How to Play Slot Machines
Slot machine players used to be considered second-class citizens among casino patrons. Jackpots were modest, payout percentages were low, and slot players weren’t entitled to the same gratis perks as table players – free rooms, entertainment, and dinners. However, the casino sector has evolved during the previous few decades.
Sports betting and online gambling are fast expanding and taking a greater share of the casino income pie. However, they are no match for slot machines. Though commercial casino gaming income in the United States fell in 2020 due to the coronavirus illness pandemic, electronic gambling devices accounted for 63 percent of total revenue. In many jurisdictions, that figure exceeds 80 percent. (Slot machines are classified as “electronic gaming devices” by the American Gaming Association, covering video poker, instant racing, and other similar platforms.)
There’s a reason why slot machines are more popular than table games. It’s simple: simply place coins in the slot and press or pull the handle. The intimate connection with dealers or other players at the tables can be daunting to newcomers; slot players avoid this. Furthermore, the slots include the casino’s largest and most life-changing prizes.
The following essay will teach you all you need to know about slots from the fundamentals to diverse techniques. We’ll start at the beginning, with an overview of how slot machines function.
How to Play
Mechanical reels were employed in all slot machines in the beginning. Today, most slot machines include television screens that show the reels, and they accept and disburse money in the form of banknotes, vouchers, and tickets rather than coins or tokens. The denomination determines the denomination of each credit played on a slot machine.
There are games in penny, two-cent, nickel, ten-cent, quarter, dollar, and even $100 denominations, with some machines allowing players to select their preferred currency.
Your money is transformed into credits whenever you pay the machine. Slots can accept 45, 90, or even 500 credits at any given time.
The equal number of credits is shown on a meter once payment is placed into the currency acceptor. Push the “play one credit” button on reel-spinning slots until you’ve achieved the desired quantity of coins. Then press the “spin reels” button, or pull the handle on those few slots that still have handles, or press a “play max credits” or “bet max” button to play the machine’s maximum credits per spin.
On video slots, press one button to activate the number of paylines and another to activate the number of credits wagered per line. There are nine paylines on which you may stake 1 to 5 credits in one typical arrangement. Video slots can have 5, 15, 20, 25, or even 50 paylines, with 25 credits per line.
A player’s chances of winning are determined by the symbols that appear on a payment line. Cherries, bars, double bars (two bars piled on top of each other), triple bars, and sevens are all iconic symbols. Fruit, playing card symbols, and graphics depending on the game’s theme are many options.
A single cherry on the payout line, for example, might pay out two credits; three of any bars (a mix of bars, double bars, and triple bars), 30 credits for three single bars, 60 credits for three double bars, 120 credits for three triple bars, and the jackpot for three sevens might pay out 10 credits. However, many of the stops on each reel will be blanks, and a combination of blanks will pay nothing. A seven is not the same as any other bar, hence a combination like bar-seven-double bar pays nothing.
On a video screen, video slots normally depict five reels spinning, however there are slots with additional reels. Paylines can be seen in various designs across the screen, including Vs, upside-down Vs, zigzags, and other patterns. — Bonus rounds and “scatter payouts” are also common in video slots. A scatter pay is triggered if two, three, or more of the designated symbols show on the screen, even if they’re not on the same payline.
Special symbols will also activate a bonus round. Free spins, pick-a-prize interactions, and surprise incentives are some examples of bonuses. A “second screen” incentive may be offered to the gamer. The long-popular WMS Gaming slot “Jackpot Party” features a second-screen bonus. When three Party noisemakers appear on the video reels, the reels are replaced by a grid of gift-wrapped items on the screen. To open a package and receive a bonus reward, players must touch the screen. They can continue touching items for further benefits until one of them reveals a “pooper,” ending the round. These bonus rounds aided the growth of video slots, but they are becoming less common as game designers experiment with format.
Winnings are added to the credit meter when you hit a winning combination. If you want to collect the credits on the meter, press the “Cash Out” button, and most machines will produce a bar-coded ticket that can be redeemed for cash. Coins still fall into a tray in a few older machines.
Slot Machine Etiquette
Many slot players deposit money into two or more neighboring machines simultaneously, but if the casino is full and others are having trouble obtaining a seat, stick to one machine. Even in a small audience, it’s best not to play more machines than you can comfortably supervise. If you play too many, you can end up like the woman working her way up and down a row of six slots. She was inserting money into machine number six, which was paying out a jackpot, while machine number one, across the aisle, was paying out a jackpot. As a pedestrian took a handful of money from the first tray, there was nothing she could do.
Players who need to use the restroom may occasionally tip a chair against the machine, leave a coat on the chair, or give some other indication that they will return. Take note of these warning indicators. If you play a machine that has already been staked out, you may face a severe encounter.
