How does a slot machine work?

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  • Written by Fortuna
  • Posted March 19, 2021
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How slot machines work
How do slot machines work?

Slot machines can no longer be ignored in the (online) casino image, and not without reason. There are so many different types that there is something for every player. The spinning symbols have an almost hypnotic effect and they make a lot of noise when you win.

All good reasons to play on these colorful machines, but to know how to increase your chances and your fun you must first understand how slot machines to work. These are some of the most important parts to understand.

Symbols and paylines at slot machines

Winning on a slot machine is simple; all you have to do to make a profit is to line up a number of the same symbols. Such a list is a payline. The number of paylines can vary greatly from machine to machine.

Some have three lines that lie horizontally one above the other, some have up to a hundred different lines in all shapes and patterns. The payline determines where the symbols must be the same to win a prize.

A slot machine with many different paylines therefore has more possibilities to pay out a (small) amount than a machine with few lines, but it will pay out more per winning combination. The location where the symbols appear therefore determines whether and how much you win. Which machine suits you is very personal and depends on the amount of money you have to spend and how long you want to play with it.

Random Number Generator

To determine the locations of the symbols fairly, a slot machine uses an RNG chip (also called Random Number Generator). This chip is arguably the most important part of slot machines. The RNG chip is a very small computer that ensures that the outcome of the spin is completely random.

This ensures that the game remains fair and that players cannot cheat. An RNG works by continuously calculating new numbers until the lever is pulled or the button is pressed. The numbers that the RNG then indicates determine which symbols will be placed where on the screen.
The moment you press the button is therefore the most defining moment in the game, because from that moment on it is already determined which symbols will be displayed where. All slots should use an RNG, but some online slots may use a different system where the casino has more advantage. So it is always useful to check whether the machine you are playing uses an RNG chip.

Chance of payment

All slot machines have a predetermined payout percentage. This is not determined by the RNG chip (it is always random) but by how the rest of the machine is set up. In a online casino this payout percentage often fluctuates between 90 and 97 percent. This sounds very high, but you have to bear in mind that this means that for every euro you put in it, on average, only 90 cents are returned.

If you then continue playing, you will have an average of 81 cents left and so on. However, these are averages, so in reality this amount can be much higher or lower. After all, otherwise you would never be able to make a profit. The payout percentage actually says something about the profit that the casino will make from the machine over the long term, and therefore how big the advantage is that they have. It is therefore advisable to choose a machine with the highest possible payout percentage to increase your chances.