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We’ve all heard the term “progressive jackpots” and this is one that conjures up the image of striking it lucky at a South African online casino slot machine and becoming an instant millionaire. However, there are many different types of progressive jackpots that can be won in many ways, and the more you understand about how they work, the better your chances of finding the one that will suit your online casino needs.
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Progressive jackpots are made up of a pool of money that increases with every person who plays that specific game. When you play a video slot, for example, consider the fact that both in South African online casinos, and worldwide, hundreds of thousands of people are playing the same slot. All of the money they spend on that machine goes into a pool and a portion of that is set aside as the progressive jackpot.
The amount of money available to be won is shown on the payout table. You’ll notice that it is the more scarce symbols that you will need to line up in most cases to be awarded the progressive. However, some progressives are random and you could be awarded them simply for playing. Once a progressive jackpot is won, the counter on the machine resets to its minimum. Depending on the machine, this value could be anywhere from R0 to R100 000, and the casino determines this amount based on its house edge and expected profit. Most casinos will usually set the progressive as 1-5% of the expected profit, so on an extremely popular game, the progressive could be quite high.
As mentioned above, not all progressive jackpots are created equal and while some progressives require you to line up certain symbols in the right order on an active payline for the slots, others are awarded totally randomly. The types of games that carry progressive jackpots also differ and if you’re hoping to cash in on a progressive win, playing the slots is not the only way to do it. Games such as video poker, blackjack and even variants of table poker also have progressives that players can win, though for the poker variants, these progressives may be smaller depending on the game’s popularity.
In online casinos accepting rand (ZAR) and land-based casinos, certain players are classified as advantage players. These are the players who will only play at a machine or table when they know that the progressive is on the verge of being won. This situation is known as a “positive expectation”. Surprisingly, the casino encourages these players as they generate a lot of profit as they keep coming back to play. This win-win situation is sometimes taken advantage of though, and some players organise teams in which they play non-stop on one particular machine to try and force the progressive to be won. In this case, players will keep wagering at a certain machine and when they need to take a break, will call up another player to take over for them. This is frowned upon by most casinos and players found to be working in teams are usually blocked from the casino. Of course, even with these strategies though, there is no way to guarantee a win.
While the concept of a progressive jackpot is an easy one to understand, there are a few games in which the progressive setup is not quite as straightforward. In progressive blackjack for example, it is not the money wagered on the game that funds the progressive. In this game, players need to make a side bet if they wish to be considered for the progressive, which means that technically, they are playing two games at once, since there are two different wagers. This can be frustrating to some players, since they are actually shelling out extra money just to win a progressive, whereas when they play the slots, the same bet is used for small, large and progressive wins.
However you choose to approach your next progressive game, ensure that no matter what, you are having fun. Finding the machine or table with the highest progressive will certainly add to your feeling of excitement, but if it is on a game you don’t enjoy, what’s the point? Make sure that your focus on fun is just as high on your priority list as your desire to win progressive jackpots.