Myths vs. Reality Slot Tutorials

Does Seeing Balls in All 15 Lightning Link Squares Guarantee a Grand Jackpot?

Dragon Link by Aristocrat Hold and Spin feature
Written by Joshua

Here’s one of those myths that’s been very hard to pin down. One of the big win opportunities on the Lightning Link series of games (or Lightning Cash for non-linked machines) and its sister series, Dragon Link, is a grand jackpot, that is many thousands of dollars but of course also very difficult to hit. It’s difficult enough that in some slot communities I started chanting #landthegrand because it’s just one of those things that you root for because it’s so difficult.

One theory that’s been hard to verify is whether if you see balls spinning in all remaining squares on the reels (the squares you still need to land a ball), you’re guaranteed a Grand jackpot. Video evidence was hard to come by, but thanks to a YouTube slot channel, we’ve got a much better idea.

Status: Seeing balls in all 15 spaces does not guarantee a Grand jackpot, but it does seem to indicate a chance for one.

Understanding the Hold and Spin Feature

Lightning Link/Cash and Dragon Link have a feature in common across all its themes, the Hold and Spin feature, which is the feature that made the games unique when they first hit casinos. When you land six balls (the symbols could be in a variety of themes to match the game’s theme, but most players call them balls at this point since they all do the same thing) you enter the Hold and Spin feature with three spins to work to get at least one more. If you do, the spin count resets at three, and you try to get more.

Balls can have numerical values, or jackpot words for three of the four jackpots: Mini, Minor and Major. Mini and Minor jackpots are fixed and based on the bet level; Major is a progressive jackpot that grows until it hits its maximum level or is hit.

There is a fourth jackpot, the Grand progressive, that can only be won when all 15 squares land a ball. This is a rare occurrence. In fact, most of the time at least one space is empty throughout a spin, indicating no chance all 15 can land in that spin.

Video Evidence of a Grand

YouTube creator Ross Bybee has been around for a long time, releasing some pretty awesome videos along the way, and in recent months he’s been amping up his efforts. As far as I can tell (and him as well, given the title), he’s the first person to record a grand on Lightning Link as it happens, vs. many others who started recording after the grand was already achieved. This gives us a chance to watch a grand being secured on the game in real time and analyze what happens.

The bonus in question begins at 10:56.

At 10:56 in this video is the bonus in question. It starts off like any Lightning Link bonus. The trick in understanding the theory put out there by many around how Lightning Link works is to watch all the squares. If a ball (chip in this case, but again most call them all balls for conversational purposes) spins by in a space it indicates the possibility of being able to land one there.

To discuss this in detail, let’s label the grid, If we number the top row squares 1-5, 6-10 and 11-15, we can analyze what’s happening here.

In his first spin, square 4 is empty for the spin. This is standard Lightning Link – you can usually find a space empty. Spin two, after an initial blip, square 11 is empty. As you take spins it’s not unusual for the empty square to move around. In fact, the first 10 spins or so, there’s an empty square somewhere each time.

Something changes at the 11:45 timestamp mark, when he’s down to three squares left. Now chips are flying by frequently in all three remaining spaces. That’s unusual – that normally doesn’t happen. And lo and behold, he wins the Grand jackpot!

When this video was released, it got some conversations going that if you see chips flying by in all spaces at some point, the Grand is assured.

When the Theory Falls Apart

It was again Ross Bybee who put that theory to the test. He even knows the theory, because the second video’s title is “OMG CAN IT REALLY HAPPEN AGAIN?!?!? LIGHTNING LINK 124k GRAND JACKPOT ATTEMPT” and the video came out right after the Grand jackpot win.

Same setup, different outcome

Like the last video, we start out with an empty square in the first spin – square 14. Spin two, it’s square 8. 10 spins in, he gets down to three squares left, which is at 0:38. Once again, balls now fly by in all three spaces. But unlike the first time, he does not land the 15th ball and the Grand jackpot.

