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Ask the Slot Expert: Does the Machine I'm Playing Affect My Chances for Hitting a Progressive Jackpot?

5 December 2012

By John Robison, Slot Expert™

On a progressive video poker machine, does the machine you're playing at have any part in hitting the progressive royal?

Regarding the jackpot on a progressive like Megabucks and Wheel of Fortune, does the casino or specific machine have any part in determining who hits the jackpot?

Also, if someone hits the jackpot hand but doesn't have all the coins in, does that affect when the jackpot will be hit again for someone with all the coins in?

Let's start with how machines in a progressive system determine their results. (This description applies for Class III machines like the kind you find in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Tunica.) When a person starts a spin or hand, the software running the machine polls the RNG function in the machine to determine where the reels will stop or which cards will be dealt. If the machine is a video poker machine, the process is repeated to choose replacement cards for the discards. If the play results in winning the progressive jackpot, the machines sends a message to the progressive controller that the progressive has been hit. The progressive controller then broadcasts a message to all of the machines in the progressive letting them know that another machine has hit the progressive and resetting their progressive meters. And, in the case of IGT's Megajackpot machines like Megabucks and Wheel of Fortune and other progressives that need to be verified before being paid, the progressive controller also alerts the local Jackpot Team that they have to verify a big jackpot.

Each machine in each casino has the same chances for hitting the progressive -- with one exception. Some progressives have machines with different denominations on them and in this case the higher-denomination machines usually have better chances of hitting the progressive than the lower-denomination machines. With that one exception, the machine you're playing at or the casino you're playing in doesn't matter -- your odds are the same.

Moving to your last question, someone's hitting the jackpot with less than a full-coin bet has no effect on when the jackpot will be hit again. The odds are the same on every spin.

Jackpots for all,


Can you tell me if the video poker machines at Coushatta Resort in Louisiana are Class II or Class III machines? I'm unsure if basic strategy helps. I understand it and sometimes feel it is working. I play only 9/6 Jacks or Better.


Dear Bob,

The Coushatta tribe has a compact with the state of Louisiana, so they can offer both types of machines in their casinos. If you see a Bingo card on the video poker machine or there's some sort of fairy godmother feature that turns a losing hand into a winner, then it's a Class II machine and startegy is irrelevant. Otherwise, the machine is Class III and keep playing with your strategy.

Jackpots for all,

John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots