Everybody would obviously love to know the best time to play a progressive slot machine. Finding a slot that’s about to hit can help you earn a life-changing payout.

But how do you do this when slot machines are so random and unpredictable?

Some players believe that it’s all about finding hot progressive slots. A hot progressive game is one that has paid out a recent string of jackpots and is primed to do so again.

Many players discount the notion of hot and cold slot machines. This idea is considered one of the biggest myths in all of gaming.

But you might be surprised to know that there’s value to be gained from looking for hot slots. I’m going to discuss this along with how you can find progressive prizes that are ready to burst.

I’ll also cover more on the subject of slot machine myths and the most important aspects to progressive jackpot success.

Ways to Measure Hot and Cold Jackpot Slots

Some players who subscribe to the hot-and-cold theory go around online and land-based casinos playing different slot machines.

They determine a high-paying game by whether or not it offers prizes within the first 10 spins or so. If the slot doesn’t pay, they move down the line and do a heat check on the next slot.

Certain gamblers are stuck on using this method to find lucrative games. But thanks to internet tools, one doesn’t have to use such rudimentary methods.

Below you can see some helpful ways to find hot progressive slots and stay away from the cold ones.

Check the Last Time That a Progressive Jackpot Was Hit

The first thing that you should do when searching for frequently paying jackpots is find a progressive slots tracker. These tools keep track of various aspects regarding a progressive slots prize, including the value, most-recent win, average win size, and the average time between wins.

Multiple websites offer online progressive jackpot trackers, including CasinoListings, SlotsDoc, and Casino.org.

The late time that the payout was hit is a key element. This factor gives you a strong indication on the chances of winning a jackpot.

Here’s an example:
  • I check a jackpot tracker website.
  • Playtech’s Jackpot Giant was last hit 2 years and 43weeks ago.
  • NetEnt’s Arabian Nights was last won 21 weeks ago.
  • Yggdrasil’s Joker Millions was last hit 18 weeks ago.

You can see that both Joker Millions and Arabian Nights seem like frequent-paying slots based on this information. Jackpot Giant, meanwhile, is very cold since it hasn’t paid for almost two and a half years.

Keep in mind that there are other considerations to note other than when a slot last paid. After all, Jackpot Giant could hit tomorrow and suddenly look like a hot game.

But this factor at least gives you an idea on when the last time a slot machine’s jackpot was claimed.

Average Time in between Jackpot Wins

The most-important aspect with regard to finding hot games is the average time between jackpot payouts. This is another statistic that you can find through slots jackpot trackers.

Figuring out the average time between progressive payouts gives you a rough estimate on how long games wait to hit.

Here’s an example:
  • Microgaming’s Major Millions pays out every 6 weeks on average.
  • RTG’s Shopping Spree pays every 4 years on average.
  • Blueprint’s Jackpot King pays every 2 years on average.

You can see that Major Millions is by far the best in terms of the average jackpot wait. Meanwhile, both Shopping Spree and Jackpot King make players wait years before delivering a big payout.

If you only look at one factor to determine a hot progressive slot machine, then let it be the average jackpot payout time. Doing so allows you to find the best route in terms of improving your odds of winning.

Average Progressive Jackpot Payout Size

Progressive slots don’t deliver jackpots very often because the prizes are so huge. This fact is why you should also consider the average payout size during your search.

One of my previous examples shows that Jackpot Giant hasn’t paid out in a while. But I failed to mention that Jackpot Giant’s top prize is worth over $12 million at the time of this post.

Meanwhile, Major Millions, which pays out every six weeks on average, offers a jackpot worth $1.8 million.

You should weigh a prize’s value in comparison to its average payout time frame. Doing so gives you better perspective on whether the wait is worthwhile.

I don’t know of any perfect formulas for measuring this aspect. But the following example provides a simple method to compare the average payout versus wait time:

  • (Formula) jackpot size / average wait in weeks = jackpot value.
  • Jackpot Giant: $12,000,000 / 51 weeks = $81,632 per week.
  • Beach Life: $2,613,000 / 29 weeks = $90,013 per week.
  • Millionaire Genie: $1,058,000 / 12 weeks = $88,166 per week.

