How To Play Slot Machines

The article focuses on describing the most popular gambling activity with details about its origin and modern variations. It provides valuable pieces of advice on winning on slot machines by diving into exploring the technologies behind their functioning and featuring efficient strategies.

Slot Machines: Features and History

Slot gambling is extremely popular in land-based venues as well as Internet casinos with millions of players enjoying it on a daily basis. One of the most distinctive features of it is a very reserved implementation of innovations, meaning the functionality and idea behind slots remains original since their appearance.

How High are the Odds of Winning in a Slot Game?

Browsing various sources of information on how to play casino slot machines, players quickly come to understand that it is not the high odds that make this activity so appealing. Some games like Poker or Blackjack, where players rely on their skills and toss the luck factor aside, have quite a low house edge of around 1%. Slot machines, on the other hand, are games of chance, which makes it very difficult to boost the odds. For this type of casino activity, the house edge can be around 30-40%.

Even though the odds of winning the grand prize are low (1 in 5,000 in the best-case scenario), slot machines bring profit to some players. It is just that nobody can win in the long run because with a house edge of 30% the venue will make this share off all the bets on average, even if somebody hits the jackpot.

Slot Machines: the Beginning

The creation of the first-ever slot machine dates back to 1895. It was an achievement of Charles Fey and was called The Liberty Bell. It featured 3 reels with 4 symbols on each and paid out the most for the combination of 3 cracked bell icons in a row. All of the earlier fruit machines were completely mechanical with only 3 metal rings (reels) inside and an arm for spinning them. There were no fixed payout rates and the outcome depended on how the player pulled the lever, which gave gamblers the feeling of control over the situation.

The first electromechanical one-armed bandit saw the world in 1964. The action of the reels in Money Honey was controlled by the electronics, while to launch them players still had to pull the so-familiar lever.

Slot Machines: Modern Days

The creation of video slot machines in 1976 and the addition of the second screen for bonus rounds in 1996 were the milestones where one-armed bandits got their final form. The constant improvement of the technologies and the appearance of new bonuses make the answer to how to win at slots machines more complicated than ever.

Most fruit machines in modern casinos are video slots with fundamental mechanics similar to those in the 1960s. However, there are some new features:

  • Progressive jackpots. Implemented by IGT in 1986, this feature allowed connecting several machines in a system where the value of the grand prize increased from bets;
  • Bonus rounds. Triggered by specific events, they had a separate screen and allowed winning free spins or money rewards;
  • Variety of themes. Unlike early slot machines, modern ones are truly diverse in terms of design solutions;
  • Online slots. Officially, companies began offering gambling services online in 1994. Online slots are close to those in real venues in terms of gameplay but also include a number of innovative features.

The Process of Playing

Even though there are a number of variations of fruit machines, the general gameplay is quite similar across the board. To give the essential information about the process we will explain how to play a Monopoly slot machine in detail.

Monopoly Slot Machine

With quite a few variations of the game, it usually features 5 reels and 15 paylines. The main nuance of this type of fruit machine is that by winning tokens, the player is able to make moves on the board, purchase properties and win the game. Therefore, it is a combination of the famous Monopoly table game and slot gambling.

Placing a bet includes choosing the number of paylines and the amount of money to wager on each. The maximum amount of tokens the gambler can bet on a single line is 10 for the majority of game variations. Every slow machine has its unique paytable that displays the combinations of symbols on the reels that guarantee the winning of certain sums of tokens.

Bonuses and special symbols:

  1. Individual board promotions. If the player hits at least 2 dice symbols on the reels, they will move according to the outcome of the roll of those dice. Standing on a property lot guarantees obtaining additional tokens depending on its type and the rules of a particular Monopoly slot machine;
  2. Jackpot. Triggering jackpot spin requires hitting 3 special symbols on the reels. This spin has the mechanics of an ordinary slot machine;
  3. Wilds. The list of symbols includes Wild ones that can replace any other icon on the reels to form a winning combination;
  4. Community chest/Chance spaces. Landing the mover on them makes the player choose among 3 cards. The outcomes can be either positive or negative, for instance, one of the cards from the Chance chest sends the player to Jail.

