Let’s face it, everybody loves slots. They’re fast. They’re fun. Slots can change your life, taking you into the stratosphere of wealth at the push of a button. You don’t have to be pro to enjoy a few spins on a slot machine. Anyone can play and anyone can win. The question, then, is what is this strange magic that can make it rain money at the push of a button and change your life forever in the blink of an eye? Really, “How does a slot machine work?” Keep reading to find out how your favorite slots came to be and what you can do to increase your chances of winning big!

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A short history of slot machines

The term slot machine was originally the short form on the phrase “nickel-in-the-slot machine” and was used to describe automated vending machines. By the early 20th century, the term had become exclusively associated with gambling machines, thanks in large part of a man named Charles August Fey, but more on him in a moment.

Back in the late 19th century, most slot machines were a far cry from what we think of today. They were, in essence, mere novelty items, for example a pair of horses that would race each other if a customer put a nickel in the slot. These types of machines were installed in saloons and the proprietor would encourage patrons to make bets on the outcome, paying off the winners in drinks or cigars. Sometimes proprietors would issue special tokens to the winners that could be redeemed for beer or whiskey.

The first slot machine that we would recognize today was made by a man named Charles August Fey, a Bavarian born inventor living and working in San Francisco, California in the 1880s. At the time San Francisco was the ninth largest city in the United States, with a population of around a quarter million. As a port city and base for the gold rush that drew countless souls in search of wealth to the west coast in general and San Francisco in particular, it was a city filled with saloons and hotels and people looking for a good time. Fey owned and operated an electronics shop in his basement. He designed a simple mechanism consisting of three reels, each of which displayed five symbols: a diamond, a club, a heart, and a spade, as well as the Liberty Bell. He installed it in a local saloon and it soon became so popular that he decided to set up a workshop to manufacture the machines full-time. Gambling, however, was illegal at the time, so it was impossible to patent his invention. Soon, he had countless competitors like the Mills Novelty Company of Chicago scrambling to build their own machines and cash in on the new craze.

What may have been bad for Fey was good for slots players. His invention and its lack of patent led to a revolution in slot machine themes, types and features. All leading us to the incredible selection of online slots available to players today.

Originally, when machines were starting to become mass produced, America was in the middle of an era where gambling for money prizes was outlawed. To get around this, Mills, the biggest manufacturer of slot machines at the time, gave out prizes in the form of chewing gum. The symbols on the reels became pictures of fruit which are still popular to this day. Depending on what combination of fruit you got with each spin, you would receive a different flavor of gum.slots history

Slot machines have come a long way since then. Over the course of slots history, the technology that operates them has taken three major and very distinct leaps forward.

The first was the advent of slot machines with weights and levers as created by Fey and modified by his competitors.

The second occurred in the early 1960s, when weights were pushed aside in favor of electromechanical technology. With this generation of slot machines, there were still real barrels that spun around with various symbols. Because of the nature of electromechanical operational systems, gambling establishments could better control the odds of a player striking the jackpot. You may also know these odds as a “house edge,” which is what makes slot machines so profitable for casinos.

The third leap of slot technology came with the rise of computers. Nowadays, slot games are often run by a computer algorithm rather than the original weights and levers. Something called a random number generator, an algorithm that randomly determines which symbols will fall into place with each spin. This technology has not only allowed for the creation of video slots, it’s what lets gamblers play their favorite casino games from their computers, with online slots real money, poker, and roulette.

Modern Slot Games – what’s an RNG?

The most common kind of slots you will encounter today are video slots, or slots operated by a computer algorithm and there are countless variants, from traditional 3-reel slots to 5-reel slots, 3D slots, slots with multiple paylines, slots with bonus round features, free spins, and wild symbols. The range of themes is simply enormous, allowing players to journey deep into outer space, explore the world beneath the waves, engage in action packed adventures, meet wizards, warlocks, elves, orcs, pirates, footballers, celebrities and the list goes on. This entire program is based on the use of a random number generator, or RNG. The RNG technology is constantly producing random numbers. It translates into slot results when the player clicks the “spin” button, and the game records three, four, or five consecutive numbers (depending on the number of reels present in the game).

Slots algorithm

slots algorithmEach number produced by the RNG corresponds directly to a symbol that may appear on any of the reels. The good news is that the use of random number generators keeps the game fair. Gamblers often fear that real money online casinos can easily get away with tweaking the computer program to make sure players never win. But to give players some peace of mind, casinos often submit these programs to third party institutions for testing. The certificates that come from passing these tests tell gamblers that the game’s odds are fair and that the program is not rigged by the casino. Unlike the days of mechanical slots machines that could be easily rigged by unscrupulous casino operators, today’s online real money slots are always a safe bet as long as you’re dealing with a reputable online casino like Planet 7 that uses independent, third-party verification of their games.

