The Anatomy of a Slot Machine

If there is one game in the casino that everyone likes to play, it's slot machines. It is also one of those games that advantage gamblers will tell you not to play since it cannot be won in the long run. But the many warnings and the facts do nothing to diminish its popularity among the masses. If you're new to slot machines or just want to know better how they work, read on.

Parts of a Slot Machine

Although modern slot machines are computerized, they retain the same basic design as their mechanical ancestors. When you strip a slot machine of all the fancy sound and visual effects, you will see how alike they are.

Most of a player's attention will be focused on the "reels." These are wheels, usually three or more in number. Each reel has several "stops" on it where the reel can stop after a spin. Each stop has a symbol or blank space painted on it. Across the reels is a line called the "payline." When symbols line up on the payline in certain ways, the slot machine will pay money to the player.

Above or below the reels area, you will see a pay table. This table displays the symbol combinations that pay and how much they pay. Some symbols are more valuable than others. You will notice that the higher-paying a symbol and/or combination is, the rarer it appears. We will explain why later.

The payouts shown on the pay table are measured in "credits." One credit is one coin bet. The coin value (denomination) depends on the slot machine. There are nickel, quarter and dollar machines, for example. You will notice that, according to the pay table, the more coins you bet, the bigger the payoff if you hit the required symbol combination.

How you put money in the slot machine depends on the machine and casino you play. You don't have to manually insert coins anymore, for example if you're playing online. But to bet is the same. You press (or click) a "bet one" button to make a one-unit bet or "bet max" for the maximum bet. To spin the reels, you click on "spin" (though the spin is also activated by "bet max." If you want to cash your winnings, choose "cash out."

Once you activate the spin, the result is already decided. This is because of a random number generator that throws up symbol combinations every millisecond. When you activate the spin, the machine jus refers to the RNG to see what series of numbers are up at that moment. This series becomes the result of the spin when the reels stop. Meaning, the reels stop at those stops that correspond to the numbers in the series. Yes, the spinning is just an illusion; the outcome has already been determined.

This is basically how a slot machine works and how its different parts function. You shouldn't be intimidated by slots when you play them for the first time. They are very easy to play. Now go have some fun!