Slot Machines - How They Work

Sports & RecreationsCasino-Gaming

  • Author Eric Madsen
  • Published January 14, 2020
  • Word count 792

How slot machines work is an interesting question! In the past, slot machine players were considered second class citizens to most casino players. The casinos didn’t realize that slot machines were the richest source of revenue for the casino and therefore the slot players weren’t eligible for any kind of complimentary bonuses (i.e. free rooms, free show tickets and free meals). Most slot machine players Love their slot machines! The casinos realized that up to 80% of their revenue came from a bunch of inanimate objects, so the casino industry had to change.

Eighty percent of first-time visitors to a casino head for the slot machines to achieve their biggest and most lifestyle-changing jackpots of their life-time. It’s so easy for the first-time visitor to drop a coin, push a button or pull a handle, in hopes of hitting a jackpot. The slots new player doesn’t have to be intimidated by the dealers or other players at the tables.

Most slot plays don’t have a clear understanding of how a slot machine works. Therefore, people will take advantage of the slot players ignorance, there are a lot of myths about slot machines, but we will try to explain why these myths or systems will not work.

How a Slot Machine Works

Slot machines use a random number generator. Both Online Slot machines and land-based use a random number generator (RNG), in the case of today’s machines they use microchips installed in the electronics of the machine. This RNG runs wither the game is being played or not. When a player hits the button or pulls the handle the computer selects the number generated at that instant, so the result is a truly random number which determines the position of the reels. The position of the reels and the random number generated is independent and is not based on the previous spin. Therefore, any system that you think will work, it won’t. The placement of the symbols on the reel is completely random.

Slot Machines usually have three reels but some have five reels. The reels display the multiple symbols as the reels appear to spin on the front of the machine. If these symbols line up in certain combination you win money. The less likely a particular set of symbols line up, the higher the payout of that combination.

The old slot machines used reels that were large metal hoops, but since the slot machines are run by computers in this day and age the reels have been replaced by images on a video screen.

Where the reels or now the images stop are called, "stops". The reels can stop on an image or blank space between the images. Since a computer runs the show, the odds of a certain symbol coming up can be convoluted. The chance of a cherry coming up on a reel may be every 50 spins, while a plum might come up on an average of every 10 spins, or any combination you can think of.

Slot machines of yesteryear only had about 10 stops per reel, but now the new computer driven machine have between 30 and 50 stops. The more stops you have on a reel the easier to offer large jackpots. Modern slot machines can adjust the odds by using a weighting system. This system, the weighting system, determines how likely a particular stop is picked. Lets have an example of how this system works, lets say the machine has 10 symbols, but one symbol is part of a jackpot and this symbol only comes up every 100 spins. The odds of get 3 reel with this special jackpot combination is 1/100X1/100X1/100 0r 1/1,000,000. This means the casino could offer a jackpot of $1,000,000 on this combination and still make money. Other symbols may be weighted at different stops. Example: the symbol is programmed to come up half the time. The chances of you hitting this combination might be low and this combination pays out 2 to 1. The casino also makes a good profit.

Each modern slot machine has a par sheet which determines the odds of that machine. The par sheet specifies the weightings of each stop reel including blanks. The par sheet sets the odds and the house edge for that particular game. You can imagine that these par sheets are kept extremely secure.

Payout percentage is a term you need to know. This is a prediction of how much money the machine will payback over a time period (ie day, week, month, year). For example if the machine has been programmed to payback 97% after a certain number of spins, the winning should come close to $3 for ever $100 put into the machine. This is why slot machines are a great revenue source for the casino.

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