The return to player rate and winning odds are different for all the Monopoly slot machines, but the gameplay is similarly fun for all of them.

What Makes Slot Machines a Great Gambling Activity?

Before diving into exploring the topic of how to play slot machine games most efficiently, it is important to address the “why to play them” aspect. The array of gambling activities in both land-based venues and online casinos includes dozens of gambling activities with thousands of options, but according to statistics, slots bring up to 80% of all money to them.

Set of benefits that make slot machines such an iconic gambling activity:

  • The freedom of choice. While it is possible to face the problem with the venue not having free seats at the Blackjack or Baccarat table, or they are available only at high-roll ones, there are always one-arm bandits to play. It is also true for online portals, where multiple gamblers can play one slot simultaneously;
  • The minimum limits for bets are really low for some of the slot machines. For instance, almost every venue features penny fruit machines where you can easily gamble with only $5 in your pocket. Slots are perfect for players that only try to get into gambling and want to begin with low stakes;
  • Fast sessions and isolated gameplay. It takes seconds to spin the reels and see the outcome. Most importantly, you are the one who controls the pace of the session and it does not depend on anything else;
  • The variety of design solutions. No other category of gambling activity features such a diverse selection of themes.
  • Flat learning curve. It takes 15 minutes of gambling to get used to controls of the fruit machine and start using them flawlessly. Even figuring out how to play multi-line slot machines or claiming special bonuses does not require significant time investments.

Payout Rates of Slot Machines

We have already mentioned house edge as one of the factors that determine the players’ chances to win. Return to player rate is another trait every gambler has to consider while choosing a gambling activity. It is usually represented by a percentage and stays within 75%-99% depending on the country and software of the slot. The way it works is quite simple; if the machine’s RTP rate is at 90% and a single spin costs 1 USD, theoretically it will pay out 900 USD after 1,000 spins. The casino cannot offer fruit machines with RTP rates lower than those required by gambling laws of the country/state.

The payout rate is set within the slot machine’s hardware and software at the factory during the manufacturing process. Currently, the player can easily find out this characteristic of almost any fruit machine, while it was almost impossible to do in the past. However, it works more precisely, the larger the scale is; slot machines with RTP of 99% will not pay out 99 USD for every 100 USD wagered.

The slot volatility is yet another factor to consider while figuring out how to play slot machines and win. It signifies the level of risk involved in betting on a particular fruit machine. Playing slots with low volatility guarantees wins of lower value more often, while choosing high-volatility ones is riskier but with higher rewards.

Slot Machines: Most Efficient Strategies

Knowing how fruit machines work on a technical level and understanding the concepts of return to player rate and the house edge is the first step to increasing the efficiency of gambling. Even though slots are in the category of games of chance, the difference between newbies and players that are more advanced is quite obvious. Let’s look at the nuances of playing different types of one-armed bandits.

Progressive Slots

The main idea behind these fruit machines is that the value of the grand prize is not fixed; it increases from every real-money bet. There is an initial value to which the jackpot resets after somebody wins it. Moreover, there is also a cap or the limit on the highest value the prize can reach. Another question to answer is how many machines generate a single progressive jackpot. There are 3 main cases:

  1. Stand-alone. A fruit machine has its progressive grand prize, which increases from the bets on it, no networking involved;
  2. In-house. Multiple machines with identical themes share one jackpot value;
  3. In-chain. One-armed bandits owned by the same operator are in the network, regardless of the venue they are in;

The main strategy of how to play slot machines of progressive type is based on the technical features of their payouts. The software of these slots randomly resets the winning value of the jackpot each time somebody wins it. Of course, it is impossible to find out at what level the threshold is this time. However, the most efficient way is to place bets when this value reaches the highest possible limit. Usually, reaching the cap triggers a payout to reset the grand prize again. Research the paytable of the slot to find out the approximate maximum limits before wagering any money.

