Popular Misconceptions With Progressive Jackpot Games

Progressive jackpot games in online casinos usually look and play a lot like their non-progressive counterparts. In some cases, they play exactly the same way, and the progressive part of the game never comes into play unless the jackpot is hit. Because of this, some conventional wisdom has popped up over the years about progressive jackpot games that is somewhat misleading or just plain wrong. Let's look at some of those misconceptions and compare them with the facts.

One very common school of thought is that a progressive jackpot is more likely to be hit after a long period of time has passed since the last winner. In practical terms, there is some truth to this: but not for the reason that most people believe. The misconception arises because many people believe in the so-called “law of averages,” which states that something that hasn't happened for a long time becomes increasingly likely to happen as more time passes. This is mathematically false, because every spin of a slot machine's reels has the exact same odds of hitting the progressive jackpot-winning combination, independent of every other spin. A player's 20th spin has the same odds as his or her first.

However in many cases it does become more likely that someone will win the ever increasing jackpot because more people will be trying for it. It works much the same way as multi-state lotteries, where the publicity around the jackpot itself and its higher value convinces more people to play. Progressive jackpot games in online casinos get a similar boost in interest once they pass certain thresholds (like $1 million). Even though every individual player is facing the same long odds as always, the fact that there are more people trying their luck means that those odds are actually more likely to be overcome.

The effect of the progressive jackpot on the odds of individual games is often misunderstood. It's commonly believed that progressive jackpot video poker games pay out at a lower percentage compared to non-progressive versions with the same rules. In fact, the payout percentages are often identical, but all the prizes other than the progressive jackpot are reduced to make that a reality. Thus, players do tend to go through their money faster, but it's because that very slim chance of winning the big prize is part of the mathematical equation, not because the overall payout structure is lower.