Beach Life theoretically offers the most value here, because it pays $90,013 per week. But this game takes over twice as long to deliver jackpots as Millionaire Genie.

You may place higher emphasis on either winning more frequently or larger payouts. If you only care about hitting the biggest prize, then you’ll go for the largest payout regardless of how long the average winner waits.

I personally put considerable weight on both factors. After all, who cares if you’re chasing a $10 million payout when the per-week value is low.

Check the Jackpot Thermometer

Microgaming offers a “Jackpot Thermometer” at its casinos. These thermometers are used to show which games frequently pay jackpots at the time.

Microgaming’s Jackpot Thermometer uses two main aspects to determine sizzling games. These factors include the last time that the progressive prize was won along with the average time in between the last five jackpot payouts.

Any slot that features a thermometer with a high temperature has been paying well lately. Meanwhile, games with frigid thermometers haven’t been generous with jackpots.

I enjoy the Jackpot Thermometer because it somewhat negates the need to look at the previously covered aspects. Unfortunately, I’ve only found these thermometers at Microgaming casinos.

And while this developer has more games than any other online slots provider, they don’t encompass the entire industry. Furthermore, their software isn’t available to many countries.

But if you can use Microgaming slots, then check out the Jackpot Thermometer and use it to your advantage.

Be Aware of Progressive Jackpot Slots Myths

You should definitely be aware of the myths surrounding slots when looking for hot jackpots.

Simply knowing the average payout frequency and the last time a jackpot was hit doesn’t guarantee you anything. Remember: these are games of chance with completely random results.

Despite this fact, some players fall for myths that they believe will improve their odds. Check out the myths below so that you don’t fall for them on your quest for a big jackpot.

The Concept of Hot and Cold Slots Can Mean Little

Look up any resource on slots myths and you’ll assuredly find a section on hot and cold games. This concept doesn’t relate directly to what I’ve covered on finding hot progressive jackpots, but rather a frequency on any type of payout.

I described a scenario earlier of a player moving from machine to machine in a casino. These gamblers believe that some force of nature causes games to pay more in the short run.

The reality is that these players are relying on random luck to find a game that’ll offer immediate payouts. This practice differs from using actual statistics to find hot and cold progressive prizes.

You can use volatility as a measure of games that’ll deliver more short-term winnings. Volatility refers to the streakiness of slot machines.

If you win an average of 20 payouts every 100 spins, then you’re dealing with a low-volatility slot. But if a game only offers 10 payouts every 100 spins — with some of these prizes being larger — then you’re playing a high-volatility slot.

One good way to consider variance is by looking at the progressive jackpot size. The most-volatile games tend to have big top payouts, while less-volatile slots have smaller jackpots.

Games with big progressive prizes need to make up for the big top payout. Therefore, they offer small prizes with less frequency.

A Progressive Slots Jackpot Can Pay at Any Time

Another myth surrounding progressive games is that you should avoid any slot that’s recently paid a jackpot. The reasoning is that the game is less likely to offer another jackpot since it has just delivered one.

But the key thing to understand is that a slot machine’s random number generator (RNG) doesn’t consider the last time a jackpot was paid. Instead, RNGs are only programmed to cycle through number combinations to come up with a winner.

Obviously, the chances of a slot paying out a seven-figure jackpot on back-to-back days are low. But your odds are just as good a day after a huge jackpot is hit as they are one year from now.

A perfect example of this is when Microgaming’s Mega Moolah hit twice within a 22-hour span. A player won £5.7 million on April 19th, while another person won £1.7 million the following day.

Your Bet Size Doesn’t Matter — Unless Specified

Some players are under the false assumption that they have to bet the maximum coin size to qualify for a progressive jackpot. The reasoning is due to a myth that claims you can only win jackpots on a max bet.

This myth is steeped in reality since older slot machines used to require max coin sizes to win the jackpot. But these were older three-reelers that didn’t cost as much to play.

Modern slots can feature dozens of paylines and coin sizes worth up to $10. The average player will quickly lose their bankroll if they turn their coin size up to $10 on a 50-line slot.

