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Understanding Progressive Jackpot Games

By: Adam Baker, Thursday July 23rd 2009
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As new players browse through the games offered at online casinos they will come across certain games that are marked as "progressives". These games are slightly different from the other games on offer and players should understand what this difference can mean to them.

In the normal online casino games players wagers on a certain outcome and if the desired outcome occurs then the players get paid as per a predetermined payout ratio. This ratio remains unchanged with respect to time. For example, in a roulette game if a player wagers on a red number and a red number is called then the player will get paid at 1 to 1. In progressive jackpot games things are a little different. Whereas for most outcomes the payout ratio is predetermined, there would be one or two outcomes where this is not so. These outcomes are paid according to the amount accumulated in the progressive jackpot. Each wager keeps on adding to the jackpot amount, which keeps on increasing with each wager. Hence it is given the name "progressive" jackpot. There are two reasons why online casino players find progressive jackpot games exciting. The first reason is that the payouts are much larger than the fixed payouts of the normal games. The second reason is that the players can see the jackpot amounts rise to astronomical levels in many of the progressive jackpot games.

Most of the progressive jackpot games are in the online slot games. This stands to reason because most of the online casino games are slot games. However all the progressive jackpot slot games are not identical and the player must learn to choose the game that best suits his temperament and objectives. In some of the progressive jackpot slot games the event triggering the jackpot has a very low frequency of occurring. Therefore the jackpot is not hit very often. The advantage of this situation is that the jackpot progresses to a very large amount and when it is ultimately hit it often changes in lifestyle of the winner. Microgaming's Mega Moolah is an example of such a jackpot. On the other hand there are progressive jackpot slots that hit several times a day but do not pay more than a few thousands of dollars. Cryptologic's Rapid Fire series of slot games falls in this category.

In most progressive jackpot slot games the jackpot will be hit when five specified symbols align in a specified payline. In other online casino games with progressive jackpots the method of awarding the jackpot obviously differs. In progressive jackpot blackjack games the jackpot is hit if the player is dealt certain specified cards. In most forms of progressive jackpot blackjack games these cards are aces of the same suit. In poker based casino games like video poker and Caribbean stud poker the progressive jackpot is hit if the player draws a royal flush. Microgaming offers a progressive jackpot roulette game in which the jackpot is hit if the same number is called five times consecutively.

In progressive jackpot slot games usually no separate wager is required for the progressive jackpot and a part of the normal wager contributes to the jackpot pool. What this means is that average payout ratios for the normal outcomes that have fixed payouts is lower than in the games where there is no progressive jackpot. In most other progressive jackpot games a separate wager has to be placed for the progressive jackpot. In these games the payout ratios of the normal wagers are not affected.

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Comment by: Ponto Rio On: November 02, 2009
I like the random jackpot progressive games but enjoy playing both types of progressive that are available at online casinos. I didn't really fully understand all that much about how progressive games worked in the past but this article was of some use to me!
Comment by: Perl N. On: August 18, 2009
Yeah perhaps but the beauty of playing progressives over playing the lottery I would have to say Elizabeth is that when playing any slot game you have multiple ways of winning and you win while you're playing in real time. Sure it's very unlikely that you're going to hit the progressive jackpot but at the same time the expereince is far better if you ask me playing a slot game vs. buying a ticket and playing a keno type game or even a state or provincial lottery.
Comment by: Elizabeth On: August 12, 2009
Progressive games are fun merely for the hope that you're going to win. I think that the one thing that needs to be understood by players is that hitting a progressive jackpot can be compared to hitting / winning the lottery.

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