What Are Progressive Jackpot Games and How They Work

The concept of a jackpot is a familiar one, regardless of whether it comes from a slot machine or a lottery ticket. The majority of jackpots are for plainly stated fixed amounts, like when the top prize at a video poker machine for a straight flush is $5,000. Progressive jackpots are different in that they continue to increase until someone hits them. These are the kind of games you'll find in physical casinos with big digital signs that are steadily increasing, tempting people to come over and play. It should come as not surprise that progressive jackpot games have an enthusiastic following, and this is even more true when it comes to online casinos.

Progressive jackpots work by taking small amounts from each wager at a game or machine and using it to increase the amount of the jackpot total. For instance, a player who bets $1 at a progressive slot machine might contribute one cent toward the payout for the best possible winning combination. The more money that gets played at that machine, the higher the progressive jackpot payout will climb – until someone wins it. Once that happens, the jackpot returns to a fixed amount called its reset value and the entire process begins anew. Some modern slot machines (both physical and online) have several progressive jackpots running at once for different winning reel combinations, each of which is taking different amounts from wagers when played.

Slots or video poker games often require the maximum possible amount to be wagered to make hitting a progressive jackpot possible, while table games usually ask for a separate side bet to be made. Another common twist found in modern casino games is the concept of linked progressives, where multiple games all work together to help build a common jackpot. Online casinos take this idea to its logical extreme, allowing dozens of sites to be linked together over the internet that can hypothetically have tens of thousands of players adding to their progressive totals at any given time. Linked progressive jackpots are responsible for the life-changing wins that are sometimes publicized in the media, with people earning millions of dollars from a single spin.

One thing to keep in mind about progressive games is that the casinos offering them often lower the other payouts of those games in order to compensate for the off chance that they may be required to pay out a large sum. That makes progressive jackpot games inherently favored to players who prefer high risk/high reward forms of gambling as opposed to games that pay out smaller amounts more often.