Progressive Video Poker

Saturday, 02nd September 2017

Progressive video poker games are almost as common as progressive slot machines, but they have one big advantage over their slot machine cousins. If you know the pay table for a video poker game, you can calculate the point at which a progressive jackpot is large enough to turn the game from a negative expectation game into a positive expectation game.

Progressive video poker games are usually local area progressives. That means that they’re networked with a dozen or so video poker machines in the same casino. It’s unusual to have a standalone video poker game with a progressive jackpot, and it’s also rare to find a wide area progressive jackpot video poker game.


How Progressive Jackpots Work

A progressive game takes a tiny percentage from each wager and adds it to an ever-growing jackpot. The first progressive jackpots were slot machines, but now progressive versions of other games, even table games, are common in casinos everywhere. You can even find progressive versions of games like roulette.

The reason that you can determine when a video poker game with a progressive jackpot becomes a positive expectation game is that the game simulates a 52 card deck of playing cards. Since there are a known number of cards of each type in the game, you can calculate the exact odds of being dealt a winning combination.

This has enabled experts to determine the payback percentage on these games to an astonishingly accurate percentage. Since we know the odds of getting a royal flush are about 45,000 to 1, it’s relatively easy to figure out how high the jackpot has to be to tilt the odds in the players’ favor.

Advantage Gambling Teams

The only problem is that professional gambling teams watch for these situations and camp out at these games when they become positive expectation. You might be able to get a spot, but they often have people waiting to take over their spot, and when they win, they pool their winnings.

Of course, if you can find an online jackpot that’s high enough, you don’t have to worry about dealing with those guys. The nice thing about video poker on the Internet is that there are a virtually unlimited number of seats to choose from.


Typical Progressive Games and How They Work

If you guessed that the most common progressive video poker game is a variation of Jacks or Better, give yourself a gold star. Most progressive jackpots of this kind are found on 8/5 Jacks or Better games. (See the page about Video Poker Strategy for an explanation of 8/5 Jacks or Better if you need to.) The pay table is exactly the same as any other 8/5 Jacks or Better, but there is one major difference. The royal flush pays out a progressive jackpot.

In order to win the jackpot, you have to play max coins. Once the jackpot is hit, it resets to its starting point, which is usually the same as the normal jackpot on such a machine. (On a Jacks or Better machine, that’s 8000 coins.)

When does such a game become a positive expectation play? A standard 8/5 game has a payback percentage of 97.3%, but once the jackpot gets up to 8665 coins, it’s a 100% return. That’s the breakeven point. Any greater amount results in more of a positive expectation to the player.

Most Jacks or Better games come in denominations of a quarter or a dollar, so the dollar amounts you want to look for are:

  • $2166.25 on a quarter machine.
  • $8665.00 on a dollar machine.

Strategy for Progressive Video Poker Games

One thing to keep in mind when playing progressive games is that the correct strategy changes depending on the size of the jackpot. For example, on a regular game of Jacks or Better, you would never hold an ace and a ten of the same suit, but once the jackpot gets high enough, this becomes the right decision to make.

Volatility increases along with the jackpot, too. The strategy changes increase your chances of winning the big jackpot, but they usually reduce your odds on the lower ranked hands, which means you’ll be losing more and winning less as you chase the big jackpot.

Keep in mind, too, that a big progressive jackpot doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got an advantage play. You still have to look at the pay table. If you’re playing a 6/5 Jacks or Better game with a progressive jackpot, you need a correspondingly higher jackpot to make up for those lower payouts—12,350 coins instead of just 8665 coins. This game would be even more volatile, too.

The best way to get the correct strategy for a progressive video poker game is to use a software program like WinPoker to crunch the numbers for you. Print yourself a strategy chart and have fun.


Can I Play Progressive Slots Online?

If you’re looking to win a jackpot that could change your life, then progressive slots are the game to play. Let’s face it—you’ll never win several hundred thousand playing blackjack or roulette. The payouts just aren’t high enough.

The purpose of this page is to provide an explanation of what progressive slots are, how they work, and why you might be interested in playing them. We’ve also included descriptions of some of the more popular progressive jackpots available both online and in traditional brick-and-mortar casinos.


