Your Ultimate Guide to Casino Slots

If you are new to the world of online casinos and are looking for some way to learn about playing slot games, you have come to the right place. This post is going to help you understand how casino slots work and how you can use them. We will also go through the basics of a slot machine, the basic mechanics, programming and mathematical formulae behind the thrill ride that is the slot machine. Let’s get started.

Casino slots: All You Need to Know

What is a casino slot machine?

A casino slot machine presents its users with a game of chance, with a set of reels. The screen usually has multiple symbols. In every round, the reels spin with their symbols and come to a halt. You win or lose based on the combination of symbols or numbers that show up.

Slot machines are loved by millions of people across the globe and they come with a lot of different names. There is no difference between how they work and they only differ aesthetically. Some of the different types of popular slot machines are:

  • Fruites / Fruit Machines – Commonly used in Great Britain and are for the physical slot machines in bars etc. They only have fruit symbols.
  • One Armed Bandits – Used for the first physical slot machines. Which had an arm on the side; you had to pull to spin the reels.
  • Pokies – Australian slang for all types of slot machines, both land-based and online slots.
  • Video Slots – Slot machines played on a video screen. All slot machines online are video slots, most slots in land-based have been changed from mechanical to video as well.
  • Slot Machine – a name for all the types of slot machines.

When was the slot machine invented?

To get a better idea of how modern slot machines work, we need to head out back to when the first ever slot machine was created. How about we leave on this excursion together that takes us right back to the late 1800s.

Charles Fey is the maker and father of the slot machine. The theory and mechanics of slot machines are as yet unchanged to this today. Charles named the first ever slot machine Liberty Bell, named after the most lucrative image in the machine, the Bell.

The Liberty Bell had three individual turning reels, five images and one winning compensation line. The images were: Horseshoe, jewel, spade, heart and the ringer. Images you still often see today.

With just one winning compensation line – it was simple for anybody to see how to win, basically line up a similar image on each reel, and you enjoy the winnings.

The name One Armed Bandit does not come from the old network program, Twin-Peaks where there is a notorious desperado with one arm. No, it Comes from Liberty Bell. The machine had an arm you needed to pull to begin a different take. The ensuing gaming machines had similar operational mechanics for quite a long time to come.

Watch the origins of the slot machine here.

How do online slot machines work?

In all honesty at the same time, the present gaming machines work similarly as they initially did when Charles Fey delivered the Liberty Bell. One major change between the modern slot  machines and older slot machines is that the reels in the modern machines are virtual.

Each reel stripe is populated with the various images in the gaming machine and can have an alternate measure of images added to them – this is the base process to choose, the chances and the number of potential approaches to win.

Virtual reels are similar to mechanical reels, plus the fact that there is a limitless measure of images that can be added, gives the online slot machines more conceivable winning mixes than some other club game!

How is the result determined in slot machines?

Modern slot machines are way ahead of the Liberty Bell when it comes to refinement. At times this can become extremely complicated and convoluted to understand so we will try to describe in the simplest way possible. We will use the Liberty Bell as an example.

Model Liberty Bell: 3-reel opening, with 5 images on each reel. There would be 5 x 5 x 5 = 125 winning combos.

All things considered, that doesn’t sound overpowering?

It’s not, however you need to recall Liberty Bell was the first of its sort. With the present video spaces and their virtual reels, the developers can add a limitless number of images per reel.

Let’s take another model, and in this model, it’s 20 images for each reel all things being equal. Which gives us 20 x 20 x 20 = 8000 potential combos.

The modern day slot machine regularly has 5 reels. Furthermore, highlights Liberty chime didn’t have, similar to Wild Symbols and in-game extra adjusts. With more reels and highlights, the combo count rises rapidly, and an online casino slot machine can have millions of winning combinations for a player.

How is the payout determined in online slots?

Each Reel has a specific measure of images on them, if you end up with common images on the reels, you will get a lower payout, since the likelihood of ending up with a winning combination will be here. In case you end up with a combination of rare images, your payout will be much higher.

What are some of the popular slot machine symbols?


Just like the name, wild symbols can replace most other symbols to help you complete a winning payline. As all slot machines work on chance, the appearance of wilds is quite random.

When you play slots, you will come across many different kinds of wilds such as sticky wilds, which stay in their place for multiple spins, and stacked wilds, which appear on top of each other on a reel. Expanding wilds, as their name suggests, increase in size to help you complete even more paylines. Random wilds tend to appear out of thin air once the reels stop spinning. Transferring or nudging wilds can shift across reels. Shifting wilds remain in the game for more than one spin but keep rotating after every single term.


Scatter symbols have varying uses depending on the game. Sometimes scatters trigger a bonus game or yield a prize However, even if the symbols are scattered, players can still win. In other words, the appearance of a scatter symbol on a single spin can be a sign of winnings coming your way, lining up of symbols notwithstanding.

Bonus Symbols

Many video slots also come with bonus symbols. These symbols can kickstart bonus games, free spins, and other special features. Bonus games may include things like spinning a prize wheel, playing a match game, or choosing an object such as a treasure chest which shows how much money you’ve just won. Sometimes, you might also be rewarded with free spins.


Multipliers boost your winnings by a predetermined factor. When you play online casino slots, you might luckily come across 2x/3x multipliers that boost your winnings two or threefold.

What are some of the special features of online slot machines?

Cascading and Tumbling Reels

When you play a game with cascading or tumbling reels, the symbols that fulfill your winning combo can disappear and create room for new symbols to replace them. This makes it possible for players to win repeatedly before making the next spin.

Gamble Features

Many slot machines provide you with a chance to double your money by playing a bonus game. These games might require you to predict the suit or colour of a facedown card that’s about to be flipped. While the bonus winnings seem attractive on the surface, you do stand to lose it all if you lose.

Free Spins

Free spins allow you to try another round of slot fun without placing any bet. Online casino slot machines frequently reward their players with free spins which can be used to win even more free spins (along with actual cash).

Common slot myths: True or False?

To finish this guide, let’s go through common Slot myths:

After a big win or Free Spin, you are less likely to win again.

False. Slot machines don’t have a memory device. The chances of winning don’t change with spins.

When you are close to winning big, a bug makes sure to push the reel an extra position, so you miss.

It is false in most cases.

Online Casinos and Slot providers can change the RTP (return to player)

False for online casinos. It is possible in some land based casinos though. A few online providers like IGT used to have three different RTP alternatives on their slot releases ranging from 92-96%. The online casino runners can then choose to go with the version they want.

Slot Machines are rigged

False. They just have an RTP of less than 100%. This means that if you continue playing, you will end up losing in the long run. If you just play for a short amount of time, you can win because of the volatility.

Read how casinos make money when you play with slot machines.

You can decide the outcome in a pick n click bonus game

False. Check our info on the free spins and bonus rounds. You will know that it’s already a predetermined bonus round once you enter. All the other animation is only there to add to the excitement.

Quick-stop / force stop – you can decide where the reels land

False. Even though a stop function exists, it merely stops the reels from spinning, and doesn’t change the outcome of the spin. So yes, you can reduce the time your reels spin, the outcome will have no impact.

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