You have to admit it. Progressive jackpots are just so seductive. Just the thought of turning a few paltry dollars into thousands – perhaps even millions – is a powerful temptation that few gamblers can resist. Even knowing that the odds are stacked high against them does little to quell the excitement or diminish the lofty dream of “what if…”
For online players in search of such a thrill, progressive games are anything but in short supply. In fact, online casinos offer a wide variety of some of the best progressive games in the gambling industry, with jackpots tied into everything from slots and video poker to blackjack, poker, bingo and roulette. In essence, if there’s a particular game you fancy, chances are good that some innovative site has built a progressive jackpot into it.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of progressive jackpot games the Internet has to offer.
Of all progressive jackpot games, perhaps none is more familiar than slots. Popularized by traditional casinos and openly welcomed by online players, progressive slot games offer gamblers the largest potential jackpots in casino gambling.
For Internet players, there are two major divisions of progressive slot games: in-house and multi-site or linked progressives. In-house progressive games offer jackpots based solely on player action on a single game housed within a particular site. These types of jackpots tend to be smaller on average and require more time to grow. Often these types of games feature proprietary software, meaning they are unique to one specific company.
Multi-site progressive games are exactly what their name implies—they rely on player action from a number of different casino sites. For example, Cash Splash is a $1 multi-site progressive jackpot game that can be played from any one of about 65 associated sites. Like in-house progressive games, a share of all bets is placed into the jackpot pool. Unlike in-house games, however, these jackpots can rise to tremendous levels very quickly—sometimes over a million dollars.
Variations of poker have always been popular and made even more so with the introduction of progressive jackpots. Two of the most common progressive poker games found online are Caribbean Stud and Let it Ride.
Caribbean Stud Poker: Caribbean Stud Poker (online often called “Caribbean Poker or “Cyberstud Poker”) is a stud poker game where players receive five cards and compete against the house for the best hand. What makes this game compelling for many jackpot seekers, however, is the progressive prize. Prior to the start of the game, players may opt to place a $1 side wager, a percentage of which is added to the progressive jackpot pool. Players involved in this wager receive a cash bonus for specific hands, ranging from $50 for a flush to the entire jackpot for a royal flush. An example of a typical pay schedule for the progressive side wager is:
Royal Flush: 100%
Straight Flush: 10%
Four of a Kind: $100
Full House: $75
Let it Ride: Another popular poker variant that has met with player approval online is Let it Ride (often called Poker Ride or Let Them Ride). In Let it Ride, players are dealt three cards from a standard 52-card poker deck and together with two community cards try to create a winning five card hand. As with Caribbean Stud, Let it Ride offers an optional $1 jackpot wager, which may be entered prior to the start of the game. While payouts may vary, below is a sample schedule for Let it Ride.
Hand Payout Jackpot
Royal Flush 1000-1 100%
Straight Flush 200-1 10%
Four-of-a-Kind 50-1 $500
Full House 11-1 $100
Flush 8-1 $50
Straight 5-1 —
Three-of-a-Kind 3-1 —
Two Pair 2-1 —
Pair of 10s or better 1-1 —
Ever since bingo made its debut as the national lotto of Italy in 1530, it has been drawing in players with the promise of both fun and “easy” money. And with the advent of the Internet, its popularity has only risen.
There are a wide variety of bingo sites, many of which offer large prizes at minimal risk. Bingo jackpots and progressive games are generally of the “in-house” variety, with prizes based solely on the number of players of a game at one specific site. Games offered vary with the site, and can range in value from only a few hundred, to tens of thousands of dollars.
Although roulette is not typically a game that inspires thoughts of progressive jackpots, there is at least one online variety that provides roulette players with just such an incentive: Roulette Royale.
A multi-site progressive powered by Microgaming (and thus shared by all casinos that use their software) Roulette Royale is played exactly like traditional roulette with one exception. Each time a number repeats—even if the player has not placed a bet on the winning number—the player is awarded an additional payout. The progressive jackpot is awarded when the same number repeats five times in a row.
The Internet is a haven for video poker junkies. Not only does it offer convenient access to a wide assortment of games, but also some pretty compelling progressive jackpots. Jackpot Deuces, for example, is a five-coin deuces wild game with an average jackpot payout of over $30,000. Below is a breakdown of other online jackpot games.
$0.05 & $0.10 $0.25 $0.50 $1 and above
Deuces and Joker
Double Double Bonus Poker
Jacks or Better
Some progressive video poker games fall under multiple categories and offer players the choice of coin value. Jackpot Poker, for example, is listed here under $0.50, but may also be played in $0.25, $1 and $5 versions.
One of the best known and most popular of casino games, it’s not surprising that progressive variations have made their way onto the Internet. One game found under Microgaming’s banner is Triple Sevens Progressive Blackack.
Based on traditional blackjack, Triple Sevens Progressive Blackjack combines standard blackjack play with a side bet that makes players eligible for additional payouts, including a progressive jackpot. Cards are dealt from a five-deck shoe (shuffled after each hand) and just as in traditional blackjack, players win by getting a hand closer in value (but not exceeding) to 21 than the dealer’s total. Players entered into the progressive side game receive additional payouts according to the following schedule:
Hand Pays (credits)
7– Single seven dealt first 5
77- Two sevens, unsuited 25
77- Two sevens, suited 50
777 Three sevens, unsuited $250
777 Three sevens, suited 1000
777 Three diamond sevens Progressive Jackpot
If you receive any combination of sevens, the pay table will highlight your win and a blue label will be shown above the cards indicating what winning combination you have received. Note, however, that if a player receives two consecutive sevens in a hand and splits, the jackpot bonus drops to a value of a single seven in each hand.
The Cold Hard Facts
What are the odds of winning a progressive slot jackpot? Or maybe drawing three suited sevens? Even if the game or side-wager looks easy, winning a progressive jackpot means overcoming some serious odds. Think bingo is simple? Consider this: the chance of making a 24-number cover-all with one card (and 50 or fewer numbers drawn) is 1 in 212, 085.
Hmmm…maybe not so easy after all. How about the Caribbean Stud jackpot then? Again, an unlikely proposition. The probability of being dealt that glorious royal flush is a remote 649,740 to 1. To put that into perspective, that means if you were dealt a hand roughly once every minute, it would take a little over a year just to hit a single royal flush.
That’s not to say that nobody wins—people win all of the time. Should you play them? If you’re looking for a little fun and that extra thrill that comes with taking a “one-in-a-million” shot, sure. But if a mountain of cash is your only goal, odds are you won’t be quitting your day job.