Do not pump your hard earned cash into live or online progressive slots before you read this!
Every slot machine enthusiast has their own idea what what games
are and are not worth playing. Some say classic reel slots are the
only way to go. Others swear by video slots with multiple paylines –
the more the better! More yet will tell you that the chance to win a
big jackpot is the only thing worth paying for.
That last one has been a major area of contention between
so-called strategists for years. Some players absolutely love progressive slot machines, and will play nothing else. But
more players refuse to play these games at all, if not despise their
presence on the live or virtual casino floor.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll talk about how progressives
differ from traditional slot machines, why so many players feel
negatively towards them, and more importantly, if there’s any merit
How Progressive Slot Machines Work
Every slot machine is played by spinning a few reels and lining up
symbols on the screen. If enough symbols match in the right
positions, it awards a pay out. If not, you lose your bet. Most of
these games have a jackpot prize, that being the highest amount
that’s paid for achieving some special combination or winning a bonus
A progressive slot is no different, except that its jackpot grows
progressively larger with each bet that’s placed. The jackpot
continues to rise in this fashion until it is won. Then it resets to
its original amount, called the “jackpot seed”, and begins
to grow again.
Live & Online Progressive Slots: The Trade Off
The general consensus about progressives is that players must
trade some common qualities for the chance to win that massive prize.
For instance, a standard video slot might trigger its most endearing
feature, on average, once in every 75 spins. A progressive may be
less generous, triggering its feature every 125 spins on average.
These are just examples, of course.
Some progressives may also require a higher bet in order to be
eligible to unleash the big jackpot prize. This is a notorious trait
of many progressives. If the minimum bet is $0.25, anyone can place
that bet and play the game, but it could be that only those who wager
at least $1 per spin can win the progressive. Or, in the case of the
world-famous Mega Moolah online progressive from Microgaming,
any bet size can deliver the big jackpot, but the higher the bet, the
greater the odds of doing so.
The theoretical return to player (RTP) of a progressive game is usually lower, too. Where the typical online slot pays out at 96%, a progressive has to carry a lower RTP in order to build (and continually rebuild) its jackpot. Using the same example as above, the Mega Moolah has an RTP of just 88%, more comparable to the standard (non-progressive) video slots found at land-based casinos.
To Play or Not to Play…
Sow what’s the verdict? Are progressive slot machines the crème
de la crème, or are they blood-sucking money pits designed to target
the unwitting? The truth is, no one is right or wrong here. The right
game can be different for each player.
Perhaps the best way to look at it is like this:
The only game worth playing is the one that brings you the highest level of entertainment, without provoking irresponsible management of your finances.
If you can play progressives responsibly, winning less on average,
and still enjoying the experience for that thrill of the “What
if…?!”, then by all means, do it. If you have a smaller
bankroll and would rather experience small wins at a higher rate,
then that’s the right choice for you.
If you do wish to play live or online progressive slots, the key
is to understand what qualities you may be trading when you play
them. And for that, you must read and understand the pay table. Know
what it takes to trigger the jackpot, and what size bet may be
required to be eligible to win it.
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