How To Play Progressive Slots

Playing progressive slots requires special skills and qualities. Progressive jackpots grow as players keep on wagering across multiple slot machines. Learn how to play them!

How To Play Progressive Slots
How To Play Progressive Slots

Everyone who visits a land-based or online casino site dreams of taking home those massive jackpots offered by progressive slots. Several players believe they have a fairly good shot at winning those life-altering fortunes if they just know how to get it.

To know just how to get those progressive prizes as well as your odds of winning a progressive jackpot, this article gives you an in-depth guide to progressive jackpot slots.

Start by reading our slot jackpot guide explaining the differences between the many different types of jackpots found in the world of RNG slot games.

What Are Progressive Slots

jackpot icon

What makes progressive slots stand out from others is their growing jackpot payout. Every time a player spins the reels, a small part of their bet makes its way to the jackpot prize amount. As more people spin the reels, the more a progressive jackpot grows.

Take note that a progressive slot does not only take a part of their bets spent on one machine, it takes it from several in the case of local progressive slots. One specific slot game can collect every bet from every machine within the casino ground. With the number of spins each machine accumulates, the average progressive jackpot is around $100,000 to $1 million.

In the case of wide-area network progressive slots, this type of slot software is connected through a central server. Imagine millions of players around the world spinning the reels of one specific game, contributing to the growing jackpot. This kind of game can reach the $10 million mark because of the large number of people playing.

Both local progressive and wide area network progressive slots share the same jackpot prize. When a player wins the highest possible jackpot prize from one of the machines or online version of a game, the major jackpot prize goes back to the minimum amount. This amount varies between different slots, which can range from $10,000 to $1 million. Mega Moolah claims the latter amount as guaranteed by the software provider, Microgaming.

Wagering Requirements

To have a chance of winning the progressive jackpot prize, slots have a wagering or bet requirement. This is usually the maximum bet amount or credit denomination for each spin.

If you do not meet the bet requirement, you are still entitled to the bonus features of the slot such as its free-spins mode and multipliers, if applicable. However, not aiming for the biggest jackpot defeats the point of playing progressive slots as they generally have lower RTP rates to account for the massive jackpots.

Progressive Jackpot Triggers

While various progressive slots have different methods for players to win their jackpot prizes, most of these games have three common ways to collect these prizes.

Jackpot Wheel

jackpot fortune wheel icon

One of the exciting methods for winning one of the progressive jackpot slot payouts is through a jackpot wheel mode. A jackpot wheel consists of numerous slots a fixed pointer at the center. When the wheel stops spinning, you receive the cash prize of the slot where the pointer lands.

While the mechanic is much simpler than a money wheel game at a casino, getting the largest possible prize is much more difficult. Almost every progressive slot that uses the jackpot wheel trigger, the major prize is a single square out of numerous others on the wheel. Fortunately for games such as Mega Moolah, every other square can reward you with one of four progressive jackpot prizes. Each of these prizes also grows in size as more people play the slot.

For other jackpot wheels, there are multiple wheels involved such as the one used by Mega Fortune from NetEnt. You start at the outer wheel, which has cash prizes and arrow squares. Landing on the arrow squares allows you to enter the inner wheel. You need to land on three arrow squares to get the Mega Jackpot prize.

Entering the jackpot wheel usually involves matching bonus symbols during the base game. One example of this method is Mega Fortune where the bonus symbol is the jackpot wheel itself. Certain slots tend to trigger the bonus mode at random during the base game, which is such the case for Mega Moolah.

Collect Symbols

collect diamonds icon

Another method of winning one of the jackpot prizes is to collect a set number of corresponding symbols. This method is usually done through a mini-game where you are presented with several objects. Behind these objects are the symbols for one of those prizes. Collecting three of these symbols will end the game and reward you with one of the jackpot prizes.

Hall of Gods is one example of this progressive slot feature. Upon trigger the feature, 15 shields replace the symbols on the reels. Hitting the shield reveals either one of the three jackpot prizes or a cash prize. Two of these jackpots, namely the Mini and Midi jackpots, have a fixed amount. What makes this type of jackpot trigger interesting is its interactive aspect in winning the massive payout.

