The slot machine began its life as a minor distraction to reel in the casual gamers before exploding in popularity to become not only the most popular casino game, but also the most profitable one. Originally, slots were put in place as an alternative to the more complex table games so that less experienced players could also gamble. Their simplicity coupled with the much smaller bets required to play added to their appeal and, although table games remained popular, slots ultimately became the most played casino game.
Of course, their simplicity and low stakes often prove to be a little bit too appealing and indeed addictive as many people have fallen victims to the deceptively simple game. While it is easy to play, it is not so easy to win and, unless you have the common sense to quit while you are ahead, near impossible to profit from, unless you own the machine of course.
While slots have evolved technologically over the years, to the point that you can even gamble on virtual slots online, the gameplay has not changed at all. Slot machines have a display of reels with pictures on them. To play you simply insert your money and pull the handle, which spins the reels. If the pictures line up when they stop then you have won and that’s all there is to it, although some machines have their own variations on the gameplay. The size of your payout will depend on which pictures you have matched.
The first slot machines were mechanical and these later gave way to electric models but these days most slots are completely electronic and a computer display simulates the reels. These electronic machines rely on a random number generator, which stops on three numbers when you pull the handle to determine what the reels display.
Electronic slots are configured beforehand to ensure a certain percentage of the money put in is paid back. This is known as the payback percentage and must legally be above a certain level, typically around 75%. As long as the payback percentage is below 100% then the casino will ultimately profit. Percentages vary from venue to venue because, although a low percentage will garner more immediate profits, a higher one will keep players interested and generate more business and profit over time.
A common mistake players make is thinking that slots go through a cycle of payouts after a certain number of spins, prompting them to keep playing in an attempt to chase down that win but the fact is each spin is independent from the others and will not be at all influenced by the previous outcome. Every spin has the same odds of winning and there is no reason why there couldn’t be two payouts in a row, or indeed a whole day with no wins.
Slot machines require no skill and rely entirely on chance so it is important to enjoy them responsibly and be aware that you have no real control over how much you can win. Ultimately the odds are in favour of the house.