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.