From the days of pull-to-play mechanical machines to the towering video screens and quirky themes that light up casino floors today, slots are one of the most popular forms of gambling. However, if you’re planning to spend your money on these eye-catching contraptions, there are some things you should know before putting your coins in.
Understand how slots work
Most slot machines use a random number generator to determine the outcome of each spin. When a signal is received (either from the button being pushed or from the handle being pulled), the random-number generator sets a number and the reels stop on that position. Between signals, the random-number generator operates continuously, running through dozens of combinations per second. As such, it is impossible for a particular symbol to appear on the same reel for more than one turn in a row. In addition, each symbol occupying a stop is weighted differently by the machine; the odds of losing symbols appearing on the payline are disproportionate to their frequency on the physical reel.
This means that you can’t predict which combination will hit, and if a machine is “due” to payout, it’s not going to happen. People often believe that casinos place “hot” machines at the ends of aisles, but this is simply a matter of placement, not machine programming.
Another misconception that is worth dispelling is the belief that max bets bring the best payback percentages. While this may have been true of older three-reel machines, it is not the case with video slots and online games. The reason why maximum bets paid out more was because there were incentives built into the pay tables, such as a higher jackpot for playing with all five coins.
In addition, maximum bets were often required to qualify for certain bonuses and features, such as free spins or progressive multipliers. These benefits may not be available when playing with fewer coins, and this is why it is important to check the pay table for each game you play.
Learn about pay tables
The pay table for a slot game lists all of the different ways you can win and how much you can win for landing specific combinations of symbols on a payline. It is a key piece of information for anyone who plays slot games and can be found on the game’s help screen or, in older machines, directly printed on the glass. In modern games, which often feature giant HD computer monitors, the pay tables are generally embedded into the help screen.