A slot is a gambling machine operated by inserting coins into it, and pushing a button to activate its wheels to spin, the alignment of which when it stops spinning determines the decision on the bet. The machine has a monitor that displays the spinning wheels, a front panel that contains buttons for its operation, and a tray where the coins are dropped. Slot machines were once known as one-armed bandits (they still are) because they were originally operated by a lever on the side (the arm), and with their nasty propensity of divesting a player all his money.
The slots is unarguably the most popular casino game today, not only in North America but in the rest of the world where there is casino gambling. As a matter of fact the slots account for 70 percent of the casinos’ income. Its popularity is due to its solitary nature and its simplicity to play. There is no skill involved in the game, there are however, smart tips and expert advise. Like the rest of the games that don’t need skill the game has a very high casino edge.
At the heart of every slot machine is a microcomputer that accounts for its internal activity. Among others, this microcomputer generates numbers at a very high speed. Every number generated is completely random and in no way reliant to the number generated before or after it, and these numbers eventually show up on the wheels as a combination of symbols.
Slots are very easy to play that it doesn’t need studying. All the player needs is the money to back up the play and a finger to push the buttons. The object of the game is to win money from the machine. This happens if the combination of symbol derived when the wheels stop spinning matches the winning combination posted at the face of the machine. The symbols are usually brightly colored and easily recognizable images of numbers, shapes, or cards. The winning player wins the money as stated on its payoff that is visibly displayed in front of the machine.
The whole process starts when a player inserts a coin into the machine. The first thing the machine does is to display the amount on the credit meter. The player then pushes the “Bet” button to make a bet which can either be one unit or the machine’s maximum limit. When a player pushes the “Spin” button, the action instructs the machine to uphold the random number it has generated at the “moment”. I say “moment” because slot machines continuously generate random numbers even if it is not played. The wheels will then spin and stop at the combination of symbols corresponding to the number.
When a gambler wins on a spin, his winning is automatically added to his credit. If a gambler wishes to collect his wins, he just hits the button marked “Cash Out,” and the coins drop into a tray. In most of today’s machines, a bar- coded ticket will be printed out that can be redeemed for cash. When a gambler loses on a spin, the loss is also deducted to his credit. The player knows anytime how much credit he has on the machine as the information is automatically displayed at the credit meter.
Every slot machine has its own payout percentage. Payout means the amount the machine gives back to players in relation to the amount the machine receives. A machine that has a 90 per cent payout means that it will give back 90 cents of every dollar it receives. Remember though that payout percentage applies only to long-term average; say over a sample of 100,000 to 300,000 spins. Casinos found that it is wise to vary the machines’ payout according to the denomination it accepts, and in some cases, to a day of the week. Las Vegas casinos offer the highest average payouts of all; better than 95 percent. In other places, slot players can figure on about 93 percent payout.
Casinos usually group the machines according to the denomination it accepts. This means that the penny machines are placed separate from the dollar machines. Large denomination slots are usually cordoned off from the rest, often with a separate team of hosts. Multi denomination slot machines are now becoming popular. These machines accept bets through purpose-built cards inserted into it, and the player may bet in whatever denomination he chooses.
Progressive slot offers high payoff on its jackpot as compared to non progressive slot. The machines in progressive slot are linked together, each of which puts in a percentage of its hold to a pool for the top jackpot. As a consequence, each machine gives a lower payout to allow for the big prize. Some casinos have machines linked together within their own casino to offer mini-progressive jackpots. A player playing at any of the progressive slot may win the jackpot.
Some slot players believe that the outcomes in slot machines follow a cycle that span thousands of spins, and once it reaches the end of the cycle, the outcomes will repeat in exactly the same order. This means that when a jackpot shows, the machine will tighten up, and the jackpot will not show until again in due time to complete the cycle. This is very far from the truth. The truth is every spin behaves in accord with its programmed payout. Therefore a jackpot is equally as likely to show on any spin, regardless of past outcomes. In a few spins, anything can happen. It is not unusual that no single payout occurs on 20 spins nor it is to pay back 1,000 per cent in only a dozen spins. The Law of Probability dictates that the longer the machine is played the closer it will come to its target payout, even with every spin being completely random.