With the emergence of online casinos, gambling buffs have the chance to win themselves huge progressive jackpots without stepping out of their homes. Back in the day when the first virtual casinos went online, progressive jackpots were reserved exclusively for slot fans. This is no longer the case thanks to leading casino software studios like Playtech, WGS Technology, and Microgaming that have launched online blackjack variants with progressives pots just waiting to be won.
These enormous prizes give the traditional game of blackjack an exciting twist and are available across many prominent casinos on the internet that use the platforms of the above-mentioned software suppliers. All you have to do is create a real-money account, make a deposit, and take your chances at winning the progressive prize. In this article, we explain how progressive blackjack works and introduce you to three of the most popular variants of 21 where you can win yourself a nice jackpot.
Progressive Blackjack – How Does It Work?
Progressive blackjack games follow the same rules as the standard variations of the classic card game. The players’ objective is again to obtain a hand total higher than the dealer’s. The only difference here is these blackjack games are linked to a progressive jackpot network. All participating players can contribute to the growing pot with optional side bets so the prize keeps increasing until someone is lucky enough to bag it.
Once the progressive jackpot is won, it resets and starts accumulating all over again, usually from a fixed amount called a seed. This seed amount is normally provided by the game’s software supplier and serves as an incentive for players to start betting again after the jackpot is won. Some online progressive blackjack games start seeding at $10,000, others at $50,000. The interface of each progressive game features a jackpot meter where the current amount of the jackpot is displayed.
Progressive Blackjack Additional TipsOther than that, progressive blackjack uses the same interface and gameplay as the standard online variants of 21. You choose your preferred chip denomination and click on your betting box to place a wager. Then you hit the Deal button to have your cards dealt and play out your hand as you normally would, having a choice from the usual playing options of standing, hitting, splitting, buying insurance, and doubling.
If you beat the dealer, the amount you have won is instantly credited to your real-money balance. The games operate on random number generators, which ensures unbiased results and equal chances of winning the pot for everyone.
Main Bets and Side Bets in Progressive Blackjack Games
Depending on the software developer supplying the game, players may be required to post a side bet to qualify for potentially winning the progressive prize. This bet is in no way linked to their main bet and has no effect on the odds of them winning a hand. Each time a player posts the side bet, it is added to the pot so that it keeps on growing until somebody wins.
The side bet is small in size, usually no more than $1 or the equivalent in the currency the player uses. It pays out for certain combinations of cards but the exact combination again depends on the software supplier. In Microgaming’s version of progressive blackjack, the pot hits when you obtain a specific hand of 7s whereas Playtech’s variation awards a portion of the pot or the whole pot for given combinations of suited and unsuited Aces.
Main Bets and Side Bets in Progressive Blackjack Games Additional TipsIt is worth mentioning that making the side bet is not obligatory. You can skip on that and play the game as you would play any standard blackjack variation. However, if you obtain the card combination that triggers the jackpot, the prize will not be awarded to you without the side bet. A winning hand will return the standard low payout instead.
The payouts for the regular winning hands are the same as those in standard blackjack variants. Blackjacks award the usual payout of 3 to 2 while all other non-busted winning hands pay even money. Insurance, which is another side bet, is also offered when the virtual dealer’s exposed card is an Ace. Assuming the dealer’s hole card has a value of ten, the insurance side bet wins at odds of 2 to 1.
One important thing worth bearing in mind is that progressive blackjack games usually have an outrageous house edge which is significantly higher than that in normal variants of 21. The return to player in progressive blackjack changes in parallel with the constantly growing jackpot.
The pot needs to exceed a certain amount in order for the side bet to become a break-even wager. In many cases, the jackpot hits before the said break-even point is reached so you basically end up playing a game with a higher house edge in vain. In some instances, the edge is as high as that of the lottery.
