Introduction to Progressive Jackpots
Let’s talk about winning must-hit-by progressive jackpots on progressive slots machines. There have been so many changes to them lately! Fewer life-changing jackpots, yet almost every video slot machine has progressive jackpots: grand, major, and more.
Keep Reading … or Watch Instead!
Lately, progressive slot machines have become quite popular. I should say even more popular. They were 30% of all slot machines within a casino only five years ago.
Now that’s closer to 100% of video slot machines. I’m sure you’ve seen those video machines with Grand and Major jackpots that constantly grow? Minor and Mini jackpots are usually not progressive but rather stay at $50 and $10, depending on the denomination chosen, without increasing.
A slot machine is considered progressive when a portion of the bets placed on it increases its maximum jackpot and other jackpots – but not all of them. When a progressive jackpot is first initiated such as when first the machine is started or after a progressive jackpot has been won, a progressive jackpot has a minimum amount.
Starting with this initial jackpot, it “progressively” grows as the slot machine is played. Each progressive jackpot on the machine increases by a percentage of whatever is bet. For example, a $1 may increase the grand progressive jackpot by a quarter while the major only grows by a dime.
Bet sizes and corresponding increases of the various progressive jackpots is an important topic which we’ll get to in a few minutes. Make sure you stick around for that – it won’t be long.
A common misconception is that progressive slot machines always include a group of slot machines with a shared jackpot. Instead, it is not uncommon for a progressive jackpot to be available only on a single slot machine. Its whole network is one machine.
But a group of progressive slot machines to be networked together. The physical extent of a network of machines included in a progressive jackpot can vary widely, including:
- Stand-Alone: A single slot machine which grows its own progressive jackpot only, is not networked to any other slot machines, and likely has the lowest maximum jackpot amount relative to networked progressive slot machines
- In-House: Slot machines having the same slot machine game theme within the casino and more substantial, if not life-changing, maximum jackpots
- In-Chain: Slot machines usually with the same slot machine game theme within all of the gaming venues owned by the same casino operator within states having gaming regulations that allow this
- Wide-Area: Slot machines owned independently from the casinos they are located within, and:
- A maximum jackpot which is a massively large, life-changing jackpot
- Each casino gets a percentage of slot machines revenue
- Having a payout return which is lowest of all other progressive slot machines due to the relatively high setup and administrative costs
But nowadays it is far more to see common stand-alone and in-house progressive machines. These smaller networks are easier for a casino to set up themselves. Anything with larger networks starts becoming problematic due to the likelihood of low customer satisfaction and legal liability issues.
Winning on Slot Machines in General
There are two approaches to winning on progressive slot machines: 1) Treat it like a non-progressive slot machine and try to win its smaller, non-progressive jackpots; or 2) Deliberately try to win its progressive jackpot.
If taking the first approach, use my other winning slots strategies. However, having and maintaining networked slot machines includes an administrative cost passed down to players of these machines.
You can see this for yourself from Mississippi Return-To-Player, which has return statistics both by slot machine denomination as well as whether they are progressive. Most progressive machines have significantly lower odds of winning. This trend should be expected in your state.
For example, the multi-million-dollar progressive jackpot Megabucks slot machines in Las Vegas consistently showed in Nevada’s return statistics consistently to it have the lowest payout exceeding even penny machines. The Nevada Gaming commission stopped reporting them under a separate line item. Still, you can check any Nevada return statistics from 2019 or earlier to see them.
To use gaming terms, playing slots isn’t a negative EV game. Yes, most people lose at slots. But most people lose at poker, too, right?
But one person always wins at a poker tournament. That means poker isn’t a negative EV game, very much like playing slots. You can win at slots.
Not to get too far off track here, but casinos make most of their revenue from slots machines. Lots of players need to lose at slots for casinos to stay open. I’m just getting started and all about teaching slots enthusiasts how to win themselves.
