Infographic: The Basics of Slot Machines

Slot games are growing popular today. You can find one at a land-based casino or even play slot games on your phone. Here are the fundamentals of slots to get you started.

Playing slots should be simple and entertaining.

Some different features and themes make the gameplay very exciting. Casino-based slots and online slots games usually are all over and could confuse a beginner. You can find a wide selection of slots but it’s important to know how you’ll get around and pick one to play.

casino slots

As you see from the above infographic a slot machine has various features. Also, these slot machines are of different types you will find the multi-coin or multi-line, or multiplier slot machine Or progressive and non-progressive slot machines.

See also – Busted 5 Myths on Slot Machines

Progressives Slot machine: These machines are very popular among players because they lure you to become instantly wealthy, these are the jackpots to shoot for. Each time a player puts money into the machine, a percentage of their wager is used to increase the progress.

It continues to grow until someone wins it, at which point the prize resets to a predetermined amount. While these machines can change your life overnight, the frequency of top payouts is on par with winning the lottery.

Progressives can be divided into three distinct types

 Basics of Slot Machines
Progressive Jackpot
  • Standalone: This game is not connected to any other machines. When you put money into it, the only jackpot being increased is the one tied to that individual game.
  • Linked: Multiple machines are linked together here. These games are usually located in the same casino, although they’re sometimes spread across multiple casinos owned by the same company. Each time money is fed into a linked machine, the shared progressive jackpot increases. Once someone wins the top prize on one of the machines, the jackpot on all linked games drops to a starting level and begins to build again.
  • Wide Area: A large number of machines are linked across an entire jurisdiction or state. The payouts on these games are tremendous, and the most famous is Nevada’s Megabucks.

Slot machine jackpots are either set at a fixed amount or continue to increase until they’re been won. The former is known as “flat top” machines (Slots with a fixed jackpot are known as “flat tops”.

These machines don’t offer jackpots worth millions of dollars, but the odds of hitting one are also better), while the latter is the famous progressive slots.

Both types can offer significant payouts, although progressives are renowned for turning players into multi-millionaires with just a few spins of the reels.

Basics of Slot Machines – How do they work?

Slot machines contain a “random number generator” (RNG), which is simply a computer chip that constantly creates numbers – even while the machine is not being used. These random numbers correspond to positions on the reels of the slot machine.

When you pull the handle (or push the “Spin” button), what you are doing is telling the computer to select one of the numbers. Then the slot machine moves the reels to correspond to the number you picked.

There are some long-held inaccurate assumptions about how slot machines operate. Like roulette, where every spin of the wheel is completely random and independent, one pull of a slot handle is completely random and independent from the previous and next pulls.

It all depends on the precise moment that you pull the handle or push the “Spin” button and which set of random numbers you select. Pulling the handle a 100th of a second later would yield a different result.

