Many slot machines and video poker machines feature a progressive jackpot. The jackpot increases by a small predetermined amount each time the game is played. Often multiple jackpot slots are pooled or linked together to form a larger progressive jackpot which grows more quickly because more non-winning plays can be counted toward it.
After each drawing in which the jackpot is not won, a large amount of money is «carried forward» to the jackpot for next drawing. The amount of the jackpot increases by a small amount for every play on any connected machine. A machine offering a progressive jackpot usually displays the amount of the jackpot, rather boldly, to attract players. After a player wins the jackpot, the jackpot resets to a preset minimum level.
Usually the progressive jackpot is only offered to players who wager the maximum number of credits per play. All wagers, whether or not they are maximum-credit bets, contribute to the jackpot. Usually the jackpot can only be won by winning the combination with the highest payoff, e. In the long run, with optimal strategy, a player can profit by only playing progressive games when their jackpots are above the break-even point, although the «long run» can be quite long, tens of thousands of plays.
The break-even point cannot be easily calculated on a slot machine game, because the payback percentage for the game is normally unknown to the player. The break-even point in poker-based games can be calculated because the payback percentage for the game is a function of the paybacks and odds of the poker hands, which is based on a standard 52-card deck. The return of a slot machine is based on the published paytable, but also on the normally unpublished reels. Many online casinos allow the same game to be played in multiple currencies, in which case the break-even point and average return to player can change depending on the player’s currency choice.
This is because the jackpot amount may be converted between currencies so that the same amount is paid out to the winner no matter their currency choice, but the wager required to qualify for the jackpot is not. Advantage players, who only play when the progressive jackpot provides them with a positive expectation situation, still generate revenue for the casino. Even though the player has an advantage over the house, the casino still profits from each play, because the bulk of the progressive jackpot has been pre-paid by the prior non-winning players. Advantage gamblers sometimes organize teams of players to play machines where the progressive jackpots generate a positive expectation situation. Such teams often displace ordinary players, making the machines unavailable just when they are the most attractive to gamblers generally. Team members often have cell phones and work in shifts, calling a teammate to replace them when they’re ready for a break.
Most casinos offer slot clubs, which pay back a percentage of a gambler’s wagers on their games in the form of cash rebates or other perks with a monetary value. Participating in a slot club can reduce the break-even point of a progressive jackpot game because of the value of the rebate on each wager. Progressive jackpots are not limited to slot machines and video poker. Poker games sometimes include a progressive bad beat jackpot. A progressive blackjack game usually does not differ from conventional blackjack, apart from the addition of an optional side bet which gives the player a chance to win a progressive jackpot.