We all want to strike it rich one day. Some dream about becoming the CEO of a major company. For others, it’s happily marrying into a wealthy family. Most of us don’t dream-plan that far ahead. We just want to win a slot machine jackpot or massive lottery prize, instantly changing our lives. Is it really so far-fetched?
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How to Win a Slot Machine Jackpot
No, I don’t have a miracle method. There’s no hack or cheat for winning slots. By no means can I guarantee you’ll strike it rich. What I can do is teach you how to give yourself the absolute best possible chance to win a progressive slot machine jackpot. These are legitimate, proven methods for narrowing the odds gap.
Bet Max at progressive slots. When playing at the progressive slot machines, bet the maximum amount of coins and bet on all the paylines. It will be a pity if you have the best combination but don't win the jackpot because you haven't Bet Max. Setting a Win Goal Next, set your win goal. This is the amount of winnings you set as your goal for any given slots session. If you have a win goal of 10%, then your win goal would be $100 for any given slot machine sessions.
- Read the Fine Print: The very first step in learning how to win a progressive jackpot slot machine is to read the rules; including the fine print.
- Bet Above Minimum: Every slot has a min/max bet limit. Most progressive slots require you to bet a higher minimum to activate the jackpot.
- Activate All Paylines: If you can choose how many paylines to activate, play them all. You won’t be eligible to win the progressive jackpot otherwise.
- RTP Matters (to an Extent): A game’s RTP tells players how much it will pay back, compared to what it takes in. Generally speaking, the higher the RTP, the better.
- Seek Higher Volatility: A slot machine with high volatility will pay less frequently, but bigger prizes.
- No Machine is ‘Due’: No game (or player) is ever ‘due’ for a win. Slot machines run off RNGs, not sympathy.
- Avoid Fancy Features: More features (bonus rounds, multipliers, special wilds, etc.) means more small wins, not big ones.
- Bring a Big Bankroll: Any good jackpot hunter will tell you it takes money to win money.
Disclaimer – Not all forms of gambling are legal in all provinces of Canada. The legal age to gamble also varies by province. Breaking the law is a serious matter. The information provided on this website is meant for educational purposes only, and we will not be held liable for any irresponsible / illegal activity on your part. Know the gambling laws in your province and follow them. The following pages provide more information on Canadian gambling laws:
Alberta – British Columbia – Manitoba – Newfoundland & Labrador – New Brunswick – Nova Scotia
Northwest Territory – Nunavut – Ontario – Prince Edward Island – Quebec – Saskatchewan – Yukon
1. Read the Rules – Even the Fine Print!
I know, I know – no one ever reads the fine print. Who has that kind of time? Well, if you’re just going to casually play the slots with your fingers crossed, then don’t worry about it. If you’re serious about beating the slot machines and changing your financial future, you’ll take a few extra minutes out of your precious time to read the game’s rules.
Every modern slot machine has an Info page. It covers everything from the game’s symbols, features, and pay table, to the specific terms of jackpot eligibility. If you have to bet a certain amount of money to activate the jackpot, you’ll find that information here. If you have to wager with your own money (as opposed to free promotional bonus credits), you’ll find that information here.
Neglecting to read and understand the terms of a progressive jackpot could be the difference between a life-altering moment of pure bliss, and the ultimate defeat of a potential jackpot being ripped away from you.
Several of the sections below – minimum bet size, full payline activation, RTP, volatility, etc. – are defined within these rules. Read them. Know them. Follow them.
2. Minimum Bet Size to Activate the Progressive
I touched on this topic already in the section above. Many progressive slots have two separate minimum bet amounts. The lower of the two is going to be the minimum amount you can bet to play the game at all. The higher minimum will be the amount you must wager per spin in order to activate the progressive jackpot.
For example, a slot machine might have min/max stakes of $0.01/$1.00 per active payline. If it has 20 paylines, you could be betting as little as $0.20 per spin. But if the game requires a minimum $0.05 per payline ($1.00 per spin) bet to activate the progressive, you’re wasting your money.
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3. All or Nothing – Activate Those Paylines!
Another subject mentioned in our ‘read the fine print’ section, if there’s a variable number of paylines you can activate, you must activate them all. This is a static rule among all multi-line style slot machines featuring progressive jackpots. You cannot win the progressive if you don’t play full lines. You might be eligible to win a smaller jackpot prize, but it won’t be that ever-growing progressive.
