The art of predicting when a progressive jackpot might pay out
Wouldn't it be great to know when a progressive slot game such as the Mega Moolah is about to pay out one of the biggest possible wins?
How exciting would it be to be playing a slot knowing that you are playing at the right time and giving yourself the maximum possible opportunity to win a potentially life-changing amount of money?
Of course, this would be exciting for any player and casinos are well aware that players have various beliefs about whether a slot is due to pay out, or won't pay out for a good while yet. Microgaming games have game hotness "thermometers" in place that will offer you a guide as to whether this particular jackpot is likely to be won soon or not. The idea being that if the game hasn't paid out in a while, it's due to release the jackpot.
So in this article, we are going to do separate what is fact and what is fiction when it comes to predicting big jackpot wins.
Slot jackpots - Separating Fact from Myth
How often have you heard people say "oh that slot is running cold, it's not going to pay out" or "this slot is on fire at the moment, the big jackpot is going to go shortly!" If you are a slot player, then you'll have likely heard each of these things said many times.
The problem with this is that when people say this without understanding how slots work, they misinterpret the results and this leads them to believe the wrong thing. For example, when someone says a slot is hot and likely to pay out, or cold and not likely to pay out, they are almost unfailingly suggesting that the slot knows it is either time to pay out, or not, and so is playing that way.
Of course, as more experienced slot players will know, every single spin on every slot game is a random event and has the same chance of winning the top prize as every other spin played by every other player on the game since it first started. The slot does not know it is time to pay out, nor does it know it hasn't taken enough money yet so it should not pay out. It is simply following the pattern as decided by the random number generator, the heart of every modern online slot.
The truth is that what governs a slot paying out is the random number generator alone. Each time that winning number is selected on a spin, the jackpot will pay out. The machine does not 'know' when this will be, so there is no way to predict with any degree of great accuracy as to when a slot jackpot will be won.
So you cannot predict the jackpot precisely then?
That all sounds rather disappointing for prospective jackpot hunters, but in truth all you need to do is look at the evidence you have in a different way in order to make some sense. You see because even though every spin on a slot is a random event, over time you will notice some kinds of patterns developing within these random events.
This is precisely how we can start to use the data generated by the slot and when the jackpot is won to help players inform their future play and this is why game thermometers can give you a good indication of when a slot is more likely to be won (and even when it is less likely to be won).
The process is very simple. A game like Mega Moolah has had numerous Mega Jackpot winners over the years and over the years, a very general pattern has emerged with regards to the time in between each win. All spins are certainly random, and there are also plenty of jackpot wins that don't fall within the pattern itself, but generally most wins tend to fall within a broad pattern.
This may be a pattern based on the size of the jackpot when it is won, for example most jackpots on a slot may be won when they reach between $1m and $3m. It may also be based on time, for example, jackpots tend to be won around three to six months after the previous jackpot win.
What game thermometers do is analyse this raw data and then apply it to the game. The game thermometer isn't predicting that the jackpot will definitely be won at this time. What it is saying instead is that analysis of past evidence suggests that the jackpot is more or less likely to be won at certain times than other times.
While perhaps this isn't as seductive as knowing when a slot is going to pay out big, the fact of the matter is by analysing these past wins you can gain an insight into how the slot tends to play out. Of course random factors mean that at times, results won't fit what has happened in the past, but there are likely to be more occasions when events do and that is crucial for a jackpot hunting slots player.
Have a look at the Mega Moolah jackpot graph and the year 2016. You can see from the graph the big jackpots that were won roughly two months in between starting from April to November. You will also notice that a win mid-November broke that trend. Any jackpot player will find a trend such as this quite interesting and will keep an eye on the next trend to form - not only in Mega Moolah, but on all progressive games.
So what use are game thermometers to casual players?
When you login to your Microgaming casino you can find the game thermometers and check which slots are more likely, based on past performance, to pay out a jackpot. It is important to remember that this method does not guarantee a win. The random nature of a slot means that this is genuinely impossible to predict to within any meaningful degree of accuracy.
However, this 'rule of thumb' approach using game thermometers can mean that you play jackpot games at the times when they have traditionally been won in the past and for many slot fans, that small edge is worth it.
The other thing to remember with game thermometers too is that by their very existence, they can encourage the winning of a jackpot. For example, if a popular slot says that the jackpot is "hot" and that past results show it is likely to be won around this time, then this will encourage more players to the game. This phenomena is commonly known as herd mentality and yet another indicator for jackpot chasers because this means that there will be hundreds, thousands or even millions more spins on that slot compared to other days. This means that the chances of the jackpot being won are greater then, than they are at quieter times, simply because there are more spins being made in the same space of time.
To conclude, game thermometers are not predicting that a jackpot will be won, but they are offering slot players a chance to play slots at times when traditionally they have paid out. In that sense the trend can be your friend!
Ps. Stay tuned for game trends that we are currently working on.
Byline: This article was written and published by Henry.