Other slots take the ‘collect symbols’ to a different level such as Tiki Fire from Aristocrat. When there are six or more Fireball symbols on the reel, you trigger the bonus mode by receiving three re-spins. The fireball symbol holds cash prizes, two symbols of the fixed jackpot prizes, and two progressive jackpots. When you get a Fireball to land on one of the unoccupied spaces, you get three more re-spins. You win the coveted progressive jackpot when you fill every reel with the Fireball symbol.

Symbols Match

slot 777 jackpot icon

There is always the traditional approach to winning the jackpot, which involves matching specific symbols on the reels. This concept is the same as having the highest paying symbols line up on a 1×3 slot with one payline. Of course, we are talking about progressive slots so it is not quite as simple as matching a specific symbol.

Super Bell Ringer is one example of a slot with this trigger where there are five different progressive jackpots up for grab. To win the lowest possible jackpot is to have five Gold Bell symbols appear on the 3×3 reels. How can you take home the highest possible payout? You need to fill all 9 spaces with the Gold Bell symbol. If you are betting less than max credits and got 9 Bell symbols, you take home 1000x your total bet.

Matching the symbols used to be the most common trigger for jackpots and is still used for more classic-styled slot games. However, the wheel has evolved to become a solid strategy for a simple reason – it creates a thrill and suspense that’s hard to replicate with matching or collecting slot symbols.

Triggers of Progressive Slots
Triggers of Progressive Slots

Probability of Winning a Progressive Jackpot

Given the requirements of taking home the highest possible jackpot prize in a progressive slot, your odds of winning any progressive jackpots are around one in 50 million to 60 million. If you are interested to know, a lottery game where you pick 6 numbers out of 49 possible ones gives you a 1 in 14 million chance of winning the highest payout.

Your probability of getting the biggest payout comes from the requirement of triggering the bonus mode. Once you do, there is also the requirement of winning the main jackpot prize out of the smaller iterations of it along with the instant cash prizes.  

Strategies for Progressive Jackpot Slots

Jackpot slots require a different set of methods compared to your regular slot strategies. This is because they are programmed slightly differently.

To help you get the most out of your gameplay, here are four progressive slot strategies to consider.

Minimum Bet

Always remember that not all progressive slots have a strict bet requirement to obtain their highest jackpot prize. Yes, you heard that right. You do not need to set the max bet to win a fortune. Several slots entitle you to its progressive jackpot with the minimum bet only.

Might Cash is a good example of a progressive slot with no bet requirement for any of its progressive jackpot prizes. Its jackpot trigger is the same as Tiki Fire where you need to enter the bonus mode by having six Orb symbols on the reels. Filling every space on the reels with the Orb rewards you with the Grand Jackpot.

Loss Limit

Progressive slots often have the lowest RTP and high variance rate than other games. Profiting out of these games tends to be difficult and you are likely to go through your bankroll without winning the largest jackpot prize.

Having a loss limit can help you enjoy the game without experiencing any financial pressure. Simply stop playing if your bankroll hits a specific limit. Another method is to have a set budget for progressive slots and another for different casino games, allowing you to enjoy the casino experience.

Jackpot Prize Amount

Get to know the minimum progressive jackpot amount for specific slots you want to play. While a majority of progressive slots still have a high minimum jackpot prize that is around $5,000 or more, it is a missed opportunity to play these slots when the jackpot resets.

You will want to play a progressive slot with a jackpot prize that is at least twice the minimum amount. Online casino databases or the software provider’s home page can tell you a progressive slot’s minimum jackpot, which lets you know which ones to avoid.

Progressive Slot RTP & Variance

As a rule of thumb when it comes to slots, higher RTP and lower variance rates tend to have fewer risks and better rewards. Popular progressive slots tend to have the lowest RTP and highest variance rates. However, there are progressive slots that have better risk-vs-reward ratios.

A good example of this type of slot is MegaBars Jackpot King from Blueprint. MegaBars Jackpot King has a 95.99% RTP and mid-high variance rate. While the progressive jackpot amount is nowhere near the millions, it still has a significant progressive jackpot reward with a medium risk factor.

How To Win a Progressive Jackpot
How To Win a Progressive Jackpot

Massive and growing jackpot prizes are the key difference between progressive slots and regular ones. Winning them requires a large amount of luck since you need to clear the hardest goals in these games such as landing on a single space in a jackpot wheel or filling the reels with the bonus symbol. Fortunately, there are methods to slightly increase your chances of taking home a progressive jackpot such as playing progressive slots with a mid-RTP and mid-high variance rate.