The main thing that most people already understand about these slot machines is that they are the most popular and profitable game in any casino in the United States. Maybe this is not so true in some countries in Europe, but it is also true in Australia, only there they call the games "poker machines" or "pokies".
But if you read all the pages in this section of our website, you will be so educated about these games that you can legally call yourself a slot machine expert. We don't have a magic formula for how to win these games, but we do have some insights on how math works that we can share. We believe educated players have more fun and increase their chances of winning.
What are slot machines and how do they work?
The slot machine is a gambling game with spinning reels. These reels have symbols that land randomly after you place your bet and spin the reels. If these symbols line up, you win prizes depending on which symbols come up on that "payline".
These games have been around since the end of the 19th century, but their popularity has grown steadily since then. These were originally mechanical devices that relied on springs and gears to turn the drums. Modern slot machines use a computer program called a random number generator to determine which symbols land where.
A random number generator is a computer program that cyclically cycles through thousands of numbers per second. When you press the rotation button, the program stops where it is. These numbers correspond to the stops and symbols on the reels.
To learn more about common myths you may stumble upon, you can check out our guide to common myths about slot machines.
Early slot machines
Early slot machines had a math that was easy to understand. You could have 3 reels with 10 symbols on each of them. The odds of getting a specific symbol were 1/10. If you wanted to calculate the chances of getting a certain combination of symbols on a line, you simply multiplied 1/10 X 1/10 X 1/10 to get the result 1/1000.
You can then compare the winnings for arranging these symbols with the odds of hitting combinations to calculate the return percentage for the machine. If the casino offered a 998 to 1 payout on a bet that had a 1/1000 winning chance, then the house had a slight edge. It would show a profit over time.
Modern slot machines
Modern slot machines are more difficult to calculate because the symbols and reels are programmed into the computer. This makes these games more flexible in many ways. They are not limited by the size of the drums, for example.