Within the category of RNG operated games, there are a few variations which provide gamblers some choices to keep things interesting. You are most likely to come across basic video slot games, which come in two main flavors. In land-based casinos, you may see a physical slot machine but, instead of moving reels, it has a computer screen which depicts reels. There are also the slot games found at trusted online casinos, like Planet 7 Casino. Despite one being physical and the other existing on a computer screen, both are operated by RNGs, and the outcome is determined the second you press “Spin”. Planet 7 offers players the most popular online slot games on the market. If you’re looking to understand what online slots look like or how video slot machines work, then head over to Planet 7 and check it out for yourself!

How does a slot machine work: myths

Now that you know the basics of how a slot machine works, it’s time to learn how you can take advantage of that as a gambler and how to avoid losing all of your money in a few short rounds. Listed below are some common myths that might break your bankroll and tips for how to win at slots.

Some common misconceptions that surround slot machines have managed to stick around for generations. If you’ve ever strolled down aisles of slots in a Vegas casino, then you’ve no doubt come across people who are on the hunt for a loose or hot machine. These are slang terms that describe a slot machine that either gives out prizes easily or is on a winning streak.

However, this is a myth, due to RNGs. But not a complete myth, because, if you play slots long enough, you’ll son realize that certain machines pay out more often than others. This usually has to do with the type of jackpot an online slots machine offers. Higher, progressive jackpots, those fueled each time the machine is played, need to pay out less often to be able to continually increase the jackpot amount. Fixed jackpot machines, however, tend to pay out smaller amounts more often than progressive machines.

So, it comes down to a choice, go for the gold and the big mega jackpot on a progressive machine or content yourself with smaller wins on a fixed jackpot machine. Its all a question of how you chose to build your bankroll and your tolerance for risk.

Another myth about how slot machines work is that after a certain amount of plays, it is due for a jackpot win. The truth is, with the use of RNGs, slot machines reset the odds of winning with every spin. It’s like assuming that any previous flip of a coin will affect the next one, which isn’t true and might cause you to spend your entire bankroll in hopes of winning big. With RNGs every spin is a completely unique event, offering up the exact same odds as the last spin. That doesn’t mean, however, that, like with a coin toss, a bit of luck or a lucky streak won’t make all the difference. Heck, when you’re on a roll, you’re on a roll.

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    Take advantage of slots

    Even though some of the most popular tips and tricks for playing slots may come up short, that doesn’t mean there aren’t steps you can take to make the most out of your bankroll. Because slot machines use RNGs, your results are going to be completely random, but at least that means there is some consistency in what seems like absolute chaos.

    You can’t control the outcome of a slot game that uses RNGs, but you can find out the odds you’re dealing with. Slot games often follow a house edge very closely. Even though each individual spin may not reflect this percentage, if you keep at it you will start to notice the overall house edge. Find a machine with a higher payback percentage. Slot games usually fall in the range of 92-95% return to player, meaning that for every dollar you bet, you will receive back 92 to 95 cents in winnings.

    Slots jackpots advice

    slots jackpots

    Your best bet when playing slot games is to find a high denomination machine and bet max. Every time you make a bigger bet with a slot game, the casinos make more money. Because of this, casinos want to encourage gamblers to bet at high denomination machines, so they offer better payback percentages on high denomination machines. That being said, always bet max if you’re trying to win big when playing slots. A lot of games only let you win the jackpot if you bet max, meaning you bet the highest dollar amount that’s allowed on the maximum number of paylines allowed. You’d be a fool to not want that jackpot, so bet max!

    Another trick that will help you win big is to play progressive slots. With progressive jackpots, as mentioned above, a certain percentage of each bet is allocated to the jackpot. The best part about progressives is that there is no cap to how big the jackpot can get! If you wait long enough and play it smart, a huge progressive jackpot can lead to a positive expectation bet! Progressive slots make millionaires but not all progressive slots are created equal. Keep an eye on the jackpot amounts, and when it’s really getting up there, bet max and play, play, play. It really could change your life.

    A final piece of advice

    If you’re hoping to win big when playing slots, the best advice anyone can give you is to practice, and to learn how slot machines work! Even though slots are random, it’s important to understand how does a slot machine work, the rules of the game and know what will help you win. It’s also important to find a game that really suits you. You can never be too careful when your hard-earned cash is on the line! Read our The Super Easy Beginner’s Guide To Slots and find out all the major information before you start gambling.

    At Planet 7, you can check out the best online slot games of 2021 with instant play mode. This means you can play all you want, understand how does a slot machine work and really learn the ropes and at no risk to you! Log on to Planet 7 Casino and start spinning today! After all, you never know when you’ll get hit by a stroke of luck and win that jackpot!

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    A staff writer at Planet 7, Kate Church is an avid reader, professional writer and lover of games. After taking her Bachelor of Arts degree in English writing and a minor in journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, Kate has traveled the world, seeking out adventure, knowledge and games of skill and chance.