The Mechanics Behind Casino Slots

Slots are some of the easiest and most enjoyable entertainment products a casino offers. Yet, underneath this simplicity, there are some complicated mechanics that make casino slots tick, and this is precisely what we are going to look at today.

We will explain how to play slot machines but, far more importantly, how to win at slots once you have figured out their mechanism. The good news is slot machines have evolved over two centuries, and they are polished to squeaky perfection today.

Even better, innovation is the main modus operandi of every software studio these days, and new features and mechanics continue to trickle into the slot machines we play every day. The question is how to win. But first, let’s take a look under the hood.  

Slot Mechanics: A Brief Explanation

To understand how slot machines work, you need to look at the core build of a game. Today, you don’t have to visit casino floors to access thousands of video slots, test their gameplay, and study their paytables. 

Quite the opposite, as you are allowed to browse through online slots at your leisure and get a little more familiar with their gameplay, inherent payback percentage, volatility, bonus rounds, and other distinct features. 

While slots do have a healthy bit of overlap, learning how to win at slots isn’t at all difficult when you understand the underpinning mechanics. Admittedly, your chance to win will always depend on luck rather than skill, but having a clear view of what makes online slots unique gives slot players an edge. Here is what to look out for when playing slots.

Defining Chances of Winning 

Each slot is bound by what it calls a Random Number Generator (RNG). This is a private algorithm that developers use and protect to determine each game’s randomized outcome. This outcome is fair, free from interference, and unbiased

The RNG establishes a baseline, known as a seed number, around which all other combinations are created. Based on this information, the company provides you with an expected return and the amount of money you are looking to win back. 

Volatility and Frequency

Another important metric to factor in the long-term is volatility, also known as the payout frequency. Volatility tells you how often you can expect a win to occur on the reels, and there are typically three types, low, medium, and high.

Low volatility stands for frequent payouts, whereas high volatility means you can expect to win at slots less often. There is one essential difference, however. Low-volatility games award much smaller amounts, whereas the higher the volatility is, the juiciest the payout.

The trade-off is self-explanatory. You can stick around and try to play slot machines with low volatility, accumulating small wins as you go along. Conversely, you can pick a high-volatility game where the payout will come less often but will be more significant. 

Slot Symbols and Features

So, before you play slot machines, it may help familiarize yourself with the symbols and paytables of each game. The paytable is a representation of all possible combinations that lead to wins. 

You do not necessarily have to remember the paying combinations for each game, but you can just reference the table and see if you are happy with what you see. Once this is out of the way, it’s time to look at the symbols. In general, there are several types of symbols you ought to look out for:

  • Low-paying symbols: These symbols are usually displayed as numbers (9, 10) and card values (J, Q, K, A).
  • High-paying symbols: High-paying symbols take on each game’s unique theme and are designed to contribute to the ambiance.
  • Scatter symbols: The scatter symbol triggers special features such as free spins and even the bonus level. 
  • Wild symbols: The wild symbol is there to substitute for any other symbol, except for the scatter and bonus symbol, and help you finish a payline.
  • Bonus symbols: As online slots have become quite sophisticated, developers have begun introducing dedicated bonus symbols to trigger special levels.

These symbols hardly exhaust all there is to know about slots these days. Slot machine features include multipliers, free spins, and megaways payouts, where you enjoy a game with over 100,000 paylines, for example. 

Every slot machine is unique, and it provides a combination of features, symbols, and unique mechanisms. Yet, the core engine that defines the payouts, the random number in the seed, is always there. 

Trusted online casinos make sure to offer slot machines that are fair and come with all the bells and whistles for a happy game time. 

How to Play Slot Machines

So, you are ready to get started. Slot machines are proverbially easy to get into. All you need to do is pick a game, place a wager, and spin reels, and just like that, you are playing slot games. 

The question is: is there anything else you need to know before you jump into play? Not necessarily. To start, just follow the sequence:

  1. Choose an online casino you are happy with
  2. Find a slot game that matches your preferences
  3. Place a bet that meets the slot betting limits 
  4. Press the spin button and see the outcome

However, before they play, many players prefer to find a thing or two about the games. For example, players ask what the payout is and study the volatility and other features. 

These are typical slot ablutions that you may make unless you are familiar with the game and certain you want to play just that. When you start playing, you will see many other quality-of-life improvements when it comes to your gameplay.

For instance, betting $0.10 per spin is affordable, but you need to consider that pressing spin after every outcome can be a little tiresome. 

