The Ultimate Progressive Jackpot Slots Guide

The largest prizes are always what bring the most attention in any gambling sector. It’s the reason why the Main Event of the World Series of Poker airs each year on television, and it’s the reason why the sports betting on the Super Bowl and the World Cup get so much news time each year. The same is true in the online casino world, and the analog here is in progressive jackpot slots. These games with their progressive jackpots are responsible for the largest wins ever found in the online gambling world ever.

To understand why these jackpots are so huge requires you to understand how the jackpots are formed and why many of them never get up to the dizzy heights of eight figures. However, this understanding also lends itself to discovering a strategy that can give you a better payout rate than average on progressive slots.

How Progressive Jackpots Build

When a progressive jackpot first starts, it’s set by the casino at what’s known as a seed value. This seed value is the starting amount for the jackpot, and it’s also the smallest it can ever get. From there, a small portion of every single wager placed on the game is added to the progressive jackpot. This continues as the jackpot grows larger and larger until someone wins it. When the jackpot is won, it’s reset back to its seed value, and the process happens all over again.

The Most Popular Progressive Slots

Each online casino software company has its own top progressive slots. We’re going to give a brief overview of each one along with some of the more popular series of progressives, even if they aren’t the largest available.

Microgaming’s Mega Moolah

megamoolahMega Moolah is a game with a safari theme that offers a progressive jackpot with a huge seed value of $1 million. There are a few secondary progressives available in this game as well. What’s more is that the Dark Knight online slot is tied into the same set of progressive jackpots, so it helps to build it to larger and larger levels as well.

At the time of this writing, Mega Moolah is responsible for the largest online casino win in history. The win was worth a total of €17.9 million ($20 million or £13.2 million at the time), and the Guinness Book of World Records has acknowledged it. This win came in October of 2015.

Play Microgaming’s Mega Moolah at the following casinos:

Net Entertainment’s Mega Fortune

In a game that’s obviously set up as a direct competitor to Mega Moolah, Mega Fortune is NetEnt’s top progressive game. It has a wealth-based theme, and it also has multiple progressives with the largest seeding at $1 million.

This game currently holds the record for the second-largest progressive jackpot ever, and they held the record until Mega Moolah broke it in October of 2015 as mentioned above. This win was worth about €17.8 million, and it was only beaten by a relatively small amount of money.

Playtech’s Marvel Jackpots Games

Although they aren’t the largest games out there, the Marvel Jackpots series of progressive slots are some of the most popular. This set of 10 slots are all linked together through four progressives of varying sizes, and the largest jackpot seeds at $100,000. These games include Blade, Elektra, Fantastic 4, Ghost Rider, Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Punisher War Zone, Thor and X-Men.

What makes these games so popular is that they are almost all based on the movie versions of the different Marvel Comics characters, and this represents one of the biggest collections of recent comic book and movie characters brought together in one place.

Play Playtech’s Marvel Jackpots Games at the following casinos:

Realtime Gaming’s Real Series

The last series we want to mention is the Real Series by Realtime Gaming. These slots stand out because they’re not actually billed as progressives by most promoters. This is because, while they all have progressives, they’re very small by the standards set by the biggest jackpots in the industry. They all have random progressives that seed at $1,000, though some have additional progressives that seed at levels like $500 and $250, and some of them have up to four different jackpots.

These payouts are triggered at random to give players chances for bigger payouts than they would otherwise get from the normal pay table, and it’s a cool way to add value to the payout schedule of a game. They also get a lot of attention because, unlike the other specific games mentioned above, they’re available to US players.

Play Realtime Gaming’s Real Series at the following casinos:

Progressive Slot Strategy

Slots and strategy usually don’t get along in the same sentence, but when it comes to progressive jackpots, there is a bit of an exception. There are two pieces of information that can save you a tremendous amount of headache and boost your average payout rate, and we’re going to cover them both here.

Progressive Slots Without the Jackpot

Something you need to look out for when you go after progressive slots is that some sites have the actual games without the linked jackpot. This means that you’re missing out on a huge part of value in the game, and it can lead to having some of the worst payout rates available in all of the online slots industry.

For example, if you were playing a progressive jackpot game that averaged a 98 percent payout rate, then that might sound great (since it’s above the industry average). However, if the jackpot isn’t actually linked in, that could bring your RTP down to something abysmal like 88 to 90 percent, which is lower than you should ever tolerate in an online slot of any kind.

Progressive Jackpot Tracking for Fun and Profit

While the above tells you which games to avoid, we’re now going to tell you one way to find games to actively go after.

What you’ll need to do is make yourself a simple spreadsheet of the five to eight progressive jackpot games that you’re interested in. Beside of each of them, list out the seed value for each of the progressive jackpots themselves. Before you start each play session, you’ll take down the current values of each of those jackpots to do a quick bit of analysis.

If one game has a progressive jackpot that is at a total of $1.1 million, that might sound great. However, if it seeds at $1 million, then it’s not such a big deal. On the other hand, a progressive jackpot at the $600,000 level might not seem all that huge, but when you see that it came up from a seed level of $100,000, it’s obvious that it’s a much better deal.

The point is that you’re able to see how big the jackpots are relative to their seed values instead of relative to each other, and that gives you a much better perspective. It also allows you to skip the games that have been won recently and that have jackpots sitting closer to the seed values while going after the games that have a much larger jackpot than average, which boosts your average return.


It’s very exciting to know that there’s a chance of winning a life-changing amount of money all from a single spin of an online slot. However, you should be sure to use good bankroll management, particularly because the volatility is much higher in these slots than most, and use your head to figure out which game is the best option instead of blindly following whichever title has the largest absolute jackpot overall.

Jesse Eddleman is an online gambling expert who has been writing full-time in the industry for more than half a decade. You can keep up with him on Twitter and Google+.

Like this? Share it!