Some common terms used when playing slots and their meaning

  • Action or Play – Action or play is the total amount of money wagered on a slot machine in a session or over a different time frame.
  • Bet Max or Bet Max Button – Payout charts are almost always based on a maximum wager. The bet max button automatically places a wager of the maximum amount based on your coin size. If the maximum bet is 10 coins per line and you set your coin size to 10 cents, the bet max button will bet $1 per line.
  • Betting Units or Credits – A betting unit or credit is based on the size of the coin you’re using and how much money you have in the machine. If you have $100 in the machine and are using a quarter coin size you have 400 betting units or credits.
  • Big Hit or Big Win – A big hit is simply a big win. One slot player may tell another they had a big hit after hitting a top payout or jackpot.
  • Bonus Feature – A bonus feature is used in video slot machines. A common bonus feature is unlocked by hitting a certain combination of symbols and opening on a new screen. A bonus feature can be a different game entirely or include a mini movie or just be a different area with reels like the main game. Usually, players have the chance at larger wins during a bonus feature than during normal gameplay.
  • Bonus Multiplier or Bonus Modifier – A bonus modifier or multiplier is a symbol or series of symbols that multiply a win by a certain amount. Common multipliers are two times (2X) and three times (3X) but they can be any amount the game is programmed for.
  • Branded Slots – Branded slot machines are themed after popular television shows or movie franchises. Examples include Wheel of Fortune Slots and Lord of the Rings slots.
  • Cashback or Cash Back – Cash back is exactly what it sounds like. Some players’ clubs at casinos offer cash back on slot machine play. Others only offer non-cash comps, but if you look around you can find cashback slots offers both online and in land-based casinos.
  • Coins – Coins are the size of the base wager on a slot machine. In the past, you could play with actual coins or tokens, but most slot machines today are played with cash or slot vouchers or tickets.
  • Comps – Comps are earned through a player’s club for playing slot machines and other casino games. Comps can include free hotel stays, free meals, free flights, cash back, coupons, special deals, and just about anything else of value the casino may give you in exchange for your play.
  • Free Spins – Free spins are exactly what they say. Most free spins are part of a bonus situation or game or a multiplier or other special feature.
  • Hit and Run – Hit and run describes a slot player who plays a few spins on a machine and then moves on to the next machine. These players usually are looking for a hot machine so if a slot doesn’t hit in a few spins the player moves on until she finds a machine that hits a win in the first few spins.
  • Hot Slots or Hot Slot Machine – A hot slot machine is the opposite of a cold one. A hot machine seems to be paying out at a higher-than-average rate. Many players jump from machine to machine in hopes of finding a hot machine.
  • Jackpot – The jackpot is the top payout amount on a slot machine. Sometimes the jackpot is a progressive top prize that climbs with each spin until a player wins it.
  • Line or Pay Line – A line is usually from left to right and is the plane or area where you need to line up matching symbols to win a payout. You activate one or more lines on most slot machines and if a line isn’t activated you can’t win for combinations on that line.
  • Linked Progressive Jackpot – Some progressive slot machines are linked to other machines. Most of the time the machines are all the same brand, but they don’t have to be. This helps progressive jackpots climb faster because more machines are feeding the top prize. The machines don’t have to be in the same casino to be linked. Online casinos often offer progressive games shared by hundreds of different casinos.
  • Loose Slots –A loose slot machine is paying out more often than normal or one that appears to be doing so. Loose slots are another name for hot slots.
  • Multiplier – A multiplier is an amount a winning spin is multiplied by. Multipliers usually are associated with free spins, scatter symbols, or another special feature or symbol.
  • Payback Percentage – Payback percentage is the amount of money the slot machine pays back as a percentage of the amount wagered through a machine. A slot machine that has a 93% payback percentage pays back $93 out of every $100 on average to the player. In the short run, the percentage will vary a great deal, but in the long run, it’ll average out correctly.
  • Pay Line – A pay line is a line where matching symbols must line up to match winning combinations listed on the pay table. Most machines have multiple pay lines that must be activated to be eligible to win.
  • Payout – A payout is how much you get for a specific winning combination of symbols. For example, you might get a payout of 25 coins for lining up four matching symbols from left to right on any pay line.
  • Pay Table – The paytable is the screen or card that explains which matching symbols pay and how much they pay.
  • Primary Jackpot – A primary jackpot is a top-paying jackpot on a machine that has more than one jackpot. Some machines have a secondary or group of secondary jackpot amounts.
  • Progressive Slot Machines – A progressive slot machine has a top payout that grows with each spin. Most progressive jackpots are tied to multiple machines so the jackpot grows quickly. A percentage of each spin is added to the progressive amount.
  • Reels – Reels are the wheels that spin inside the machine or appear to spin on the screen of a video slot machine. The most common machines have three or five reels, but other sizes are sometimes available.
  • Random Number Generator or RNG – The computer program that controls the outcome of the slot machine is called a random number generator. Each possible outcome has a number or numbers assigned to it and the RNG picks a number at random for every spin. A particular losing combination may have hundreds of numbers attached to it and the top payout may only have one number assigned to it.
  • Scatter Symbol – A special symbol that can land anywhere on the reels and still pay out or unlocks a bonus of some sort without landing on particular lines. The symbol is scattered all over the screen instead of lining up.
  • Spin or Spin Button – The spin button is used to start spinning the reels. The spin button replaced the lever on the side of the slot machine.
  • Symbols – The symbols are pictures of different items on the reels of the slot machine. You need to line matching symbols up on an activated pay line to win. Symbols can be anything from a bar to an elaborate portrait. Popular symbols include cherries and pictures that match the theme of the slot machine.
  • Wide Area Progressive or WAP – A wide area progressive is one with slot machines from different areas connected for a single progressive jackpot. Any player on one of these machines can win the jackpot and all the players are making the progressive amount go up as they play.
  • Wild Symbols – Wild symbols, usually found on video slot machines, are used in place of other symbols to help you form winning pay line combinations. Some wild symbols offer a multiplier bonus when used in a winning pay line.

About the author

Rebecca Brown