Slot machines, also called one-armed bandits, are casino gambling machines with three or more reels which spin when a button is pushed. Online slots are simulations of the traditional slot machines. The game involves matching symbols on simulated reels that spin and stop to reveal one or several symbols. Most games have a variety of winning combinations of symbols. If a player matches a combination according to the rules of the game, he wins cash or some sort of value – extra games, bonus symbols, etc. Multi-line slot machines are becoming increasingly popular. They have more than one pay line, meaning that visible symbols that are not aligned on the main horizontal may also be considered for winning combinations.
Anyone who has ever visited a casino or opened an online casino is familiar with slot machines. They can be found in pretty much every casino and they are not only easy to use (everyone can play slots without specific knowledge of the game) but they also offer the chance of large winnings – jackpots, bonuses, etc. Online slots, just like slot machines, are quite simple to use – you start the game by pushing a button. The machine starts spinning and when it comes to a stop, you see if you have a winning combination or not. The combinations are made up of symbols and usually there is a list of those and the payout they offer. Even though there are many different variations of slots, the concept is the same in all of them. Only progressive slots make a difference – each spin at such a slot adds up to a progressive jackpot. When it comes to online slots, everyone playing a specific progressive slot in a number of casinos contributes to the jackpot. Such jackpots can exceed several million dollars to be won by one lucky player.
Slot machine types
Slot machines are basically games of pure chance and involve no skills of the player. The main idea is to play win money from how the reels in the machine spin. The way a slot machine is played is pretty straightforward – you push a button and the reels of the slot spin. After a certain number of rotations, determined by a random number generator, the reels stop and the player receives a payout if any winning combinations are present. This is all done electronically (in contradiction to the first mechanical slots) when it comes to an online casino and in most land-based casinos as well. Depending on how the slot machines function and what payouts it offers, we can distinguish seven types of slots:
- Classic online slots: these slots resemble the first-invented slot machine. They use three reels and one pay line. There are a variety of themes and some of the classic slots even offer bonuses or progressive jackpots. Nevertheless, the main technology remains the same of all these slots.
- Bonus feature online slots: players can find even more excitement with bonuses while playing online slots. There are a lot of bonus possibilities – free bonus spins, bonus rounds, which offer the player a choice between several items, each one carrying a certain payout, bonus symbols, etc. Sometimes the mere entering of a bonus round guarantees a huge win, even though it may be hard at some slots.
- Progressive online slots: as mentioned before progressive slots offer huge jackpots to the winner. Basically these are a group of slot machines linked together, sometimes several casinos link their slots with the group. A part of each bet is collected from each of the slots in the group to form a constantly growing, progressive, jackpot. Huge amounts of money are often collected until the winner hits the lucky combination.
- Multiplier online slots: in this type of slots, the number of coins played by you is registered by the slot machine and you get payout in a regular sequence. For instance, if you pay one coin and get three cherries, you should get six cherries for the second coin you pay. In other words, the more you play, the more you might win.
- Bonus multiplier slots: exactly the same as with multiplier slots, these slots pay more, the more you have played. They offer, however, a bonus if you play with the maximum coins. I.e. by playing the extra coins you would double your prize money if the machine is a two-coin one. On a three-coin machine, you would earn more than three times your winnings.
- Multi payline slots: these are amongst the most interesting slot games provided by online casinos. As the name suggests the slot offers multiple pay lines, on each of which you place a bet. These may be top, middle, bottom pay lines, diagonals, etc. and each one can stop at a winning combination and bring additional profit.
- Video slots: video slots have numerous pay lines and five or more reels. They are mostly electronically based and completely computerized. Video slots are basically different in terms of mechanics to traditional reel-based machine slots and are usually representing popular movies, comics, etc. using their characters as symbols. Video slots may have up to 90 symbols on each reel which makes the win a long shot, still the jackpots these slots offer are huge.
History of Slot Machines
The first slot, or one-armed bandit, was invented by Chalres Fey of San Francisco, USA, in 1895. It was a simple automatic mechanism with three spinning reels containing five symbols – horseshoes, diamonds, spades, hearts and a Liberty Bell, which gave the name to the machine. In 1907 Fey and manufacturer Herbert Mills introduced an updated version of their original slot, known as the Mills Liberty Bell which was a huge success. A century later slot machines evolved from the primitive mechanical device to the so-called video slots both online and in brick and mortar casinos. In land-based casinos video slots might have a touch screen so the reels can be stopped from spinning with a mere touch at the player’s discretion.
Today slot machines are amongst the most played games at an online casino. They are no longer mere “one-armed bandits” but evolved and sophisticated programs that offer supreme graphics. In the 21st century games and movies are being converted into online slots. Marvel Comics, Star Wars, epic movies like Gladiator and various other themes have all found their way into the gambling industry amongst slots. Internet makes it possible to make a link between progressive jackpots in different casinos and even different slots to the greatest convenience of the player. Players no longer need to visit a brick and mortar casino to play and have fun and fair and authorized random number generators ensure the quality of the gambling.
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