Slot machines have always been a casino gambling favorite. Now they’ve moved to the virtual world on the Internet or on your mobile phone and it’s time to know everything about the world’s greatest gambling game.
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If you were forced to start a sentence with the words “There are two kinds of slot machines” there wouldn’t be just one way to finish it. There is no definitive way to divide slots into two types. You could say there are online slots and land-based slots. You could say there are reel slots and video slots. You could say there are progressive slots and straight (or flat) slots. You could say there are single pay line and multi-line slots. Need we go on?
So maybe you can’t break down slots into only two types, but the above paragraph is a good way to generally describe slot machines. If you know what all the above terms are — online, land-based, reels, video slots, progressives, pay lines, etc. — you’ll have a pretty good idea about slots in general and how to win money playing them. Using the above categories will serve as a great slots primer. So let’s begin.
Reel Slot Machines
In addition to more reels, video slots typically offer more pay lines and maximum coins per spin. Some machines allow up to 250 coins per pay line (some even offer 400) and the chance to play as many as 40 pay lines per spin. This can get pretty pricey, especially when you’re playing progressive video slots where only the max bet will do. Lucky for budget minded slot players, nickel slots keep the investment low while still allowing maximum return.
Slots Pay Lines
Once upon a time, the symbols on the 3 reels had to line up horizontally on 1 line. With video slots, you have the opportunity to bet on multiple pay lines, sometimes as many as 40. This does not mean that each reel has 40 symbols and that they have to line up in 40 horizontal lines. What it does mean that the lines are sometimes diagonal, sometimes jagged, sometimes vertical, etc.
When you play multi-line slots, you have to “enable” each line in order for it win for you; you enable a line by paying for it. If there are X-number of lines, you can usually pay up to X-number of coins, thus enabling all the lines. If you want to hold onto you money a bit longer, however, you can also opt to bet a smaller number of coins, thus enabling fewer lines. This is up to you, but this type of slot machine usually pays the maximum jackpot only if you bet the maximum number of lines/coins. That’s the way the virtual slots reel spins.
Progressive Jackpot Slots
When you play slot machines online, you may find the same type of slot machine on more than one site. Sometimes, these machines are “linked,” and, together, they offer what is called a progressive jackpot. Because many players on many slot machines are contributing to this jackpot, which is constantly growing, the amount in the pot is very big, sometimes over a million dollars. The bets of all players accumulate until one lucky slots player hits the pre-determined combination (5 wild cards in a multi-wild-card video poker game or 5 special symbols in a video slot), if you are playing a progressive jackpot slot machine.
The opposite of a progressive slot machine is a “straight” slot machine, sometimes called a “flat” slot machine. These slots are independent and the amounts that can be won are determined just by that slot machine alone, according to the pay schedule associated with that slot machine. The jackpots on these flat slot machines are fixed — they’re not cumulative.
The concept of “multipliers” is perhaps the most esoteric slots term. All in all, slot machines are loved for their ease and simplicity; many people can’t follow or don’t want to get involved in the more complex variations and they cut and run when terms like “scatter” or “multiplier” come up in a conversation. In reality, multipliers are fairly simple; they really can be divided into two types: straight multipliers and bonus multipliers. A straight multiplier usually has one pay line and pays according to the number of coins you play. In other words, if you hit the jackpot having played 1 coin, the machine will pay 250 coins but if you play 2 coins, you’ll win 500 coins. So far, so good.
A bonus multiplier simple tacks on an additional amount of money (a bonus) to the slots jackpot if you’ve played the maximum number of coins. Using the example above, let’s say the maximum number of coins is 3. If you can win 250 coins with 1 coin and 500 coins with 2 coins, the bonus jackpot — if you play with the maximum 3 coins — would be 4,000 coins, a much bigger amount than a straight multiple of the previous amount. That’s the bonus in the slots bonus multiplier slots game.