How Slots Work

How Slots Work – Make the Most of Them!

First of all, you should know that slot machines, unlike other casino games such as poker, or to a lesser extent Black Jack or roulette, are purely games of chance.

This means that, in slot games, personal skill plays a very small role in determining whether or not you will be a winner. Luck is left to chance, and your ability to manage the money you invest wisely.

Having said that, we want to stress that for slots, the main objective you should have in mind is that of fun and adrenaline; if you want for example to have a fun time without having to think too much… Bearing in mind that it is possible that besides investing the money in that time of distraction, it is possible that you will get it back or even win some extra.

So, what is possible is to minimise losses and maximise profits. To do this, before you start playing it is necessary to spend some time getting to know how slot machines work, whether they are physical or online.

Mainly what you need to know is what is related to the basic operation of the slots, and with their available game options; as well as the language of the game of the same.

This is how you will learn how to play slots responsibly.

Basic Operation of Slot Machines

The first thing you should know, before you start playing, is the basic technical operation of slot machines.

And in this regard, it is very important to understand how slot machine wins are determined.

These types of slot games use a computer software called Random Number Generator (RNG) that constantly generates numbers. These numbers determine where the reel will stop the next time you spin it.

Random Number Generator (RNG) 

Note that this process is completely random, so there is no way to predict what is going to happen on any particular spin.

It should also be noted that each roll is an independent event. That is to say, what has come up in previous spins does not affect what will appear in the next spin.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a physical slot machine, like the ones in arcades, casinos, or bars; or if it’s an online slot machine like the ones you can find on online casino websites such as 888 Casino Online: this applies to all slot machines ever made. They are all programmed with a program that generates random combinations of numbers.

Another thing to note is that the random number generators are programmed so that the casino always has a profit margin. This is an insurmountable mathematical advantage, since slot machines are not programmed to return 100% of the total amount invested by their players, but a lower percentage.

This percentage is called the Payback Percentage, or “the house edge”; and it is something like the commission that the casino takes. This % will vary from casino site to casino site and/or from slot machine to slot machine.

This means, in the long run, the house always wins, because that’s the way the game is programmed.

And it doesn’t mean that you can’t become a winner in a short period of time, but it has nothing to do with choosing a “hot machine” or a “cold machine” (a machine that has been played for a long time or not).

Number of reels

Traditionally, slot machines have always had three reels, and in fact, the most famous slot machines are those with three to five reels. However, there are slot machines equipped with up to ten reels.

The additional reels make it possible to hit bigger jackpots but make it more difficult to win lower prizes because the odds of landing 7 matching symbols will always be lower than the odds of landing 3 matching symbols.


Traditional three-reel slot machines have a single payline that depends on the combination of the reels. If the symbols form a certain combination, the machine pays.

However, new machines can activate multiple paylines, both simpler and more complex, which you can activate before each spin. These types of slot games are the most widespread, both in physical slot machines and in online slots games.

By increasing the paylines, you increase your chances of winning as you are betting money on multiple paylines, so the more paylines you bet on in a single spin, the more likely it is that a combination will land on one of them.

Similarly, the more paylines you activate, the greater the amount you are betting on each spin.

Multiple paylines on a 5 reel online slot machine

Finally, we would like to clarify that the number of paylines depends on each slot machine: it can range from one to dozens of paylines, so it is important to know how to choose the right slot machine for your needs.

Bonus symbols

Bonus symbols make slots more enjoyable and with more winning options.

These are special icons that appear on the reels of slot games, and when they appear on your payline (or paylines if you have activated multiple paylines), they will activate an extra prize or opportunity.

They can be bonus symbols that activate bonus games, free spins, instant win, double spin, wild, prize multiplier…

As mentioned above, these are special symbols that appear in the slot machine, they can be activated if they are on one of the paylines you have activated, or they can be activated just by appearing on the screen.

Wild symbol

Scatter symbol: its function is not clearly defined, it can be to trigger a bonus game, a bonus round, etc. It is activated even if it does not appear on a winning line.

  • Multiplier symbols: act as both a wild symbol and a prize multiplier.
  • Scatter symbols: activate free rounds.

Bonus Phases (Mini Games)

Many online slots often feature bonus games that are randomly triggered after a few spins, when certain bonus symbols appear on the spins.

These types of mini-games may be additional spins on a parallel screen to the game, or they may be different games where some skill is required on your part.

It is sometimes possible to win a progressive jackpot in bonus games.

As you can see, these types of slots are more fun than traditional slots because of this additional component.

Tips for Winning at Slots

In addition to the tips we’ve given you on how to get the most out of slots, there are many other tips for playing and winning at slots that will help you optimise your play while minimising potential losses.

Some of these tips are general to any other type of casino game, especially online casino games, so it is important to keep them in mind when choosing the best slot machine, how to manage your budget, and some other gaming strategies.

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