Best Online Blackjack Games with Progressive Pots
Unlike reel spinners, blackjack mavens do not have as many options when it comes to playing progressive variations of their favorite game. There are but a few blackjack games attached to progressive networks at the moment and we have hand-picked the three that offer the best playing experience and decent enough rules.
Progressive Blackjack by Playtech
Players can double on any two-card total after the initial deal and split any pair of identically ranked cards. Doubling down after you split is possible but re-splitting is not permitted. The virtual dealer peeks and offers insurance against an exposed Ace at the usual odds of 2 to 1.
Real-money players qualify for winning the progressive jackpot after placing the $1 side bet. The side bet is successful when you get dealt one or more Aces. You can see the progressive payouts listed below:
- One Ace pays 5x the initial bet
- Two unsuited Aces pay 50x the initial bet
- Two suited Aces pay 100x the original bet
- Three unsuited Aces pay 250x the initial stake
- Four unsuited Aces pay 2,500 the initial stake
- Three suited Aces pay 5,000x your original bet
- Four suited Aces award the full progressive jackpot amount
Note that these prizes are awarded only of the Aces are dealt consecutively on a given hand. Players who are eyeing the progressive pot should adjust their strategy a little bit and refrain from splitting Aces when they post the side bet. The odds of receiving four suited Aces in a six-deck game are not in your favor, though. The likelihood of this happening stands at 1 in 6.45 million. The side bet offers positive expectation after the pot exceeds the amount of $581,000.
Progressive Triple Sevens Blackjack by Microgaming
Microgaming is one of the oldest developers of quality casino content in this industry, so it makes sense it was also the first studio to introduce a progressive blackjack game to the online gambling community. The game in question is called Triple Sevens Blackjack, uses five decks of cards, and requires the dealer to stand on soft 17. You can split only once and double down on initial totals of 9 through 11 but doubling after a split is not an option.
The progressive jackpot is again triggered with the help of a small ($1) optional side bet. To win the whole prize or a portion of it, the player must receive one of the qualifying combinations of 7s. Here are the progressive payouts for this game:
- Any 7 awards $5
- Two unsuited 7s award $25
- Two suited 7s award $50
- Three consecutive unsuited 7s return a payout of $250
- Three 7s of spades, clubs or hearts award $1,000
- Three 7s of diamonds award the full progressive jackpot
More experienced blackjack players probably know that basic strategy stipulates they must split a pair of 7s against small dealer upcards like 4, 5, or 6. Splitting your 7s, however, is counterproductive in this progressive blackjack variant, particularly when you post the side bet. This pair automatically rewards you either with a $25 payout for off-suit 7s or with a $50 payout for suited 7s. So you will have to deviate from basic strategy if you are shooting for the progressive pot.
This Microgaming creation awards an average win of nearly $74,000 which drops roughly once every fourteen months. The side bet gives you positive expectation once the progressive prize exceeds $109,000.
Progressive Blackjack by WGS Technology
WGS Technology (formerly Vegas Technology) may not be as big as suppliers the likes of Microgaming and Playtech, but it still delivers an incredibly playable progressive blackjack variation where you can win big. This S17 game is available in demo mode in some casinos that use the WGS software so you can easily test it in advance before you try to take the big pot down with real bets.
It uses four decks and features an elegant visual design which further increases the enjoyment of playing it. To stand a chance of winning the progressive prize, you must place a $1 chip as a side bet alongside your main wager. The jackpot is again triggered when the player is dealt several consecutive Aces. Check the payouts below:
- Two unsuited Aces pay out $25
- Two suited Aces pay out $50
- Three unsuited Aces award a payout of $250
- Three suited Aces return a payout of $2,500
- Four unsuited Aces award 10% of the progressive prize
- Four suited Aces award the full progressive jackpot amount
Of course, placing the side bet is not obligatory, you can choose to play WGS’ progressive blackjack as a regular game of 21. Underbankrolled players can start experimenting with the side bet when it approaches positive expectation, which happens when the pot reaches $285,000 or so.