Of all the games found at a casino, both online and offline, none are more popular and more widely associated with the casino scene than slots. From the original “one armed bandits” to the progressive video slots of today, slot machines have always reigned. They are popular because of their simplicity and the chance of making big money at any time. From the casino’s perspective, slots are the bread winner.
The first slot machines were three-reel machines with a few symbols on them, usually fruit. Players would win or lose depending on whether the symbols matched up in a line. The symbols where chosen by the actual spinning of the reels, and since none of the outcomes were too unlikely, the payouts, including the jackpot, were small for the original slot machines. The machines later used weighted symbols to make some appear more often than others. Once electronic slots were invented, the payouts became considerably larger.
Winning at Slots
Slots are games of chance, where the outcome is entirely random and no strategy can change that. Consequently, slots offer a higher-than-average House Edge, as opposed to strategy-influenced games like Blackjack. While many online casinos return high slots payouts in the nineties percentile, this is most often due to the impact of progressive jackpot payouts, i.e., large wins obtained by a small number of players.
In today’s slot machines, whether it is online or in a brick and mortar casino, the outcome of each game is controlled by a computer program. This program, called a random number generator, creates the outcome of each spin, with the spinning reels themselves serving only a nostalgic purpose – part of the entertainment factor, if you will.
Current slots usually have five reels and multiple paylines. Players can choose how many paylines they want to play, as well as the size of the coin denomination. More paylines gives a greater chance of a winning spin, but also requires a larger wager. The winning combinations that happen the least often have the best payouts (no surprise here), with the progressive jackpot being the largest jackpot of all. Players only receive the full progressive jackpot amount if wagering the maximum allowed amount on the payline.
Real money online slots also include a variety of bonuses, such as free spins and multipliers, that allow you to win back some lost money and keep the winning momentum going. And no modern-day video slot would be complete without a second screen bonus round. Not just providing additional ways to win big money, bonus rounds are generally the most entertaining aspect of slot games, often designed around an evolving storyline and theme.
Slots are often used in tournaments by online casinos, in which players can compete with other players to win prize money. Slot tournaments generally have small entry fees (unless it’s a freeroll), giving the entrant a predetermined stake to be used for earning a spot on the tournament leaderboard. Slot tournament “rebuys” amount to the purchasing of additional credits that can be used to help improve and sustain one’s leaderboard ranking. And in the case of million-dollar tournaments (which do indeed exist), rebuys are the norm.
As is the case in the brick ‘n mortar gaming industry, it is nigh impossible to keep up with all of the slot machines offered online these days. The most prolific software platforms, such as Microgaming, have over 400 slot games available, and are coming out with new titles each month – many of which are branded from popular movies and comics, such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Lord of the Rings and the Marvel Superhero comic book series.
In terms of the different types of onine slot machines, video slots are the most common. As opposed to three reel machines which most often have a single payline (Classic 3-reel), and generally no more than five paylines, video slots generally offer twenty paylines or more. Another characteristic of video slots are the so-called “bells and whistles”, like multipliers, free spin features and the aforementioned second screen bonus rounds.
As for the future of slot machine entertainment, it may very well have its place in the world of social media, as some of the most popular apps and games offered on Facebook are slot machines. One of the world’s largest developer of brick ‘n mortar slots, International Gaming Technology (IGT), is now offering online slots of its own – many of which are virtual counterparts to some of the most popular slot machines of all time.
Online Slots Apps, Downloads and Web References:
Wiki: Slot Machine Article – Official Wikipedia page on slot machines including slots terminology, pay table information, technology, regional variations and external links.
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