What Does It Mean to Win a Jackpot?

You’ve probably heard friends come back from casinos saying they hit the jackpot. In fact, this is a phrase used in tons of contexts.

It would be no surprise if you’ve ever heard someone use the phrase “won the jackpot” whenever they refer to something major in their lives. But while there are tons of people that use the term, not many of them truly understand what it means.

So, what does hitting the jackpot actually mean?

Well, the word jackpot traces its roots back to gambling, specifically poker and slot machines. And in this article, we’re going to take a look at what it means when someone says they won the jackpot, where the word came from, and other useful pieces of information.

What Is the Jackpot?

Source: pokerfuse.com

Well, according to the experts at Bovada, the jackpot usually refers to the top prize in a competition. Normally, jackpots are the accumulation of all the unwon prizes throughout the competition. So, the longer the competition goes on and the more people place bets, the larger the jackpot will be.

A great example of this is the lottery. There are usually a lot of big prizes to win in the lottery. And the longer it takes for someone to have the winning combination, the larger the pool grows. This is because a percentage of the fee that people pay for lottery tickets goes towards a larger jackpot.

Another example is a slot machine. To play a slot, you have to put in a certain amount of money. Whenever you place money in the machine, it goes into the jackpot. And if you win, you get to collect all the money other people put into the machine before someone got the winning combination.

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Where Does the Word Jackpot Come From?

The word jackpot has a pretty rich history. The word originally traces its roots back to the 1870s, from a poker variation known as “Jacks or Better”. In the game, a person can only place a bet if they have two Jacks or better cards in their hand. And once a player makes the first bet, then everyone else can make a bet, regardless of their hand.

The game can go on for a long time. And every time the game ends, the pot in the middle of the table, or the prize money grows. Eventually, players started calling the biggest prize in the game a Jackpot, and this is a term that has stuck until today.

With that said, there was also a point in time when the term jackpot was used to describe misfortune, which is the opposite of what it means now. However, by the 20th century, it started to return to its original meaning.

What It Means to Win the Jackpot

Source: alo.rs

So, what does it mean when someone wins the jackpot?

Well, this means that they beat every other player in the game and are able to collect all the prize money for themselves. For example, in a tournament-style poker game, the winner has to beat out every other player on the table. And when the player does that, they get to keep all the money that people bet, or the jackpot for themselves.

The same goes in any other game, actually. As long as the prize money accumulates as the game goes by, the game has a jackpot. So, if someone gets to leave the game with all the prize money, that means they won the jackpot.

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But nowadays, the term has surpassed the gambling context. There’s a high chance that you’ve already heard someone claim they won the jackpot once or twice in your life. When they say this, they are simply saying that they won big.

For example, if someone says that they ‘won the jackpot’ with their partner, this means that they believe themselves to be very lucky for being together with that person. Or, if they hit the jackpot with a job, this could mean that they landed a very good position that will allow them to live a much better life.

How to Win the Jackpot

Okay, so how exactly do you win a jackpot?

The first thing to remember is that not all gambling games have a jackpot. There are some games that have smaller prizes that don’t accumulate over time. So, to win a jackpot, you have to be playing the right game.

There are quite a few games that have a jackpot prize, and each of them has a different strategy to follow. Here are some of the most common jackpot games and what you have to do to win the games.


Slots are arguably the most popular game with a jackpot prize. And luckily, it’s a very simple game that doesn’t require that much thought or strategy. In fact, slot machines are very random, so even if you’ve never played the game before, there’s a chance you can win.

With most slot machines, you win the jackpot by getting a certain combination of icons and symbols. For all slot machines, winning the jackpot means landing on the rarest combination of icons, which can take a whole lot of time.

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With that said, jackpots aren’t the only prizes with slots. Most of the time, machines have smaller jackpots and prizes that you can win with some more common combinations. To understand how to win when playing a slot machine, it’s important to look at the specific combinations for that machine.


With poker, you win the jackpot by beating out every other player on the table. The way to do this will depend on the type of poker you play. However, if you beat out every other player, that means you win the jackpot or the biggest prize.


Jackpots are largely considered the top-tier prize when playing casino games. And if you want to give yourself a better shot at winning, you need to understand what a jackpot is and what games use jackpots.

So, now that you have a proper understanding of what a jackpot is and what it means to win one, you may be wondering if it’s time to play yourself. There are tons of ways to play jackpot games nowadays, which is why you shouldn’t have a hard time finding a place to play your first jackpot game.