GUIDE ON SLOTS
If you ever been to any casino in the world you must have seen slot machines or “slots” as they are affectionately known. Or perhaps you saw them in old movies in a more old-time variant with three cherries lining up and giving the player money.
These machines are today so popular that scientists have studied they psychology behind it and the way people get involved into them. It is even said that people lose space, bodily awareness, and monetary value they are spending when they are playing a game on slots.
Psychologists Robert Breen and Marc Zimmerman found that players of video slot machines reach a “debilitating level of involvement with gambling three times as rapidly as those who play traditional casino games, even if they have gambled regularly on other forms of gambling in the past without a problem”.
So now you see how engaging and popular the game is. Many people enjoy playing on slots machines and they can win a lot of money like this. Of course sometimes they lose but this is the charm of gambling and playing at casinos. And if you know how enjoyable that can be, you will enjoy this guide as well.
Maybe the first thing you would want to ask is where the name “slots” is derived from. The “slot machine” term derives from the slots on the machine for inserting and retrieving coins.
They can be found not only in casinos, but in some bars and restaurants as well, especially in hotels. Slots are widely popular and played throughout the world. Of course you could also see that there are so many kinds of slot machines, thousands of them, and each has its own style and theme. Slots are also known as “fruit machines” in some parts of the world, obviously because of traditional fruit images on the spinning reels, such as lemons and cherries.
Interestingly enough, slot machines are also known as one-armed bandits since originally they had one lever on the side of the machine and because they have the ability to take away all of the player’s money, since bandit can be a synonym for “thief”.
Short History of Slots
The first slot machine was developed in San Francisco in 1895 by a German-born American engineer Charles Fey. It was a machine with three spinning reels containing a total of five symbols – horseshoes, diamonds, spades, hearts, and a Liberty Bell. The bell gave the machine its name.
Charles Fey even started his own slot machine production company a few years later. Evidently, slots were widely accepted and very quickly popularized.
First slot machines were purely mechanical. After electronics had been introduced, it was a great step forward for the slots industry.
When slots started to be used online from the beginning of the 1990s, the slot machines industry received another boost. Millions of people started to play on slot machines online and thus today slots are famous worldwide in all ways.
Types of Slot Machines
There are two types of slot machines. There are classic slot machines that usually consist of three or four drums (or “rolls” or “wheels”) with the possibility of playing one to five lines. On the other hand there are video slots that can be played with up to 30 lines.
Classic slots are enjoyable and relaxing as they only require a simple act of trying to line up three cherries or lemons on a three-reel classic slot machine.
However, although probably the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of a classic slot machine is a three reel machine, classic slot machines can also have five or even seven reels. They can either use mechanical old time reels or video screens that display the reels.
Classic slot machines are basically any game that uses mechanical reels or any online slot game designed to imitate the look of mechanical slots. Classic slots usually don’t have bonuses or extras and they have straightforward pay tables.
You can say that when these video slot machines are filled with various bonus rounds, stories or dozens of different pay lines, they cease to be simple basic slots games.
Classic slots games on video slots machines use a random number generator to decide which reels and symbols will be displayed on the screen. This mechanism allows the newer classic slots games to offer higher top pay outs than the old one that actually used reel that turned inside the machine.
For sure, the old machines that used actual reels could only have a limited number of combinations: the reels would only hold a certain number of symbols.
There are many players who really enjoy this old-time classic look of a slot machine but they do not want to miss a chance to win higher top prizes. This is why a random number generator program has been used with an old look of earlier machines.
Video slot machines typically encourage the player to play multiple “lines”. This means that rather than simply taking the middle of the three symbols displayed on each reel, a line could go from top left to bottom right, or any of the other patterns determined for that particular slots machine or game. As each symbol is equally likely, there is no difficulty for the manufacturer in allowing the player to take any or all of the possible lines on offer – the long-term return to player will be the same. The difference for the player is that the more lines he or she plays the more likely he or she is to get paid on a given spin – though of course he or she is betting more in the first place.
To avoid the feeling that the player’s money is simply ebbing away (whereas a payout of 100 credits on a single line machine would be 100 bets, and the player would feel they had made a substantial win, on a 20 line machine, it would only be 5 bets and would not seem significant), manufacturers commonly offer bonus games, which can return many times their bet. The player is encouraged to keep playing to reach the bonus: even if he or she is losing, the bonus game could allow him to win back his or her losses.
