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Slot Machine Basics

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Everything you ever wanted to know
about slots and slot machines.

Progressive Slot Machines

Diagram of a progressive slot machine showing the progressive ticker at the top

People love progressive slot machines and this is because it is possible to really win big at a progressive game because progressive slot machines have a progressive jackpot which could be a huge amount of money. In the diagram above you can see a 5 reel slot machine with its progressive ticker showing the amount in the progressive jackpot climbing, exciting isn't it! Progressive slot games generally have a ticker above the reels that allows you to see the amount in the progressive jackpot growing.

Progressive slots games could be classic 3 reel slot machines or they could be 5 reel video slots in an online casino, the important point that sets them apart from other sorts of slots is the progressive jackpot. Usually a progressive jackpot will be won by creating a winning combination that is equal to the highest payout on the paytable; this is the same as winning the jackpot in a non progressive slot.

The Story Behind Progressive Slots Machines

Progressive slots are a relatively recent phenomena that were not possible before the 1980’s; it wasn’t until the early 80’s that microchips were added to slot machines. This was the technological breakthrough that would allow the linking of multiple slot machines in multiple sites. The first progressive slot machine was invented in 1986 by the slot machines manufacturing company IGT; this slot machine was called Megabucks.

So what Exactly is a Progressive Jackpot?

Progressive jackpots build up very quickly and can become extremely large in a very short space of time.

These progressive jackpots can come from a number of slot machines; for example, Wheel of Fortune slots game is extremely popular in casinos in Las Vegas; there may be 6 versions of Wheel of Fortune alone in Caesars Palace casino

A percentage of that money is then skimmed off each machine to contribute to the progressive jackpot. Now, this is where it starts to get a little crazy; there may be a casino down the road with 8 versions of this slot machine, and each player putting money in to Wheel of Fortune slots game is contributing to the progressive jackpot for that particular game.   So, each version of Wheel of Fortune slots game is linked and sometimes games across a whole state can be linked.  This is how progressive jackpots grow and this is also why they can be absolutely huge!

When the progressive jackpot is won it is reset to a pre determined amount and this is why many players like to keep up to date with progressive jackpots and play when the progressive is especially large.

How Does a Progressive Jackpot Build Up?

It is very interesting to know how a progressive jackpot builds up. As you already know an amount of money that each player spends is skimmed off the top and this contributes towards the progressive jackpot. This is why the amount of non jackpot or non progressive wins are lower, however, if you take the progressive jackpot in to account then the total amount of wins will be the same as other non progressive slot machines.

Let's see an example of how the progressive jackpot builds up. Imagine you are playing Megabucks at a Las Vegas casino which is a linked progressive slots machine with a fixed $5 bet per spin. Your money could be divided as follows, 25 cents adds to the progressive jackpot, $1.25 goes to the casino and the remaining $3.50 is paid out in non jackpot wins. If however, you were playing a non progressive slots game at that same casino it is likely that your money would be divided as follows. $1.25 to the casino and $3.75 paid out on wins.

The example above assumes the casino has a 75% payout rate, in reality slots at land based casinos typically have payout rates ranging from 70% up to 95%.

How Hi Can a Progressive Jackpot Go?

Well, on May 13 2009 a lucky individual won $8,6 million on Mega Moolah Progressive Slot Machine at the popular River Belle online casino.

However, in March 2003 a young man ambled in to Excalibur Casino; just one of many casinos on the infamous Las Vegas Strip; in under a minute, after wagering just $3 he ended up $38.7 million richer. That's right; he won a progressive jackpot of $38.7 million on Megabucks slots game.

These examples give you an idea of why people find playing progressive slot machines so irresistible; often times you will find that they don't have as many small payouts as other slot machines. Also, you may have to bet with maximum coins, or bet with all paylines activated. Sometimes you may need to bet with the maximum coin value in order to qualify for a chance to win the progressive jackpot. However, the progressive jackpot can be an enormous life changing amount of money.

Different Sorts of Progressive Slots

Progressive slot machines may be classic slots, video slots, bonus game slots and you will be able to see if a slot is progressive by the progressive ticker at the top of the reels. They can be found in both online and land based casinos.

Some popular land based progressive slot machines are Megabucks, Millionaire 777's, SURVIVOR, Wheel of Fortune, Party-Time and Elvis.

Some popular online progressive slots games are Mega Moolah, Red White & Win, Mega Money Mine, Pay dirt and Win Place or Show.

Random Progressive Slot Machines

A random progressive jackpot is a variation on the standard progressive jackpot. It will be awarded randomly at the end of any winning spin but this is less common than the usual non random progressive type of game.

Sometimes there may be a stipulation in a random progressive slot machine that the random progressive jackpot can only be won if you bet with max coins. However, the important key factor to remember is that the jackpot is progressive and it is awarded randomly and this is the case in both land based and online casinos

This feature is most commonly found in online slot machines that are manufactured by the software provider Real Time Gaming. Some good examples are Cleopatra's Gold, Aztec's Millions and Paradise Dreams. Just like in many progressive slots the progressive ticker shows the amount rising and usually the more you wager the greater your chances are of triggering the random progressive jackpot.

There is also an online slot machine manufacturer Cryptologic that makes online slot machines with random progressive jackpots. Some of these are Marvel themed slots which are extremely popular as they include slots games such as the Incredible Hulk and Spider Man.