Understanding Casino Slot Machines

Most people look at the vast array of casino slot machines and assume they are all alike. They see a handle, a coin slot, flashing lights and figure one is as good as another. However, in making this assumption, they fail to see a lot of valuable information to help determine if they should play a particular slot machine.

  1. Understanding Online Casino Slots Basics Online casino slots have become enormously popular over the years, and much of their success can be attributed to their simple gameplay. To play, all you need to do is pull the lever (or push the “Spin” button) to set the reels in motion.
  2. Mass market is simple enough: It's the average person who walks into a casino and puts money down at a table or into a slot machine. VIP players play on credit and use what are called rolling.
  3. In a previous article, we explained the general differences between Class III and Class II slot machines. Most of our coverage here will be about ‘Class III’ machines since those are the type you’re most likely to encounter in a major casino jurisdiction (Las Vegas, Reno, Atlantic City) or online.

Surprisingly perhaps, machines aren't all the same. The best way to separate one from another is to learn how to “read” a machine by looking at the payout schedule on the front. Let’s see what information can be found on a typical slot machine.

Understanding House Edge - All casino players dream of beating the house and landing a life changing win. We explain house edge to give you an upper hand! If you are new to the idea of playing slot machines, it is important to understand how to read a slot machine before you head out onto the floor and begin playing the slots. One thing that should be understood is that although slot machines may look as though they are all the same, that is not the case.

Casinos here in the U.S. and abroad keep several types of slot machines in play at any given time. A few you'll most often see:

Multiplier: This machine has a payout for a certain symbol and the number of coins played multiplies it. If the machine pays 5 coins for three lemons when you play one coin, it would pay 10 for the second coin and 15 for three coins played. This machine does not penalize you for not playing maximum coins. If you plan to play only one coin at a time, this is the type of machine you should look for.

Bonus Multiplier: This machine operates like the multiplier but offers a bonus when you play maximum coins and hit the jackpot. Three 7’s may pay 1,000 for one coin, 2,000 for two coins and 10,000 for maximum coins. The central question is whether the bonus is worth playing the extra coin.

Multiple Payline: These machines have more than one line of play. Each coin activates a particular line. If you hit a winner on a line that is not activated, you will not receive anything. The older machines used to have three lines but the newer video slots can have up to nine lines.

Buy-a-Pay: These are the most misunderstood machines in the casino. Each coin activates a different payout. You need the maximum coins to receive the largest jackpot.

One example is the Sizzlin' 7s machines. This machine will pay on cherries, bars, and sevens. The sevens pay 1,000 coins. If you play one coin you collect only on the cherries. If you play two coins you collect on cherries and bars.

Three coins are required to collect on the Sizzlin' 7s. If you hit the jackpot with one coin in you will not win anything -- do not play this machine under any circumstances unless you are playing the maximum coins.

Progressive Slots: The progressive slots take a certain percentage of the money played and add it to a pool for the top jackpot.

First and foremost, It is never wise to play a progressive machine with less than the maximum coins -- stories abound of people losing out on lesser progressive jackpots because of short coin play.

Some casinos link machines together within their own facility to offer mini-progressive jackpots.

Megabucks and Quarter Mania are examples of machines from several casinos linked together to offer 'life-changing jackpots'. It's important to keep in mind that payback percentage on lesser wins is lowered to allow for these jackpots.

All of the information you need is posted on the front of each slot machine. Before sitting down to play, taking a minute to “read” the machine will help make you more knowledgeable in determining which machines may be best suited for you.

Until next time, remember:
'Luck comes and goes..Knowledge Stays Forever.'

I don’t usually recommend slots for new gamblers, but I also know that many amateur gamblers love to play these one-armed bandits. Slot machines are usually some of the worst games for gamblers in the casino. And if you’re not careful, these fun distractions are going to take all of your money.

I’ve put together a list of 11 tips and tactics for new slots players. Jouer la bulle au poker. These 11 quick tips aren’t going to help you win in the long run, but they are going to help you have more fun when playing slots for real money.

1 – Avoid the Slot Machine Trance

The next time you’re in a live casino, take a walk around some of the slot machine areas. The odds are good that you’re going to see many slots players in what looks like a trance. They sit staring blankly at the screen and automatically hit the spin button every few seconds.

This is exactly how every casino wants slots players to act. When you fall into the slot machine trance, you just keep spinning the reels until you run out of money. And if you’re not careful, you’re just going to put more money in the machine and get right back into the trance.

The slot machine trance is costly, and amateur slots players need to be aware of it so they can avoid it. Take a break from the machines frequently so you don’t fall into this trap.

2 – Understand Return to Player

Every slot machine has a software program that runs the machine. This isn’t how old-fashioned slot machines worked, but it’s how all slot machines work today. And this is true whether you play live slots or on your computer or mobile device.

