How to Play Slot Machines

The American Casino Guide Book is the only site you need to learn the best strategies to play and win at the most popular casino games.

We have a great assortment of resources to teach players both how to play slot machines, as well as how to win on slots. We have a collection of videos from our YouTube channel about how slot machines work and how to win on them if you like videos. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to get notified whenever we post a new video.  

If you prefer reading, rather than watching, we also have a great collection of articles written by some of the best-known gambling writers that cover a variety of topics on slot machines.

How to Play Slot Machines YouTube Videos

How to Play Slot Machines Articles

What is a Slot Machine?

Slot machines are the most popular game in nearly all U.S. casinos. They are also the biggest revenue driver for U.S. casinos as the average casino makes about 65% of its money from slots.

In case you have never been to a casino and don't know what a slot machine is, it is, in its simplest form, just a computerized device that has anywhere from three to six reels which have many different symbols on them and the player wins if they line up multiple symbols of the same shape in a designated row called a "payline".

Slot machines originated in the late 1800's and started out as a very simple, mechanically driven device with just three reels and one payline directly across the middle. However, in recent years, with the advent of  high-speed computers, they have become much more complex. Slot machines now have upwards of 100 paylines and all sorts of bonus features to keep players entertained and engaged.

Slot machine themes are based on everything from pop culture references like movies and television shows to games that consist of just pictures of cute puppies so no matter what your tastes are, you will be sure to find something up your alley!

How Does a Slot Machine Work?

In the most basic of terms, if you look past all the bells and whistles and fancy features, at the end of the day a slot machine is simply just a computer that is programmed to pay out less money than it takes in. All modern-day slot machines run on a computer chip called a Random Number Generator or "RNG." This RNG just constantly cycles numbers until a player hits the spin button and then stops on a number and tells the screen to display the images for each reel corresponding to the number chosen by the random number generator. The overall payback of the machine is controlled by the RNG and each casino operator can choose from a range of payback percentages depending on how they want to run their casino but generally speaking, most casinos choose higher pay back percentages for higher denomination machines. This means that a penny machines will have a much lower payback percentage than a $5 or $10 machines. We have a list of all the slot machine payback information in the US if you would like more information.

What Does Slot Payback Percentage Mean?

Whenever anyone talks about payback percentages of any casino game, they mean in the long run because anything can happen in the short run. And by long run, that means over hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of spins. For instance, most penny slot machines have a payback of around 85-89% but this does not mean that for every $100 you put into a machine you are guaranteed to get back $85-$89. Of course people can win money in a given session, if that wasn't the case, no one would gamble! It just means that the longer you play, the closer you will come to that payback percentage.

Are Slot Machines Really Random?

Now you may think that if casinos can control the payback of the machines then how can they actually be random? I'll give you a good example to show you how: Say you have a container filled with balls numbered 1 through 100 and only 10 of those numbers will make you a loser. That means that you have a 90% chance of winning and a 10% chance of losing. If every time you pick a number you put the ball back in and mix them all up again, even though you have a 90% chance of winning, the result is still random as to of whether you choose a winner or a loser but you still know your mathematical chances.

This is the same way the casino controls the payback on their slot machines. In essence, they are just controlling the number of winning and losing balls that are available to pick from in the Random Number Generator (RNG).

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