the break-even point will always be lower and the return to player will always be higher while betting dollars.

Figuring out the breakeven point is really only feasible for table games. That’s because you can figure out a specific outcome, like the odds of hitting a royal flush or four-of-a-kind. That’s near impossible to do for slots since you need to know how much the reels are weighted, the position of every symbol on every wheel, and more. Then cross reference that to a pay table and that’s only if you can get the information from the manufacturer.

The progressive video poker games are like any other variant or video poker in as much as each game is completely random so the jackpots could in theory be won at any time.

Jackpot Deuces Jackpot
Jackpot Deuces Jackpot

The payout for the best video poker hand is not fixed at a specific amount, but “progresses” and grows. The progressive jackpot is initially set at a certain amount, and then, every time anyone plays the video poker game in any online casino, more money gets added to the pot. You can actually see the jackpot grow as the numbers turn on the Jackpot Meter on your screen.

There is no limit to the size of the progressive jackpot. It just keeps growing until one lucky video poker gambler hits the winning combination and takes home the money. Then the progressive jackpot goes back to its original setting and immediately starts growing again.

There are teams of people who look for progressive games with a player advantage. They’ll usually occupy these games, working in shifts and calling in members when they need breaks. So you’ll be fighting for a seat against them. As an example in 2011, pro poker player Huck Seed won $670,000 playing video poker at the Aria. He played $100 per credit, five credits per hand, for a total of $500 per hand. But he bought a $40,000 ticket so he could avoid the hassle of manually feeding the machine 400 hundred dollar bills.

With everything he won and earned, between the jackpot, comps and the high rate of hands he played per hour, it’s estimated his positive was in the range of $1,500 per hour.

Final Note

Slots of Vegas Casino
Slots of Vegas Casino RTG Jackpots to play

Jackpots are usually paid by the game developer (even though you may get paid directly from the casino). One reason why it happens like this is so that a small casino won’t have to handle the losses of a massive payout. Especially when you figure that linked progressives were built from customers playing at multiple casinos.

Payments are usually made in one installment, on the spot. But this depends on where you play, too especially if you play online. Many online casinos have limits on how much they allow people to withdraw at once, whether it’s on a weekly or monthly basis, or both. This can be something like $2-3,000 per week and/or $5,000 to $20,000 per month.

But if you win a $100,000 or $1,000,000 jackpot, you’re going to have to wait a long time before you’re able to cash all of your money out. It can take months, if not years. Most online casinos don’t have the shelf life for payments to make sense. it’s just too big a risk. But it’s a pretty common rule.

Some online casinos do make an exception – they’ll pay you out in full if you hit a progressive jackpot. Also few other casinos, have large enough cash out limits to where you can withdraw several million in the span of a few months.

Progressive jackpots are fun to play and better to win. But you need the bankroll to play them, you’ll have a large selection of games and variations to play that can pay out life altering sums of money, no matter what casino you join – offline or online but note that play what you can afford and do not play what you cannot think or bear of losing.

When you take the time to learn how to win, you give yourself a better chance to win the progressive jackpot. The odds may not be in your favor, but if you never try to play, you have no chance of winning big.