That’s why you will find many online slot machines out there that offer an Auto Spin feature where you can load up to 50, 100, or even more free spins. When you play for the first time, you may notice that the paylines are also adjustable in some slot games.

You can choose to play with fewer paylines and change the minimum and maximum betting limits, making the slot experience more accessible. This pretty much sums up how to play slots. All that is left is to try it yourself.

How to Pick Slot Machines? 

To pick online slots, all you need to do is find a casino you can trust. Once you do, the rest is easy, even if there are a few things to consider. Slots are usually rather easy to browse through, but the sheer variety of games available can often put even the best player off their game.

Therefore, we suggest using some of the available filters to narrow down your search. Here are several selection criteria you can consider:

  • Theme 
  • Volatility
  • RTP 
  • Type 
  • Features

Each of the above plays an important role in picking your next slot machine. Some players would much rather play thematic games than have a higher RTP. Others have one specific type they prefer, whether this is a video slot, jackpot slot, or something else.

The features can also play a big part in your final choice, as some games are inherently more feature-heavy, and this is precisely what players love to see in a game. 

Titles such as NetEnt’s Jumanji and Finn and the Swirly Spin, Microgaming’s Lara Croft Tomb Raider, and others come packing numerous great options. 

How to Win at Slots

Of course, the most important part of playing a slot machine is winning. To achieve that, you need to be familiar with some common tactics used by professional gamblers and recreational players.

So, how do you win at slot machines? It’s a process that heavily involves chance, but you can still minimize some of the risks by heeding the advice of players who have walked the same path as you are now. 

Here are 13 slot tips that will help you win. If not your next spin, then at least walk out from your session a little better off than you would have to play without a strategy. We factor in the mathematical edge. 

For your convenience, we have split the section into Do’s and Don’ts so that you know what to act on and what to approach with caution. 

The Do’s of Slot Gameplay

These are the Do’s that every slot player should probably consider when visiting online casinos. These tips are designed to advise you on the smartest strategy about slots and how you can get there yourself. 

Slot Tip 1: Play with what You Can Afford to Lose 

The first piece of advice we have with you is probably one of the best you will hear. You should always play with what you can afford to lose. Because of their high involvement of chance, slots are unpredictable.

By allocating money that you are using recreationally, you won’t regret your losses, and better still, you would be able to fully appreciate the thrill of the gameplay. 

Slot Tip 2: Stick with Slot Machines with the Best Payouts

When picking a slot, players consider all sorts of things. They look at the theme, type of game, and especially the available features. Yet, one thing you should start with is the RTP or theoretical return.

We recommend sticking with the games that offer the best returns, as this way, you would be able to extend your gaming sessions and possibly enjoy better overall wins. 

Slot Tip 3: Make Sure to Stay within Your Budget 

Slot gameplay can quickly become riveting, and as you are mesmerizing by the reels, you may begin to spend a pretty penny. The best way to control your hobby is to set a budget that allows you to get a healthy session out without going overboard with your finances.

Many excellent slots allow you to bet at just a fraction of your budget: usually only $0.01 per payline. This means you never have to purposefully seek to bet a lot on your gaming sessions. 

Slot Tip 4: Choose Games That Meet Your Expectations

It’s important to be happy with your choice as this will stay your hand and allow you to fully appreciate the slot machine you have chosen. Therefore, make sure to know why you pick a specific game over another.

Is it the theme or the promise of a big RTP? Do you enjoy the progressive jackpot mechanic lurking around the corner or have always been a stickler for the megaways paylines? It all comes down to what you truly enjoy. 

Slot Tip 5: Play with Small Amounts at First 

There is no need to chase big bets, even if you are a high roller. Start small and work your way upwards. Test the waters and see how a slot is treating you. Are you having an off day, or are the odds stacking up in your favor?

All more advanced players prefer to spend a small amount first to get a feel of the game, even if they are familiar with it. Should you turn out to be luckier than the house edge suggests, you can prime the pump. 

Slot Tip 6: Don’t Overlook the Demos

Do you want to know all there is about a game and not lose any money? There is an easy and proven way to do just that. The Demo or Play for Fun versions of slots is worth your while. 

They will allow you to experience realistic payouts and test any strategy in a real gaming environment. You never have to spend your money, but the lessons learned will stick with you during your real money gameplay. 

Slot Tip 7: Check out Specific Payout Conditions

You can get a good feel and sense of what to expect by studying the payout conditions. For example, triggering a jackpot may require you to stake the maximum bet amount.

This is not necessarily always the case, but the paytables will usually make sure to note down any such specific conditions to keep an eye out for. Having familiarity with these will help you bring your best game. 