You should always consult a game’s help screen before assuming that you need to wager the max. The info screen explains what you need to do to qualify for a jackpot.

Few slots these days require you to bet the maximum coins size. Instead, you often qualify by putting a penny on each line.

In the case of a 25-line slot machine, you’d be making qualifying jackpot spins at $0.25. Playing at this rate allows you to extend your bankroll further and get more entertainment out of slots.

Slots Systems Don’t Work

One more myth that slots players can fall for is the idea that a foolproof system exists. Slots systems often involve a complicated set of rules that you use to supposedly win more money.

I’ve even seen people selling slots systems under the guise that their strategies will deliver guaranteed profits.

The myth that a system can help you win is thankfully dying down. This is probably why I haven’t noticed anybody selling worthless systems lately.

But you’ll still find these strategies discussed on forums. Any time you see discussions like this, just remember that no system can overcome a completely random game.

Progressive Slots Results Are Based on Programmed Odds

One reason why slot machine myths exist is because people try using complicated solutions to solve an easy game. The truth is that slot machines operate in a simple manner.

Understanding how slots work goes a long way towards using the right strategy and improving your chances of winning a jackpot. The following characteristics explain the main points on how slots results are determined.

RNG Determines When You Win and Lose

An RNG cycles through millions of number combinations to determine when you win and lose a spin. The fact that these programs run through so many number combos ensures that each result is completely random.

Every slot machine incorporates the RNG into its operation. Therefore, you can always be confident that every spin is random and fair.

Many of the myths discussed above can be cleared up just by knowing about the RNG and how it works. This includes the idea that you can jump from game to game and eventually find a hot slot.

Past Results Don’t Change Slots Odds

Some of the factors that allude to hot and cold progressive jackpots are useful. But from a broad perspective, it’s good to remember that past results don’t determine future outcomes.

Too many players use personal history or miraculous events to try and predict the future. For example, somebody may read the story that Mega Moolah paid twice within 22 hours and suddenly believe that it hits more than any other big jackpot slot.

Mega Moolah has been around for a decade. Therefore, we have plenty of data to make a confident assertion about its average payout.

This game hits once out of every nine months on average according to jackpot trackers. History shows that the wins on back-to-back days are definitely an anomaly.

Increasing Progressive Jackpot Can Add Value

Slots developers must reseed a jackpot after it’s won. Doing so gives people a reason to continue playing.

For instance, a player may win a progressive jackpot at $8 million. The gamemaker will then reseed the prize at $500,000.

Once the top payout is seeded, a slot machine begins with a base payout percentage.

Here are some examples:
  • NetEnt’s Arabian Nights offers 95.2% base return to player (RTP).
  • Jackpot Giant features 94.2% base RTP.
  • Megabucks, a land-based slot in Las Vegas, offers 88% base RTP.

All of these payout percentages take the starting jackpot value into consideration. But RTP grows along with the top prize.

Therefore, Megabucks’ payback is going to be much higher than 88% when the jackpot reaches $15 million.

Of course, payback is theoretical, and the odds of you winning a jackpot are still low. But it’s nice to gain theoretical value by playing slot machines when their top prize increases.


The last time that a jackpot has been hit is only part of determining when progressive slot machines are hot or cold. You also need to consider other aspects, including the average time between wins and the payout’s size.

Using these factors in combination helps you better decide if a slot machine is heating up. Beyond this, you can also determine the payout’s value based on its size and average win time frame.

I discussed an easy formula to figure out the weekly value of a jackpot. But you may come up with something more advanced that involves additional factors.

You should also consider base payback when choosing jackpot slots. Base payout percentages can help you decide how likely you are to pick up small prizes.

Winning smaller payouts is crucial when considering your low odds of hitting a jackpot. Earning wins while chasing a progressive prize sustains your bankroll longer.

If there’s one factor that I stress above all when looking for hot progressive slots, it’s the average time between payouts. This single factor lets you know how often the jackpot is delivered.

But be sure to keep all of the other aspects in mind. Doing so helps you form a composite picture on your odds of taking down a jackpot.

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