Buy-a-Pay Fruit Machines

The main feature of these slots is the ability to unlock additional functionality placing higher bets. For example, wagering 1 coin unlocks a single line on the reels. Other lines are greyed-out; they do not count for payouts even if the player hits a winning combination there. Wagering more can also give access to symbols with higher payouts; the player can still hit them on the reels without betting more, but they are not active.

It is clear that this type of one-armed bandit has a system that is similar to the pay-to-win concept in some online games. Basically, the more you wager, the higher chances to win you have. Thus, the most efficient way to play them is to bet a sufficient amount of coins to unlock everything every time. Be cautious, because higher odds do not guarantee anything.

Slots with the Multiplier Feature

Fruit machines in this category feature a multiplier symbol on their reels or in the bonus rounds. As it comes from the name, hitting 3 of them in a row results in multiplying the winnings by 2 and up to 1,000. There are also Wild multipliers that give the gambler even more benefits; they can replace any other symbol to create a winning combination in addition to increasing the value of the winning.

There is no particular strategy for this type of slot and the only tip is looking for them because the advantages this feature provides to the gambler make it quite rare on the market of one-armed bandits.

Five Tips to Remember Before Playing Slots

Considering you have all the necessary technical knowledge and some efficient strategies up your sleeve, grasping some general tips on getting into slot gambling will reinforce your readiness.

Explore the Available Resources

The Internet gives access to all the information any player could possibly need. Even if you deal with a new type of fruit machine, all you have to do is to open the browser and type in “how to play keno slot machines”. The good news is that you can either learn from the experience of other gamblers or get some valuable insights from professional players. Ultimately, you can even try out free demo versions of the game to figure out the features of mechanics yourself.

Focus on Having Fun

Gambling is a form of entertainment in the first place. Even if you treat it as an opportunity of earning real money, the approach matters. Try to be positive regardless of the level of luck you have today or quit if it is not going well. Do not forget to improve your skills constantly, because nothing brings more fun than getting better at something and seeing the results of the progress.

Set Limits for Real Money Bets

Reserving a particular sum of money for gambling helps to avoid excessive losses and teaches discipline. Decide how much you want and can spend on fruit machines and never go beyond the threshold. The ability and knowledge of when to stop is the distinctive trait of professional gamblers that managed to make their experience profitable.

Winning at Slots is Impossible

Accept the fact that, in the long run, nobody can win at gambling, especially in the category of games of chance. The house edge keeps the profit of the casino on the appropriate level regardless of any other factors, including your luck. Knowing this helps to deal with losses and having genuine fun while gambling at any facility. At the end of the day, the atmosphere and experience is what matters the most.

Consider the Technical Characteristics of Slots

Get familiar with paylines and symbols payouts to be able to identify winning combinations and avoid misunderstandings. In addition, paylines differ in the value of winnings due to being more or less common. This tip is also about studying the type and value of the jackpot feature as well as the availability of bonuses and free spins.

What is a Random Number Generator?

Looking for the answer on how to play real slot machines online and in venues, players usually try to make sure that the house/casino does not trick them into getting more money. The main thing about modern gambling facilities and their services is the use of RNG (random number generators) in the calculations of the outcomes for each game. They are used for every gambling activity without a live dealer. The way they work is generating random numbers every millisecond and stopping the sequence when the gambler pulls the lever. This makes the modern slots quite fair and interesting to play.

The distinctive feature of RNGs used by casinos is that they do not need any input of data to generate and output. They used programmed algorithms and seed numbers. This allows facilities to keep that edge over the players on larger scales.


Wrapping up the guide on how to play slot machines for beginners, we want to emphasize on the importance of conducting your own research before getting into wagering itself. Slot gambling is definitely the activity to start with due to the casual gameplay that does not lack interesting nuances and exciting features.

Choose among the most interesting types of one-armed bandits and use efficient strategies to boost your chances. Do not forget to stick with our tips on how to get the most out of the experience. A serious approach to getting familiar with the technical characteristics of the slot, including the number of paylines and variety of symbols, is a key to bringing your skills to the next level.