Hey, slots enthusiasts! Every winning slot strategy has advantages and disadvantages, including progressive slot machine strategies, but is there a way we can still optimize a strategy for games based entirely on luck?
This casino guide is all about mastering casino slots so you can win your way to success. If you’ve ever walked into a land-based casino and spent hours playing a slot that simply refuses to pay out, it’s more than likely you’re playing a progressive slot with an extremely large and tricky-to-trigger jackpot available to win. Progressive slot machines occupy up to 30% of the slot machines in a casino, if not more. Let’s talk about how these machines are set up, then how to win their progressive jackpots. Bear in mind, we’re only giving our tips and advice on how to maximize your chances at winning on land-based casino slot games, as online slots are much trickier to decipher due to the random number generation software and complex algorithms deployed in these games.
How Do Progressive Jackpots Work?
Progressive jackpot slots are games with a jackpot that grows by a fraction of each person’s bet until someone eventually triggers it and wins. Most progressive slot machines have a maximum progressive jackpot amount that cannot be exceeded—only massively large, life-changing progressive jackpot slot machines do not have a maximum jackpot amount. Once reset, the machine randomly chooses the size of the next winning progressive jackpot from within these limits. When an individual player’s bet triggers the displayed progressive jackpot, the player wins, and the process then begins with a new jackpot amount.
The physical extent of a network of slot machines with a shared progressive jackpot can vary widely, including:
1) Stand-Alone: Standalone jackpot slot machine features a single top reward that’s not associated with any other networked machine or other type of slot. These games tend to offer the lowest maximum jackpot amount relative to networked slot machines.
2) In-House: These are slot games that feature the same theme and layout within a single casino venue. There may be multiple of these games on a casino’s gaming floor and it will be home to a maximum jackpot of a substantial, if not life-changing amount.
3) In-Chain: An in-chain slot machine may either feature the same layout and theme as several other games that are offered in multiple different casinos, or they are all owned by the same gambling operator.
4) Wide-Area: These are some of the most popular progressive games that tend to all be located within a certain area, like Las Vegas or New Jersey. As they span so far, the top prize in these games may be a multi-million-dollar reward, and each casino hosting the game will take a percentage cut of the revenue it generates. As they come with relatively high administration and setup costs, wide area progressive normally have an extremely low payout frequency.
Now, you can approach winning progressive slot machines two ways:
- Look at the game as if it were a non-progressive slot machine where the payout is smaller. (People who aren’t too fussed about hitting the ultimate jackpot would do best with this approach.)
- Deliberately aim to win the game’s progressive jackpot, (which means investing a lot of time and money into the game.)
All progressive games have significantly lower odds of winning compared to a standard slot machine; therefore, winning is neither quick nor relatively easy. Generally speaking, the chances of winning the maximum jackpot on any slot machine is extremely slim, and unless you employ a specific strategy, you should more-or-less see it as like trying to win the lottery. That might not sound very encouraging, but fortunately you can still deploy a strategy to maximize your chances of seeing at least some kind of returns.
How to Win on a Progressive Slot Machine
The best way to strengthen your chances at winning on a progressive slot is to play it as it approaches the maximum progressive jackpot allowed, i.e, when it’s due to pay out. The difficult part is that a lot of patience is required for this strategy to work because it involves figuring out the machine’s set maximum limit. It also means you’ll need to sit there and note how many times others have won the jackpot on that same machine.
The good news is that it will be easier for you to establish the set maximum on a progressive slot with a smaller network. Of course, if you do win in these games, your pay out will be smaller, but will be more likely to come sooner. If it’s a large network progressive with a huge jackpot, you’ll need to spend a lot more time observing how close it is to the jackpot limit to determine when it’s likely to pay out. The other problem here is that more people are likely to be playing the same game at the same time, and this could be hundreds if not thousands of people who all have just as much of a chance at winning the grand prize as you do.
How much do progressive jackpots ever go under? How much do they never seem to go over? Based on our own observations at land-based 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 and also why choosing the right progressive slot machine to play should be another key factor in your strategy. But, again, this is the “not entirely easy” part.
Pick Progressive Slot Machines You Want to Play Regularly
When selecting a progressive slot to play, try to stick with progressive network slots that you can afford to place maximum wagers on, as this is normally the only time you will qualify to play for and claim the jackpot.
Step 1: Observe
Each time you move in on a slot, take note of the progressive jackpot size at that current moment in time. If it’s declined, you can be sure that someone already won it quite recently. Every time you walk past it again from that point, continue to keep a record of the jackpot size so you can determine whether it’s gone down or increased up to a new maximum. If it’s increased, you can be pretty sure it’s likely to pay out soon, and that’s your time to swoop in. The whole process of checking in on a slot machine’s jackpot size could take months, so patience is key here. However, if you’re doing this on multiple machines at once, you’ll have a solid idea of the maximum jackpot for every one of them.
Step 2: Max Jackpots
If you haven’t seen much movement on the machines you picked, the payout patterns are probably too volatile. So instead, start choosing machines that are already getting close to the maximum jackpot you previously noted. This may be a better strategy because sometimes the randomly chosen winning jackpot amount is already close to the maximum must-win-by amount, and your odds of winning will improve drastically when it is.
Step 3: Teamwork
One way to optimize winning on progressive slot machines is to put together a team. You and another could double your observations if you go to a casino at different times. Sharing observations can reduce the six months previously mentioned to perhaps half that time. Further, when the time comes to play those machines, you can both play at the same time to improve the odds of one of you winning the progressive jackpot … rather than that second seat taken by an unknown slots enthusiast also playing that same network. Playing non-standalone progressive slot machines requires a team of two or more.
The larger the network, the larger the team. needed to share the cost and substitute for other players on the network. Without a team and therefore not splitting any jackpots won, standalone progressive slot machines have the best odds of winning for individual slots enthusiasts. Yes, the jackpots are smaller, but once you learn the maximum, your wins will occur more often. The advantages and disadvantages to watch out for are mostly logistics. First, your team should be people you trust and with whom you have at least a verbal agreement. For instance, who is going to pay the taxes on the jackpot, assuming it’s over $1,200? In other words, whose name will be on the W-2G IRS tax form? Maybe your players’ card is used by the whole team? Or maybe the card of the person accepting any W-2G? These details may seem trivial, but are they trivial for multi-million-dollar jackpots?
Step 4: Distribution
If you do opt for the team route, consider paying a fixed amount to a group of people to sit and not play the other machines in the network while you play to win. If you don’t win against the progressive, they still get paid. But if you do win it, they don’t get a share. Interesting, yes? But one advantage is that a single individual, you, would get the players’ club points. However, the casino may get suspicious and object to idle players. That’s a risk, but hey, playing any kind of high value progressive jackpots on the largest networks wouldn’t be worth it unless there were some risks involved.
Good luck and may the odds be in your favor!