By definition, a jackpot is a top prize in a gambling game. Two types exist. There are fixed jackpot prizes and progressive ones. The first one is a predefined sum that never changes, and the latter is an amount that keeps growing from players’ losing bets until a lucky gambler lands a win that leads to him claiming the entire pot.
Usually, when someone talks about jackpots in slot games, they are likely referring to progressive ones, which have a seed value, a sum that the mega prize cannot fall below. Whenever someone lands the necessary symbol combination to take home the accumulated pot, the winning sum resets to a predefined amount, which is still sizeable. And it again keeps growing until someone wins it. Then, this process reboots. The seed guarantees that the jackpot game in question will always remain attractive, even though someone has managed to form the allusive symbol/card/number combo.
Note that jackpots are not exclusive to slots. They can also get used to spice up the gameplay of various table games. Usually, these are side-bets that feature astronomical odds. For instance, jackpots in blackjack can be in play when a player makes any three-of-a-kind using his first two cards and the dealer’s up-card. Even though card game jackpots are more associated with casino poker variants like Caribbean Stud, online and offline. Such games often payout progressive prizes for hands of a flush or better. Naturally, examples of online casino jackpot winners and ones landed at physical venues are most commonly linked with slot games. Reel-spinners require that players line up a rare symbol pattern on a predestined payline to claim one of these monster rewards.
All results in gambling games are random, generated by sheer luck. Thus, in theory, there is no strategy one can implement to boost their chances of landing a jackpot prize. Gamblers need to understand that there is rarely any relation between the amount of a jackpot prize and the probability of someone winning it. Claiming a reward that totals a few thousand dollars can be as hard as snagging one that goes up to a million or more.
However, many progressive games implement a qualifying bet rule. It signifies the lowest bet that makes a gambler eligible to claim the top prize. In other products, the likelihood of someone attaining that reward grows when the wager is more sizable. Nevertheless, in many cases, a jackpot will include a base payout that is the regular one for the winning combination but multiplied by the minimum qualifying wager. So, when the jackpot prize gets reset to this sum, the operator is not supplying any seed money per se.
A popular variation of the regular progressive prize is a must-hit-by jackpot. Its value gets determined by an RNG (random number generator) instantly after the preceding top reward is won, stored within that gaming machine or network of devices, and publicly disclosed that it falls within a specific range. Some must-hit-by games may feature programming that mandates that they generate a prize when the reward pot reaches a figure between two sums. Hence, more often than not, this prize does not depend on a gambler achieving any result via his gameplay, which is why these rewards get called mystery jackpots. In other words, what defines the wind generation in these products is how many people have bet on a given game.
Gamblers can compute an optimal strategy in jackpot table games if they know that the jackpot has exceeded the break-even point, which cannot get easily calculated on slots since their payback percentage is rarely known to players. Yet, in poker games utilizing the standard 52-card deck, that is possible because of the predetermined poker hands and their linked odds.
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IGT’s Megabucks machines have been the casino industry’s premier millionaire-maker since the mid-1980s when they debuted on Vegas gaming floors. Over the past few decades, these games have churned over a hundred prizes worth several million. The most massive one ever got hit in 2003 by a California software engineer at the Excalibur Casino in Las Vegas, totaling a staggering $39.7 million.
The second most impressive brick-and-mortar casino jackpot was one three years before the Excalibur win at the Desert Inn and was a reward of $35 million claimed by Cynthia Jay Brennan.
What Megabucks is to physical casinos, Microgaming’s Mega Moolah is the digital sphere. Released in 2006, it is responsible for several jaw-dropping online jackpots. The most sizable of these got snagged on its Absolootly Mad version in April 2021, winning $20.4 million. The previous record was a jackpot of $20.1 million claimed in September 2018.
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