“Jackpot!” is a cheer everyone enjoys. Knowing that there is a large prize on offer, that you could be rewarded with at any time, adds another sense of excitement to any gamble. Now with progressive blackjack you can experience that at the blackjack tables.
Here you can find an overview of what you need to know, starting with what progressive blackjack is and how the game differs to regular blackjack. I have then described the additional pay outs in a progressive game, the strategic differences you need to consider and the additional edge you will be giving up to the house.
Progressive blackjack differs from regular blackjack by including a jackpot side bet. As the side bets add up a jackpot is created and players have the chance to win all or part of the jackpot if their hand meets certain conditions. Progressive blackjack games are very popular online as the jackpot can build up very quickly.
Progressive blackjack is similar to a standard game of blackjack, with only slight differences. To play for the jackpot you have to first place your side bet along with your standard bet. On most tables there is an area for this bet next to your regular betting area. The side bet is a minimum bet, usually $1, which goes towards the jackpot and plays no further part in the hand. Your hand then plays out the same as it would for a standard Blackjack hand, where you win or lose against the dealer as normal.
The jackpot comes into play only when your hand consists of a particular combination of cards. When you are dealt a qualifying hand you are paid out a portion of the progressive jackpot pool. Different progressive blackjack games have different qualifying hands, and your prize is laddered according to the strength of your qualifying hand.
Payouts for progressive blackjack vary for different card rooms. Usually different payouts are unlocked by the player holding one or more Aces. In a progressive game, such as Triple 7s, payouts are triggered by other cards — in this case 7s being held instead.
An example of a Progressive blackjack payout structure is shown below.
One Ace = $3
Two non-suited Aces = $15
Two suited Aces = $50
Three non-suited Aces = $200
Three suited Aces = $1000
Four Aces = $2000
Four suited Aces = Entire jackpot
Going for jackpot payouts should not significantly change your standard blackjack strategy. For example let us assume you place your bet and side bet and your first card is an Ace. You play your hand as normal and will win or lose according to normal blackjack payouts. In addition you will receive an additional $3 from the jackpot for holding a single Ace.
While splitting is allowed, you can only draw one more card for each hand. You could possibly draw two more Aces but as it does not matter when the Aces come in the hand you have a greater chance of seeing more cards when you hit on one hand.
If you are playing different variants of progressive blackjack games, ensure you check the criteria for payouts in that particular game. For example in most progressive games you will be awarded your jackpot payouts if Aces appear anywhere in your hand, while in a typical Triple 7 game, you will only get paid if the 7s are dealt as the first cards in your hands. If you spilt, you can only claim a jackpot payment for one hand, which makes splitting 7s a very negative proposition.
When playing for the jackpot the house gains a significant edge on the side-bet, ranging from around 22% through to 53% depending on the particular game structure. The jackpot size significantly alters the house’s edge and the bigger the jackpot becomes the smaller the houses edge is. Eventually the houses edge is reduced to nothing and this is the best time for you to play for the jackpot. Although this varies, a rough a jackpot valued at $120,000 would be generally a good jackpot to play for.
For a twist on your regular blackjack game, progressive blackjack is an exciting variant allowing you to win big win on a small side-bet. To get the most out of the game, make sure you are familiar with the particular payouts and rules depending on where you play. Finally be aware the side bet can give a large advantage to the house, therefore only play when the jackpot is big, reducing the house edge – or with money you can afford to lose as an entertaining gamble.