How Do You Know When a Progressive is Maxed Out?

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Buffalo Link maxed out major

Generally speaking, a progressive that’s not moving, and usually on a nicely round number, is one of two things:

  • Maxed out
  • Frozen at its starting point by a casino

The latter is seen often in markets like Atlantic City or Las Vegas, especially at the corporate-owned casinos, as a way to reduce overall payback a bit.

As far as the former, a maxed out progressive tends to become more known as you play certain slots. For instance, a low-limit Lightning Link machine has a traditional Major starting point of $500 and a maxed out point of $1,000. Once it hits $1,000, it will continue to accrue in the background, but for the next Major, once the first one has been won.

Big Progressive poll

Regular players of the game have seen these maxed out, but many players of the game may not know what that means. But seeing that round $1,000 number, and the progressive not increasing like the ones on machines next to it, is an easier way to spot that a progressive is not going anywhere from here.

The game therefore doesn’t necessarily spell it out in clear language on the display, but it is a pretty obvious scenario when it occurs. But that said, some machines will list the top value of a progressive in their pay tables. And some casinos will place stickers on machines communicating the highest a progressive is allowed to go.

On Dragon Link, the Grand Jackpot can be seen stuck at $18,888.88 – another perfect number in some ways but a clear sign the progressive isn’t going to continue moving forward after that.

So in the absence of explicit information, that’s the easiest way to tell the progressive is either frozen or maxed out. If you see two progressives, one that’s smaller and growing, and another that’s larger (and a round number) and not moving, you’ve likely found a maxed out progressive.

On games like Quick Hit, by comparison, which have progressives that don’t tend to have an upper limit, seeing multiple (or all five) progressives stuck at their starting amount is a clear sign the casino has frozen the progressives, since when they’re won they don’t change and stay at that same flat number.

So hopefully that helps you as a player spot these scenarios and be able to identify whether the progressive is frozen by the casinos or maxed out. And don’t forget that always helpful bit of progressives advice – when you have a choice of machines, always choose the ones with the biggest numbers (all else being equal), as if you do hit that progressive you’ll win more for doing so.

Watch Brian Christopher Play for Maxed Out Majors

Here’s a video compiling some of Brian Christopher’s best moments playing for maxed out majors:

YouTube player

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8 Replies to “How Do You Know When a Progressive is Maxed Out?”

  • Renee Loiselle says:

    Hi Brian – I was at Foxwoods casino yesterday and pop ‘n pays more was no longer there. Was the game just moved to another location within the casino, or did they take it away completely ?

    • says:

      Casinos can and do change machines out regularly. We don’t have any specific information back yet about Foxwoods, but you can ask their slot techs as they usually know if a game is still somewhere on the property. We update our game listings page about once a month at and are due for our next update shortly.

  • Cheryl Fredlund says:

    How do you decide whether or not you are going to do the lucky chance spin? Does the machine tell you the percentage of what your chance will be?
    Rudie Luck 🎰

    • says:

      Hi Cheryl! Brian’s general rule of thumb is if it is a better than 50/50 shot. You know what the odds of the Lucky Chance spin will be as it’s how much you have as a credit balance vs. the actual amount of a bet. For instance, if you have $1 in the machine, and the bet is $5, you have a 20 percent chance (1/5). If you have $3 in a machine, it’s a 60 percent chance (3/5).

      More information about the Lucky Chance spin can be found here:

  • JB says:

    Where does Brian learn so many of the specifics/details on the games (especially slots) plyed?

    • says:

      Brian has been doing this for 7.5 years and counting! His passion for slots is a big reason he is a seasoned expert. He’s always talking to slot manufacturers and game designers about how everything works, and we’re sure you have noticed he is also very good at math!

  • Donna McFarland says:

    Thank you so much for explaining the maxed out progressives.

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