Furthermore, if you’re activating all lines, you’re also undermining the game’s potential RTP, which brings us to…
4. Understand the Value of a Slot Machine’s RTP
RTP stands for “return to player”. This is the amount a machine is programmed to pay back to its players, compared to what the machine takes in. It is a theoretical percentage, mind you. A 95% RTP does not mean that for every $1 you wager, you will win exactly $0.95 back (i.e. lose $0.05 per $1.00). It means that, over a very, very long period of time (we’re talking decades here), the game will pay back exactly 95% of its intake as wins.
RTP definitely matters when choosing a slot machine. However, you can’t expect a progressive game to have an RTP as high as a non-progressive. For example, most of Microgaming’s online slots come with RTPs between 95% and 97%. They’re flagship progressive, Mega Moolah, only has an RTP of 88%.
88% may not sound as appealing as 97%, but the Mega Moolah reseeds its mega jackpot at one million every time it strikes, and the larger it grows, the higher the RTP becomes. You won’t see the actual RTP displayed anywhere in the rules – only that lowly 88%. But that’s the unique thing about progressives. Their actual RTP silently fluctuates.
When a machine has just paid its progressive, the RTP drops, because the machine is now ahead of the curver, so to speak. In its current state, it has paid out more than its RTP was programmed to. As the progressive grows larger and larger, its RTP rises. If the jackpot exceeds a certain amount – it varies by machine – the RTP can actually rise to above 100%. this doesn’t guarantee you’ll win it, of course, but it sure does increase your odds.
5. High Volatility = Higher Chance for a Big Win
Slot machine volatility is one of the primary features of any modern game. Volatility comes in three levels – low, medium and high. The basic definitions for each level are as follows.
Low Volatility: A game that sees more frequent winning combinations on the reels, but averages much smaller amounts per win.
Medium Volatility: A game that sees a balanced number of winning combinations, and a balanced amount per win.
High Volatility: A game that see less frequent winning combinations on the reels, but averages much higher amounts per win.
By these definitions, it’s easy to understand why you would be better off playing a high volatility progressive slot machine. You’re not going to see nearly as many prizes overall, but your chances of releasing a larger prize – the progressive jackpot, in particular – will be greater.
6. No One is ‘Due’ to Win, but RTP & RNG do Collaborate
Please do not make the mistake of thinking that any machine, regardless of any circumstance, is “due” to pay out. Similarly, no matter how much time or money you’ve spent playing one or more slot machines, you are never “due” for a win, either. These are machines. They do not have feelings. They do not care about past history.
Today’s slot machines aren’t like the mechanical drums of old. They operate on a random number generator (RNG). The RNG is made up of a long series of numbers that are constantly changing. The moment a player presses the spin button, the numbers stop. The resulting algorithm determines what symbols appear in what positions on the screen.
RNG algorithms decide every outcome. Not the casino – not the game’s creator – not the player. None can predict what will happen. That is decided the moment the Spin button is pressed, by nothing more than that long strain of numbers. Therefore, no machine or player is ever ‘due’ for anything.
That being said, however, there’s one reality that casinos and manufacturers never talk about. When a slot machine’s actual RTP drops lower and lower below its intended RTP, the machine knows that it has to get back to “status quo”, so to speak. The RNG may still produce a plethora of randomized results, but it only makes sense that the algorithms that produce higher wins – including jackpot wins – would appear more often in the RNG sequence.
Long story short, while the Gambler’s Fallacy remains true (no one is ever “due” anything), a game that has not paid its jackpot in a long time is capable of being more likely to strike than one that has not.
7. Why Those Fancy Features Diminish Jackpot Odds
Classic slot machines had very little fanfare. They had three reels and no more than 5 paylines, if not just 1. They were super easy to play, and super easy to understand. No one ever spun a classic 3 reel and won a prize, but wasn’t sure why. These old fashioned games were so simple, in fact, that they didn’t need info sheets or separate pay tables. Everything you needed to know was right there on the main screen.
Today’s video slots are completely different. Now, manufacturers implement so many reels, symbols and features, you hardly know what’s going on half the time. Most players don’t even bother to read the results anymore. They don’t bother learning the value of the symbols. They only know what they won, or that they’ve triggered a feature, when the game tells them.
