How Slots Work


Overview About How Slots Work What is the RNG and how it Works Land Casino Slots - How Mechanical 3 Reel and 5 Reel Slots Work Land Casino Slots - How Video Slots Work Online Slots - How Online Slots Work

Overview About How Slots Work:

Slots games are hugely popular, but how many of us know how slots work? Here, you will find out the basics of how both mechanical and online slots work and understand what keeps the reels going in slot machine games. You will also get to know something about the odds when it comes to successful combinations in slot machine games.

While slot machine mechanics have changed considerably as these games have developed into the sophisticated games that are played today, certain fundamental aspects remain the same. Essentially, a player has to pull a lever, which turns a set of reels with symbols on them. When certain symbols appear on the pay line of a slot machine, either singly or in combination with other symbols, the player wins a specific reward known as the pay out.

Mechanical slot machines are operated by a series of levers and gears, with the reels supported by a metal shaft. There is a brake to stop the reels, a coin detector which unlocks the brake and sensors which govern the pay outs made by the slot machine.

Electrical slot machines are a little more complicated than the basic mechanical slot machines, with more scope for audio and visual effects. Computerized slot machines, however, work quite differently. Here the result is controlled by a computer rather than the actual movement of the reels of the machine. A step motor system turns and stops the reels, and pay outs to a player are determined by random number generation.

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What is the RNG and how it Works:

An RNG or random number generator is used in a computerized slot machine to ensure fair play. Several thousands of numbers are generated by this device every second, and those that are being offered by the RNG at the moment the reels are spun by a player are recorded by the computer. These numbers are what decide at what position the reels will stop. For instance, in a 3 reel slot machine, when the reels are spun, the next three numbers that are generated at that point are noted. These numbers are divided by a set value in the computer that runs the machine, and each number is used to determine where a particular reel will stop - that is, the first reel position will be determined by the first randomly generated number, and so on.

Random number generation has several significant advantages. For one thing, the random number generator eliminates the need for bulky gears and levers, thus making a slot machine more compact, as well as making operations faster. But the best part about the RNG is that the results it offers are completely random, so there is no way that a desired result can be obtained except by pure luck. With an RNG, all players have a fair chance of winning. A random number generator does not require regular maintenance, either.

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Offline Slots - How Mechanical 3 Reel and 5 Reel Slots Work:

The operation of 3 reel slot machines is not very complicated. The random number generator is an important part of this machine, and when the reels are spun by the player, the position the reels end up in depends on the next three numbers generated by the RNG. After these randomly generated numbers have been divided by the set value, each of them determines where its corresponding reel stops.
Similarly, 5 reel slot machines are run with the help of a random number generator. The next five numbers generated after the reels are spun determine the position of the five reels and the player wins if the appropriate combination of symbols appears on the reels.

The main difference between 3 reel slot machines and 5 reel slot machines is the number of reels. The number of pay lines will also vary, and 5 reel slot machine games generally have many more symbols than three reel games. Because of this, the reels have to be weighted in 3 reel slot machines so that fair play is assured. Many believe that 3 reel slots offer better odds for a player than 5 reel slot machines, but this would have been the case only if the reels had not been weighted. In fact, the odds are quite similar for 3 reel and 5 reel slot machine games.

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Offline Slots - How Video Slots Work:

The running of a video slot machine is a little more complicated than a 3 reel mechanical slot machine. Video slot machines do not have actual reels - what we see on the screen are only images of reels. Since these slot machines are not bound by space constraints to a limited number of reels, the numbers of reels in these games can be quite large. Online slot games are all video slots since there are no physical reels involved.

Random number generation is used to determine reel position and wins. So, complex algorithms are used to determine the odds of winning here.

Video slot machines, like other slot games, are purely dependant on chance. An operator cannot affect the outcome of a game in any way since the position is determined by RNG or random number generation. There are between 20 and 100 icons on most video slot machine games, with options to bet on more than one pay line.

When you think about the simple mechanical slot games that were popular not so long ago, you will realize how much more efficient the modern video slot machines are. Mathematical precision is an advantage with video slot machines, and there is no maintenance required for mechanical parts, as in the old slot machines. Software problems that may arise can be identified easily by regular monitoring, and solutions are quickly found and implemented.

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Online Slots - How Online Slots Work:

Online slot machines are essentially run by computer chips with random number generators that determine the position of the reels, and thus the result of the game. The random number generator keeps pumping out numbers from the moment the game is on. Numbers are chosen by the RNG when the reels of the slots game are spun, and divided by certain set values. Then these numbers are used to determine where the corresponding reels stop by matching them to the icons on the slot machine screen. Some numbers will correspond to symbols that do not offer any reward, some will match symbols that carry a small prize, and there are a few numbers which correspond to icons that mean big rewards for the player.

According to the pay out fixed for the resultant combination of symbols, the player earns rewards. Generally a minimum pay out percentage is fixed by state authorities. Payout percentage is often dependant on the number of coins wagered in the machine.

Although graphic effects show the reels slowly spinning and then settling into a particular position in an online slots game, the position they end up in is determined the instant the spin button is clicked on. This is because the random number generator works at an enormous speed, churning out numbers every second.

Each spin of the reels is completely independent in an online slot machine. There is no relation between one spin and another since their position is based on random number generation and impossible to predict. Nothing can influence the number values generated by a random number generator. The chances of getting small rewards will be higher, but the big jackpots will appear only rarely. However, a big win does not mean that the chances of another big reward are reduced - each time the reels are spun, the results are random, so it is not possible to predict them, or evolve an effective strategy to get the desired outcome.

Let us take an example of what happens when the reels are spun in a regular 5 reel slot machine. The moment the player clicks on the spin tab, the next five numbers generated by the RNG are recorded. These numbers are divided by a set value which is generally 16, 32, 64, 128 and so on. According to the number thus obtained, the reels will stop at a particular position. You should bear in mind that every spot on the reels has more than one corresponding number since there are more number values possible than reel positions.

If you want to find out what returns a particular slot machine will offer you, just add the number of possible positions for each icon on each reel. This will give you the total symbol weightings and you can calculate the number of winning combinations from this.

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