Progressive Slots Guide

What are progressive slots? This guide will dive into progressive slots and why they are popular choices for slot players. We’ll define progressive slots, explain why progressive slots are popular, and look at progressive online slots.

progressive slots

Progressive Slots | Your Guide to Progressive Slots

You already know that slot machines are the most prominent game at every casino across the globe — you can see banks and banks of them lined up along any casino floor. And that’s the same for online casinos, too. One online casino might have a respectable number of online table games like roulette or blackjack, but their slots collection will be vast, spanning across various themes and styles. Among these slots are special versions called progressive slots.

Progressive slot machines have become immensely popular, making up about 30% of the slot offerings within a casino. These are the types of slots that gamblers dream about because just one lucky spin could change your whole life.

Let’s explore what progressive slots are and how they work. We’ll also discuss why casinos have such high-roller games and how you can do your best to try to win big yourself.

What Are Progressive Slots?

Plenty of slots out there have a set jackpot as their highest payout. Maybe it’s set at 2,000 credits, for example. Progressive slots, meanwhile, have jackpots that aren’t set at a fixed amount. A small portion of each wager is dedicated to “feed” the jackpot and help it grow.

If you’re playing in a live casino, the current amount of the progressive jackpot will be prominently displayed above the slots that contribute to that bank. For online slots, the game should display the amount above the middle reels for easy reference.

The progressive jackpot might be hit through a particular winning combination, in a bonus game, or even randomly. Whichever player wins gets that full amount, and then the jackpot resets and starts growing once more.

Many progressives do have maximum amounts, of course — they can’t just grow in quantity forever. Once a progressive has reached that maximum, the bank won’t increase until someone wins it all.

There are three major types of progressive slots, and it’s important to know how each one works to know what sort of jackpot you could be looking at.

Standalone Progressives

This was the first type of progressive slot ever developed, when bets placed on only that machine fed into the growing jackpot. It’s harder to find this type of standalone progressive slot, but they do still exist and are in casinos around the world. Oftentimes, the jackpot for these will be under $10,000 — which is still nothing to sneeze at, of course.

Local Progressives

These types of slots are really common. Here, multiple slots banked together within the same casino are linked to one another over an internal network, and every one of those slots contributes to the growing prize amount. Depending on the casino, this could involve a dozen machines all the way up to a hundred or more. These local progressive jackpots are usually under $100,000, but they can go up to the $1 million range.

Wide Area Network Progressives

These are the big-money progressives and the most popular casino games available today. Here, the network links together slots from multiple casinos within the same jurisdiction, which allows the jackpot to grow to crazy amounts — often over $1 million and many times over $10 million.

Why Casinos Have Progressive Slots

If players can make so much money playing on progressive slots, then why do casinos offer so many of them?

Slots have a much higher house edge in general compared to your other games like craps (0.8%), blackjack (0.5%), or baccarat (1.06%). Now, plenty of slots players concern themselves with the return to player (RTP) percentage to try to get the most out of a slot, looking for slots with at least a 90% RTP.

But the flip side of that RTP is the house edge. A slot with an RTP of 90% means that 10% of your average spend goes straight to the casino. Even if you find a slot with a return to player (RTP) rate of 95%, that means the house edge is still 5%.

Think of a house edge this way: If you spend $100 on a game with a house edge of 5%, then you make back only $95 on average, giving the casino $5. Such a significant house edge depletes players’ bankrolls more quickly than with table games that have lower house edges.

Meanwhile, progressive slots might declare an average RTP or a percentage range, but that range is affected by the very nature of a progressive game.

First off, a percentage of each bet on a progressive slot gets diverted to the growing jackpot. That amount comes out of the payback rate. Also, a big chunk of the game’s stated RTP comes from the jackpot’s payout. If a progressive slot has a stated 95% RTP, then 5% of that number might come from the jackpot.

This means that RTPs on progressives are harder to calculate accurately, and so the casino makes a better profit off of them than they already do with slot machines that have a hard and set maximum payout.

Why People Play Progressive Slots

Despite progressive slots having lower payout rates, people still flock to them, and it’s easy to understand why. With just one bet on a progressive slot, you can win a bonkers amount of money. All of the top slot machine jackpots in Nevada have been on progressive slots, with several wins going over the $30 million mark.

People love the thrill of trying to win that million-dollar jackpot. Wouldn’t you want to be among those elite winners, too?

Strategies for Progressive Slots

If you want to play progressive slots, then keep some small strategies in mind. You can’t magically increase your odds of winning, but you can make your attempts more worthwhile.

Always Make the Max Bet

Oftentimes, progressive slots will only let you win the giant jackpot if you’ve made the maximum bet. Check the paytable details before you play to be sure that this is the case. If you bet only 1 credit instead of the max 4 credits, you’re putting yourself in the position to win only a quarter of the jackpot (at best).

Establish and Stick to Your Budget

You should set aside a certain amount of money as your bankroll and not go beyond that. Remember that, since you’re doing max bets, you’re going to be going through your money more quickly than if you were just doing minimum bets. Don’t let the excitement make you blow through your budget while you’re chasing that gigantic payout.

Play When the Jackpot Has Gotten Huge

To maximize your potential payout, only play when the progressive jackpot has become massive. This way, you’re more likely to actually win back more than just your bankroll if you do hit the big winning combination, and you’re maximizing the credits you are playing.

Don’t Fall Into the Gambler’s Fallacy

Just remember not to fall into a trap and believe that a jackpot is “due” soon. Just like any other game of probability, the results are randomized, and each round is a reset from the previous one. Every spin has the exact same chance of hitting the jackpot as the previous spin and as the next spin.

Players Beware With Progressive Slots

In short, progressive slots are distinctly appealing because of their profit potential. The idea of winning $10,000, $100,000, or even $1 million with just one lucky spin of the reels is supremely seductive.

But anyone who wants to try their luck on a progressive slot should be aware of what’s behind that allure. Progressive slots come with a high house edge and a low likelihood of getting that giant jackpot. You also are going to be spending your money much more quickly on a progressive because you’re only eligible for that highest payout by making the maximum bet.

In the end, only you can determine if you want to embrace these risks and try for that progressive jackpot. If this still sounds like the game for you, be sure to read reviews of online casinos to find the best options out there.

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