The more often the game says a feature has triggered, the more excited these types of players get. The problem is, they are so overjoyed by the features that they aren’t paying attention to any real details. Most of the time, the wins are so small, they’re actually losing money, as is common with low volatility games. And that was the manufacturer’s goal all along – keep players happy and “in the zone”.
Those classic games really are the better choice for jackpot hunters. You don’t have to play 3-reel classics, but stay away from games with a long list of features. Free spins are great, wilds are good, but anything else is just a distraction.
8. Save Up Your Quarters – This Won’t be Cheap!
Some people hunt progressive jackpots all their life and never win one. Other people get lucky on their first trip to a casino. There’s no predicting what this experience will be like for anyone. Knowing how to win a progressive jackpot slot machine doesn’t mean it will happen; only that your chances will be greater by employing the knowledge you’ve gained here today.
The only thing I can promise you is that you’re going to need a sizable bankroll to do it. That said, here’s some advice I strongly suggest you take. Do not bet money you can’t afford to spend. Set aside a stash of money just for this purpose. If that stash runs out, stop playing. Save up more money and try again later. And, last but not least, take the time to enjoy the process.
Everyone needs a hobby, and most of hobbies cost money. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just know that, no matter how closely you follow the tips in this guide, your odds to actually win a slot machine jackpot are still going to be several million to one. If you aren’t enjoying it, what’s the point?
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Players dream of hitting a big jackpot when they play the slots. When that day comes for you, you'll have questions about the taxes you must pay on the winnings.
Hand Pay Jackpots
When you hit the winning combination of symbols for a large jackpot, your slot machine locks up. Depending on the machine, the lights on top of the machine may come on and start flashing, music may play or bells ring. A slot attendant arrives promptly to see what you have won.
On jackpots smaller than $5,000, an attendant verifies that you hit the jackpot and then assists you in claiming your money at the cashier's cage. In the case of a large or progressive jackpot, the casino may have technicians come and check the machine to certify that it was functioning properly when the jackpot hit. If you hit one of the wide-area progressive machines such as MegaBucks, the slot company that operates the game comes out and verifies that machine before giving you a check.
When you hit a jackpot, you have the option of taking your winnings in cash or check. Usually, large amounts are paid by check. In the case of the MegaBucks or similar multi-million dollar jackpots, you receive a check for the partial amount, and then you have 90 days to decide if you want to be paid a lump sum or an annual annuity on the balance. If you select the lump sum option, you receive only a percentage of your actual winnings. For example, the full winnings of one multi-million slot jackpot is paid in 25 annual installments, or you can take a lump sum of 60 percent of the winnings.
All casino winnings are subject to federal taxes. However, the IRS only requires the casinos to report wins over $1,200 on slots and video poker machines or other games such as keno, lottery or horse racing. When you have a win equal to or greater than $1200, you are issued a W-2G form. This form lists your name, address and Social Security number. The casinos are not required to take out withholding tax on jackpots under $5,000 as long you supply your Social Security number. If you don’t provide your Social Security number, the casinos withhold 28 percent on small jackpots.
You can request a specific amount of withholding tax to be taken out of any jackpot you win. Some players like to do this to avoid a big tax payment in April when they file their income tax returns. The additional withholding may not be necessary if you keep a log book. The law allows you to deduct gambling losses up to the amount of your winnings. You can only do this if you have documentation of your losses. Keeping a diary or log book is the way to do this.
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Casinos can refuse to pay you until you produce proper identification—a photo ID such as a driver’s license, military ID or passport.
If you don’t produce an ID, you are photographed and the casino holds your winnings until you come back with proper ID. For this reason, you should always carry a valid form of identification with you when you visit the casino.
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When the casino checks your identification, it also checks your age to make sure you are legally old enough to play. The minimum age for gambling varies from state to state, but under-age gamblers are not be paid if they hit a jackpot. This is the law in all jurisdictions, and it has been upheld in court.
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Before you start playing your favorite slot machine you should have a plan for the day you hit a jackpot. Players become excited when they hit the big one, and this may affect the decisions you make about your winnings. It is helpful if you know ahead of time how much withholding you want taken out or whether you want a check for all or some of the amount.