I’m helping to get slots enthusiasts to move forward on their slots journey, sometimes after being stuck in the mud of losing for years. And there are a lot more slots enthusiasts who want to win for themselves than just to watch others win on a YouTube Channel. A LOT more.
To win at slot machines that just so happen to have progressive jackpots, see my winning slots strategies link at the bottom of this webpage.
Winning Progressive Jackpots
Moving forward, let’s talk through how to win progressive jackpots. I’ll start with wide-area progressive jackpots to explain the concept we’ll use on standalone and in-house progressive machines.
Winning progressive jackpots is simple but neither quick nor entirely easy. It takes time and patience. In general, winning the maximum jackpot on any slot machine is an infrequent event.
Yes, I did it once 15 years ago. But unless a specific strategy is being employed, slots enthusiasts should more-or-less ignore this possibility as nothing other than a once-in-a-lifetime event. But the key here is, “Unless a specific strategy is being employed.”
Here’s how to win the progressive jackpot on a progressive slot machine: Play it as it approaches the maximum progressive jackpot allowed when it must payout. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
Doing this takes a lot of patience. Why? Because you usually need to figure out that maximum limit.
Which means watching others win that progressive jackpot a bunch of times. That’s a lot of watching, especially as wide-area network progressives are at multiple casinos. If someone wins at another casino, all you’ll see at your casinos is the progressive jackpot dropping to its initial amount.
But the smaller the network, the smaller the progressive jackpot, and the easier it is to figure out its maximum. That’s where standalone progressive jackpots on a few hundred dollars and in-house progressive jackpots of a few thousand dollars come in.
Yes, your payoff from a standalone or in-house progressive will be smaller than any wide-area network. Yet, that payoff comes sooner and is more likely. The more extensive the network, the bigger the progressive jackpot.
But the smaller the network, the fewer people playing on it. It might only be you if it’s a standalone progressive machine. That’s good!
Must-Hit-By Progressive Jackpots
The bigger the progressive jackpots, the longer you’ll need to observe to learn the “must-hit-by” or “must-win-by” jackpot. Smaller networks mean smaller progressive jackpots, but it also means fewer slots enthusiasts trying to win it at any one time. And with fewer people playing, your odds of winning improve.
How much do progressive jackpots never go under? How much do they never seem to go over? Remember that all progressive jackpots on a machine are not won simultaneously.
Based on observations at my local casinos, a standalone progressive quarter machine might reset to $1,000 and have its maximum at $1,200. What is it for others? Well, that’s what we’ll need to learn.
How do you proceed? First, pick a collection of progressive slot machines you pass by regularly. You’re looking for different networks of progressive slot machines on which you can afford to make maximum bets eventually.
Every time you pass by, note the size of its progressive jackpots. If the jackpot has decreased, someone won, so your last noted jackpot size was a possible maximum. As time goes by and you see it again later, keep noting the jackpot size.
When the jackpot next decreases, compare your last noted jackpot to your temporary maximum from before to see if you have a new maximum. Do this as many as half a dozen times. This process will likely take multiple visits.
Be aware your observations could take six months to accomplish. This is where patience is vital. But there is a short-cut at some casinos, for some progressive slot machines.
Some casinos have a few progressive machines with a “must-hit-by” or “must-pay-by” amount shown in small letters below each progressive jackpot. What?? They TELL YOU??
Yes, but not all progressive slots machines have these labels. And some casinos don’t have any progressives labeled this way at all. But because it’s a huge time saver: Check!
Do the Work to Reap the Rewards
Have you ever sat next to someone who won a progressive jackpot and mentioned they knew it was about to happen? It could be because they did the work, especially when they tell you beforehand. And now they’ve reaped their reward.
If your casino doesn’t have must-win-by labels on any slot machines or only a few machines that are constantly in use by other slots enthusiasts, you’ll still need to figure out what it is for yourself. Yes, it might take six months. Do you have something better to do?
However, doing this simultaneously for most progressive slot machine networks in a single casino is efficient. Why? Because at the end of the six or so months, you’ve got a good idea of the maximum jackpot for every one of them.
