Gambling.org: Beginner’s Slot Machine Guide

Online Slot Machines

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Online Slot Machines

Slot Machine Games

With their colorful displays and flashing lights, nothing captures the fun and excitement of a casino like slot machines do.

But how exactly do you play a slot machine?

We all know that you put in money and pull the lever or press the play button for online slots.

But what do all of those spinning symbols mean?

Is there any strategy involved with playing slot machines?

This article will teach you everything you need to know about them!


The Anatomy of Slot Machines

Before playing your first slot machine, it is important to know the different parts of the game. Each will play an important role in determining your ultimate winnings.

1. Reels

The reels are the “slots”, those spinning lines of colorful symbols that make the slot machine famous. Most slot machines will have either three or five reels.

Many of the latest generation online slot machines have up to 100 paylines on 5-reel slot games.

2. Symbols

Each reel is covered in symbols. The exact symbols may change from game to game, but they always serve similar functions. There will always be common symbols, which have low payouts. Then there are rare slot machine symbols, which have higher payouts.

Then you have special symbols. These could result in slot jackpots, extra turns (free spins), or multiplied winnings. Be sure to examine the rules of any new slot machine you play to find out what special symbols are available on the machine’s payout chart.

3. Paylines

Paylines are at the heart of slot machines. But they can also be a bit hard to understand.

Basically, a payline is an imaginary line drawn through a certain series of symbols on the game display. The pattern of symbols that occurs along that payline determines your winnings. And the more paylines you have open, the more chances you have to hit a winning pattern.

Let’s try to break this down with an example.

Say you are looking at a game with three reels. Each reel has three symbols visible at any time. This means there are a total of nine symbols visible on the entire game display.

The first payline would be drawn right through the three center symbols, the ones in the middle of each reel. If you had only one payline open, you would have to hit your winning pattern of symbols all in this one area of the display.

But let’s say you open up two more paylines. Now the patterns that sit just above and below that central payline can also be used to determine winnings.

And paylines don’t have to go straight across the display. They can go diagonal, zig-zag, or any other way a game designer can think of. It’s common for games to have up to 25 possible paylines.

This applies to both slots online and land based local slot machine games.


How to Play a Slot Machine

Slot machines are one of the simplest casino games you can play. They require just a few simple steps of preparation. Then you are ready to pull the handle!

1. Insert Money

Some slot machines require only a few cents to start playing. But of course, the more money you put in, the more chances you have to win big.

2. Set Your Parameters

If you’ve only seen slot machines in movies, you probably think all you need to do to play after inserting your money is pull down on a big handle and hope for the best.

If you were playing an antique slot machine, you would be right!

But nowadays, almost all slot machines are digitally operated, or even online. That means there are now more gameplay options, and there are a few things you’ll need to do before taking your chance.

Some games will allow you to change the denomination of money you are playing with. If you choose a five-cent denomination, that means each spin will be very cheap. But that also means any potential jackpots will be relatively small.

If you chose a twenty-five-dollar denomination on the same machine, you would be eligible for a much higher payout. Of course, each bet would also be much more expensive.

The other thing you must choose is how many paylines will be available to you on each spin. Each payline that you open provides another opportunity to match a winning pattern of symbols. But you will also have to pay more each bet for every payline you keep open.

When setting your betting parameters you, are essentially asking yourself: Do I want to pay more upfront for a better chance at winning, or do I want to spend less upfront and hope to get very lucky?

3. Pull the Handle or Press Play

There might not be an actual handle on your machine. But whether you are pulling a handle or pressing a button, the only thing left to do now is take your chance. The pattern of symbols that appears when the reels finish spinning will determine your winnings.

Take note: Some machines may offer special options outside of simply placing your bet. Be sure to thoroughly examine the slot machine you are playing for any extra playing options.

4. Determining Your Winnings

Thanks to modern technology, the game will instantly determine your winnings for you. This is a good thing because some games have up to 25 paylines. Keeping track of all those patterns yourself would be nearly impossible!

Still, if you are curious, there is usually a place in the game’s menu option to examine the different payline options and how much each pattern of symbols will pay out.


Slot Machine Odds & Strategy

The only way to know the odds of winning a slot machine is to know how many symbols appear in the game, and how many instances of the symbol appear on each reel.

Say you you have a three-reel slot machine. A cherry appears once on each reel, and there are ten total symbols on each reel. So you have a one out of ten or 10% chance of hitting the cherry on an individual spin.

But then you must multiply for the other reels, which also have ten outcomes. 10x10x10 would give you 1000 outcomes. And only one of those outcomes would be three cherries in a row, giving you a 0.01% chance of winning the jackpot, or a 1 out of 1000 chance.

Say each spin costs $1. The slot machine owner could set the jackpot to about $800. This way, even if there’s one jackpot for every 1000 spins, the house still makes about $100 when you take into account smaller prizes.

In this example, the house is allowing a 90% RTP, or Return To Player. RTP is also known as payout. Setting the odds this way ensures the casino house will ultimately make a profit while allowing players to experience the joy of small victories.

Most legit online casinos have their slot machines with return to player (RTP) payouts set between 93% and 98% RTP.

So where does strategy come in? The trick is to find a slot machine whose RTP aligns with how you like to play.

If you prefer to relax and play for a long time, look for games with higher payout percentages. These usually have smaller jackpots, but lower stakes.

If you need a big win, and don’t mind spending a lot of money or playing for only a few turns, look for games with lower payout percentages. These usually have tantalizing huge jackpots.


You’re Ready to Try Your Luck!

Now you know everything you need to have fun playing slot machines! These games are designed to test your luck, so you may need to have some patience if you’re holding out for that big jackpot. But if you set a goal and stick to your budget, you’ll be playing in style!

If you want to get started right away, Gambling.org is a great resource for finding trustworthy online casinos.


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