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How to play Slot machine?

A slot machine (American), fruit machine (British), or poker machine (Australian) is a casino gambling machine with three or more reels which spin when a button is pushed. Slots are also known as one-armed bandits because slot machines were originally operated by a lever on the side of the machine (the one arm) instead of a button on the front panel, and because of their ability to leave the gamer penniless. Many modern machines still have a legacy lever in addition to the button. There is a version played over the internet called Online Slots

Slot machines include a currency detector that validates the coin or money inserted to play. The machine pays off based on patterns of symbols visible on the front of the machine when it stops. Modern computer technology has resulted in many variations on the slot machine concept. Slot machines are the most popular gambling method in casinos and constitute about 70 percent of the average casino's income.[1] It is estimated that thirty percent or more of the profits from gambling machines come from problem gamblers.

Game Play
A person playing a slot machine purchases the right to play by inserting coins, cash, or in newer Ticket-In, Ticket-Out machines, a bar-coded paper ticket, into a designated slot on the machine. The machine is then activated by means of a lever or button, or on newer machines, by pressing a touchscreen on its face. The game itself may or may not involve skill on the player's part — or it may create the illusion of involving skill while only being a game of chance.

The object of the game is to win money from the machine. The game usually involves matching symbols, either on mechanical reels that spin and stop to reveal one or several symbols, or on simulated reels shown on a video screen. The symbols are usually brightly colored and easily recognizable, such as images of fruits, numerals or letters, and simple shapes such as bells, diamonds, or hearts; newer video-based machines use animated cartoon characters and images of popular actors or singers (in the case of themed slot machines, as described below).

Most games have a variety of winning combinations of symbols, often posted on the face of the machine (or available on a different screen, accessible by touching a button on the main touchscreen, on video slot machines). If a player matches a combination according to the rules of the game, the slot machine pays the player cash or some other sort of value, such as extra games.

There are many different kinds of gambling slot machines in places such as Las Vegas (as well as casinos modeled after those in Las Vegas, including those operated on Native American reservations). Some of the most popular are the video poker machines, in which players hope to obtain a set of symbols corresponding to a winning poker hand. Depending on the machine, players can play one, 100, or more hands at one time.

Becoming more popular since the 1990's are the multi-line slots. These slots have more than one payline. Reel slots commonly have three or five paylines, while video slots have 9, 15, 25, or as many as 100 different paylines. Most video slots are themed slots, some of which feature graphics and music based on popular entertainers, motion pictures or TV programs (The Addams Family, I Dream of Jeannie, Happy Days, etc.) with a bonus round. Most accept variable amounts of credit to play with 1 to 5 credits per line being typical. The higher the amount bet, the higher the payout will be.

There are also standard 3 - 5 reel electromechanical slot machines, of various types. These are the typical "one-armed bandits". Since about 2005 there have been hybrid machines introduced, which combine elements of both video slots and traditional electromechanical slots.

One of the main differences between video slots and reel slots is in the way payouts are calculated. With reel slots, the only way to win the maximum jackpot is to play the maximum number of coins (usually 3, sometimes 4, or even 5 coins per spin). With video slots, the fixed payout values are multiplied by the number of coins per line that is being bet. In other words: on a reel slot, it is to the player's advantage to play with the maximum number of coins available. On video slots, it is recommended to play as many individual lines as possible, but there is no benefit to the player in betting more than one credit per line with regards to calculating the payout amounts. There are some isolated cases where a video slot machine requires the maximum number of credits per spin to be inserted to win the largest payout, but those are the exception.

As an example, on the "Wheel of Fortune" reel slot, the player must play 3 coins per spin to be eligible to trigger the bonus round and possibly win the jackpot. On the Wheel of Fortune video slot, the chances of triggering the bonus round or winning the maximum jackpot are exactly the same regardless of the number of coins bet on each line.

Larger casinos offer slot machines with denominations from $.01 (penny slots) all the way up to $100.00 or more per credit. Large denomination slot machines are usually cordoned off from the rest of the casino into a "High Limit" area, often with a separate team of hosts to cater to the needs of the high-rollers who play there.

Slot machines common in casinos at this time are more complicated. Most allow players to accept their winnings as credits, which may be "spent" on additional spins.