Probably many people would get confused when said that the slots games have rules. They may think that the game is only about pressing the spin button or a lever and waiting for the pictures to align. However, there are many different combinations that you need to check before starting the game, as well as the pay lines and the ways of betting. Casino games are most of the time based on proper betting, and in each game there are different rules and principles.
It is said that slots are among the easiest games you will ever find. This is because the whole game revolves around making a profitable combination of symbols across a winning line. Most slot machines today offer multiple win lines. By raising your bet and selecting more credits, you can use more lines.
The main principle is that when you push the spin button, the slot machine will start spinning. Once the drums stop spinning, you can see a row of symbols that appear on your win lines.
Symbols that you can see vary per slot machines. They depend on the style and theme of a slot machine. The same goes for the winning combinations – they also vary per slot machine.
You can always see the winning combination on the slot machine, since it is always shown just like the combination required for winning the jackpot. You should know that jackpot, however, is only paid on maximum bets. Therefore, when you want the jackpot, you need to play with all lines. Some experts believe that playing with maximum lines is also the best strategy to win prizes. However, this is to be done only if you have a sufficiently big bankroll.
A person who plays on a slot machine can insert cash or a paper ticket with a barcode in “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines. The machine is then activated by a lever or a button, or on newer machines, by simply pressing a touchscreen on its face. You will notice that in casinos you can usually find both machines with buttons and machines with touch screens.
The goal of the game is to win money from the machine. The game usually involves matching symbols, either on mechanical reels that spin and stop to reveal one or several symbols, or on simulated reels shown on a video screen.
The images that you can see on the slots machines vary from machine to machine and they depend on the theme and style of that machine. In some machines you can see images of fruits, in some ghost pictures, sphinx pictures, images of famous singers, and so on.
Most games can have a variety of winning combination of symbols and they are usually posted on the face of the machine or are available on a different screen which is accessible by touching a button on the main touchscreen, on video slot machines.
Before starting the game you should check these combinations to know what the game you are playing is about and when you can expect to win a reward.
If a player manages to match a combination according to the rules of the game, the slot machine credits the player cash or some other sort of value, such as free spins or extra games.
Free spins can be found frequently on slots machines, especially in online versions where you can get bonuses in this way.
In the last couple of years, new multi-denomination slot machines have been introduced. On these slot machines, the player can choose the value of each credit wagered (the stake) from a list of options. Then based upon the player’s selection, the slot machine automatically calculates the number of credits the player will receive in exchange for the cash inserted and will display the number of available credits to the player.
When playing on the slots you should be able to recognize some of the most basic terminology used in this game.
For instance, one of such terms is bonus. It is a special feature of the particular game theme which gets activated when certain symbols appear in a winning combination.
Bonuses vary depending upon the game. Some bonuses are offered on special sessions of free spins. In other bonus rounds, the player is presented with several items on a screen from which to choose. A number of credits is revealed and awarded as the player chooses these items.
Carousel is a term for a grouping of slot machines, placed usually in a circle or oval formation.
Coin hopper is a container where the coins that are immediately available for payouts are held. The hopper is a mechanical device which rotates coins into the coin tray. This happens when a player collects credits/coins by pressing a “Cash Out” button). After a certain preset coin capacity is reached, a coin diverter automatically redirects, or “drops,” excess coins into a “drop bucket” or “drop box.” (Unused coin hoppers can still be found even on games that exclusively employ Ticket-In Ticket-Out technology, as a vestige.)
A visual display on which you can see the amount of money or number of credits on the machine is credit meter.
A container located in a slot machine’s base where excess coins are diverted from the hopper is a drop bucker or drop box. A drop bucket is usually used for low denomination slot machines and a drop box is used for high denomination slot machines.
Optimal play is a payback percentage based on a gambler using the optimal strategy in a skill-based slot machine game.
When you are playing on the slots, it is very important to recognize what a payline is. Payline is a line that crosses through one symbol on each reel, along which a winning combination is evaluated. Classic spinning reel machines usually have up to nine paylines, while video slot machines may have as many as one hundred. Paylines could be of various shapes (horizontal, vertical, oblique, triangular, zigzag, etc.