This software program has instructions that dictate how much the slot machine keeps and how much it gives back to gamblers. The amount the machine is programmed to give back is called return to player.

The easiest way to understand return to player is to consider it as a percentage. A slot machine with a 93% return to player pays out 93% of all the wagers it takes back to players.

Return to player is a long range or overall percentage, so in the short run, it goes up and down. But over thousands of spins, the return to player percentage is always realized. This is important to know as a slots player because if you bet $100 on a machine with a 93% return to player you’re only going to get back $93 on average.


It’s not easy to find return to player percentages for slot machines, but you should try to find it for as many machines as possible. And then you should only play on the machines with the highest returns.

3 – Understand How Casino Bonuses Work

One of the few good things about playing slots is that you can get some nice casino bonuses if you’re willing to play mobile or online slots. If you can double your bankroll, or triple it, you can play a lot longer before you run out of money.

You need to understand how casino bonuses work before you get too excited. You’re probably still going to want to use them, but you need to understand what you’re signing up for beforehand. The first thing to learn is how big the bonus is. It’s usually a percentage of your deposit amount. A 100% bonus matches your deposit. A 200% slots bonus basically triples your bankroll.

The next thing you need to know is what you have to do to meet the requirements of the bonus. This is usually a minimum amount you must risk based on the amount of your deposit and bonus. This is usually a multiple.

A 30x requirement on the deposit and bonus amount means you have to make wagers totaling at least 30 times the total amount of your deposit and bonus.

4 – Investigate the Casino Slots Club

Many casinos have a slots club available. It might be called something else, but they all work basically the same. You sign up for the club and earn some type of compensation when you play.

This is usually a small percentage of what you risk, but it’s better to get something back when you play slots than not getting anything.

Find out if the casino where you play has a VIP program and sign up.

5 – Coin Size Considerations

If you bet $3 on a spin playing slots you’re going to lose more than if you risk $1 on a spin. Remember how the return to player percentage works. The higher your coin or bet amount, the more you lose on average.

This means that one of the best ways to be able to play longer on your bankroll is to play on machines that let you risk less on every spin. Find a slot machine that has a small bet size and you can save money in the long run.

6 – Playing Speed Implications

Another thing that directly influences how much you lose playing slots is how many spins you play. If you play 600 spins every hour you’re going to lose more than when you take 300 or 400 spins every hour.

The nice thing about slot machines is you control how many spins you take every hour. You don’t get kicked off the machine for not taking enough spins. Train yourself to play slots slower to extend your playing time and limit your losses.

7 – Why Games Within Games Exist

Many newer slot machines have games inside of the main game or bonus rounds that you can unlock. These all seem like good things when you’re playing slot machines, but the truth is that these features are in the games to get you to play longer.

And anything that keeps you playing slots longer is good for the casino. Remember, the longer you play slots, the more you lose.

You can enjoy the games within the game and bonus rounds and story slots, but always remember that these things are there to make you play slots longer.

8 – The Difference Between a Jackpot and a Progressive

Some slot machines have jackpots. And some machines have progressive jackpots. These are both jackpots, but progressive jackpots are slightly different than regular jackpots.

Understanding Casino Slot Machines

A regular jackpot always stays the same amount. A progressive jackpot grows as more gamblers play the machine until a lucky gambler wins it. Then, the progressive jackpot resets to a lower amount and starts growing again.

9 – Limiting Your Slots Gambling Losses

You can use some of the strategies that I’ve already covered to limit your slots losses, but there’s another simple step you can take that works perfectly.

Decide exactly how much you’re willing to lose before you start playing and only use this amount to play. If you run out of money you have to stop playing.

10 – The Best Slot Machine to Play

This is just my opinion, but over the years, I’ve come to realize that the best slot machines for me to play have two things in common.

The best slot machines have a low cost per spin. I prefer machines that cost a quarter to play, but sometimes I have to play 50 cent or dollar machines. The second thing the machine must have is either a jackpot over $50,000 or a progressive jackpot.

I know I’m not going to win in the long run playing slots, so I want the chance to win a big jackpot while keeping my cost per spin as low as possible.

11 – There’s an Even Better Option

Instead of playing slot machines there’s a better option in most casinos. You can usually find real money video poker machines that have a much higher return to player than slot machines. And the return to player percentage is much easier to find for video poker machines.

If you’re losing too much playing slots, take a look at video poker. You need to learn a little bit about pay tables and strategy, but this is easy to do.

Understanding Casino Slot Machines Pdf


If you’re still convinced you want to play slots after reading this article, make sure you use the information you just learned to limit your losses. You can even try out the free online slot machines to see if you can have the same level of fun without losing money.

The best slots option is usually a progressive machine with a low cost per spin, but an even better choice is a different type of machine. No matter what you do, make sure you know exactly how much you’re willing to lose playing slots, and never go over this amount.