Slots are recognized as the most popular casino games around the world that attract the largest crowds at both land-based gambling facilities and in online casinos. Unlike blackjack or poker, for instance, they are extremely easy to play and require no previous experience, so for many players, they are just a pure, fast-paced fun.
Slots are over 100-year-old and the name of Charles Fey is often associated with the creation of the first slot machine somewhere around the 1890’s. Previously, poker-based gambling machines had existed but the mechanic and inventor from San Fransisco devised a much simpler device with only three reels and a total of five symbols. His Liberty Bell machine became so popular across the United States that a wide variety of games similar to it started popping up in bars, barber shops, saloons and cigar stores. These machines looked quite different from the modern slots we have today – people used to insert a nickel and pull a lever, which triggered the mechanical spinning of the reels. Lucky players received three liberty bell symbols which won them the then-great payout of 10 nickels. Or, the machine would reward them with a bar of chewing gum – this is where the Bar symbol actually comes from.
Today, slot machines have gone through much change and improvement. And although they are much more attractive, colorful and fun to play than they used to be a century ago, they have become much more complex, especially on the inside. Whether it is physical slot machines in brick-and-mortar casinos, or virtual slots in online casinos we talk about, mechanical spinning no longer determines whether we lose or win. The results of each spin are entirely random and have nothing to do with the number of plays, for instance. Random Number Generators have been introduced to guarantee fairness, random results and no chance for manipulation whatsoever.
Video slots, a much more recent creation in the gambling industry, have even more sophisticated appearance – beautiful animations, state-of-the-art videos and even 3D graphics that create a truly unique, immersive gambling experience. More importantly, slots today are much more intriguing and exciting as they have various bonus rounds, lots of special symbols, free spins, and many more. Some of them amaze players with mind-boggling payouts as their jackpots are not fixed, but constantly growing and widely known as progressive jackpots.
How Slots Work
Random Number Generator
Paylines and Bets
The immense popularity of slots is often attributed to their simplicity. Certainly, they are easy to play and are a wonderful choice for beginner players – they are considered a game of chance, as opposed to poker or blackjack which are typical games of skill. However, slots are governed by extremely complicated computer algorithms which make them more technically complex games than table poker. So, before starting to play slot games, players need to know their basics in order to improve the chances of winning. And to answer the logical question “Is that even possible?” – in short, yes.
Slots function in quite a simple, straightforward way. Unlike other casino games, where you play against a dealer or other players, slots are played against a machine or a computer. Traditional slots have physical levers and reels with several common symbols such as bars, double bars, cherries or sevens. The term fruit machines refers to the various fruit symbols, used in the past.
Tip: Slot machines are also known as one-armed bandits, gambling machines, poker machines or pokies. Video and online slots are modeled after them and have a graphical representation of 3, 5, or sometimes 6 reels on the screen.
In order to activate the game, players need to insert coins, or in online slots – to place their bets, choosing the number of pay lines and the coin size. The pay lines are the positions on the reels where you need to have certain symbols in order to win. In video slots, you will also have a button indicating the number of pay lines you want to activate. When you pull the lever of a physical, reel-spinning slot or push the Spin button of a video slot game, the reels start spinning and once they stop, you can see whether you win or lose, based on the new symbols appearing on the reels and more importantly, their position. The goal is to get matching symbols across any of the pay lines of the game. The highest payout, or the jackpot, is usually given for a rare combination and in case you are playing the maximum coins.
In the early days of the slots, the number of pay lines was quite limited – up to five. Today, you can find slots with up to a hundred pay lines. Of course, the more pay lines you see, the more opportunities you have for winning in the game. The payout for every line depends on the pay table of the particular game – important factors are the number of matched symbols and the size of your bet. Each slot is different and there are literally thousands of slots, so it is essential for players to understand the game they are currently playing. Sometimes, your winning is doubled, or you receive a higher winning when a special symbol appears on the reels – some symbols act like multipliers, others like substitutes, etc.
In order to learn the basic rules of playing slots, punters need to understand that the outcome of every spin is dictated by an intricate device, called a Random Number Generator. It guarantees that the odds of hitting a particular combination is always the same and you may play a game for days or weeks without hitting the jackpot. Or, if you get lucky, you can win big two or three times in a row. The belief that slot machines are due for a big payout after a certain number of plays is a myth – modern RNG-based slots are never due. But before getting deeper into slot playing, let us explain what RNG is and why it is so important.View more...
Differences between Classic and Video Slots
There is a wide variety of virtual slot games in online casinos today but they can be divided into two basic types – classic and video slots. Even beginner players would easily guess what classic slots are.
With 3 reels and a single payline, they resemble old-fashioned mechanical slot machines
While some players are fascinated by the thrill of classic slot games most punters today prefer the more advanced 5 or 7-reel video slots, which feature captivating themes, beautiful graphics and even three-dimensional animations.
They are often inspired by the century-old fruit machines with their fruit symbols, lucky Sevens, or liberty bells.
Modern video slot games are often based on popular books, films or TV series and from the day they are released, they instantly become hits in the online gambling community. Developers also take inspiration from historical periods, ancient mythologies or fairy tales, creating state-of-the-art games that are more similar to computer games than to classic slots. Captivating story lines reveal special features, bonus rounds and skill games, while the player is immersed in the game thanks to intricately created animations and enchanting music.
In fact, many classic slots today have 5 reels or even more, which makes gameplay more exciting. Some gaming studios also add more paylines or free spin features, further improving retro-looking classics.
The most exciting feature of video slots, however, is the plenty of special symbols, multipliers, free spins and bonus rounds added to them. Some of the games use the “win both ways” or the “all ways” systems, which make them really unique and memorable. Scatter and wild symbols turn playing into a really fun and rewarding experience, while bonus symbols trigger bonus games that sometimes open in a new window. They vary between particular games but most commonly include fortune wheels, box picking games, gamble features, and more.
The first Liberty Bell machines came with five symbols – horseshoes, diamonds, spades, hearts and liberty bells. Later, Chicago-based manufacturer Herbert Mills introduced his Operator Bell slot machine and added fruit symbols. The symbols in today’s video slots are much more diverse and often themed – Greek gods or African animals, for instance. Still, many of older symbols are still here and used widely by almost all gaming developers – lemons, cherries, lucky Sevens, or liberty bells. Most of the symbols in each game are regular symbols. Matching them does not come with any extra payout and they are the lowest paying symbols in the pay table.
In addition, players would often get blank symbols that are not associated with any winnings. There are, however, special symbols which upon appearing on the reels, can bring you greater winnings. Most video slots today feature wild or scatter symbols or both, and they can greatly improve your chances of winning.
With each new release, slot game developers are getting more creative with the special symbols and features. While in the past, getting scatter symbols would award you 5 or 10 free spins, today, online slot games have much more complex features such as bonus games that often open in a new window. There are multipliers, gamble features, jackpot symbols, and many others.
There literally thousands of slot games, some of which are available in both land-based and online casino sites, while others are specifically created for the web. The variety of types, styles and genres is immense and the reason for this is the fierce competition between different developers of casino and gaming software. In order to always stay up-to-date and meet the expectations of their customers, software companies constantly improve their offerings, introducing more sophisticated technologies and creating more interesting and interactive games.
There are several large software providers that supply the games at famous casinos. Their classic and video slots are recognized as having the highest-quality graphics and audio effects, the most generous jackpots, and the most interactive gameplay.