So now we know that the Grand jackpot isn’t guaranteed when all balls are present. So what can we surmise from this?

My Theory as to What Happens

Before I share my theory of what I think is happening, another observation from these two videos: The 4th to last ball in both these videos landed in what had been for that spin the empty space. If you watch carefully in the second video, the 15th square is where that ball landed, but until it landed no ball went by in that space. In the first video square 4 was empty the entire spin before the chip landed at the last moment.

This may indicate the empty space may not actually be completely empty, but be really, really hard to get something, and that is why the grand is so rare – you basically have to land a ball in that generally empty space, which jumps around the board periodically.

Based on the video evidence from these bonuses, I believe if you see balls flying by in all spaces, you have a chance of landing all 15. But they still have to land. Players routinely have other bonuses where balls fly by, don’t land, and you don’t get more than a certain number; it seems fair to assume that you can have a chance to land all 15 and simply not land them before you run out of spins.

Have you ever landed the Grand jackpot on a slot machine like Lightning Link? Won a giant progressive you’re proud of? Share in the comments below!

About the author


My name is Joshua, and I’m a slot enthusiast who works in tech as a marketer by day, and dabbles in casinos periodically during off-times. Know Your Slots will reflect my interests in understanding the various ways you can play slots, travel, casino promotions and how you can get the most out of your casino visits.


  • Hello Joshua thank you for your explanations with the games so I can understand better. Is possible Joshua you can tell me what game Incan play I can win the grand? I live in Phoenix is hard to play a machine people try to get the big numbers. I want to play with strategic with a system.Please help me! Thank you

  • Hi Joshua;

    Regarding the Dancing Drums game I have two questions. First, what does “a backup spin” mean? Secondly, when there is a free play and there is a chance for the grand, does each gold coin field have three each of the grand, major, minor or mini? Or are there random amounts With mostly mini coins? Thanks. I enjoy reading your tips.

    • Hi Jim – a “backup spin” is simply taking an extra spin after a big win. It began as something that was done on TheBigPayback’s slot channel and others have adopted it.

      The progressive chance is predetermined, so while it’s designed to imply there are three behind each, the fact it doesn’t show you the remaining choices is an indication that it already had a decisions as to the outcome going into the pick (this is not unusual for progressive picks like this). You can learn more about Dancing Drums and how it operates on my post about the game:

  • I had two spots left on Golden century coin bonus. I noticed both of them had coins spinning by. One of them landed leaving me with three spins to land the last one. On the second spin it landed. I hit for just over $11,000. I was spinning on the $.10 denomination $2.50 a spin. I have a video if you’d like to see it. Shoot me an email. When I realized I had coins underneath the last spot I took my phone out and filmed the last spot.

    • That’s really exciting Michael! It does certainly appear that if you see them spinning in all the spaces you’ve got a decent shot at hitting it. I still haven’t had one but hopefully some day!

      • Unfortunately I can say that even if you have several orbs in the last slot of a dragon link you can still not land the grand. Had it happen tonight with 3 final spins that had orbs and none of them landed. So upsetting after always having no orb in the slot to have one and not have it land.

        • Hi Raymond! As more and more players are finding over time, it doesn’t guarantee the grand, just the chance of one. I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you!

  • Hi Joshua, I was playing the heart throb version and filled up all 15 slots but didn’t get the grand payout. I was playing in the high limit room with the base (lowest) denomination, which was a $5 total spin. Any ideas why this didn’t trigger the grand? I just got the total of the hearts. So disappointed!

    • Hi Dave! I can’t speak to your specific situation, but if you had a situation occur on the game where a pay did not happen as outlined on the pay table, you should report it/show them immediately.

    • The heart throb one multiplies all your wins when you fill up all 15. To get the grand, there’s a specific “grand” heart that you need to land in a row.

      • Hi Jen – you’re thinking of Lock it Link, not Lightning Link – that game has a different variation of hold and spin, and there is a Grand heart to land. That is not the case on Lightning Link. Thanks for reading!