In the last few years, new slot machines commonly known as "multi-denomination" have been introduced. In a multi-denomination slot machine, the player can choose the value of each credit wagered from a list of options. Based upon the player's selection, the slot machine automatically calculates the number of credits the player receives in exchange for the cash inserted and displays the amount of available credits to the player. For example, a player could choose to wager one dollar per game on a nickel slot machine. This eliminates the need for a player to find a specific denomination of a particular slot machine; they can concentrate on simply finding the machine and setting the denomination once they decide to play.

Recently, some casinos have chosen to take advantage of a concept commonly known as "tokenization," where one token buys more than one credit. Unlike an online casino, actual casinos have to spend on coin handling and inventory. A casino can configure slot machines of numerous different denominations to accept the same type of token. For example, all penny, nickel, quarter, and dollar slot machines could be configured to accept dollar tokens. This significantly reduces a casino's inventory costs and coin handling costs. A tokenized slot machine automatically calculates the number of credits the player receives in exchange for the token inserted and displays the amount of available credits to the player. When a player chooses to collect his credits (by pressing a "Cash Out" button), the slot machine will automatically divide the number of credits on the credit meter by the value of one token and return the result to the patron. Any remainder is known as "residual credits" and cannot be collected. Residual credits must be either played or abandoned.

Terminology

Bonus is a special feature of the particular game theme, which is activated when certain symbols appear in a winning combination. Bonuses vary depending upon the game. Some bonus rounds are a special session of free spins (the number of which is often based on the winning combination that triggers the bonus), often with a different or modified set of winning combinations as the main game, and often with winning credit values increased by a specific multiplier, which is prominently displayed as part of the bonus graphics and/or animation. In other bonus rounds, the player is presented with several items on a screen from which to choose. As the player chooses items, a number of credits is revealed and awarded. Some bonuses use a mechanical device, such as a spinning wheel, that works in conjunction with the bonus to display the amount won.

Candle is a light on top of the slot machine. It flashes to alert the operator that change is needed, hand pay is requested or a potential problem with the machine.

Carousel refers to a grouping of slot machines, usually in a circle or oval formation.

Coin hopper is a container where the coins that are immediately available for payouts are held. The hopper is a mechanical device that rotates coins into the coin tray when a player collects credits/coins (by pressing a "Cash Out" button). When a certain preset coin capacity is reached, a coin diverter automatically redirects, or "drops", excess coin into a "drop bucket" or "drop box". (Non-functional coin hoppers can still be found even on games that exclusively employ Ticket-In Ticket-Out technology, as a legacy vestige.)

Credit meter is a visual LED display of the amount of money or credits on the machine. On video reel machines this is either a simulated LED display, or represented in a different font altogether, based on the design of the game graphics.

Drop bucket or drop box is a container located in a slot machine's base where excess coins are diverted from the hopper. Typically, a drop bucket is used for low denomination slot machines and a drop box is used for high denomination slot machines. A drop box contains a hinged lid with one or more locks whereas a drop bucket does not contain a lid. The contents of drop buckets and drop boxes are collected and counted by the casino on a scheduled basis.

EGM is used as a short-hand for "Electronic Gaming Machine".

Hand pay refers to a payout made by a slot attendant or cage, rather than the slot machine. A hand pay occurs when the amount of the payout exceeds the maximum amount that was preset by the slot machine's operator. Usually, the maximum amount is set at the level where the operator must begin to deduct taxes. A hand pay could also be necessary as a result of a short pay.

Hopper fill slip is a document used to record the replenishments of the coin in the coin hopper after it becomes depleted as a result of making payouts to players. The slip indicates the amount of coin placed into the hoppers, as well as the signatures of the employees involved in the transaction, the slot machine number and the location and the date.

MEAL book (machine entry authorization log) is a log of the employee's entries into the machine

Low Level or Slant Top slot machines include a stool so you can sit and play. Stand Up or Upright slot machines are played while standing.

is a payback percentage based on a gambler using the optimal strategy in a skill-based slot machine game.

Payline is a straight or zig-zagged line that crosses through one symbol on each reel, along which a winning combination is evaluated. Classic spinning reel machines usually have up to nine paylines, while video slot machines may have as many as one hundred.

Rollup is the process of dramatizing a win by playing sounds while the meters count up to the amount that has been won.

Short pay refers to a partial payout made by a slot machine, which is less than the amount due to the player. This occurs if the coin hopper has been depleted as a result of making earlier payouts to players. The remaining amount due to the player is either paid as a hand pay or an attendant will come and re-fill the machine.

