Are Built-Up Progressives Harder to Win?

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Multiple progressives on a slot machine

Each slot machine with progressives will usually have either linked progressives, individual machine progressives, or a combination of both. A player wonders about the size of the progressive and its impact on winning:

Are your odds of hitting a progressive better at a machine that has lower ones (meaning they’ve most likely gone off or go off more often) or at a machine that has a higher progressive, but may be more difficult to set off since it hasn’t been hit?

Grace Lee

Your odds of hitting a progressive, presuming the same machine type, are the same regardless of the size of the progressive. Given that, it’s always best to sit at the machine with the highest progressive. In that way, if you win, you’ll win the biggest progressive available.

Machine progressives, like anything else within a slot, have some expected average number of spins that they’ll be hit. But because randomness comes into play, and the bigger progressives tend to be harder to hit, they can grow for longer or shorter periods of time before any particular win. They don’t run on cycles, and so therefore wins will happen ahead of or behind the average quite often.

On many games, and sometimes depending on the casino, progressives can cap. Some will accrue the amounts behind the scenes to add to the next one once it’s finally awarded, while others will just let the casino enjoy that extra little bit of money that would’ve otherwise grown the progressive. We’ve seen examples where the same game is capped in some banks and not in others within the same casino – there the decision is pretty obvious.

In a market where there’s a lot of casinos, that can and potentially should factor in to your plans – do you want to play a game where the progressives are capped at lower amounts, or play the same game with higher progressives next door? It’s a fair consideration since the general impact of that decision could mean a higher or lower overall percentage.

Ultimately, it’s a smarter gambling move to pick the higher progressive, and thankfully it won’t be any harder to win that higher progressive, given it’s often hard enough as it is.

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