I recognize that six months is a lot of time before you know enough to start winning progressive jackpots. That time is an investment. Slots enthusiasts who regularly win progressive jackpots are specialists.
There are two types of progressive slot machine specialists at work. First are those focusing on in-chain or wide-area progressive jackpots with significant or life-changing jackpots. This sub-group does everything just described to find a progressive jackpot that’s ripe for the picking, then put together a team to play as many machines in its network as possible to have the best chance of winning millions of dollars.
If this sounds like a business, it is. Whether using gentlemen’s agreements or contracts, working with a team specializing in winning massive progressive jackpots has a lot of logistics involved. The bigger the group, the more seats will be taken on progressive machines in the network spread across several casinos and more that massive jackpot will be divided up to each team member.
Use the same approach for standalone and in-house progressive jackpots. Only, the entire team might just be you and a few of your friends. The progressive jackpot will not be as massive, but your individual share would be larger than if you were in a large team going after a life-changing progressive jackpot.
How Close to the Must-Hit-By to Bet?
Now, this is important. Each bet increases each progressive jackpot on a machine and, if it’s not a standalone machine, then each progressive jackpot on all the machines in its network. As a team of one, the easiest way to determine if you’re at a standalone slot machine is to watch if the progressive jackpots increase while you’re sitting there, not betting. If they are growing, it’s on a network of some size. The smaller the largest progressive jackpot, the smaller the network.
Now you get to decide when you want to play. You’ll win a progressive jackpot if your bets make that jackpot progress until it goes over the must-hit-by amount. But you won’t profit if you spend more doing that then you’ll win from the progressive jackpot. That’s where your decision lies – the closer it is to the must-win-by amount, the less you spend to win it and, therefore, the larger your profit.
In brief, how far from the must-hit-by amount do you want to start playing the machine?
As mentioned, slots enthusiasts interested in winning progressive jackpots are specialists. There are equations that you can use to determine how much you need to spend to advance a progressive jackpot to its must-win-by amount. Oh, and you understand that Grands and Majors and other progressive jackpots on a machine grow by different amounts?
And that only one of those progressive jackpots might be approaching its “must-win-by” amount while the others are not? That means you’re funding the progression of jackpots which you’re not going to win.
All this means you need to spend less than you’re trying to win to leave the machine with more than when you sat down. Progressive jackpot specialists get good at this calculation. I’d provide you an equation to use, but that’s more than we can get into here.
Advantages and Disadvantages
For this approach to work with progressive slots machines, you’ll need a specific kind of progressive slot machine. This strategy only works at a casino with a certain progressive jackpot setup. The casino’s progressive need to be of the “must-win-by” variety.
Another way the casino might set up their progressive is like a lottery. If no one wins, the jackpot gets more considerable for the next drawing. It just grows and grows.
And the third way a casino might set up is also like some other lotteries. Once the prize reaches a cap, it stops growing. Yes, people continue to play it, but a portion is not given back to the player.
My winning slots strategies are based on how the casino has chosen to set up its business practices. For this strategy on winning progressive jackpots, you’ll need a casino that has a “must-hit-by,” “must-win-by,” or “must-award-by” limit on their progressive jackpots even if they are not labeled as such.
If your casino doesn’t have the convenience of telling you must-hit-by amounts, you invest your time and figure out what that is. While doing that, you observe if your casino doesn’t have a limit at all or if it does have a limit but not a must-win-by limit.
If the must-hit-by short-cut does, it’s very helpful and will greatly shorten your time investment with getting started as a progressive jackpot slots enthusiast specialist. But if it doesn’t exist, it’s not the end of the world. You can still take a long way around on this leg of your slots journey.
It’s a lot like not being in a state that offers return statistics. Eighteen states have them, some better than others, but if your state doesn’t have them, then you’re just on a slightly different journey on your path to success at slots.
Summary of Progressive Jackpots
I tell you simple ways to win these progressive jackpots. It’s simple but not necessarily easy. Patience is required!
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