Taste is a reference to the small amount often paid out to keep a player seated and continuously betting. Only rarely will machines fail to pay out even the minimum placed bet over the course of several pulls.

Tilt In the old mechanical days, slot machines had tilt switches. While modern machines no longer have tilt switches, any kind of mechanical failure (door switch in the wrong state, reel motor failure, etc) is still called a "tilt".

Theoretical Hold Worksheet is a document provided by the manufacturer for all slot machines, which indicates the theoretical percentage that the slot machine should hold based on adequate levels of coin-in. The worksheet also indicates the reel strip settings, number of coins that may be played, the payout schedule, the number of reels and other information descriptive of the particular type of slot machine.

Weight count is an American term, referring to the dollar amount of coins or tokens removed from a slot machine's drop bucket or drop box and counted by the casino's hard count team through the use of a weigh scale.

Pay table

Each machine has a table that lists the number of credits the player will receive if the symbols listed on the pay table line up on the pay line of the machine. Some symbols are wild and will pay if they are visible in any position, even if they are not on the pay line. Especially on older machines, the pay table is listed on the face of the machine, usually above and below the area containing the wheels. Most video machines display the pay table when the player presses a "pay table" button or touches "pay table" on the screen; some have the pay table listed on the cabinet as well.

Technology
Random number generator

It is a common belief that the odds on a machine have something to do with the number of each kind of symbol on each reel, but in modern slot machines this is no longer the case. Modern slot machines are computerized, so that the odds are whatever they are programmed to be. In modern slot machines, the reels and lever are present for historical and entertainment reasons only. The positions the reels will come to rest on are chosen by a Random Number Generator (RNG) contained in the machine's software.

The RNG is constantly generating random numbers, at a rate of hundreds or perhaps thousands per second. As soon as the "Play" button is pressed, the most recent random number is used to determine the result. This means that the result varies depending on exactly when the game is played. A fraction of a second earlier or later, and the result would be different.

Some professional gamblers observe that the RNG does not actually generate random numbers. Indeed, most RNGs (so-called pseudorandom number generators or PRNGs) will eventually repeat their number sequence. This behavior is due to poor programming, as it is relatively easy to build PRNGs with periods so long no computer could complete a single period in the expected lifetime of the universe. Having access to the PRNG code and seed values Ronald Dale Harris, a former slot machine programmer, discovered equations for specific gambling games like Keno that allowed them to predict what the next set of selected numbers would be based on the previous games played. However, this is impossible for most machines, because the RNG picks numbers even when the machine is not being played, so the player cannot tell where in the sequence they are.

Payout percentage

Slot machines are typically programmed to pay out as winnings 82–98% of the money that is wagered by players. This is known as the "theoretical payout percentage" or RTP, "Return To Player". The minimum theoretical payout percentage varies among jurisdictions and is typically established by law or regulation. For example, the minimum payout in Nevada is 75%, and in New Jersey, 78%. The winning patterns on slot machines—the amounts they pay and the frequencies of those pay-outs—are carefully selected to yield a certain fraction of the money played to the "house" (the operator of the slot machine), while returning the rest to the players during play. Suppose that a certain slot machine costs $1 per spin. It can be calculated that over a sufficiently long period, such as 1,000,000 spins, that the machine will return an average of $950,000 to its players, who have inserted $1,000,000 during that time. In this (simplified) example, the slot machine is said to pay out 95%. The operator keeps the remaining $50,000. Within some EGM-development organizations this concept is referred to simply as "par". "Par" also manifests itself to gamblers as promotional techniques: "Our 'Loose Slots' have a 93% pay-back! Play now!" It is worth noting that the "Loose Slots" actually may describe a very few anonymous machines in a particular bank of EGMS.

A slot machine's theoretical payout percentage is set at the factory when the software is written. Changing the payout percentage after a slot machine has been placed on the gaming floor requires a physical swap of the software or firmware, which is usually stored on an EPROM but may be loaded onto non-volatile random access memory (NVRAM) or even stored on CD-ROM or DVD, depending on the capabilities of the machine and the applicable regulations. Based on current technology, this is a time-consuming process and as such is done infrequently. In certain jurisdictions, such as New Jersey, the EPROM has a tamper-evident seal and can only be changed in the presence of Gaming Control Board officials. Other jurisdictions, including Nevada, randomly audit slot machines to ensure that they contain only approved software.

