Progressive Slot Machines
Unlike flat tops, the jackpots on progressive slots increases with every coin played. As with state lotteries, the more people there are playing, the bigger the jackpot gets, until there’s a winner.
Progressive machines are often grouped together, with each machine in the group contributing to a single big jackpot. Groups of progressive slots tend to be on a raised platform or carousel in a high visibility location. There will usually be an electronic payout sign, either on each individual machine or suspended above a group of machines, that shows the jackpot increasing every few minutes or even seconds as play continues on the collective machines. Progressive machines very rarely make payouts, but when they do, the winnings can exceed tens of millions of dollars.
Groups of progressive slot machines don’t have to be limited to the same location. Machines from all over the country can be tied to a single jackpot.
Progressives vs. Flat Tops
We recommend playing flat tops instead of progressives for two reasons. First, progressive machines have the stingiest payout percentages in the casino, usually just 83 to 89%. The odds against winning the jackpot can be up to 50 million to 1. That’s even worse than most state lotteries. Second, as we mentioned earlier, progressive machines make very few payouts. Most players lose their entire bankroll long before the machine pays out.
If you do decide to go ahead and give progressive machines a try anyway, remember to always put in the maximum amount of coins per spin to make sure you’ll be eligible for the maximum jackpot. It would be very disappointing to make a winning spin only to realize that you had not put in the maximum number of coins and therefore won’t get the full jackpot.
Slot Machine Denominations
Slot machine chips are typically available in nickel, quarter, half-dollar, and dollar denominations. It is also possible to find machines that take $5, $10, and $25 chips, and in
some high-roller areas you may even see machines that accept $500 and $1,000 chips. In order to help you quickly spot the denomination you wish to play, slots are color-coded by the light on the top of the machine.
This light is usually two-toned, with the denomination color on the bottom and white on the top. The white portion of the light will flash whenever a jackpot is hit.
Slot Machine Decisions
Choosing a Machine Besides deciding between progressives and flat tops, you have other choices for influencing your chances at slots.
Look for a high-payout machine, often referred to as a “loose machine.” In any casino, a few high paying machines will be strategically positioned for maximum exposure to generate excitement and entice more people to play. Look for these machines along the outside edges of a casino’s slot machine section, facing heavy traffic areas. They might also be located near the entrances to restaurants, bars and other public areas. There have been entire books written on the subject of the best locations for “loose” slot machines, but, in general, if you can think like a casino owner – as in “Where can I position this for maximum visibility?” you’ll increase your odds of finding one.
When choosing a machine to play, also keep in mind that the ones with sitcom, game-show, or movie themes usually require casinos to pay additional licensing and royalty fees. That means their payouts will be smaller than their less flashy cousins so that casinos can cover their investment.