Progressive jackpots can offer the win of your dreams if you’re lucky enough to land one. In fact, if it’s a massive win you’re looking for, then progressives really are the only way to go – after all, the payouts in roulette and blackjack just aren’t big enough to make that kind of impact! Progressive Jackpots are always linked to slots and are able to grow so much thanks to the internet and the online gaming world. While progressive jackpots are still available in land-based casinos, the truly big hitters are found online. This is due to the fact that online progressives are linked together, constantly being added to every time a player makes a bet, however small. Progressives come in a range of different sizes, with some offering smaller jackpots than others, and others offering a number of different jackpots within one game. Without further ado, let’s outline some of the details that you really need to know about before playing an exciting progressive jackpot game.
History of Progressive Jackpot Slots
Progressive jackpot games are one of the most exciting additions to the online gaming world in recent years. They are based on the original slot machines that were created in the early 1900’s – but with the added thrill of that enormous win. To win the jackpot, the primary aim is exactly the same as in a regular slot game – match up the required number of matching symbols (usually five) along an active payline. Initially, these games began as a group of physical slot machines that were connected by an internal network within the casino. This meant that if there were, say, three slot machines of the same game, these would be linked together and when all of the games were being played, a percentage of the bets being placed on all three of the machines would be added to the collective jackpot. This enabled the jackpot to grow at a higher rate and to higher limits. It also meant that any one of the three players could win the same jackpot.
The arrival of the first progressive jackpots came in 1986, the brainchild of the company IGT. This first game was called Megabucks and was linked between various casinos in the US through the use of phone lines. With this first release, IGT announced that they would be funding the very first million-dollar starting point, subsequently setting the game in motion. This million dollar jump-off was then added to as players spun the reels. The prize from that point on was based on how many players actually participated, with the prize money continuing to grow until one player was lucky enough to win it. With such a huge incentive, it became instantly popular with thousands of players flocking to play the game. A year later, the jackpot had passed $4,000,000 and was finally won at a casino in Reno. With the arrival of the online gaming platform, the popularity of progressives has only increased, along with the size of the jackpots.
How do Progressive Jackpots Work?
As we mentioned before, progressive jackpots are linked via a network where a percentage of each player’s bet is put towards the jackpot. With online progressive jackpots, this network can be linked on a global scale, as many different casinos from all over the world can host the game. Depending on the game, different percentages of the player’s bet will be put towards the jackpot. Some games use 10%, while others 100%. In this way, the games are not funded by the casino but by the players themselves. However, there is always a predetermined starting value, so that when a player does finally win the jackpot, it does not revert back to zero, but rather, to an already decent starting value. There is an additional reason for these games reaching such high jackpots. As we mentioned previously, there are very specific ways to win and these are rather hard to hit. This means that players have to play a lot in order to have a chance at reaping the reward.
Players should also note that there are two different types of progressive jackpots. The first of these is the standalone progressive jackpot, which is not actually linked to any other games. These games still take a percentage of the wager placed by the player, adding it to the ever-growing jackpot. However, as you might expect, these games do not reach the height of those progressives that are network linked. The network-wide progressive jackpot is one of the most popular options and is home to the really big jackpots. These are the ones hosted across many casinos and are always provided by a third-party game
supplier. As with the standalone progressive, hitting these is hard but the jackpot grows much more quickly. Though progressive jackpots have traditionally been linked exclusively to slot games, in recent years providers have been making moves to attach progressive jackpots to other games such as roulette and even poker, making these other games even more lucrative than before.
Understanding the Symbols
As is the case with all games, it is important to know the ins and outs in order to be successful. Progressive jackpot slots are the same as regular slot games in terms of the setup, symbols, paylines and bonus features that they use, just with the regular differences offered between providers and games. You can check the specific details in the information section on the slot in order to get the full lowdown, but we’ll just outline some of the general information that you should really know beforehand. First up, there will be around six to eight standard symbols on the reels. These will have various values for when you land anywhere from three to five icons on adjacent reels and paylines. These can be very lucrative in their own right, especially if five of a higher value symbol are landed. There are a number of bonus icons usually on offer as well, with the wild being able to take the place of any symbol, thus increasing winning opportunities.
The scatter symbol is also commonly found on progressive jackpot slot machines and landing at least three of these will offer up free spins – the number of which will vary between games. In some games, landing additional bonus symbols or completing various tasks will actually open a mini-game. The most popular mini-game within a progressive is that of the Wheel of Fortune. It is usually in this game that players will be able to access the various jackpots that are on offer. To do so means you have the chance to spin these wheels, hoping that the end result will be the arrow pointing to a jackpot. However, these wheels do tend to have other, smaller prizes attached so you won’t walk away empty-handed even if you don’t make that big hit. It is also important to note that no matter how long you play, you will never win the top jackpot if you’re not playing at the top betting value as set out by the game – but more on that below.
How to Improve Your Winning Chances
It’s always nice to know that there’s something that you can do to improve your chances of winning a game. However, with a progressive jackpot slot, things are really all down to luck and there’s not much you can do to influence it. That being said, here are a few tips and tricks that just might tip those odds in your favour. First up is timing. As it is in comedy, timing is everything. Most of these jackpots have certain periods of time or ‘due’ times before they pay out. Hitting the jackpot before that time will see you playing under tiny odds, no matter how long you play. There are numerous sites that list the time between jackpot wins, alongside when the next one is due to drop; check these out and play accordingly. It’s also important to have a budget in place. You could spend hours spinning those reels – and people do – but the best way of walking away with something is to set yourself a loss limit.