Since casinos discovered it’s more profitable to keep 5% of a dollar than 8% of a quarter or 10% of a nickel, payout percentages, or the proportion of wagers returned to players as prizes, have climbed. Slot players may expect a payout rate of around 93 percent in most of the country, however payouts in Nevada are higher. Remember that these are long-term averages that will stand up over 100,000 to 300,000 pulls.
Anything can happen in the near term. On a reel-spinning slot, it’s not uncommon to go 20 or 50 pulls without a single payoff, however video slots payout more often. It’s also not uncommon for a machine to return 150 percent or more for a few dozen pulls. However, the set percentages will stand up in the long term.
Because older slot machines were mechanical, you could calculate the odds of striking the top jackpot if you knew the number of stops — symbols or blank spaces that may halt on the reward line — on each reel. If a machine had three reels, each with ten stops, and one jackpot symbol on each reel, three symbols would line up once every 10,310,310 pulls, or 1,000 pulls on average.
The large payouts on those machines were $50 or $100, not the huge amounts that slot gamers expect nowadays. Progressive jackpots can reach millions of dollars on systems that electronically link machines in many casinos.
Today’s machines include random-number generators built into their microprocessors that determine winning combinations. It makes no difference how many pauses each reel has. We could put ten jackpot symbols on the first reel, ten on the second, and nine on the third, and yet set the random-number generator such that three jackpot symbols matched up only once every 1,000 times, or 10,000 times, if we fitted the old three-reel, ten-stop machine with a microprocessor. On video slots, reel strips may be designed to be as lengthy as necessary to increase the game’s odds of hitting a certain percentage. The physical reel does not bind them.
Many digits are allocated to each conceivable combination. The random-number generator sets a number when it gets a signal, which might be anything from a button being pressed to the handle being pulled, and the reels halt on the matching combination.
The random number generator runs constantly between signals, generating hundreds of numbers every second. For slot players, this has two implications. To begin, don’t be concerned if you leave a machine and later watch someone else score the jackpot. You would have required the same split-second timing as the winner to hit the same jackpot.
If you had stayed at the machine longer, the chances are that you would not have struck the same combination.
Second, because the combinations are random, or as near to random as possible, the odds of striking any given combination are the same on each draw. If a machine is configured to pay out its highest jackpot once every 10,000 draws on average, your odds of winning it on anyone pull are one in 10,000. The chances on the next pull will still be one in 10,000 if you’ve been standing there for days and have played 10,000 times. Those are averages throughout time. The machine may go 100,000 pulls without releasing go of the big one, or it could pay it out twice in a row in the near term.
Is there a technique to make sure you hit the jackpot on a slot machine? No, however, you can use several tactics despite the overwhelming aspects of chance. These will be discussed in the next section.
Slot Machine Myths
Because most players don’t understand how slot machines function, entire cultures have developed around when to play and when to avoid them. None of them contain much truth.
Here are some of the most common slot misconceptions:
Change machines after a big jackpot — the machine won’t be due to hit again for some time. It makes sense from a money-management viewpoint to lock up the earnings from a huge hit and move on. However, the machine is not “due” to cool down. In reality, the chances of the same jackpot being struck on the following draw are the same as the first.
Play a machine that has gone a long time without paying off — it is due to hit. The slots are never “due.” Playing through a long losing run almost often leads to another loss skid.
Casinos place “hot” machines on the aisles. This idea is so common that end machines receive a lot of play regardless of how they pay. True, not all machines in the same casino have the same payback % programmed into them. Casinos do, after all, want other customers to witness winners. However, slot placement is more complicated than just putting the hottest items at the ends of aisles.
The payback percentage is lowered when the crowds are bigger and demand is greater. Changing a machine’s code is not simple, and opening the machine and changing a computer chip is required to change the preset payback percentage. This is not something to be taken lightly. Although these changes are still subject to laws, server-based slot machines allow casinos to adjust payment percentages remotely.
Slot Machine Strategies
Slots are the simplest casino games: just spin the wheels and hope for the best. Players have no say in which combinations appear or when a jackpot is hit. It’s impossible to predict whether a machine will be hot or chilly. There are, nevertheless, certain drawbacks. It’s critical to read the glass or the help menu to determine the machine’s kind. The multiplier, buy-a-pay, and progressive slots are the three main forms of reel-spinning slots.
The multiplier: Payouts on a multiplier are proportional to the number of coins played, with the exception of the highest prize. Three bars pay ten if the machine takes up to three credits at a time and you play one credit. Three bars will reward you with 20 credits for two credits and 30 credits for three credits. Three sevens, on the other hand, may pay 500 for one credit and 1,000 for two, but when all three credits are played, the payout jumps to 10,000. Before playing fewer than the maximum coins on this sort of machine, check the glass to see whether that’s the case.
