Slot Machine Games
by Charles Bogart
Besides the amount of money that goes in, and the gimmicky lights and graphics displayed by certain machines, there are major differences in how certain slot machine games play. There are many variations in slot machines - the most common machines are described in detail below.
Skill Stop Slot Machine Games
Skill stop slot machines add the element of skill to slot machine gaming. Skill stop slots have all the bells and whistles of other electronic machines (literally - there are sound effects like bells and whistles along with flashing lights and other effects) the main difference being that the player helps determine when each reel stops.
Usually, a player tries to stop a reel so that the reel gradually winds down and lands on the symbol they were after. But there is no way to automatically or magically stop a reel right where the player wants it to stop. There is still an element of luck to this "skill game". Skill stop slot machines are popular world-wide, especially in Asian markets, and they generate tons of action.
Video Slot Machines
Video slot machines are the "latest" in slot machine design. The first video slots appeared in 1985, and since then they have risen in popularity to the point where now most modern casinos run video slots more than any other.
These machines can run up to 50 lines for betting, compared to one, two, or three for the analog models, and often include side games for betting or just for fun. The main goal of video slots is to widen the range of play, encourage higher bets and more continuous betting, and of course to entertain players.
Rather than physical "reels" with standard "symbols", video slot machine games depend on random number generators to determine where a reel stops and to determine what symbol should be displayed. This random number generator system is more reliable than old mechanical means, since it can be evaluated and audited by computer experts and mathematicians to ensure fair play.
Bottom line - it can cost you a lot more money to play video slots than to play on a standard reel machine. In the last few years, after the onslaught of video slots, the slot makers have been adding more pay lines to their games and have been increasing the number of coins that can be played on each particular line. Most of the new video slot machines have a minimum of nine lines and you can play any number of coins from one to ten on each line, ensuring a wide variety of betting behaviors.
The standard bet on the most new machines is five coins per line which means a maximum bet would be forty-five coins. The amount of money you're talking about for a maximum bet would be $2.25 on a nickel machine and $11.25 per play for a quarter machine. If you want to play just a single coin on each of the nine lines it would follow that play would be 45 cents for the nickel machine and $2.25 for the quarter machine.
The casino's advantage on these machines could be anything the casino wants it to be, because of the nature of the RNG. Calculating the number of symbols versus the number of reels doesn't help calculate the odds at all.
These are the slot machines known as "one arm bandits" in popular culture, so named for the "arm" that players pull to initiate game play. Non-video slot machines contain either 3 or 5 reels - and these reels are what are manipulated by the machine to determine the outcome of the game. Rather than depend on a random number generator, reel slots have a mechanical system inside which is activated by the player's release of the "arm" - each reel contains a set number of symbols which are lined up in combinations to (hopefully) achieve a winning result.
While rumors abound that reel slots can be manipulated (while video slots depend on computers and are therefore "impossible" to manipulate) by means of a "backdoor" code or set of buttons to press, this has only been proven true once, and that game and its designer have been banned from casinos worldwide. Reel slots are the standard slot, and the machine most thought of when one thinks of "slot machines".
These machines have a specific pay out for each symbol group and the number of coins played multiplies the pay out - unlike in other machines where the amount played simply leads to different payout amounts. If the machine pays 5 coins for three lemons when you play one coin, it would pay 10 for the second coin and 15 for three coins played. This example is based on a double multiplier - there are triple and higher multipliers in existence too.
These slot machines do not penalize you for not playing maximum coins - the payout will remain the same, just smaller based on a smaller "bet". If you plan to play only one coin at a time, then a multiplier machine is the machine you should look for. The word "multiplier" will appear in the name or on the rules.
Bonus Multiplier Slots
This type of slot machine game operates the same as the multiplier except that it offers a bonus when you play maximum coins and hit the jackpot. Three 7's may pay 1,000 for one coin, 2,000 for two coins and 10,000 for the maximum coins possible bet. You can see the big difference here is that the maximum bet doesn't follow the normal multiplier rule. As a rule, players need to check the bonus and decide if it is worth playing that extra coin. Remember, multiple plays mean multiple bets, and a three coin bet can quickly multiply into thirty.
Multiple Payline Slot Machine Games
Multiple payline slot machines have more than one line of play. Where standard machines offer three reels each with one row available for betting, these machines reels are equipped to show multiple results or, more likely, these machines will have multiple reels for play. Each coin activates a particular line, again placing a premium on a maximum bet. If you hit a winner or god forbid a jackpot on a line that is not activated by your bet, you will not receive any money or reward. The older machines used to have three lines maximum but the newer video slots can have up to nine lines or more.
Like the machines already discussed, there is more to playing multiple pay line slots than is obvious at first. Many of these slot machines are set up to encourage players to always play the maximum possible number of coins with each pull of the handle. Casinos do this by offering a larger jackpot on the last coin's pay line than on the other lines available.
In other words, three 7s lined up on the second coin's pay line of a three-line quarter machine might pay $50. The same three 7s lined up on the third coin pay line on the same machine would pay you $250, provided all three coins had been played. Another reason players "should" play maximums.
But as usual there is a big "however" -- not all multiple slots pay a bonus for that last pay line jackpot. The responsibility is yours -- be sure to check out the jackpot schedule first because there is no benefit for players who play the maximum unless they can receive a big bonus for doing so.
Buy-a-Pay Slot Machines
Buy-a-Pay slot machines have a bad reputation but can be very profitable for the wise casino gamer. These are generally accepted as the most misunderstood or confusing machines in the casino. Each coin activates a different pay out, therefore the player needs to bet the maximum number of coins to receive the largest possible jackpot.
For example, the "Sizzlin 7's" machines will pay on three symbol sets: cherries, bars and sevens. The sevens pay 1,000 coins. If you play one coin you can collect only on the cherries. If you play two coins you can collect on cherries and bars. Logically, you will need to bet three coins in to collect on the Sizzlin 7's jackpots and rewards. If you hit the 7s jackpot with one coin in (thereby betting only on the cherries) you will not win. The rule then, is do not play this machine for any reason other than for playing the maximum number of coins possible.
The buy-a-pay slot machine offers you a higher payoff to reward a higher bet. If you play penny machines the best strategy is to play at least one coin on every line. Playing most penny machines this way will activate all the bonus features, but buy-a-pay penny machines are absolutely best played this way. Penny machines are designed to give players maximum playing time so when you're ahead be sure to quit and play another machine.
Progressive Slot Machine Games
The progressive slots take a certain percentage of the money played on specific machines and add that money into a pool which will become the top jackpot. "Megabucks" or "Quarter Mania" are examples of machines from several casinos linked together to offer a truly life changing jackpot - thinking tens of millions. Players should keep in mind that the percentage of the payback on the lesser wins is lowered on these machines to allow for the big prize.
This is even more reason to play these machines with a top bet. Some casinos have machines linked together within their own casino to offer so-called mini-progressive jackpots.
You should never play a progressive slot with anything besides maximum pay. There are plenty of cases of people losing out on progressive jackpots because of short coin play, and this leads to stress and second thoughts, not to mention the occasional quick exit from a casino for not following the rules or claiming a false jackpot.
Online Slot Machines
Online Casinos have made it easy to play all of these various types of slot machine games from the comfort of your home. If you are looking for a casino online gambling site to play for real money, there are plenty of places to do your research with. They key to playing slots online is to find the respectable casinos offering realistic odds and on time payouts of your winnings. Dmoz offers a nice selection of slot systems you can use if you're into that sort of thing.
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