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by Frank Kneeland

Frank Kneeland is the former manager of the largest progressive slot team in Las Vegas back in the 90's, and author of a book about his adventures entitled, "The Secret World of Video Poker Progressives." The book is part history and part "how to," and should be perfect for out-and-out beginners and veterans alike. You can read more about the book, and some extra info about Kneeland, on his website

The greater the treasure, the deeper one must dig to find it. ~FK

In my previous article, "How to Judge a Book by Its Cover," I covered how to determine the base return of non-progressive video poker machines. This is not a stand-alone article, so if you missed last monthís segment, please go back and read it now. We are now going to tackle the next step towards figuring out when to play progressives. This article also has a "Math Content Warning," and Iím sorry to say you must be at least this tall to ride this ride. But wait thereís a silver lining: itís fourth grade division, subtraction, and multiplication. Letís break it into steps:

  1. Determine the base return of the game type (covered in previous article)
  2. Clock the Meter-Rise
  3. Calculate The Cost
  4. Establish a Play-Number (to be covered in next article)
  5. Scouting (to be covered in a later article)

The first and most important attribute of a progressive is its meter-rise. The second and third most important variables are also meter-riseÖthere is no fourth. OK, there is a fourth, the base return, but even the machines with the worst return can become profitable with high enough progression.

Meter-Rise, also called meter progression, is what makes a progressive progress. It determines how much we make when we play, how quickly the progressive becomes playable, and the likelihood of reaching said mark. The effects are cumulative, making a geometric progression. Therefore, a bank of progressives with twice as much meter-rise might be about thirty times better than another identical bank except for the meter-rise (when looked at from the point of view of how often youíll play it, and how much youíll make when you do). A complete breakdown of this phenomenon is contained in Chapter 5 of my book, The Secret World of Video Poker Progressives. It takes up most of the chapter, so youíll have to take my word for it now. Iím presenting a simplified version here, which isnít 100% accurate, but it should be close enough to use.

To clock meter-rise, it is necessary to play a machine on the bank (or watch someone else do so), and divide the amount the meter...

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