How Slots Work


Slot machines are one of the most popular games in casinos, and for good reason: They’re easy to play and offer life-changing jackpots. But it’s important to know how slots work before you start playing them.

A slot is a machine that spins reels and awards payouts based on the combinations of symbols that land on them. Symbols can be anything from fruits to the Liberty Bell or lucky 7s, and many machines also have special symbols that can trigger bonus features.

Paytables and symbols

Every slot machine should have a pay table that tells you how much you can win for landing a certain combination of symbols. The paytable should also explain what symbols trigger special features, like Wilds or Scatters, and how these can help you win big.

Free spins and bonuses

A good slot machine has a free spins feature where you can try your luck at winning big without risking any money. In addition to these, many machines have bonus rounds that can give you even more opportunities to win cash. These feature rounds often include mystery pick games or random win multipliers, and may even involve free spins with no maximum wager.

The bonus features of a slot are the most exciting aspect, because they can be truly unique and immersive. A slot that includes a mystery chase through the Crime Zone in NetEnt’s Cash Noire, for example, will make you feel like you’re inside the action.

Choosing the right machine

Slots have different stake limits and ways to win, so it’s important to choose the right machine for your budget. You can find out what the minimum and maximum bets are on a machine by reading its paytable, or you can ask a slot attendant to help you out.

You can also use a service button to call over a slot attendant for a short break, and you can ask them to temporarily lock a machine up if you want to leave it for a while. They’ll then give you a ticket with cash value called TITO, which can be used on other machines or redeemed to cash in on your winnings.

Variance and low variance slot games

Almost all online and land-based casinos don’t display the volatility of their slots on their paytables, but it’s something you can find out for yourself by playing a few free games. If you spin the reels 100 times in a free game and triggered only a few paylines regularly but mostly with amounts no more than two times your original bet, then it’s a low variance slot game.

High variance slot games are a little bit more risky and require more patience. They can have long droughts of wins, but when they do hit, the prizes can be huge.

Slot machine payback percentages are not changed on the fly

Changing a machine’s payback percentage requires opening it in front of a regulatory official. This is because payback percentages are programmed into the chips that govern how the machine works.