A progressive jackpot is a jackpot connected to several slot machines. On on of these slot machines the progressive jackpot grows for every wager place. A progressive jackpot can grow to very high amounts in short periods of time. For instance, they can even exceed $1,000,000.
You should know that progressive jackpots are only paid when played on maximum line bets. This means that if you are interested in winning a progressive jackpot, you should play the slot machines with maximum credit and lines.
Essentially, there are two types of jackpots for slot games – fixed jackpots and progressive jackpots. The main difference is that fixed jackpots, just like the name suggests, have a fixed or predetermined maximum amount set for players who achieve the needed jackpot combination of a game or machine. On the other hand, progressive jackpots do not have max limit, which means that they can grow continuosly until someone wins all the cash.
A common strategy by those who are more familiarized with the way slots machines work and who play more, is to wait for the progressive slots to accumulate and start playing on them only once the jackpots start hitting some really high values.
Progressive slot games at legit online casinos have the same rules as fixed jackpot slots with only one additional requirement: to win the mega-jackpot players must go for the maximum bet and number of paylines and not a single cent or payline less.
Rollup is the process of dramatizing a win by playing sounds while the meters count up to the amount that has been won. This is one element that boosts the confidence and excitement of players.
Scatter symbols are often the highest paying. These are the symbols that are always different depending on the theme of the slot game. These symbols should be the most interesting to you as a slots player since they give the best rewards.
While you usually need to have rows of symbols aligned on a payline from a certain direction, if you manage to get a scatter symbol (or set of them depending on the game) you automatically trigger a bonus feature which could be anything from free spins to bonus rounds.
This means that it is required to place at least two of the same symbols on a pay line to get paid in slot games. Yet, scatter symbols work in different ways and they can award a prize whether they are placed on a pay line or not. In modern slot games, the player needs to get at least two of them and the more he or she gets, the better. Scatter symbols are usually used to award a number of free spins. These free spins differ from game to game. Based on their number, they can also award coin prizes. The prizes are usually small, but they are paid in addition to other winnings. Scatter symbol is a special symbol, which means the wild symbol cannot replace it.
One of the most important things in slot machine games is the concept of slot variance (or slot volatility). It is a measure of risk associated with playing a slot machine. A low variance slot machine has regular but smaller wins and a high variance slot machine has fewer wins, however they are indeed bigger.
Weight count is an American term, referring to the dollar amount of coins or tokens removed from a slot machine’s drop bucket or drop box and counted by the casino’s hard count team through the use of a weigh scale.
The “joker card of slots”, a wild symbol can be substituted for any other symbol. This comes in handy if you have a payline with a row of three symbols, and the next one is a wild which will reward you with the next payout level!
Not only do these symbols work in the same way as the wild symbol does, but when you get an expanding wild it ends across the entire column of the reel. What this does is allow you to win on more than one payline depending on your luck across different rows.
Similar to expanding wilds, stacked wild symbols come in bunches of 2, 3 or more and end up stacking on top of each other, improving your chances at hitting a combination across several paylines.
Wild Symbol by its function has a joker-like quality. This means that evidently wild symbols can replace any other symbols in the game, except, as already stated above, scatter and jackpot.
Wild symbols can appear on any of the reels. But they can be change from game to game. For instance, in some games, wild symbols can appear only on certain reels or they can appear only during the bonus rounds.
The player must refer to the rules and paytable of the game to learn about the landing rules. In online slot games, they can also be used for winning a jackpot, multiplying the prize and/or triggering a certain feature.
More often than not, slot machines are programmed to pay out as winnings 82% to 98% of the money that is wagered by players. This percentage is called “theoretical payout percentage” or RTP, “return to player”. Of course, payout percentage varies from casino to casino, or from country to country.
The winning patters on slot machines, and this means the amounts they pay as well as the frequencies of those payouts, are carefully selected in such a manner that they give a certain amount of money played to the “house” (the operator of the slot machine), while it returns the rest to the players during the game.
One reason why the slots are so profitable to casinos is that the player must play the high house edge and high payout wagers along with the low house edge and low payout wagers.