Following on from that, we can’t stress enough how important cautious play is. Playing on a progressive can really drain a bankroll, so it’s imperative that you set a budget for each bet and stick to it. There’s no real point to changing your bet each time you spin – such as Martingale or Fibonacci gaming strategies would have you do. You’ll only lose your money faster in a game that’s already highly risky. Generally, we would recommend playing with smaller bets, even though these won’t pay out the biggest jackpot if you hit it. Slow and steady really will win the race in this instance. This all being said, don’t restrict yourself to progressives, as there are other great games that can get you some wins too. Lastly, for some really great advantages, you should check out any of the bonus offers or promotions that the casino is offering. Some of these can help get you a bigger bankroll to play with, helping you to play that little bit longer on a game.
Progressive or Non-Progressive?
Both types of slot games have a number of good things going for them, but equally they each have a number of downsides as well. The truth of the matter is that the final choice will boil down to what type of player you actually are. If you have a lower budget, are prepared to be patient and would like to play for extended periods of time, then you might be best off looking at a non-progressive game – one less
likely to chew through your hard- earned cash. These non-progressive slots also offer much better odds when it comes to winning. Picking a low variance game can see you winning on almost every spin, even if the amounts are small. If that’s what you’re after, then we recommend sticking to them. You can still win some fairly decent prizes on these – a few thousand dollars is not unheard of – though it’s by no means those life-changing figures that pop up in the news every now and then.
Progressives are perfect if you are adamant about hitting that spectacular win, have the bankroll to support it and don’t mind raising bets to make things work as much as possible in your favour (though it’s not going to be much!). As this article has outlined, though, these games are notoriously harder to hit and do not necessarily favour the bold, as they hold a huge element of luck. The news has reported a winner who simply spun the reels a few times and hit the jackpot, but generally, the players who win are quite dedicated. If getting a mega win is a dream, then go for it! You certainly won’t win if you don’t try. We would still suggest prudent play, though, as these jackpots can be nabbed out from under your very eyes, since they are available to players around the world. Therefore, alternating between both types of slot games and waiting for the ‘due’ date of a progressive is possibly your best bet.
Finding the Best Progressive Jackpot
When it comes to looking for a great progressive jackpot, there are a number of things to bear in mind before launching into the first one you see. Regardless of whether it appears to be highly lucrative or not, the first thing you should be doing is checking out the casino, not the game itself. There’s no point in finding the highest jackpot game only to find yourself playing at a fraudulent casino that doesn’t pay out at the end. To avoid this potential disaster, check out whether the casino is licensed with governing bodies. This will ensure that the casino has to follow certain rules and regulations that pertain to player safety. Check out what security protocols they use to protect your client data and also the monetary providers to ensure speedy and secure transactions. If you’re still in doubt, there are multiple review pages where players will write about their own experiences with specific casinos, helping you to rest easy on your choice.
Once the casino is chosen, you can have a look at the games it offers (though of course the game choice will factor into the initial casino choice as well). A first step here is to look at the providers. Again, this is because of trust and payout issues. Some providers are more well-known than others, have better reputations and are known to be audited by third-party companies for gaming fairness. Picking a game offered by a provider of this calibre will ensure you have a much more enjoyable gaming experience. The last part of picking the game is, of course, the jackpot. Many of you will be aiming for the biggest one you can find. Even the same slot game may have different jackpot values across casinos if these casinos are not linked. However, the really huge jackpots run by third-party providers will be linked through all casinos that offer it, meaning that the jackpot will stay the same no matter where you choose to play.
Top Progressive Jackpots
There are a number of really popular progressive jackpot slots out there, ones that have regularly paid out in the multi-millions. If you’re looking for a much more likely win, then we do suggest giving some of these games a quick look before turning your search to smaller options.
First up is Microgaming’s Mega Moolah. This African animal themed game offers a colourful environment with multiple betting options and various jackpot sizes to be won. Mega Moolah has paid out on numerous occasions and is one of the more regular ones to hit, always paying out over $1 million each time.
A close-runner up is NetEnt’s Mega Fortune. This offers a more pricey betting option full of opulence and decadent-themed symbols. It too lands relatively regularly, with payouts passing the million dollar mark on most occasions.
Wheel of Fortune
The last game on our list is the Wheel of Fortune game, which is offered in various denominations as well as sizes – the most popular being the quarter, set at $200,000.
No doubt, the lure of a progressive jackpot win pulls at all of us, but let’s face it, for most of us it’s not really going to happen. However, that shouldn’t stop anyone from giving these games a spin and, if you follow our helpful hints, who knows? You could very well be next! Progressives are a huge amount of fun and are available in a number of different themes and jackpot sizes. Playing prudently will get you through most of the bumps and even if you don’t get that top prize you’re more than likely to get some decent wins as you try. Knowing the games inside and out, the symbols, the paylines and the bonuses will help you to get ahead in any game, not just progressives. In a similar vein, grabbing some casino bonuses and promotions when they come around will help get you ahead in terms of your bankroll. So, what are you waiting for? Head out now and see how you fare.