In this article, we are going to describe the main components of a slot machine, as well as how they function together to provide you with the best possible player experience. These slot machine components are present at slots located in brick-and-mortar casinos, as well as in most online slots. Displays with reels and paylines, paytable, play buttons – the same elements are transferred to the online video slots we like to play so much. The majority of slots are standardized; but still, there are some more complex machines you need to observe as well, to understand the principles of how they work.
The main feature of any slot game is the Random Number Generator (RNG) which determines winning and empty combinations. In modern slot machines, the numbers generated by the RNG are later arranged in a sequence which is responsible for placing and ordering the images on the reels. RNG software is a program developed by third-party software companies that function independently from casino sites, so the casinos have no influence on the outcomes of the spins; some software does, however, offer the possibility of altering the RTP.
Mechanical reels were really essential elements of the first slot machines, as they were originally used to make the symbols spin, and to make your heart pump with excitement as well! There were only 3 reels in old-school machines; but now you can see any possible number, of which the most common are 5-reel slots.
The number of symbols doesn’t reflect your chances of winning, it simply increases the number of possible combinations. Some are winning ones, some are not!
When slot machines first appeared, they only had one payline, a horizontal line in the middle of the reels. Later on, the number of paylines increased to 3, 5, or even more. Indeed, modern 5-reels have 25 paylines, or even more again! You add up increments to your bet on each of the paylines to activate them. There can be various patterns, and you can find them in the paytable.
The paytable is a chart that displays all the winning combinations, along with the special combos and their corresponding payouts. In online slots, the paytable is usually displayed on the help menu. Paytable may also indicate if the slot is one of the progressive slots. You may win a progressive jackpot at this type of machine, which is characterized by offering jackpots that are bigger than usual ones.
What we see on the reels of any machine are the symbols that, when combined in paylines, can determine our winnings. To win the jackpot we need to assemble a combination of several symbols of the same kind. There are of course some iconic symbols which have persisted through time, and they can be seen on many retro slots: the liberty bell, cherry, lucky seven, lemon, cards. The bar symbol, as well as the double bar and the triple bar, have survived the test of time, and can also be seen on many modern machines.
Despite the preservation of these classic symbols, many new symbols have been created by slot machine designers as well; so nowadays you can see fruits, logos, cars, letters, animals, tales and movie and cartoon characters, numbers, gems, Asian culture references, Wild West heroes, comics, sports, holiday decorations, and anything you could possibly imagine – all of them can be found on branded slots.
Many new slots are featuring wild symbols with specific characteristics: they can substitute for any other symbol to create a winning combination. If you hit two identical symbols, and the wild happens to appear at the same payline, the machine will grant you a payout, as also for 3 identical symbols. Some wild symbols may have a multiplier function, so each winning combo with a wild is going to be doubled or tripled.
Scatter symbols function as keys for unlocking various bonus features. They don’t need to be aligned to grant a win; they only need to appear on the reels. The usual features are free spins or mini-games.
The controls show important information that helps you to manage your game. They are placed on the front of the machine, and at the bottom of the screen in the case of online slots.
These buttons may vary in online slots, while on the ones in brick-and-mortar casinos the most widespread buttons are the following:
The slot machines are programmed by their manufacturers, with one option out of a variety of targeted payback percentages. The slots are programmed to pay according to their Return to Player Rate; so the odds of the game are pre-set, like in other casino games.
The symbols on a slot machines’ reels may vary, because that depends on the type of the slot. So branded ones may have any symbols on their reels, celebrities, animals, cars, etc. The retro ones usually have a number of symbols on each reel: cherries, cards, lemons, liberty bells, etc. The paylines are formed in any possible pattern (you can see all of them in the paytable), a combination of 2 or more same symbols grants you a winning.
The Class 2 slot machine is actually a bingo machine that looks like a slot. There are draws that happen at regular short intervals, and by pressing the button you can then participate in a multilayer bingo game. These machines operate in territories where bingo games are legal but RNG machines are not.
No, the casinos don’t have any control over the odds of the machines. The odds are set up by the manufacturers and guaranteed by the RNG.
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