It is very frequently that slot machines are linked together in a way that allows a group of machines to offer a particularly large prize, or “jackpot”. Every machine in the “chain” provides a small amount to this progressive jackpot. The total sum of the progressive jackpot is normally far higher than any single slot machine could pay on its own.
There are even cases when multiple machines are linked across multiple casinos. These machines may be owned by the manufacturer, who is then responsible for paying the jackpot.
Playing Online Slots
Like with any other casino game, playing online has many great advantages. One of them is the fact that you can play the game from the comfort of your own home, at any time of the day and as long as you wish.
Lots of online slot machines even offer more features than the regular slot machines.
A great thing is also that you can experience the game without having to give any money. You can do it for free, as this is offered in online casinos, and see how the game is going and get acquainted with it more thoroughly.
You can try to the slots games on Royal Panda.
However, always read the terms and conditions of an online casino house and check what kind of bonuses they offer, what the pay lines are in their particular slots games, what kinds of slots they use and if there are any other additional rules of the casino.
Another important thing is to calculate your money, and to be sure about betting amounts before you start investing in online slots games.
In online casinos you can also connect with other players and share experiences and hang around.
A great online feature of slots games is a tournament. Tournaments represent a great social gaming experience.
Tournaments engage players from the whole world who only need to pay an entry fee to participate. So, the buy-in is the only required fee since players do not need to use the own money during the tournament.
After you pay the entry fee, you get credits that you can use during the tournament. Since the entry fee is the only payment you are making, the number of credits is the same for each player to guarantee fair play.
Furthermore, slot tournaments are limited by time and do not allow certain features such as ther ‘autoplay’ or ‘turbo’.
Once the competition kicks off, all you have to do is to click on the ‘spin’ button as fast as possible. Your aim here is to spin the reels as much as possible and to get as many points as possible before the time runs out.
When the time is up, you can no longer use any remaning credits and your score is then compared to other players to establish the winner.
It is very important to manage your bankroll when playing slots games, whether in live or online version. This applies to all gambling games, especially for beginners who may underestimate the importance of adjusting the default betting amount to a value to suits their budget.
The minimum bet accepted in the game changes from one slots machine to the other. This range can be from €0.10 to a max. of €1. So, all slot games have their own default betting amount. The trick is to learn to balance between a minimum bet so that you can still gain a decent win and between an amount that will not make the most of your bankroll.
Depending on your personal preferences and budget, different games will offer a richer and more profitable slot gaming experience. The key is to decide if you want steady small wins or if you want to risk a little and play for millionaire status. This is where the luck strikes in if you are ready to risk.
If you are still unsure of how to win at slot machines, you can find some more slot tips and a detailed strategy on how to play online slots.
One of the things that many beginners don’t understand, is the fact that all casino games have a fixed payout rate. This means that over a period of time, the casino game returns a percentage of the money spent by the player back in the forms of winnings.
You may get distracted by theme or flashy graphics and, especially if you are beginner, you may forget to check this information. However, you should check for their payout rate befoere you start the game. This applies to online games as well as to land-based casino games. Of course not all games have the same payouts. Hence you should definitely aim for a game that gives back the most. You will find this out if you read it before you start playing and thus you can choos the right game.
Pay lines are basically the designated line in the table of symbols where winning combinations will count. Depending on the game, you can have several paylines selected but for each playline you need to place an additional bet.
Many people may find confusing that after hitting spin they see three or more symbols in a row and yet they win nothing. The reason for this is that paylines can sometimes be diagonal or in any other shape. This depends on the machine and on the game you are playing.
Hence, you need to select one or more paylines so that you know where to look for combos on your game screen. Thus you will learn why and how you are winning or losing, and you can then improve your strategy.
Video slot games often have many payline options, sometimes zigzagging across the rows and columns of symbols. As always the more options available, the more difficult it is to decide on where to place your bets.
Now, to do this you need to always have a look at the payout structure of a machine or online slot game before you make a spin.
You will notice how there are so many different games that reward you for various combinations. This is why it is important to make a right choice of game since after this everything is about luck and spinning.
A key advantage that you will gain over other slots players lies in the payout table of a game that is always a click away. You need to check it and make sure you hit the payout structure button as soon as you find a game you like.