How Do Slot Machines Work?

Slots Explained

Have you ever wondered how slot machines work? Sure, you can look at them and see those colourful reels spinning exceedingly fast. You can hear the sounds of excitement and you can anticipate that big win, but what’s going on inside the machine. How are odds determined, and what are payback percentages? Surely, there’s no Great and Wonderful Oz inside the machine, turning gears and pressing buttons. It’s the brilliant outcome of decade’s long improvement and technological breakthroughs that make a slot machine work its magic.

Moving forward...

Today, the metal reels and wobbly slots have been replaced by elaborate machines which use an electronic method to determine the outcome of your spin. The principal has remained the same. The advancements of the slot machine have not only allowed more fairness in the overall game, but also all kinds of extra bonuses and fun themes.

A History of Slots in 50 Words

Slots were introduced to parlours and pubs in the late 1800’s. They were simple, using only springs and tension to determine where the reels would stop. This of course made tinkering with the 3 reels very easy. In any case, they were a hit and still are to this day.

The spin is always completely random using an RNG

The core of the slot machine works on a Random Number Generator (RNG). This hi-tech computer software determines the random outcome of the spin. The RNG never stops working and is not influenced by any outside or underlying factors. A game of slots does not work on a cyclical basis; they are not pre-programmed to pay out at a certain time and there is no pattern that can be broken. It’s truly a game of luck. This means every spin has the same chance of winning. Any system or book that claims to be able to beat a slot machine is a gimmick. There is absolutely no way to beat a randomly generated outcome. This anticipation of not knowing what will happen is one of the primary reasons why slots can be so much fun.

Myth 1: There is a predictable outcome

Fact: Anytime you spin the reels on a slot game, the outcome is not related or affected by the previous spin. It is possible, but not likely, to hit the same spin twice in a row. For this very reason, you can understand that it makes no difference playing at a machine that has just paid out a huge prize or at a game that hasn’t paid out in over a week.

Myth 2: A machine loosens up

Fact: You are not more likely to win the longer you play. Since the software is always generating random numbers, you always have the same chance of hitting the jackpot with each and every spin.

Myth 3: The symbols move

Fact: Actually, these symbols on a virtual reel, or those at in a land based casino, never change or move. They are permanently placed in that spot to ensure fairness and a correct payout percentage.

The differences between a 3 reel slot and a 5 reel slot

Slots Explained

When you’re ready to play slots, you will notice that you have the choice to play multiple reels. These can be anywhere from 3, 5 even 10 reels. Most casinos offer 3 and 5 reels to play and while the principal of the game is pretty much the same, the experience can be dramatically different.

Three reel slots were the first format of slots. The simpler design makes it easier for new gamblers to play. There are also less betting options which can be a plus for anyone on a budget. Five reel slots feature more paylines which means there are more ways for a player to win. These slots also offer bonuses, wilds and scatter symbols. In some cases, the 5 reel slot will offer progressive jackpots which can turn you into a millionaire in just a single spin. Graphics and the overall interface is often more exciting with 5 reels, while the 3 reels maintain a classic feel that never goes out of style.

The odds are always the same on a game of slots

Like all gambling games, the casino has a slight edge over the player. The house gets its edge using mathematical algorithms and for the sake of your sanity, we’ll avoid talking about the large numbers for now. Every time you play slots, the odds remain the same. They never change; however, they can vary from each individual slot variation. Remember, with a game of slots, the higher paying symbols will appear less than the lower paying ones.

Look for the payout percentages

Slots Explained

Always look for the payout percentages on a machine. These may be on a sign, in the paytable or written in the rules of the game. There is no minimum or maximum payout for slot machines; however, most gambling jurisdictions require that payback percentages be above a certain level.

Some casinos will offer a 95% payout and others will offer a 98% payout. Essentially, this is a mathematical prediction of how much money the machine will return over an infinite number of spins. If the machine you’re playing at has a 96.5% payout, the casino will take about 4.5% of all money put into the slot and give away the rest to its players.

Payout schemes for slots

There are different payout schemes used in modern slot machines. A standard flat top or straight slot machine has a payout that never changes. A machine with a progressive jackpot will have a payout that steadily increases as players put more money into it. Once someone wins, the payout returns to the starting value.

Forget how they work, start playing!

Mechanically, there is a lot more to slots, but that is something that could literally be explained in a small book. For now, you should have a good understanding of how slots work. When you’re ready to play, you’ll find slots to be very easy to operate. All you need to do is transfer cash into your account, select the game and start playing.

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