Do Machines Without Progressives Pay Better?

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Double Diamond Deluxe three-reel slot machine

The way a game is designed can give you an idea into where the money is found. Take this example from a player:

Do machines that are non-progressive pay out better than machines with progressive jackpots?

Jodi E.

The best way to look at them is that they pay not necessarily better, but differently.

Most of the time games within a casino floor will be within a given payback range based on a casino’s target over time. Then, it’s up to the makers of each game to decide how the pays are distributed across the game’s design.

At its simplest are games that have no bonuses, features or progressives. These are games like Twin Win or Bonus Times, which have all the money in their line hits.

On the other end are modern games which tend to have a bonus, a feature, and progressives all in one. So the money is spread out over a variety of different places, which can mean without getting a good feature or a big progressive it can be harder to win.

So, games without progressives don’t pay better, but what they don’t do is take a percentage of the money you’re wagering and set it aside to ultimately be won by a single person.

Do you prefer slots with progressives?

Players seem to prefer progressive machines – 61 percent polled recently on Brian Christopher’s YouTube page said they prefer slots with progressives.

Progressives will often claim 1-2% of the overall wagers on a machine to grow the progressive. There’s a starting number for each progressive, plus the amount a progressive increments, which is usually based on how much is wagered on the machine. 

So a couple percent of the game’s overall paybacks could be locked into those progressives. Those payouts ultimately aren’t unlocked until a single person gets it.

So, when playing a game without those progressives, that money is found elsewhere – line hits, bonuses, etc.,  – that can make it feel like it’s paying better, but the reality is that overall, the slot is still paying the same amount out over the long term, just in a different way.

Those big progressives are another example of what makes a slot more volatile – It’s another big payout that’s hard to get, that reduces the pays everywhere else and makes the game harder to win on.

For all the years and high bets Brian has played, he’s only won the top progressive on a handful of occasions. There was a lot of time on those machines where he didn’t get one, and that included some pretty rough sessions. So ultimately if you want a smoother ride, picking a game without progressives can be one way to go.

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