What are Slots?
Interested in playing the slots? You’re in luck. As one of the most popular types of casino games, there are countless slot machine varieties available both online and in brick-and-mortar venues. What makes slots different than table games is that there is no real strategy involved. Slot machines use random number generators (RNGs), complex microchips that generate numbers at a rate of several billion per second. No matter how you choose to play the game, there is no way to alter this process.
Although slots are all about luck, it’s important to understand how the game works. Before playing, consider the types of slots available, how much you want to bet, and what your gambling budget is. These factors can mean the difference between walking away with winnings or draining your bankroll.
The History of Slots
The very first slot machine can be traced back to the late 19th century. Developed in 1895 by Charles Fey of San Francisco, California, the ‘Liberty Bell’ was a complex piece of machinery featuring various levers and reels. While Fey has been named the original inventor of the slot machine, a gambling machine that mimics the look and function of modern-day slots was created a few years prior.
In 1891, New York-based company Sittman and Pitt developed a machine containing five drums that held 50 playing card faces. The machine was based on poker and featured a lever that would spin the drums and the cards inside. As the machine did not have a payout mechanism, winners would receive rewards like free beer or cigars.
When slot machines were banned in the U.S. in 1902, businesses changed how these machines looked to get around the law. Instead of showing pictures of playing cards, the machine displayed pictures of candies and fruits. This is how slots acquired the nickname “Fruit Machines.”
Slots were originally mechanical but that didn’t last. By the 1960s, electromechanical slot machines were introduced. By the ‘80s, these machines were replaced with electric ones which allowed bigger bets to be made. In the late 20th century, nearly every casino had rows of slot machines. With the launch of the first online gambling website in 1996, online gambling evolved allowing gamblers to play slots at home.
Types of Slots
It can be a little overwhelming to see all of the types of slot machine games in a casino. Which one do you choose? Here’s a closer look at some of your choices:
- Three-Reel Classic Slots – If you want simplicity, start with a classic three-reel slot. These traditional slot machines contain three reels with between 10 and 32 symbols. Press a button or pull a lever and watch the reels spin before the results are displayed.
- Multi-Payline Slots – While classic slots contain just one payline, more modern varieties have multiple paylines which increases your odds of winning. If three identical symbols land on one of the paylines, you win.
- Video Slots – Video slot machines feature digital spinning reels that are displayed on a screen. There is usually a spin button that you press to make the reels turn. These types of slots have a variety of bet options and line counts.
- Progressive Slots – A progressive slot machine has a jackpot that steadily grows the more people play. By linking machines together, one person has the chance to win a larger jackpot as money from all of the slots are pooled together.
Some of the most popular slot games are penny and nickel games, followed by quarter and dollar games. If you’re playing on a reel-spinning slot, you simply press a button to play one or max credits. On a video slot, you will need to push a button for the number of paylines you want activated. Another button tells the machine the number of credits you want to wager per line.
Many reel-spinning slots have a single payline while others have multiple. The symbols that stop on this payline determine if the player is a winner. Video slots generally have five reels that spin on a video screen. In addition to having paylines that run across the screen, there are also paylines that run in V’s and zig-zags. Many video slots also offer bonus rounds.
Bonuses & Features
Modern slots have a wide range of features and extras, including bonus rounds and free spins. In addition, symbols are not just symbols. There are bonus symbols, wild symbols, scatter symbols, and multiplier symbols. Each has a different function. For example, wild symbols can be substituted for the symbol that you need to win.
Bonus games provide gamblers with the opportunity to win some extra money. These winnings are usually rewarded when the player lines up certain symbols on the reels. While some bonus rounds require a certain amount of skill, most are completely random. To keep you playing, a slot machine may also offer free spins which can boost your winnings. You can trigger free spins in a number of ways.
Where to Play Slots
Perform a basic Google search and you’ll find pages of online casinos. Unfortunately, not all are legally regulated and can actually be risky to use. When choosing an online casino to play slots, take the time to research the website and its legitimacy.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, look at important factors such as the casino’s cash out policies, what types of games are available, and if you are able to withdraw money in the country where you live.
To be on the safe side, deposit only a small amount of money to start with. If you enjoy the game interface and want to continue playing once you have developed trust with the company, you can always add more funds to your account later on.