The Complete Guide to Slots Machines

Slot Machines Introduction: Complete Guide to Slots
13 min read

This guide on slot machines walks the gambler through all the crucial aspects and nuances behind slot games. Only understanding how the games work, and why certain aspects are important, it is possible to always choose the most advantageous and profitable slots. This guide was created to educate players about slots.

Slots as a casino game in general have existed since the end of the 19th century, when the concept behind the very first one-armed bandit machine was invented. Since then, the technologies have changed, but the concept has not. 

This actually shows that slots have always been very popular, and in fact, this is the most widespread casino game. Why, how they function, and how to win - all this is explained in our slots guide. 

Why Slots Are Perfect Choice 

Slots were loved by many gamblers. These machines were insanely popular back in the days when they were mechanical; as for today, online slots always take the top of the list of the most in-demand casino games. 

There are several main reasons why this happens: 

  • this is one of the easiest games of chance to play, enjoy, and win. The rules are really simple, the learning curve is newbie-friendly, and one can learn to play and win in no time
  • this type of gamble has multiple variations for winning; one can win big, small, more or less often, choose variations of the gamble, or even enjoy it without depositing
  • slots are among the games that contribute into wagering the casino bonuses - in contrast to many other games, playing which does not contribute to wagering the bonus
  • slots can be played - and won - by wagering a no deposit casino bonus; in other words, you can play slots and win real cash online without even betting your own money
  • slots across software providers and across online casinos offer abundance and an overwhelming variety of themes; you can play different slots all day and never get bored
  • progressive jackpots are also slots, that is - easy to learn and simple to play

This type of casino gamble is good as it is, but it is especially newbie-friendly, as no specific skills, or experience, are needed for successful play. 

If you are still not sure, try any of these casino games for free, without depositing and without registration. 

If you would like to enhance your mastery at real money online slots, to win someday, you have to be aware of how this gamble actually works. 

How Online Slots Machines Work 

Getting the concept behind the online slots machines functioning means getting the idea of how to choose the most profitable machine, and how to increase your chances of winning. Please pay attention to aspects discussed in this section, and apply this knowledge practically when you start gambling. While most of this info is newbie-oriented, some more experienced punters can still find something interesting and useful in this guide. 

Software Providers 

The very first fact to be aware of is that online casinos do not make their own games. Very few operators who actually run one or many casinos, also bothers making their own gaming software. This is the case because the two activities are very different, require different resources and skills, and therefore, only very old and rich operators can afford both running casinos and making their own gambles. In reality, few do that equally efficiently. Most casinos purchase their games from software developing studios. 

The practical implication of this fact is that, if you look for particular qualities of the game, look for a software provider, not an online casino. 

When you google progressive jackpots, don’t search for a casino having them; instead, search for providers making them, and find out actual titles of the best progressive jackpot games. 

If you believe the game is rigged, explore whether it is the game or the casino site of your choice. Software providers have to undergo a bunch of checks by relevant third parties, to prove their gaming software is fair, only to be able to sell their software on the market. Yes, some providers are not really fair, but the number of casinos that are not fair is way bigger. 

Bottom line - whatever is your requirement or opinion about a game, check out whether it is the software provider or the casino which caused it. This rule generally applies not only to slots, but to all online casino gambles. 

Random Number Generator 

All slots have their outcomes defined by the RNG - Random Number Generator software, included into the game programming. This is why slots are totally a game of chance - everything is decided by the RNG, and no player’s skill, strategy, or experience, can influence the outcome of the reels spinning. 


The reels are vertical positions on the grid. When you press the Spin button, the reels rotate. In the mechanical one-armed bandit machines of the previous days, the reels were physically spinning, and when they stopped, the outcome was defined. 

However, today reels are just a visual aspect of the gamble, creating the feeling of “something happening” on screen. Basically, nothing has to be spun, because the outcome is defined by RNG. But players find it more appealing and fun to watch the reels spinning. 


Paylines are horizontal, diagonal, or otherwise, lines on the grid, which make the player win. In the previous days slots machines, the payline was basically the only one - a horizontal middle line with a set of certain symbols. 

Modern online slots can have various lines in terms of shape, and the paylines can be plenty - from five to 50. While the reels spin, paylines remain stable; if the combination of symbols fits one or several paylines, the player will get a win. 


Read carefully what symbols are winning in each gamble. There are also scatter and wild symbols. Scatter symbols indicate a win regardless of the paylines. Wild symbols, if they fall within the payline, can transform exactly into the symbol the player needs in the payline, to make the payline complete and winning. 

Volatility / Variance 

Volatility, or variance, is the ratio between frequency of wins and the size of wins. 

