The most popular casino game you’ll ever find — slots. Known by many different names, from the one-armed bandit to fruit machines and pokies (especially in Australia), slot machines occupy over ⅔ of every gaming space in casinos. This is so because they earn the most money to the establishments, and we all know how the house always wins. So, of course, the most significant part of the gaming floor is reserved for the golden goose of every casino.
The first ancient slot machine looked a lot different than the ones we find nowadays. Namely, back in 1887, slots were basically poker-based machines consisting of five drums and fifty cards. Having in mind that the standard poker uses a 52-card deck, this makes us wonder how come only fifty cards were in usage? It’s because the machine creators wanted to avoid the royal flush combination. This is why they expelled the Jack of Hearts and Ten of Spades.
Now, another vital thing to mention is the fact that payout wasn’t automatic, and the prizes were usually a bottle of liquor or a pack of smokes. The first slot machine as we know it emerged four years after the ‘poker slots,’ thanks to the popularity of the original one. This new and improved device finally had an automatic payout and didn’t use cards and drums. There were three reels with five symbols, and the chances of winning real money on the spot were high.
At some point, slot machines were banned, so people thought of a clever way to keep these devices active. In a nutshell, the reel slot was re-designed, and now it had fruits instead of standard symbols, and the prizes went back to being non-monetary. Even in this form, slot machine games remained as prevalent as before. Since over time, the technology just kept progressing, slots gained a new form as well.
Electronics were the thing that just couldn’t pass by the gambling world. So was the case with slots. The first video slot ever emerged in 1970. Of course, it wasn’t as appealing as the ones we are used to, but still, it was a small step for the slot, but the big one for gambling history. Many more features were implemented in the new video slots, like bonus games, free spins, and progressive jackpots. This brought flocks of new players each day.
Online Slot Machine and Its Essentials
Fast forward to some twenty years after video slots beginnings, first online slot machines opened up their digital doors to the new generation of gamblers. At first, players were a skeptical bunch, but after the first money transaction, this type of gambling became a sensation. But how do online slots work precisely?
Random Number Generator
A slot is a piece of sophisticated machinery with many components working together in unity to provide fair and random outcomes to each player. One of the most valuable assets, without which no player would have fair odds at winning is the Random Number Generator. If you happen to be a slot player, but you’re completely surprised by this term, let’s elaborate a bit on this topic.
There would be no objective and fair online slot game if it wasn’t for RNG. Basically, this is a computer mechanism that uses a complicated set of numbers and mathematical algorithms to ensure the game’s fairness. This software is more than amazing because it has no memory of a player’s previous spins whether they resulted in a total fiasco or a progressive jackpot win. Any time you try your luck on an online casinos’ slots, you will either win or lose, and the chances are equal; it’s that simple.
You can use maximum bets, or low-stake ones, the Random Number Generator is utterly blind to winning combinations, losing streaks, or names of the players. This system isn’t reserved for online houses, land-based casinos use it at their slot machines too. Millions of combinations are on the move non-stop inside the RNG’s system. The only time they stop is when a player spins the reels. At this moment, you might think your game is just starting, but the truth is — your game has ended at the very split of a second you pressed the button.
How do you win in a slots round? By spinning the reels and eagerly waiting for the results. There is no magical formula, just pure luck. If you don’t believe in luck, we can call it a mixture of coincidences which made RNG stop at the winning combination. To win a round of slots, all of the symbols of the reels have to be aligned with an active payline.
However, the scatter symbols don’t count in this equation. They can quickly appear on the reels with no particular order. The only important thing is to have a certain number of them. If a game is complexed enough, scatters can potentially bring you free spins or further winnings.
Types of Online Slot Games
When we talk about online slot games, we find a variety of offers. From classic slots, better known as the three-reels, to more popular five or multiple-reels slots, the options are almost unlimited. Games that have multi-reels options often allow you to activate many paylines. Have in mind that the more paylines you use, the bigger bets you must place. Every Yin has its Yang.
Return to Player
The Return to Player percentage, or RTP as many call it, determines your chances of winning when you play slots. It is a metric we use to establish how much money a slot machine pays out in the long run. Think of it as the complete opposite of the house advantage (house edge). We use this to calculate how much money the casino makes overall.
For instance, if the house edge is 5%, the Return to Player has to be 95%. This sounds promising and great.
Unfortunately for the players, and luckily for the casinos, this figure is gained by taking into account millions of rounds over a certain period of time.
It isn’t based on a single player’s game. So, unless you plan millions of spins, don’t get your hopes up.
Still, it helps to decide which games you should avoid and which to play. It is a well-known fact that online houses offer excellent RTPs, while land-based casinos rarely pass 80–88%. If you choose to play online, dig a bit deeper, and you can find some really high RTPs, up to 98%.
This is another essential element of online slot games. We find two types of volatility, both equally accessible. In a nutshell, if the game pays out often but smaller amounts, it has low volatility. High volatility represents the opposite of this, meaning the cashouts are rare but significant when you are patient enough to receive them.
The odds are the same in both cases, at the end of the day, you can count on a more or less equal amount of money either way. It’s up to you to choose what floats your boat.
Strategies in Online Slot Games
There will always be a smartass trying to outsmart the system instead of simply enjoying the games like the rest of us mortals. Before the Internet and all its benefits, players searched for loose slot machines in land-based casinos. These devices have more frequent cashouts due to some mechanical flaws. Well, at least that is what we’ve heard.
But in online slot games, unless you are one of the best hackers in the world and somehow manage to cheat your way into the RNG software, there is nothing you can really do. And of course, we cannot forget about the famous ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ slots. This is utter nonsense, and you should ignore anyone who tries to convince you it’s not.
Just rely on your luck and try to enjoy the journey, not only the destination. Even though the rounds in slots don’t last long, you can still enjoy the sense of excitement while you wait for those reels to make you a winner. Well, a bonus round would be helpful as well, as a silver lining.