Slot Machine


A slit or narrow opening, especially one for receiving something, such as a coin or a letter. (American Heritage Dictionary)

A slot machine is a gambling device that generates combinations of symbols on spinning reels and pays out winning credits according to the pay table when the player activates the game by pressing a lever or button (either physical or virtual on a touchscreen). Most slot games have a theme, with specific icons or graphics aligning with that theme. Some have special symbols that can substitute for other symbols to form a winning combination and increase the payout.

Each symbol has a number assigned to it, and each possible sequence has an associated frequency on the reels. When the random-number generator receives a signal — anything from a button being pushed or a handle pulled to a jackpot being won — it sets a number, and the reels stop at that position. Between signals, the RNG continues to produce dozens of numbers per second. Every spin is independent of all previous ones, so whether the machine is “hot” or “cold” has no effect on the probability of winning.

In older slot machines, the pay table was physically listed on or above the area containing the symbols. Today, the pay table can usually be found on the game’s screen for video slots and online slot games, often within a help menu. In addition to displaying the payout amounts for different combinations of symbols, the pay table usually provides information on bonus features and how to trigger them.