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When you insert your money, these parts work together to activate the mechanism:. When you insert your money, the lever is unlocked so you can start to play.
Once you pull the lever, a motor automatically causes the reels to spin on some old-fashioned machines, the lever itself spins the reels. A braking system brings each reel to a stop, one at a time.
At this point, the metal payout trigger pins are used to detect the depth of the notches on each reel. This means the machine is able to identify the reels which the player has spun, triggering the correct payout.
The notch that signifies the jackpot is often a lot deeper than the other notches. Today, most new slot machines use a computerized system, rather than the motorized mechanism which drove more traditional machines.
These computerized slots rely on a random number generator , which means that each spin has a truly equal chance of hitting the jackpot. As soon as the machine is switched on, this generator is constantly cycling through a wide range of numbers.
These numbers will determine the position of the reels, with each number divided by a set amount in order to reach a value which corresponds to one of the notches on the reel.
The player pulls a handle to rotate a series of reels typically three that have pictures printed on them. Winning or losing is determined by which pictures line up with the pay line , a line in the middle of a viewing window.
If each reel shows the same winning picture along the pay line, you win certain single images are sometimes winners as well.
The amount you win -- the payout -- depends on which pictures land along the pay line. In this article, we'll find out what sets the reels in motion in modern slot machines as well as in the old mechanical models.
We'll also see what determines the odds of winning on a slot machine and look at some popular variations on the traditional game. The classic slot machine design works on an elaborate configuration of gears and levers.
The central element is a metal shaft, which supports the reels. This shaft is connected to a handle mechanism that gets things moving. A braking system brings the spinning reels to a stop, and sensors communicate the position of the reels to the payout system.
A coin detector initially registers that a coin has been inserted and unlocks a brake so the handle can move. There are any number of ways to arrange these elements, and manufacturers have tried dozens of approaches over the years, so we'll focus on one representative design.
The basic design includes three reels mounted on a central shaft. The central shaft also supports three notched discs , which are connected to the three reels.
A second shaft below the central shaft supports a kicker , a piece of metal comprising three paddles. The kicker paddles are lined up so they can push against the notches on the three discs.
The second shaft also supports a series of connected stoppers , teeth that lock into the notches on the discs. The kicker and the stoppers are both connected to springs, which hold them in a standby position.
The kicker is held in place behind the discs, while the stoppers are held up against the discs, locking them into place.
When you pull the handle on a slot machine, these parts do a lot of work. We'll look at exactly what happens in the next section.
Click on the three "click here" areas to see the different parts of the mechanism animated. Then read the description below for details.
A series of events takes place after a person pulls the handle on a slot machine. Here's a rundown:. From the player's point of view, here's how it looks.
The player pulls the handle. There is a clunk, and the three reels start spinning. Then the three reels stop abruptly one at a time, followed by the payout if necessary.
The "stopping one at a time" part builds suspense. If the first reel stops on the jackpot symbol, then you have to wait for the next reel to stop to see if it is a jackpot, and then finally the third.
If all three display the right symbol, the player wins. Conventional mechanical slot machines eventually gave rise to electrical machines that worked on similar principles.
In an electrical machine, the reels are spun by motors and the stoppers are generally activated by solenoids , but the game basically plays out the same way.
Electrical machines have more sophisticated money-handling systems, like those you might find in a vending machine, and flashier light and sound displays.
In both types of systems, once the reels have come to a stop, the slot machine needs to read whether the player has won or lost. In the next section, we'll examine some systems for making this determination.
A typical slot machine contains about 20 stops on each reel, but this can vary. In older slot machines, the lever would actually set the reels in motion.
Slot machines may feature several different buttons. Now, however, it is now more common for the machine to print you a cashout voucher. Alternatively, you can insert it into another slot machine usually through the bill slot and go for some more spins.
In order to land a winning combination, the symbols must align on an active payline. The number of paylines available can vary from game to game, but you can only win payouts on the paylines that you place a bet on.
Some machines require users to pay one credit for each payline that they would like to activate. Other machines may require multiple coins to activate a single payline.
Paylines can run left-to-right or take on a zig-zag shape. It will also display any special bonus, wild, or scatter symbols.
Every slot machine will clearly display the basic information relevant to its users. Some common displays include:. The reel is the image that spins in the front of the machine.
It has multiple symbols on it, and if you line up certain combinations of symbols, you win money. The less likely it is to line up a particular set of symbols, the higher the payout on that particular combination.
Even in the case of slot machines with actual reels, the outcome is determined by the random number generator inside the computer. Reels can stop on a symbol or on a blank space between those symbols.
On early slot machine games, each symbol would have an equal chance of coming up, but now that computers are running the show, the odds can be convoluted.
You might have a cherry on a reel that comes up on average once every 50 spins, while an orange might come up on average once every 5 spins, or any other combination you can think of.
The more stops you have on a reel, the easier it is to offer really large jackpots. The weighting is what determines how likely a particular stop is to be picked.
Suppose you have a slot machine game with 10 symbols, but one of those symbols is special and only comes up once every spins. Casinos love that kind of action, and so do players.
The par sheet determines the odds. Every modern slot machine is designed with a par sheet which specifies the weightings for each stop on the reel, including the blanks.
At many casinos, play on the most popular games doesn't count towards the wagering requirement. Sometimes the only thing that counts is slots.
At Bovada, everything counts except craps and live dealer games, though with anything but slots the playthrough requirement is higher and clearly spelled out in the terms.
The terms are right up front. You don't have to hunt for them, the summary is right there on the bonus page, with a link to the nicely-formatted complete rules.
See the terms for examples. This could hurt players who weren't trying to game the system if their play looks suspicious. I haven't heard of any such cases but it's possible.
My advice: If you accept a bonus, play normally, as though the bonus wasn't really there. See Bovada's current Welcome Bonus. The domain name GamblingAds.
NOTES: 1 This page covers normal slot machines aka "Class III". Many Native American casinos instead use "Class II" slots based on bingo or the lottery because local laws don't allow regular slots.
Class II machines look pretty much the same on the outside as regular slots, and you still get a random result, the machine just arrives at that random result a bit differently from what's described below.
The new skill-based slots are covered on a separate page. No popups, no download, no registration, no B.
One click and you're in. Before you see how slots work, you simply have to understand that the outcome of each spin is random.
This is a pretty easy concept, but many people just refuse to believe it. If you're not convinced that slots are random, then see my article on how slot machines are random first, then come back here.
Don't worry, I'll wait. On a slot machine, a random number generator RNG picks a random number for each reel, which each number matching a stop on its reel.
Then the machine directs the reels to stop on the spots selected by the RNG. Note that by the time the reels are spinning, the game is already over.
The RNG has already selected the stops, and the reels spin sort of as a courtesy to the player.