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Player Questions: Odds of Hitting Four of a Kind and Progressive Slots

Today we’re going to answer some player questions about video poker and has there been a case where a progressive slots has never been hit.
It’s always nice to hear from our players so please keep those emails coming. Our first question is from Gary who’s a native from Kentucky in the United States.
As a frequent video poker player I’m puzzled by the odds of hitting four-of-a-kind, mathematically the odds of getting quads are greatest if you are dealt trips (three-of-a-kind). When drawing a pair, trips, quads on the deal or no pair, what are the odds of me hitting quads?”

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Gary, thanks for the excellent question. You are correct when you say that the odds of hitting a four-of-a-kind is best when you are holding a pair of trips (three-of-a-kind). The probabilities you’re referring to are like this:

Video Poker Odds of Quads on Average

On the deal        1 in 4,165
On on card         1 in 3,430
Holding a pair     1 in 360
Holding trips      1 in 23

We can deduce the following from the table, if you are holding trips you’ll hit four-of-a-kind on the 23rd hand. If you have a pair, you’ll hit a four-of-a-kind on every 360th hand. Gary says that he feels that he’s hitting quads more often with two pairs than with trips. The only way to determine if Gary is correct is to keep record of every hand you played.
However, the outcome of each hand in video poker is governed by a random number generator (RNG). It’s safe to say when it comes to penalties the odds of each hand played over the long run is accurately reflected in the table. In the short run each individual hand will be different.

”We love your site, especially all the articles about slots. My husband and I are avid slot machine players, our favorites are all the games hooked up to a progressive. For me they are the most fun because it’s like an added bonus on top of the bonus. It’s interesting how progressives climb and climb sometimes until they are hit and at times they’re hit often but don’t climb at all. I was wondering is it possible for a top progressive to never be hit at all?” Anne from Chicago.

Ann, even though it’s highly unlikely it is possible, progressive values on a slot machine can keep on growing and growing in value and never be hit. Luckily when it comes to online casinos top progressives such as Aztech’s Millions and Shopping Spree from software providers like RealTime Gaming are hit at least every 6 months, maybe longer. Long story short, every slot game is at the mercy of the random number generator. So, if the RNG does not draw the winning combination for the progressive, you can bet your bottom dollar it won’t pay.

As we explained to a player in one of our previous letters, think of a bag of 49,999 white balls and one red ball that represents the top progressive win. If you put your hand into the bag and pull out one ball, your chance of grabbing the red ball is 1 in 50,000. It can take a few minutes, a day, weeks or even ages before you manage to get hold of the red ball.
Then again the more picks you make the better your chances of snagging the red ball. The RNG is picking an outcome constantly every time you hit the spin button, it’s highly unlikely that it will pick the progressive outcome, just like your chances grabbing the red ball out of 50,000 white balls.

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Mathematically, statistically it is possible that (and unlikely) a progressive slots jackpot is never hit. We’ve heard of a progressives that has been in hit in quick succession. Remember, when it comes to gambling nothing is a guarantee and astronomically large progressive jackpots have extremely high odds.
For example, certain gambling jurisdictions require that the highest win on any slot machine in land casinos be in excess of $50 million. In an online setting RealTime Gaming’s progressives are normally seeded at a million dollars plus. If you play a progressive slots at one of our RTG online casinos make sure that the site pays all progressive wins out in one lump sum.

Contrary to popular believe slot machines aren’t rigged because their outcome is determined by the random number generator. This is why it’s important to play a slots that is in line with your bankroll. If you’re a low roller it’s pointless playing a high variance game because it will cut through your bankroll very quickly. To conclude, it can take a very long time before a progressive finally pays.

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