Slots guide for dummies – How to get started today

Slot games are a staple of casinos, whether that be online or in a physical establishment. They are one of the most popular games that players will generally look to place wagers on and try and win.

However, there can still be a number of questions about slot machine games and a lack of understanding as to how they all work.

In this guide, we look to try and help players know everything they need to know and have all the knowledge they need when playing these types of games.

What is a slot machine?

A slot machine is a game whereby gamblers are betting on three or more spinning reels that are equipped with various different symbols.

These symbols, which are different from each title, land randomly after a player places a wager and starts to spin the reels. Depending on the game, wins usually occur when a number of symbols are matched or a pattern is formed. The buzzword for this occurring is known as paylines.

In terms of how much is won, that depends on how much money is placed, with larger figures usually paying out larger numbers.

Types of slot machines

There are two different types of slot machines available – reel and video. The major difference here is that video slots usually tend to have more paylines.

Reel slots are those machines that have a physical element to them, whereas the video slots are those that project reels on a screen and are animated instead.

Reel slots have been known to be commonly called ‘fruit machines’ as many of the symbols that have been traditionally used have involved pieces of fruit with cherries perhaps the most famous.

Video slots have a bit more variety to them compared to the physical reel machines, with the greater ability to win being one such difference. Symbols will appear on a screen and can run in different ways compared to the classic reels, which perhaps makes this style of game more popular than the more traditional methods.

The graphics and the titles that can be offered with the video slot machines also make them a more popular option for gamers, as well as the unique features and bonuses they are able to provide compared to reel machines. Such features include scatters, wilds, and specialised symbols that can help players to win large rewards.

A scatter is one of the most important symbols that can appear in games as the more they appear, the higher chance players can earn a significantly higher payout as the patterns on the reels do not matter as much.

There are also wilds, which help to complete winning combinations as they take the place of other symbols in the game. Specialised symbols can provide players with the possibility of having more spins or potentially increase the pot that is available to win.

Your money and slots

Depending on what type of casino you are playing at, there are a couple of different payment methods involved.

A standard casino machine will not take coins and will use a system of TITO (ticket in, ticket out). Online slots will offer a variety of payments, with major cards, online payment gateways, bank transfers and cryptocurrency all methods available.

It would be wise to know which options are available before taking to the machines and playing the games.

Slot machine rings

There might be different types of slot machines, however they do all work in the same way. Bets are all placed the same, they all follow a spin process and an algorithm randomly determines whether or not the spin is a winner or a loser.

The internal computer chip with the algorithm is known as a random number generator, or more commonly known as RNG. They run through a circle of thousands of different number sequences per second and stop when the player hits the stop button or takes a pause in the game.

These are tested by third-party agencies to ensure fairness and reliability, leaving players satisfied that no potential rigging is taking place.

As each spin is unique, the numbers generated usually also tend to be as well, therefore meaning it is not down to a mathematical process.

Useful slots terms

Of course, with almost everything in life, there are a number of words that can be considered ‘jargon’, but we look to flesh them out and tell you exactly what they are so you can play the best online slots without confusion.

Autospin/play – as the name suggests, spins are automatic, usually until a win is triggered.

Bet Max – the maximum that a player can be bet in one go.

Betting Units – these are wager units that can be increased or decreased but usually have limits set by each machine/game.

Bonus Feature – features that are offered on popular slot games, which can include wilds, scatters, multipliers and free spins.

Certified Slots – these slots are machines that guarantee high payouts ranging between 98%-100%.

Coins/Credits – the units that are actually gambled on each game.

Doubles (or more) – usually occur on paylines that have won with multipliers. They give players the chance to double their money, although losing bets means the money is gone.

Line Bet – refers to the paylines that are activated on a slot machine. 

Loose Slot – This is a term that is used to describe a slot game that pays out at a high frequency. However, they are not generally made public, for obvious reasons.

Multiplier – this refers to a bonus feature where payouts can be multiplied up to a certain limit.

Pay Table – indicates the different possible winning combinations and how many credits each wins.

How to win on slot machines

In truth, there is no easy way to win at slot machine games as it is all based down to luck.

With RNG’s involved, players are powerless in trying to implement strategies and have to just hope luck is on their side.

Slots payouts

The payouts that are on offer range from each manufacturer and can vary hugely. This information, though, is usually available and can be found online via casino game reviews. However, the bigger the denominations used mean the higher percentage of a payout.

Payout percentages range from 85% to 98% over the long-run, with the latter on the higher denomination games.

Fixed jackpots vs. progressive jackpots

There are slot machines that give players the chance to win jackpots as part of their game. These jackpots can fall into either fixed/basic jackpots or progressive jackpots.

The names do as they suggest, with the former having a fixed maximum, whereas progressive continues to increase until it is won.

Set limits

One thing that many do not do, but perhaps should, is to set limits before playing on a slot machine.

Setting a limit ensures that players do not empty their bankroll on one game and can leave with something still available.

The longer a slot machine is played, the more likely the funds deposited will disappear.

Debunking certain myths

Certain phrases such as games running hot and cold will have undoubtedly been heard before, whether in a casino or in the movies, however, the cold truth is that these are baseless myths.

As mentioned earlier, slots are basically luck-based, therefore there are no actual influences to help win payouts as each spin is unique. Players on hot streaks just, simply, have all the luck at the time.

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