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What are Slot Machines and How do They Work?
Slot machines are casino staples where one can gamble money for big winnings by spinning the reels. Arcade-style slot machines have been in the land-based casinos since the late 1900s. In the last few decades, there has been a drastic transformation in the design and gameplay of slot machines, thanks to leading software developers like NetEnt, Microgaming, Playtech, Play’n GO, etc.
Although the classic fruit machine slots still prevail in the brick and mortar casinos as well as the online ones, 3D video slots dominate both platforms for their innovative themes, eye-catching appearance, and feature-packed bonus rounds.
Function-wise, slot machines were spinned by using springs and gears which took more time for the reels to complete one round. In contrast, modern slots use a computer-generated software system known as RNG (Random Number Generator) to determine where the symbols will fall. With each spin, the reels make thousands of cycles per second before stopping at a random set of symbols on the screen. This enables the newer slot machines to spin faster and provide outcomes that have a lesser chance of being rigged.
Types of Slot Machines
While the simplest way to identify the types of dot machines is to categorise them as classic slots or modern slots, in reality, there are more variations than these two. Let’s take a look at the most common varieties available in online and land-based casinos today.
Before all the latest technology came to light, pretty much every slot machine consisted of a single mechanism of 3 reels and 10 symbols. These slots are available now, but the symbols are crisper and the soundtracks more interesting.
The trademark properties of classic slots are the fruit machine symbols like berries, lemons, bells, 7’s, bars, etc. In most cases, there is a fixed payline, so you only need to set the coin denomination and hit the spin button.
Due to the small set of symbols and lack of bonus features, classic slots have a higher layout ratio compared to other types of slots.
Video slots are products of innovative concepts and top-notch technology as they come in high-quality graphics and excellent soundtracks. The majority of the video slots are based on a certain theme and feature 14 to 20 symbols along with multiple bonus rounds. Players may often find themselves enjoying mini-games in video slots. Extra symbols are wilds and scatters are also found in video slots.
Although video slots are more suitable for modern gamblers, more old-school gamblers are heading towards the 3D slot machines as they offer entertaining and interactive gameplay. However, these slots require more steps to launch each spin, such as selecting the number of active paylines, taking advantage of the “Gamble” feature, etc.
Progressive jackpots are the highest paying slot machines that often offer millions on cash prizes on a single spin. Unlike regular flat top slot machines, progressive jackpots come with multiple jackpot prizes, known as mini, minor, and major jackpots. In addition to the regular winning combinations, jackpot combinations are triggered randomly.
Progressive jackpots work a bit differently than the regular slots These machines feed off tiny portions taken from each stake made by the amount. When the total collection reaches the jackpot amount, the machine gets triggered and pays out the enormous cash prize to a lucky spinner.
Although progressive jackpots are more lucrative than regular slots, the regular winnings in these slots are usually of lower value and are more difficult to trigger.
Non-Payline slots are the latest sensations where winnings can be achieved in 243 or 1024 ways. As there is no need to choose the number of active paylines, players can start with a very small stake amount, often as low as £0.10 per spin.
In contrast to Non-Payline slots, Multi-Payline slot machines have more options to select the number of active paylines, thus giving you more opportunities to experiment with your gambling sessions. In this type of slot, you may choose paylines from 3, 5, 9 to a whopping 100!
How to Place Bets on Slot Machines
Now that you know the diverse variety of slot machines out there, you can easily choose one as per your preference. You can either go to land-based casinos to get the real essence of gambling or try your luck in the comfort of your home at online gambling sites. Regardless of the slot machine you choose, the first requirement is to set a wager to place bets. However, this rule does not apply to the free versions offered at online casinos.
That being said, when you are wagering with real money, you will be left with slot machines in different coin values, such as penny slot machines, nickel slot machines, dollar slot machines, etc. If you want to start small, you can go for penny or nickel slots that have low coin ranges and low payouts in return. For high-rollers who like to win big, we recommend dollar slots that reward higher value jackpots.
No matter which slot machine you settle for, you have to adjust the number of active paylines and set your coin denomination first. Most slot machines feature + and – symbols that are used for setting the wager. Some slot machines also have fixed paylines, so the only thing you need to set here is the coin range.
