It’s hard if not impossible to find a game that could beat slot machines in terms of availability, ease of use and overall popularity. Nowadays, the sector of slot games is the most rapidly developing sector in the gaming market. Most newcomers start their gambling career from slots, and many of them stay in this niche, as the diversity of slot games features is so huge that it seems you’ll never get bored with them. But despite their simple rules, slots have some unique features that one needs to take into account. Read our comprehensive guide to know everything about slot machines: their history, rules of playing, types, strategies, etc.

The History of Slots at a Glance

Though slots are the most popular gambling product of the 21st century, the idea itself is as old as the world. You may be surprised to know that first (of course, fully mechanical) machines appeared in the end of the 19th century. They had 3 spinning reels with poker symbols on them. Maybe for this reason, slots are still called pokies sometimes. Some later, 5-reeled machines with other icons on their reels appeared. They accepted 1 cent and 5 cent (nickel) coins. After putting a coin into a feeder, a player pulled a special handle, and the drums began spinning. A chain of similar symbols formed a winning line. As the machines were often installed in cafes and salons, the prized were sometimes given in the form of food, drinks, or cigars.

The first modern-looking electromechanical slot machine was presented by Bally in 1963. The gaming process was automated, and electronic gambling began to gain popularity. Complete analogs of modern multi-lined slots were introduced in 1990s. Apart from several paylines on one screen, an improved bonus system was developed. At that time, special symbols like wilds, scatters and multipliers were added to make the existing games more entertaining.

Modern Slot Machines: How to Play

Though the key rules of playing slots are the same for land-based and online versions, the mechanism of gaming is different. Conventional casino machines look exactly the same as they used to look in the middle of the last century. They are tall metal boxes made in the q-shape. They feature screens with buttons and a lever under it. A player buys special coins, feeds them into a machine and pulls the lever. If he wins, he can take his winning or continue playing.

Video slots have the same interface, but these machines feature touchscreens with Spin buttons instead of a lever. Instead of plain gaming symbols, animated pictures with visual effects are used. Contrary to the popular belief, there’s no difference between a Spin button and a mechanical lever. The latter doesn’t provide more frequent winnings and you can’t control the gaming process with it.

Online slots are the latest and the most popular variation. They are virtual machines available on the PC monitor. Like stationary video slot machines they feature a virtual Spin button, and virtual “coins” are bought for the money deposited by a player to his inner balance.

Rules of Playing

Particular rules can vary from one slot game to another. They are usually available in the Game Info section of the game’s menu. However, there are some universal instructions that can be applied to most existing slots in both land-based and digital casinos, though online casinos usually offer more diversity and volatility.

  1. Choose the game. In brick-and-mortar casinos the selection of machines is usually limited, and you may just choose any spare slot. In major online casinos, hundreds of slots are available right now, and you don’t need to wait in a queue. So choose the game you like most.
  2. Set the number of paylines. Mind that some games have a fixed number of winning lines, for example, 20. But most slots today allow to vary the number of active lines from 1 to the maximum possible value. The maximum number of lines depends on the game. Common options are 9, 20, 25, 50, or 100 lines. But there are also advanced options with up to 243 ways to win.
  3. Place the wager. Typically, the total wager is composed of two variables: the number of coins per line and the denomination of one coin. Here again, the terms can vary from one game to another. Some slots allow fixed coin values, while others offer enough flexibility.

After making all the necessary settings, start playing. The process of gaming is very simple: just spin the drums and check the result of every spin on the screen. The results depend on your luck completely, so you have nothing to worry about. However, you may adjust the wager size and the number of active lines right in the process of gaming if you feel that you need it.

Slot Machine Features

Though all the results in modern slot machines are interpreted automatically, and you immediately see your winning and the current state of your account right on the screen, the gaming is much more exciting when you understand what is happening.

The goal of the game is to form combinations consisting of similar icons. For some icons, two cards in a row are enough, while other require 3, 4, or 5 cards. The more similar cards on a payline are collected, the higher the winning is. Particular values of various combinations can be checked in the paytable.

There are special symbols that can substitute other cards when needed. In traditional card games, such a lucky card is known as a Joker, but in slot games you’ll come across the term “a wild symbol”. Apart from substituting other cards, wilds can serve as multipliers and sometimes trigger various bonuses. A scatter is another commonly used special symbol;. It forms winning combinations irrespective of its position on the screen. And the maximum number of scatters (usually 5 for 5-reeled slots) triggers a jackpot.

What is a Game’s Payout Percentage?

Most casinos indicate the payout percentage also known as RTP for every game. This figure shows your winning odds. For example, an RTP 92% means that in a long-term perspective you will lose approximately 8% from every bet. However, it doesn’t mean that you will always lose 8% on every spin. In a short-term you can win, and sometimes the winnings can be very impressive. A general rule is the following: the higher RTP is the higher your winning odds are. In online casinos, games’ RTP is commonly slightly higher than in brick-and-mortar ones. In some cases, it can reach 97-98%.

Are There Any Strategies that Can Help Me Win More Frequently?

All slot games are games of fortune. No matter whether you play online or offline, there are no strategies that would help you to predict or alter the outcome of every separate spin. Also, you need to keep in mind that every spin is a separate independent event that doesn’t influence the results of other spins. However, there are some ways to minimize your losses and maximize winning odds.

  1. If you don’t aim to hitting a mega jackpot and are not ready to invest heavily in gaming, don’t choose slots with progressive jackpots. If you are playing a progressive slot, play at the maximum stakes.
  2. Know your limits. Determine an amount that you can afford losing and don’t spend more than that. It’s also important to stop playing timely. If you were lucky to win a good prize, why not take it right now. Remember: the longer you play the more you lose: it’s the only law that always works.
  3. Play at the stake you feel comfortable with. Though higher stakes always result in higher winnings, you may prefer to play some longer, but at a lower stake instead.

Over the time, you will work out your personal individual playing style. As always with games of fortune, rely on your intuition mainly, as logic doesn’t work when it comes to randomness. Listen to your inner voice, and don’t miss your luck.