Online Slot Machines For Beginners

The Basics of Online Slot Machines

Bt far the most popular games in online casinos are slot machines. They are the simplest games to learn how to play and can give hours of enjoyment and big prizes to the dedicated player and with online slot machines you can play at home on your home computer or on the go with your mobile phone or device. In its simplest form a slot machine consists of three reels with pictures on them and a payline. When you make a bet and press the button the reels rotate and depending on which pictures show on the payline when the reels stop spinning you will win or lose. That’s the basinc principle but there are many different types of slot machines some with more then three reels and up to 100 pay lines however the most common multi payline machines have 3,5,9,15,20,or 25 paylines. Multiple payline machines offer more ways to win and each additional payline means another bet. In other wordd, on a $1 machine with five paylines, if you bet one dollar you can only win if the reels line up correctly on one payline. If you bet $2 per roll you can win on two different paylines, and so on.

How an Online Slot Machine Works

The original slot machines were mechanical devices with notched wheels that were set in motion by pulling a lever and brakes would stop the reels after an allotted time. The modern slot machine and all online slot machines are controlled by a computer called a random number generator (RNG). Each time you push the spin button the reels will rotate a certain number of times determined by the mathematical formula in use inside the RNG. Modern slot machines are not preprogrammed to payout at regular intervals so the machine doesn’t “get hot”, all the spins are completely at random, however they are programmed to payout more or less frequently and any spin can possibly be the jackpot winner.

Types of Slot Machines

There are many, many different variations of the slot machine. In an online casino you might see dozens or hundreds of different slot machines with different themes, different numbers of reels, denominations etc. but, with a few exceptions they all work basically the same way, if the reels line up on a payline that you played, you win. There are several ways to classify slot machines and we’ll go over the basics here.

Number of Reels

In the beginning the first slot machines all had 3 reels, these are called regular or classic machines, but as time has gone by machines began to appear with 4 and then 5 reels. The big difference in the payout between the 3 and 5 reel machines is not in the odds it is in the method. 3 reel machines will hit more frequently for small payouts while 5 reel machines will hit less frequently but when they do the payout will be higher.

Number of Paylines

A payline on an online slot machine is the same as a land based casino, it is the way the symbols must line up for you to win. Classic machines had only 1 payline across 3 reels but more modern machines with 5 reels can have up to 25 paylines.
On a classic machine with one payline regardless of how many coins you bet the odds remain the same, on a machine with multiple paylines the more coins you bet the more paylines become active and your chance of winning increase dramatically.


Another way of differentiating online slot machines is by the denomination of the bets. You will find most machines valued from 1 penny up to $5 with some online casinos offering High Roller machines with up to $500 bets. Regardless of the denomination of the machine the principle is the same, for each bet you place another coin of the same value as the rest is bet. In other words if you are playing a $1 machine with 20 paylines if you bet 1 you will be betting $1. If you bet 2 you will be betting $1 on each of the first two paylines. If you bet 3 you will be betting $1 on each of the first three paylines and so on.

Progressive Slot Machines

In the past all slot machines were what we call ‘flat top’ machines which means that the jackpot always remained the same. The jackpots were smaller but the winning was more frequent.
Progressive slot machines are a relatively recent development going back to the 1980’s. Progressive slot machines are a group of slot machines joined together on a network and a small percentage of every bet that is placed on any of the machines in the network goes into a ‘Progressive Jackpot’ that any player on any machine in the entire network has a chance of winning. The odds of winning the jackpot are small but the attraction is jackpots that often run into the many millions of dollars and can equal and exceed even lottery jackpots.