The buy-a-pay: On a buy-a-pay machine, where each credit “buys” a set of symbols or a payout line, never play less than the maximum. The first coin may let the player win exclusively on cherry combinations, while the second and third coins trigger the bar and sevens rewards, respectively. The player who scores three jackpot symbols on a buy-a-pay with only one coin played is doomed — he or she will receive nothing. A machine with numerous payout lines, each triggered by a distinct credit, is varied. With each credit, all symbols are active, but the payment is zero if a successful combination appears on the third-credit payout line with just one or two credits played.
The progressive: There’s no incentive to pay less than the maximum coins on a progressive machine. A proportion of each coin wagered is awarded to the player who ultimately lines up the jackpot symbols. The early progressive machines were self-contained, with the jackpot calculated by the amount of money wagered since the previous big win. Most progressive jackpot machines are now electronically linked to other machines, with all credits played in the linked machines contributing to a shared payout.
The record for a $1 progressive jackpot is $39,710,826.26, which was won at a Las Vegas casino. The cost is that other rewards are generally less frequent and less in amount. You can’t win the huge prize unless you play all of your credits.
If you must pay less than the maximum number of credits, seek for a multiplier with a little final-coin leap in the top prize. Choose a machine that allows you to play maximum credits while staying within your budget. Move to a quarter machine if your budget won’t enable you to play maximum credits on a $1 machine. If three quarters at a time is too much for you, go to a two-quarter machine. Play a nickel machine if you can’t play two quarters at once.
Video slots are unique since they have so many paylines and the ability to bet numerous credits per line. Some 20-payline penny slots accept up to 25 cents per line. That’s a maximum stake of $5, which is quite a sum! Even if they just spend one credit per line, most video slot players invest less than the maximum and cover all paylines.
You want to make sure you’re qualified for the bonus rounds, which are what make video slots so entertaining. Some progressive jackpots need maximum bets, while others do not. If a maximum stake is necessary to be eligible for the jackpot and you’re not willing to roll that high, go on to another machine.
The most crucial component of playing any casino game, and the most challenging part of playing the slots, is managing your money correctly. Even with quarter machines, the money required rapidly adds up. A devoted slot player on a credit-based machine may easily rack up 600 pulls each hour. That implies wagering $300 per hour at two quarters at a time, the same amount a $5 blackjack player risks at a stable pace of 60 hands per hour.
The majority of the money is recycled from lesser rewards – in a casino where quarter slots return 93 percent, the average loss for $300 in play is $21. Still, if you save some of those lesser rewards and don’t throw everything you win back into the machine, you’ll come out ahead more often.
One way to keep track of your money is to break your daily slot bankroll into smaller sessions. If you spent $100 on a two-and-a-half-hour riverboat tour, set aside $20 for every half-hour. Choose a quarter machine (dollar machines may wipe out a $100 bankroll in seconds) and play the $20 once. If you’ve won more than $20, keep the extra money and play with the initial $20. After one half-hour, pocket whatever money remains and begin a new session with the next $20.
That session ends when the original $20 for that session is gone. Finish the half-hour with a stroll, a food, or a drink until the next class begins. Don’t go back to the money you’ve already taken.
That may seem strict, but players who don’t follow a money management strategy usually continue to feed money into the machine until they’ve exhausted their bankroll. The percentages guarantee that the casino will win in the long run, but if you save a portion of the money as you play, you’ll leave the casino with more cash.
Slot machines have a lot more to them than meets the eye. However, if you master the ins and outs of playing them, you may employ several tactics that might help you win big.
Slot Machines of the Future
iGaming, or internet gambling, has seen a surge in popularity and profitability. As mobile gambling technology evolves and laws change, online slots draw more gamers. It also doesn’t hurt that they feature massive rewards, including the Mega Moolah jackpot of 18.9 million euros ($22.4 million) in 2018.
Play Slot Machines FAQ
Is there a secret to slot machines?
No, however, you can use several tactics despite the overwhelming aspects of chance.
How do you play slot machine games?
A meter displays the corresponding number of credits. Push the “play one credit” button on reel-spinning slots until you’ve achieved the desired quantity of coins. Then press the “spin reels” button, or pull the handle on the few remaining slots with handles, or press the “play max credits” button to play the maximum coins allowed on that machine.
How much does it cost to play on slot machines?
Although there are video games in 2-cent, 10-cent, quarter, and dollar denominations and reel spinners up to $100, the most popular slots are penny and nickel video games and quarter and dollar reel-spinning games.
What happens if you win?
Winnings are added to the credit meter when you hit a winning combination. If you want to collect the coins on the meter, press the “Cash Out” button, and most machines will issue a bar-coded ticket that can be redeemed for cash.
Are there free slots that pay real money?
No, but incentives are available. The bonus might be a number of free spins or a “second screen” bonus.