A progressive jackpot is one where the cash amount that can be won gradually keeps increasing every time a game is played until one player succeeds in winning the total. When the jackpot is finally won, it is reset to a predetermined minimum level.
Progressive jackpots are available on some slot machines and video poker machines and are also available on some casino games such as blackjack and roulette. In the case of slot machines and video poker machines, several machines can be linked together to form one large progressive jackpot that increases more rapidly because a number of players are simultaneously contributing to the ‘pot’. The jackpot can generally only be won if a player succeeds in attaining the best winning combination for the particular machine.
Some gamers play strategically, or even in teams, in order to increase the likelihood of their success. In video poker, for example, it is possible to calculate the payoff probability and at some point the jackpot may be larger than the amount of cash required to pay for the number of games needed before a payoff is statistically due to happen. Because the jackpot of a progressive video poker game is constantly increasing, eventually a point can be reached where the machine favours the player rather than the ‘house’. On this basis, providing enough games are played (usually thousands), a player can make a profit from a video poker game. The casino also makes a profit, even in this circumstance, because most of the progressive jackpot has been provided by other players’ contributions.
Winnings can be very high. In the case of multi-million dollar jackpot wins, players may be paid part of the amount in cash and then have a period of time (usually up to 3 months) to decide whether they want the rest of the winnings paid as a lump sum or as an annual annuity on the balance.