What Is a Progressive Slot, and How Does It Work?

On most slot machines, the jackpot is a fixed amount, but on a progressive game, the jackpot rises as players put coins in the machine and spin the wheels. A tiny percentage of each coin played is used to “feed” the jackpot. There are three types of progressive slot machine games.

Standalone Progressives

A standalone progressive slot machine has a jackpot ticker on the game, but only bets placed on that specific machine feed the jackpot. This was, at one time, the only kind of progressive slot machine game available, but most progressives feature multiple machines that are linked together. Still, so many standalone machines were manufactured that these games are still easily found in casinos throughout the world. Usually the jackpot on the games will be under $10,000.

Local Progressives

Local progressives were the next step in the evolution of this type of game, and they’re still commonly found. These games feature jackpots within a specific casino that are linked. This network can include as few as a dozen or so machines, or it can include a hundred machines—it just depends on the casino. Usually the jackpots available on these games are under $1,000,000, and often they’re under $100,000.

Wide Area Network Progressives

These are some of the most popular casino games on the market today. A wide area network jackpot links slot machines from multiple casinos in the same state. This allows the jackpot to accumulate into astronomical sums of money, often over $1 million and sometimes even over $10 million. The most well-known brand of wide area network progressives are the Megabucks games from IGT, which is the most successful slot machine design company in the world.


How Do You Win a Progressive Jackpot?

No strategy or system can increase your chances of winning a progressive jackpot on a slot machine game. The odds of winning are similar to the odds of winning the lottery, although you get many more chances of winning per hour with a slot machine game than you would get playing a lottery game.

An important thing to keep in mind about progressive jackpots is that they don’t become “due”. The chances of winning are astronomically small no matter how large the jackpot has gotten. It’s possible for a jackpot to grow large enough that a bet on a particular slots game will be a positive expectation bet, but it’s not a practical opportunity to win. A 1 in a million shot is still a 1 in a million shot, even if the jackpot is up to $2 million.


Online Progressive Jackpots

With the rise of online casinos, progressive jackpots on the Internet have become just as popular as the games in actual land-based casinos. Microgaming is one Internet casino provider which has established its fame and reputation based largely on its large assortment of fun, colorful, and relatively loose progressive jackpot games.

Online progressives work just like their land-based cousins. Every wager you make on your computer feeds a tiny amount into the progressive jackpot for that game. Since lots of players are now gambling from the comfort of their homes, these jackpots can become just as large and life-changing as the progressives in Vegas or Atlantic City.


Most Popular Progressive Games

Megabucks is one of the most popular progressive networks available. The probability of winning this jackpot has been estimated at 1 in 50 million. The amounts won on this machine vary from $10 million into the hundreds of millions. Like many lottery games, Megabucks is paid out as an annuity over 25 years.

Wheel of Fortune is a popular brand of slot machine, and it’s available in multiple denominations. One of the most common versions is the quarter version, which has a starting jackpot of $200,000. The jackpot on this game has gotten close to $2 million in the past, but it’s usually won when it’s still under $1 million.

The dollar version of Wheel of Fortune progressives starts with a $1 million jackpot. It’s not unusual for the game to reach $5 million or more, and it’s almost reach $10 million on occasion. Like Megabucks, this jackpot is paid out as an annuity over time.

Elvis isn’t just the king of rock and roll. He’s also a symbol of classic Vegas, so it’s entirely appropriate that he has a progressive slot machine network named after him. The game starts with a $100,000 jackpot, and it costs 25 cents per spin. Keep in mind that to be eligible for the jackpot, you have to make the max bet, which is 3 coins, or 75 cents. We don’t recommend playing progressive slots without making the max bet, because you usually won’t be eligible for the top prize unless you do.

Mega Moolah is an online-only progressive jackpot available at Internet casinos powered by Microgaming software. Multiple games feature the brand name, and the jackpots and betting limits vary. This progressive network features some of the largest jackpots online, often reaching $1 million or more.


Progressive Blackjack Games

Monday, 21st August 2017

“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.


A New Way to Win

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.


How the Jackpot Is Divided

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


Strategy Differences In Progressive Blackjack – How A Jackpot Hand Is Formed

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.


Progressive Jackpot – A Summary

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.