Online Slots and Slot Machines Overview
Best Slots Online Casinos
Slot machines are relatively new in the gambling world in the grand scheme of things, yet this industry produces literally billions of dollars in revenue each year. From a simple contraption invented just over a hundred years ago, the slot machine has become the most popular form of gambling by far, with multi-million dollar companies dedicating time and money to produce games that get better and more sophisticated with each passing year.
While there are literally hundreds of different slot games, themes and variations available in the market, the basic premise of all of these remain the same – the need for the player to line up specific images on a pay line in order to win. Slots popularity is explained by its instant gratification, its simple-to-learn rules and the potential to produce huge, life-changing payouts.
Unlike many forms of gambling, the history of slots can be pinpointed to an exact date. The Sittman and Pitt Company created the first machine for gambling purposes in 1891. Based on poker hands, the game produced payouts in the form of goods such as a cigar. At around the same Charles Fey, a German immigrant to the United States created the first slot machine called the Liberty Bell. This machine had three reels and twenty images and is remarkably similar to slot machines that we are familiar with today.
Fey eventually teamed up with the Mills Novelty Company, which produced the Mills Liberty Bell. Through the years, a number of changes were made to the original slot machine, including the use of different material to make it more lightweight, and different themes to keep things entertaining. By the end of the 1950s, slot machines moved from mechanical to electro-mechanical operation and the 60s saw the introduction of games such as the Big Bertha.
Computerized slot machines hit the scene in the 1980s, and the introduction of video poker slot machines caused almost mass-hysteria in the industry. A huge range of options was now available to the player, and this continued to increase through the 1990s with the advent of online gambling. Since then, the slots industry has performed beyond anybody’s greatest dreams, with software companies producing new games and ranges each month in a bid to keep players entertained and coming back for more.
In more recent times and the age of the internet online slot machines have become ever more popular and literally hundreds of online slot games have been created by different casino software providers.
While slot games vary from machine to machine, the basic objective is to revolve three or more reels by pulling a lever (or pressing a button) and claiming a payout if certain symbols or shapes on these reels line up on the pay line(s).
Coin Size: The denomination of the coin to be inserted in the slot machine.
Multi denominational: A slot machine that takes different coin denominations.
Multi line: A slot machine that comes with more than one pay line.
Maximum bet: The maximum amount that a player can wager per spin.
Payback: A percentage of winnings that a slot machine pays in relation to the number of bets placed.
Pay line: The line where the images or symbols need to align themselves in order for a payout to take place.
Pay table: A board or chart that shows winning combinations and their payouts.
Progressive jackpot: A prize that grows with each bet placed in a machine that is usually linked to others, until one lucky player wins the jackpot.
Progressive slots: A group of slot machines that are linked together on the casino floor or through another type of network, with one communal jackpot.
Random Number Generator (RNG): Generates new numbers on a random basis and controls the spinning of the reels.
Symbols: Graphics that appear on the slot reels.
Wild Symbol: An image that substitutes for any other in the game to make up a winning combination.
How to Play/Game Rules
Basic and Progressive Slots
There are generally two types of slots – basic and progressive:
Basic slots, also known as classic slots, have a set jackpot that remains unchanged. Players win more frequently at classic slots, although the payouts are generally smaller on average.
Progressive slots are machines that linked to each other with one communal jackpot. While the jackpot is hit less frequently, when it is, the payout is usually huge.
Classic and Video Slots
Classic and video slots can fall under both basic and progressive slot categories. The difference between the two is as follows:
Classic Slots: These games usually have three reels, although some have up to five. They are offered in single or multi pay line versions.
Video Slots: These machines don’t have physical features and offer a heightened level of interactivity with the player, through added features such as bonus rounds, free spins, etc.
While there are literally hundreds of different kinds of slots, the basic idea remains the same throughout.
Players place their wagers by deciding how many denominations and coins they wish to play, and inserting their money.
The balance is seen in the credit box.
Clicking on the ‘Max Bet’ icon bets the maximum amount per spin.
Players pull the lever or press ‘Spin’ – whichever triggers the reels.
The reels start spinning and eventually come to a standstill.
Any winning combinations are paid out according to the payout table.
Additional Slot Machine Features
Free Spin Bonuses: Probably half of all classic slot machines have free spin bonuses that are triggered when a certain amount of scatter symbols appear on the pay lines. This feature awards the player extra spins in the game, increasing the chances of winning.
Non Reel Bonus Games: Video slot games have endless different kinds of games and features, including ‘Pick a Box’ type bonuses, multi level games and wheels of fortune.
Other features include: Wild multipliers, symbol cascade features, expanding wild symbols, symbol slide, etc.
Tips and Strategies
Play to the Maximum: If you want to make sure that you have the best chance of hitting the jackpot, you need to play with the maximum number of coins, especially if you are playing a progressive jackpot machine. Imagine hitting the jackpot, only to find that you are not eligible for those millions of dollars because you scrimped on a single dollar!
Choose Max Lines: In the same vein, if you want to go for the big prize, choose the maximum amount of pay lines by clicking ‘max lines’. In this way, you up your chances of winning more if all the pay lines are activated.
Understand the Slot Machine: While the basic idea of all slot machines is the same, there are still enough differences to warrant taking a good hard look at every new machine that you play in order to make sure that you understand everything involved. In particular, study the minimum/maximum bets, payout table, bonus rounds, scatter symbols, etc. so that you are well-versed BEFORE you place that first bet.
Avoid ‘Zombie’ Behavior: If you sit too long in front of the screen or the slot machine, you could very well start displaying ‘zombie-like’ behavior, playing mindlessly for long stretches at a time without any regard to how much money you are placing in the machine.
Check the Payback Percentage: You have more chance of winning at a machine that has a good payback percentage. Never play at a machine that has less than 95% payback, although ideally you should be looking at those nearer to 99%!
Manage your Money Well: Find a money management system that works for you and stick to it. Some players divide their bankroll into the number of days they are on vacation/the number of times a month they play online slots /etc. and never play with more money than they have set aside for those sessions. Needless to say, you should never play with money that you cannot afford to lose.
Take it Slowly: It’s easy to get caught up in the hype and fast pace of slot gaming, but the truth is that there is no time limit and you can play your slots as slowly as you want. If you are a beginner, it may be best to take it nice and easy, learning the game and familiarizing yourself with the software.
Decide on a Strategy: While slots is a game of chance and there is nothing much that you can do to budge the house edge, you can still decide how you will spend your bankroll so that it will last longer. If you want to spend as long a time as possible at the online casino, stick to games that have very low minimum wagers (some come as low as a penny per spin!).
To Progress or not to Progress: As tempting as progressive jackpots are, it would be wise not to blow your entire bankroll on progressive slot machines. Rather put aside a portion of your money for these machines and when it is spent, go back to regular slots.
Nobody can remain apathetic to the excitement generated by slot machines on the casino floor or online. The jangle of coins, the whirr of the reels turning and (hopefully!) the sound of a winning payout – all these and more contribute to the huge appeal of slots and ensure that this game’s future remains promising.
Free slots are one of those games that can be just as much fun playing in free mode. Although you wont have the excitement of winning a real money jackpot, you'll still have the fun of all the bonus features and brlliant animations and quality graphics.
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