In many markets where central monitoring and control systems are used to link machines for auditing and security purposes, usually in wide area networks of multiple venues and thousands of machines, player return must usually be changed from a central computer rather than at each machine. A range of percentages is set in the game software and selected remotely.

In 2006, the Nevada Gaming Commission began working with Las Vegas casinos on technology that would allow the casino's slot manager to change the game, the odds, and the payouts remotely. The change cannot be done instantaneously, but only after the selected machine has been idle for at least four minutes. After the change is made, the machine must be locked to new players for four minutes and display an on-screen message informing potential players that a change is being made.

Linked machines

Often machines are linked together in a way that allows a group of machines to offer a particularly large prize, or "jackpot". Each slot machine in the group contributes a small amount to this progressive jackpot, awarded to a player who gets, for example, a royal flush on a video poker machine or a specific combination of symbols on a regular or nine-line slot machine. The amount paid for the progressive jackpot is usually far higher than any single slot machine could pay on its own.

In some cases multiple machines are linked across multiple casinos. In these cases, the machines may be owned by the manufacturer, who is responsible for paying the jackpot. The casinos lease the machines rather than owning them outright. Megabucks may be the best known example of this type of machine. Megabucks Nevada starts at $10,000,000 after a jackpot. (Prior to September 2005, Megabucks Nevada reset to $7,000,000.) The new penny Megabucks video game also has a jackpot that starts at $10,000,000.

Regional variations
United States

In the United States, the public and private availability of slot machines is highly regulated by state governments. Many states have established gaming control boards to regulate the possession and use of slot machines. Nevada is the only state that has no significant restrictions against slot machines both for public and private use. In New Jersey, slot machines are only allowed in hotel-casinos operated in Atlantic City. Several states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Missouri) allow slot machines (as well as any casino-style gambling) only on licensed riverboats or permanently-anchored barges. Since Hurricane Katrina, Mississippi has removed the requirement that casinos on the Gulf Coast operate on barges and now allows them on land along the shoreline. Delaware allows slot machines at three horse tracks; they are regulated by the state lottery commission. For a list of state-by-state regulations on private slot-machine ownership, see U.S. state slot machine ownership regulations.

Native American casinos

Native American casinos located in reservations are not permitted to have slot machines unless the tribe first reaches a pact with the state in which it is located (per Indian Gaming Regulatory Act). Typically, a pact entitles the state to receive a fraction of the gross revenue from slot machines.

Slot machine classes

The following statements are generalities, not actual laws for every jurisdiction. There is no federal law governing slot machines, so these classifications may vary from state to state.

Some states have restrictions on the type (called "class") of slot machines that can be used in a casino or other gaming area. "Class III" (or "traditional") slot machines operate independently from a centralized computer system and a player's chance of winning any payout is the same with every play. Class III slots are most often seen in Nevada or Atlantic City and are sometimes referred to as "Vegas-style slots".

"Class II" slot machines (also known as "video lottery terminals" or "VLTs") are connected to a centralized computer system that determines the outcome of each wager. In this way, Class II slot machines mimic scratch-off lottery tickets in that each machine has an equal chance of winning a series of limited prizes. Either class of slot machines may or may not have a player skill element.

In general a game must have all characteristics of a Class II game to be a Class II game. Any characteristic of a Class III game makes it a Class III game. The casino pays a fee to the state for each Class III game and can only purchase so many Class III licenses. There is no such restriction for Class II games. Class II games are not so tightly regulated by the state.

Class II game characteristics

1. The player is playing against other players and competing for a common prize.
2. There is not necessarily a winner in each game. The game continues until there is a winner.
3. In a given set there are a certain number of wins and losses. Once a certain combination has occurred it cannot occur again until a new batch is initiated. This is most obvious in scratch-card games using cards that come in packs. Once a card has been pulled from a pack, the combinations on that card cannot occur again until a new pack of cards is installed. One game is dependent on previous games.
4. The player must be an active participant. They must recognize events as they occur and must recognize when they have won and announce their winning. Bingo is an excellent example here.
5. All players play from the same set of numbers as the numbers are announced.

Class III game characteristics

1. The player is playing against the house.
2. Each game is independent of previous games. Any possible outcome can occur in any game.
3. Wins are announced automatically.