All slot games can be divided into two types - one type pais frequency but in small sums, the other type has fewer winning combinations, but the wins are impressive. 

Volatility exists to keep the player interested and motivated, but not very winning, otherwise, the casino would go bankrupt. 

RTP Rate VS House Edge 

RTP rate is Return To Player rate; in other words, this is the percentage of winnings in the game compared with the size of the bet. If the bet is $1, and the percentage is 97%, you will get 97 cents as a win in this game if hitting a particular winning combination. There are variations, of course, depending on the winning combination, and the software provider’s rules. But obviously, the higher the RTP, the better. 

House edge, on the other hand, is the percentage received by the casino platform from every winning bet (because lost bets are received by the casino in full). The lower the house edge, the better. 

Myths About Slots 

In the section above, you have educated yourself about the most crucial aspects of slots games functioning. Being aware of these aspects already increases your chances of choosing the most profitable gamble of those available in the casino lobby. 

However, if you really want to bet like a pro, you have to be aware of the popular myths about slots, and understand why these myths are far from the truth. 

The Outcome is Defined When the Reels Stop 

Many players become really upset when they see that the reels slot one position from the winning payline, and they are disappointed that the reels did not go just a bit more. However, this is a misconception. 

As you remember, the outcome of the round is defined by the Random Number Generator. This means that the second you press the Spin button, the RNG generates a number that defines the combination at which the reels stop. Only as a result of this process, the reels spin and stop as they do. Remember that reels are only a visual aspect created for your entertainment; the movement of these digital reels has nothing to do with the outcome. While visually the position of the reels may seem close to a winning one, in reality, this position is endlessly far away from the winning payline in terms of Random Number Generator. 

Previous Wins and Losses Count 

Human brain is wired to look for trends and regularities, and it is hard for our mind to accept the idea of total randomness. However, please keep in mind that slots are totally random, and there is no pattern behind the series of outcomes. 

Previous wins and losses are not registered by the gaming software, and the outcome of the future rounds is not based whatsoever on previous wins and losses. If you see a series of wins or losses, this is just the nature of statistical outcomes when there are only two variations of outcomes - win or loss. 

Slots are Rigged 

As we have already explained above, sometimes it is the casino platform that is unfair and does not want to pay you your winnings. Sometimes, the platforms get disconnected, or other technical issues occur, and the bet is not counted. However, such cases are connected to casino platforms more than to the games in particular, or to software providers making these games, in general. 

Software providers, in the majority of cases, take efforts to persuade the market that their games are random and fair, meaning not rigged, to be able to sell their software. Some providers have schemes of getting certifications from agencies that are not independent, but such cases are no more than one or two. 

If you are still not sure, just consider what way your bet goes through when you play at real money online casino and press the Spin button: 

  • the spin goes from casino site to software provider server
  • from the server, the bet info goes to the casino’s server
  • the casino server confirms the bet
  • the bet goes back to the game provider server where the RNG calculates the outcome number
  • if the number is winning, the bet info goes to the casino server
  • the casino server confirms the winning outcome
  • the game provider server sends the outcome to the casino site
  • the game shows animation of the reels spinning, and gives out the outcome

As you can see, the process is complicated and requires many parties to complete; if one party is rigged, other parties will most probably notice and report. 

Slots Can Be Beat in the Long Run 

There is an old myth that slot gamble can be beat if you play it long enough. This myth roots from the old days one-armed bandits that gave out winning combinations more often when they were full of money (in other words, played on long enough). However, this is a very harmful myth that has nothing to do with the real thing - at least in the case of online slots. 

You already know that the outcome is defined by the Random Number Generator, and the player cannot influence the outcome. You also know that previous outcomes do not influence the future ones - that is, winning or losing more earlier in the gambling session does not mean changed odds further in the gambling session. 

But there is one more aspect to consider. All casino games are constructed in a way to bring more money to the casino in the long run. This means that the longer you play, the more bets you lose to the casino, and even winning bets are granted to you minus house edge. This means that, eventually, you can only be lucky to win, and playing “long enough” will result in nothing more than bringing more money to the casino. 

Winning Strategies 

If I can only be lucky to win, - you may ask, - then why do people use strategies to win on slots? 

To be honest, since slots are a game of chance, no strategy will help you win more. All strategies can do for you is help you lose less. All slots strategies are about betting smartly to avoid unnecessary and excessive losses. If you are also lucky, you have a chance of winning huge during the gambling session. 

But overall, strategies focus not on making you win more, but on helping you lose less.

 Keep that in mind when you explore this or that strategy for online gambling.