One point to be noted here, the higher the number of active paylines, the higher the chances of landing a winning combination. So, if you want to play the slot in the highest stake for a consecutive number of times, you can take advantage of the “Max Bet” setting. There is another impressive feature known as “Autoplay” which allows you to set the reels in motion for a selected number of times.
After all these steps are done, click on the “Play” button. The reels will start spinning and when stopped, you will notice different combinations of symbols on the screen. To play more, you have to set a wager and spin the reels again. A winning combination will be formed when there are three or more identical symbols on the screens.
Apart from the basic gameplay, many slots offer bonus features like free spins, win multipliers, substituting wilds, etc. Some video slots also come with bonus rounds and bonus games.
Design-wise or gameplay-wise, slot machines bring infinite possibilities of gaining entertainment. With hundreds of casino software providers experimenting with distinct concept, layouts and bonus elements, it’s only natural that you will never tire of playing slot machines.
Difference between Land-Based Slots and Online Slots
Theoretically, there is not much difference between online slot machines and their land-based counterparts. The design and the gameplay are almost similar; however, there are a few advantages of playing slots at online casinos rather than the brick and mortar ones. Some of these are included below so that you can easily determine which platform suits your gambling needs the most.
No Specific Time or Place Required
When you are gambling online, a major advantage that you will gain is the convenience of playing anytime you want. There’s no need to head out after a hectic day or seek a good casino to settle for the next few hours. Simply select a licensed online casino and start punting regardless of the time or place.
Visible Payout Percentage
Unlike land-based casinos where you can not see the potential payout percentage of a slot machine, you can find it at online casinos. Generally, the RPG of a slot machine ranges from 92%-98%. When applied to a slot machine, it indicates the amount you may get in return by wagering every £100.
Free Play Version Available
Many online casinos offer demo versions of their games so that the players can get a hold of the gameplay before gambling with real money. Such facilities are not offered at land-based gambling establishments.
Best Slot Machine Strategies
Before you jump to details, let’s be honest here, there is no full-proof gambling tips or strategies when it comes to winning slot machines. This is mostly because all slot machines are RNG (Random Number Generator) enabled which makes every single outcome unpredictable. So, when we talk about slot machine strategies, we are focusing on minimizing your losses and arm you with a few guidelines that may help you to boost your winning potential. Without further ado, check them out here.
Set a Time and Budget
Modern slot machines are designed to spin a lot faster than before, which increases your bet per spin amount and you end up spending more money in an hour than intended before. To keep your expenditure in check, set a firm budget for each betting session. Also, consider taking a small break in between each spins to increase your gambling time without spending more.
Wager on Higher Value Slots
Compared to dollar slots, penny slots are less likely to trigger a winning combination in the same amount of time. So, it is better to spend a dollar on a dollar slot than spending a dollar on a penny slot even at the highest stake setting.
Opt for Flat Top Jackpots for Higher Payouts
While progressive jackpots are well-loved due to the massive winning prizes they offer, they tend to give low payouts until the jackpot combination is triggered. Therefore, if you prefer higher payouts in regular intervals, go for slot machines with flat top jackpots.
Settle for Simple Designs
3D video slots are undoubtedly more attractive than plain, retro-style classic slot machines. However, these slots with less number of paylines, simple designs, and a handful of symbols have a higher payback percentage than the video slots. By choosing these, you may have to compromise the fun and entertainment value found from the bonus features, but you may expect triggering winning combinations more often.
Slot Machines – FAQ
- Where can I gamble on slot machines?
Ans. Slot machines are available for gambling both at online casinos and land-based establishments. You can place bets at either of these platforms as per your preference. However, if you opt for online gambling sites, be sure to check its licensing and other safety-related information before wagering with real money.
- How can I win in slot machines?
Ans. The winning combinations in slot machines are computer-generated, so there is no definite tricks or strategies to win in these games. However, you can minimize your losses and increase your winning potential by setting a fixed budget and by betting on the right slots based on your winning goal.
- Can I bet on slot machines on my mobile?
Ans. Of course. Nowadays, almost every major online gambling site offers a mobile casino version for mobile users. You can also download a dedicated mobile gambling app for betting on your favourite slots on the go.
As you can see from our guide to slot machines overview, this is one of the best casino games to begin your gambling adventures. If you feel the same, consider joining a legal and licensed online casino, try a few slots in the demo modes, and start wagering with real money when you are confident enough.