  • Hi Joshua:

    I have never seen it but can you get 2 Majors at the same time on one board of Lightning Link/Dragon Link? I know you can get 2 Minors.

    I hit the grand on Happy and Prosperous Dragon Link on a 2 cent $1 bet. I had two spaces left that dropped at the same time to fill the board. $10,400.00. Biggest win of my life!

  • You will win the grand if the last space shows a ball spinning in it!!!

    I have had 3 grands in 3 months and this happened every time.

    • Hi Gary! If you watch the second video included in this post, you’ll see an example that it’s not a guarantee. Much higher chances? Sure, but not a guarantee.

    • My fiancé had the last ball to get on Dragon Links Golden Century and had 3 chances to last the last ball and they flashed each time but never landed! They don’t always land unfortunately

    • Hi Gary,
      I have hit the Grand 3 times on Dragon Link. The first 2 times were at 10 cents-$2.50 and both time there were coins spinning by in the first two spins within the final 15th spot. The Grand was won on the third spin. My third win was at 1 cent-50 cents where there were no coins flying in any of the 3 spins in the final 15th spot. And last night I was playing $1-$5 and i had the coins flying in the first 2 spins in the final 15th spot but I did not get the major in spin 3. So this shows that there is no rule that seeing coins during the 15th open spot will result in a Grand win.

  • I won the Grand jackpot of $51,455.00 by getting all 15 balls on a lightning link on Valentines day at Pala casino. I was playing 10 cent denom and betting $25 per spin. I had a total of 16 hand pay jackpots in 5hours that day.

  • Hi Joshua.

    I have 2 questions that i hope you can help me with.

    Does it make a differnce if i play $25 a spin with a dollar denomination or $25 with a 50c denomianation or $25 with a 10c denomination.

    If you play say a 25 line machine for 10c per line and your next spin would get you 5 of a kind, if you changed that to a $1 per line, would that next spin come out the same

    • Hey Walter! On many machines, the denomination selection can impact a couple of things, such as number of lines or payback percentage. So it can make a difference, although on any short-term session such difference may not be all that obvious, or even make much of a difference. But to your latter question, while each game is designed differently, changing denomination can lead the outcome to be different for a number of reasons, even aside from the timing of hitting the button potentially being different. It’s an interesting enough question that a full post will be going up shortly, but among the reasons: Sometimes games are designed to be set up a bit differently when you switch denominations, and so the spin’s outcome would therefore be different.

  • I played the Luck Strike game and I had 3 squares left and one spin left I knew if I got one more ball I could get 3 more spins and could get one more ball but that last ball would never happen. I pushed the button and all 3 balls popped in at the same time. I won 10,495.00

  • “The Vault” also has a Hold & Spin feature that triggers periodically (either when you get 6+ balls in a normal spin or the random coin dump feature triggers and awards you 6+ balls). I once placed a $2.50 bet and triggered the hold & spin feature, which dropped two balls labeled “jackpot” on the board along with the others. At the end of the feature they were revealed to be the Mini and the Grand. Won a hand pay of $5,878.74.

    • Great stuff! The Vault definitely works differently when it comes to that, but how exciting to win such a big progressive at $2.50!

  • Grand is only one chance of winning if you see last ball alive in the next 3 spins, most likely it will not happen. Rarely it can land after long empty last reel as a surprise. Grand Jackpot can also be won randomly after end of free spin or regular spin but is very rare. The last two time I won grand jackpot on 2 c at 60 cents bet and 1 c at 50 cents bet, 3rd one was on $1 at $1 bet. First time grand jackpot the last reel was very empty until very last 3rd tried and it landed. The other two times where last balls were alive on last reel and did land indeed successfully. Most of time I missed the grand jackpot several time as slot machine design to tease you. If you cannot win, just stop playing and save the money for next time.

  • I recently was in Deadwood SD and I hit all 15 hearts on a lightning link and it didn’t pay the Grand prize and I don’t know why

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