Slot Tip 8: Consider a Slot Bonus 

Slots are extremely popular, and as such, they are often the subject of numerous bonuses. The best part about these bonuses is that slots contribute 100% towards the wagering requirements. 

The Don’ts of Slot Gameplay 

Naturally, there are some strategies and decisions you should avoid. Players often get tempted and fall into some bad habits that can quickly result in a negative outcome, and worse – an unsatisfactory session.

While players are perfectly aware that the casino always has a strong mathematical edge over them, there is no reason to play in a less than optimal way. Here are a few such bad habits and your chance to amend them if you recognize yourself in them.

Slot Tip 9: Don’t Chase Your Losses

One of the worst things you could do playing slots is to try and catch up to your losses. Sometimes, you will just have a bad beat, and you ought to accept that. It’s the easiest way to get the maximum value out of your gaming session.

The first time you start losing a considerable amount, it can be a little hard to swallow. Don’t worry, though. There are bad, but then again, there are good beats as well. Just make sure to wait until your luck turns. 

Slot Tip: 10: Don’t Play If You Are Tired 

Unwinding with a hobby is the best way to enjoy your after-work hours or free time, there’s that. However, you ought to remind yourself that slot gaming can be quite enthralling. You do not want to end up in a situation where you are playing without getting any thrill out of the game.

Many casinos invite you to play during the wee hours of the day, but this is because statistically, you are more inclined to play more during the night as you are tired and don’t put as much thought into your decision-making. 

Slot Tip 11: Don’t Mix Drinking with Gambling

Never play slots if you have been drinking too much. Gambling and alcohol do not mix well, as alcoholic beverages tend to lower your inhibitions, prompting you to make bigger and less worthwhile wagers. 

Have you ever wondered why casinos offer so many complimentary drinks? Well, here is your answer. Even if you are at home and playing online slots, though, you are better off avoiding drinking when playing slots. 

Slot Tip 12: Don’t Try to Cheat the Casino

This should go without saying, but trying to cheat the casino is not a smart policy. Casinos are quite sophisticated, and thinking that you can one-up the house is both dangerous as it’s futile. In the past, a slot machine could be cracked and machine odds pinned down.

However, these days, the games are too advanced, making it impossible for even the best game savants to gain an unfair edge. The best way to try and have a more rewarding session is to stick with other Do’s.  

Slot Tip 13: Don’t Trust Superstitions 

Many slot players are incredibly superstitious. For one reason or another, they believe that by adopting some small game rituals, they can actually influence their luck. This is purely done for one’s own peace of mind, and no, no horseshoes, clovers, or rabbit paws would help you appease Lady Fortune.

It’s all purely coincidental, and your chances to win when you play slots are based on the inherent Random Number Generator (RNG) each game runs on. Therefore, you can still have your own small ritual before gambling, but it’s not very likely to change the outcome of the games for you!

How Do You Know When a Slot Machine Is Going to Hit?

When you learn how to play slots, you probably wonder if there are some specific tricks to beating the machines. Well, as it turns out, you can apply some pieces of knowledge that will help you win more often. However, there are some pieces of advice that are not quite possible and have come to be a bit of a slot urban myth. 

One of those is predicting when a slot machine is going to hit. In theory, if you gain access to the Random Number Generator (RNG), you could be able to observe the patterns in games turning out winners. However, it’s likely you would need thousands of hours to understand the algorithm, even if you have some insider knowledge.

Then, you would have to devise a way of telling when the machine is “hot” and about to produce a successful outcome so you can up your winnings on that occasion. This is, in theory, in practice, knowing when a slot machine is going to hit, for all intents and purposes, impossible. 

What is the Best Time to Play Slots?

There is not much about the time of day that would influence your gameplay. The only real factor here is how sharp your mind is when you play. If you are tired and playing during your usual sleeping hours, you are far more likely to play excessively and without minding the consequences.

Therefore, you can soon end up playing outside of your budget or making other easily avoidable mistakes. Besides, if you are not quite fresh, you can hardly enjoy your slot machine in full.

How to Play Slots: A Conclusion 

Slots are quite a bit of fun, and they allow you to take advantage of simplistic and yet rewarding gameplay. You can play a video slot or join some of the best progressive games, but you always stand to walk away from a satisfactory gaming session.

The tips we have listed here are designed to help you enjoy yourself and find a pace of play you are fully comfortable with. Players who are looking for the best casino games will do well to give online slots a shot. From the many bonus rounds and features to the actual promotions available, these games are our absolute favorite. 

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