Slots Basics: The Slot Machine

The Slot Machine

It may be said that the very first incarnation of the slot machine appeared in New York in 1891. This machine had five drums with fifty cards displayed on them. The winning combinations were based in poker hands. The game proved so popular and spread quickly in bars throughout the city. Prizes for winning hands were usually free drinks and cigarettes. Two cards were removed to reduce the chances of a player making a royal flush. Later in 1887, the first "one-armed bandit" appeared, and was the real original slot machine. It was called such because of the lever on one side.

Today, slot machines are big business. About 70% of a casino's revenue come from these machines. Slot machines are popular because even people with no gambling skill whatsoever can play them.

To play a slot machine, a player buys a right to play with a slot machine by inserting currency or (for new machines) a ticket. The player then turns the slot machine on by pulling a lever, pushing a button or touching the screen depending on the slot machine.

The slot machine may have three or more reels on it. These reels spin when the machine is activated. If the reels match one another in certain ways, the player gets paid. If they do not match, the player loses their money.

A slot machine's pay table is displayed on the machine's face itself or can be accessed in some other way. This pay table shows the player what combinations of symbols pay and for how much. Slot payback percentage is around 80-98%.

A popular type of slot machine is video poker, which is based on poker hands. Another is the fruit machine, which uses fruit symbols. Today, on the internet, there are all kinds of slot machines around. Some have movie-based themes, others social based, and so on. Some machines may be geared toward men, others toward women, etc.

Sometimes casinos will attach progressive jackpots to selected slot machines in their houses. A progressive jackpot grows for every spin or play that nobody wins. The longer no one wins the jackpot, the bigger it gets. Often, one has to bet the maximum number of credits per spin to be eligible for the jackpot prize.

Slot machines may or may not involve skill. Good players use optimal strategy to get the most out of the slot machines they play. But even when people know slots are mostly about luck, it does not keep them from playing it. Slots are the easiest casino games to play and will be around for a long, long time to come.