What are Progressive Jackpots?
The idea behind a progressive jackpot is that the more gamers who play the game, the larger the jackpot becomes. With every bet that any player makes, the house takes a fixed percentage and adds it to a pot. This pot continues to grow until a player wins it, and then the pot is reset to a base amount and it will start growing as soon as the next player starts placing their bets.
It is very similar to a lottery, in the sense that it grows every time the house makes money, only here it can be won by playing different games. In these games you can still make money without winning the jackpot, but it's the jackpot that makes the game so much more thrilling.
The most common progressive jackpot games are slots; however there are also games such as poker, blackjack, roulette and baccarat.
Progressive slots are exactly what they sound like. There is a jackpot that grows with each spin, as players put more money in, and when the jackpot is won, the amount is reset. Both classic and video slots can offer progressive jackpots and the jackpots can be won by landing a certain combination in the base game, through bonus rounds or other special features. Furthermore, the games will also often offer some huge fixed payouts, often many thousands of times the bet.
With progressive jackpots, the payout is an independent sum of money that constantly grows after each spin, and is far less likely to land, but can pay out huge amounts of money.
One thing to remember is that for a lot of progressive slots, there are rules on how you can win the jackpot. There may be a minimum bet or amount of coins that you must bet, so be careful to read the instructions if you are looking to hit the jackpot. The worst case scenario would be to land the winning combination for the jackpot, but then realising that you have not put in enough to be eligible to collect it, so make sure you know how much you have to bet.
Standalone Progressive Slots
These machines predate the age of online casinos, and nowadays a lot of these slot machines are out of production, nevertheless you can still find a lot of them in brick and mortar establishments these days, and they are still incredibly fun to play.
The standalone progressives are slot machines that have their own jackpots that are accumulated when players play on a specific machine. In itself, the machine will collect a percentage from all bets, and put these to its own jackpot.
Usually these jackpots are much lower than the other kinds of progressive slots, but on the other side there is a bigger chance for a win. You can expect winning to be usually in the thousands of dollars category, but make sure you check each machine to find out exactly how much they have accumulated. It can be quite funny to compare the jackpots on these machines, it gives you a good idea which machine has been played the most (or has been the unluckiest one so far, depending on which side you see it).
Local Progressive Slots
The jackpots in local progressives are higher than the standalone progressives, because they are contributed to by several machines or several online casinos. The idea is that you can have a game which is played either by multiple players online, or that you can find multiple machines with the same slot game across a casino floor, and the jackpots are racked up by the bets made over all the slots. Thus, you can find bigger jackpots that grow relatively quickly, but on the other hand they are less likely to be won than the standalones because they can be won by any gamer playing the game in the online casino or playing on any one of the machines that the jackpot can be won by.
The bigger online casinos do not have many local progressives because these are not as profitable as the network progressive slots; however, there are a few smaller providers who offer local progressives to online casinos, so there are still options to find them. The jackpots will vary according to the popularity of the game and how frequently it is played, so you can find a number of different jackpots attached to different games. Most of these games will have jackpots in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars categories.
Network Progressive Slots
Network progressives will offer you the biggest jackpots, chances are, if you saw some big flashy numbers outside the land casino or popping up in the online casino homepage, these are most certainly going to be network progressives.
To break it down, these jackpots can be played for across a variety of different slot games in an online casino or in a brick and mortar establishment. This means that the money accrued from each bet spans far beyond the local progressives, and so the jackpot can easily grow to be worth millions of dollars; these were probably the numbers you saw online or on those LCD, LED monitors in the land casino.
As compared with the standalone and the local progressive slots, the chances of hitting a jackpot will be far smaller, as any player online playing in any one of the games that are attached to the jackpot, or any gamer playing at one of the attached physical machines can win it. A strong piece of advice on how to play this game would be to not keep looking to win the jackpot, but rather to limit your time per day playing, and try not to play hours on end as it really is a small chance of winning. That being said, the games can still bring you rewards without the jackpot, so you can fully enjoy the games as if they were any classic slot.
Table Games and Progressive Jackpots
Table games, such as poker, blackjack, baccarat, roulette and more all have their own progressive jackpot games too. These vary from game to game, and they may not be the same in one blackjack progressive compared with another, which is why you need to read the instructions for each game in detail to find out what they offer the jackpot for.
Usually however, these games follow the same formula; you will be playing a table game, without any deviation in the rules, but for each round you will have the option to make a side bet. The side bet will be on some criteria, for example, it could be a roulette jackpot that is awarded if a number is landed on the roulette wheel five times in a row. You will need to place the bet, which is always a fixed amount, and then in the odd chance that the criteria are met, whether it is in that round or determined by the consecutive following rounds, you may win the jackpot. While it sounds difficult and potentially terrifying if, say, a number lands four times in a row on the roulette wheel but not the fifth, there are compensation prizes in a lot of these jackpots for coming close, and while it will not be a huge sum, you will receive a small consolation prize.
If you are a confident blackjack, poker or any other table game player who does not mind throwing out a side bet with each round, then you may enjoy playing these progressive jackpot games.
Ultimately, no matter what type of casino game you enjoy, you are likely to find a progressive jackpot version. Even if the chances of winning are remote, the added thrill from knowing that you could hit a life-changing win at any moment makes the games truly enjoyable.