There are many different types of slot machines, but one of the easiest way to breakdown categories of games is by determining whether or not it is a progressive. A progressive slot machine pays out more each time that a player spins, but does not win the jackpot. For example, if a machine has a $1,000.50 progressive meter, and you play one losing spin, the jackpot would then rise to $1,000.51, or another close figure. This is a very simple example of how progressive slots function.
Many slot machines, especially the most modern games, have multiple progressive jackpots in one. Games like Quick Hits, for example, have several tiers of jackpots. The lowest jackpot will be the easiest to hit, the highest will be the toughest to hit. You may need X amount of symbols to hit the lower progressive jackpot, and x+4 more symbols to win the highest progressive. Some games are more complex than others, however, and jackpots may be earned in different ways.
How Progressive Jackpots are Created
A progressive jackpot may seem confusing because of the large dollar amounts at hand. It doesn’t make much sense that a $2.50 Wheel of Fortune Slot would have a progressive payoff of $200,000 or more, but they frequently do. The common misconception is that this machine alone has collected over $200,000 in losing wagers that are now up for the taking, but this is not true. Instead, popular games like this are part of “linked” machines, usually across many casinos. If you are in Las Vegas, for example, all of the WOF spins may be pouring into the same pool of money. This is how the total jackpot size can be so large, even when the spin denominations are very small.
The actual amount that a progressive increases with each spin will be very small. The total increase will be as a percentage of your bet, combined with the house edge for the casino. If the expected win for the house on a $5 progressive slot spin is 7%, that would mean a 35 cent gain on every spin. Since it is a progressive, perhaps 2% is taken from this and contributed to the progressive jackpot total, in this case, 10 cents per spin. 10 cents per spin may not seem like a lot, but when there are millions of spins taking place across the US day in and day out, the total prize pool can rise quite rapidly.
How to Be Eligible for a Progressive Jackpot Win
The biggest caveat to being able to win a progressive slot machine jackpot is playing the max bet allowed. Almost every progressive slot requires that the player complete a max wager in order to potentially win the listed jackpot. Yes, this means that you will need to have a larger bankroll to play, but you will be sacrificing a lot of value by not betting.
While betting the maximum possible, you will be giving yourself the best chance at a positive return, regardless of how many actual dollars you are putting at risk. If you can not reasonably afford to place max bets on a progressive slot, we suggest to instead play an entirely different machine. You are chasing a low ceiling if you are placing wagers that do not have any way of potentially cashing in on the progressive jackpot. Progressives are available at virtually every wager limit though, so you can bump down in stakes and still enjoy the rush of a progressive machine, even if you can’t play at high stakes.
Fixed Jackpots vs. Progressive Jackpots
When you see a slot, you may notice a big potential win advertised at the top of the machine. For lower limit games, this might be $5,000, while for $25/spin games, it may be $100,000. Whatever the total may be, you shouldn’t confuse these slots with progressive machines. The total looks the same as it does on a running progress, but these numbers do not adjust; they are simply the max win possible on that particular machine, represented as dollars instead of credits.