You put coins in the machine (in an online casino you play with
virtual chips (v-chips)) - pull the lever or push a button - the
reels are set in motion.
There are symbols mounted on the reels. The object of the game is to
have all the symbols the same on the payline.
The number of reels, and lines can vary from machine to machine. The
Symbols can be anything, there is no law that says they have to be
cherries or lemons or lucky 7.
Depending on the machine, you can bet up to three or four coins on
The most important thing is to read the rules. Slot machines are not
all created equal.
Types of Slot Machines
There are two basic types:
- Straight Slot Machines:
Present Payoffs never change. Only when more coins are inserted,
the payoff increases at a fixed ratio.
- Progressive Slot Machines:
Jackpot becomes progressively larger as more coins are dropped
into the machine. The jackpot continues to increase at a fixed
percentage rate, based on how many coins are played over a long
period of time.
There are eight sub-types:
- 1-line, 3-reel Machines:
You win by lining up the proper symbols on one pay line.
- 3-line, 3-reel Machines:
You win by lining up the proper symbols on any of three pay
lines. The payoffs increase proportionally. The same symbols
that would win you 20 coins on a one-line, three wheel machine
would only pay ten coins on the first line, 20 on the second and
40 on the third.
- 5-line, 3-reel Machines:
Pays off on the three horizontal and on two diagonal lines as
well. Thus, you have a five-line play.
- Low-level Machines: Have a
built-in chair, so you can sit down comfortably with the machine
at elbow level. These machines come in all the same standard
types: 1-line, 3-line, and 5-line.
- Stand-up Machines: You
either sit on a stool or stand to play.
- Pay-for-Play Machines: You
only qualify for the wins associated with the number of coins
you insert. One coin allows you to win on one line. Two coins
allow you to win on two lines or twice the payout. 3 coins allow
you to win on all 3 lines or three times the payout (depending
on the machine)
- High-tech Machines: Only
differ in appearance (Elvis Presley or Star Wars design or
whatever). Payouts are the same.
- Progressive Jackpot
Machines: Slots tied to banks, or carousels, of machines so
that coins inserted will increase the jackpot of all the
machines that are tied together. In Nevada there are machines
that are tied together statewide. The Megabucks machine in
Nevada starts the jackpot at $5 million.
25c machines pay out more than the 5c
ones. Dollar slots payout more than the 25c machines, and $5
machines payout more than the $1 machines.
Minimum payout in Nevada by law is 75%. Minimum payout in Atlantic
City by law is 83%. Actual payouts are much higher. In Atlantic city
they are 91% and in Nevada about 95%.
attention to what machine you play. In this example you start off
with $100 at each machine and you can see how fast you loose the
money after 15 pulls.
versus 93% Machine
Where to play
The best paying slots can be found in
the most busy gambling areas, like the big casinos in Nevada,
Mississippi, Colorado etc. and not in isolated areas or cruise
ships. There are newsletters and monthly magazines that list slot
machine payout percentages by state, area and individual casinos.
Generally, the best paying slots are
placed near the change booths, so people change more money when
hearing lots of people winning, and near the coffee shops, so people
eat faster to get back to the machines. Players are more likely to
play when they see winners, so probably the loose slots are placed
in areas that are highly visible.
Tight machines are normally placed on
either side of a loose one. When you find one that is paying off,
don't play the ones on either side of it.
Further, tight slots are placed near the craps and blackjack tables,
roulette wheels and sports book, because winning players make a lot
of noise and would distract the other players.
Random Number Generator
A Random Number Generator is a computer
program built into a slot machine, or that is part of the software
that powers an online slot, that selects the outcome of a given pull
of the arm. It does exactly what itís name claims: it generates
random numbers. These numbers are constantly being generated, even
when the machine is not being played.
These programs are set according to
the percentage of payout that the Casino has decided on. Although
they can set any maximum they want, there is a minimum that is
established by the Gambling Commission whose jurisdiction they are