Slot Machines – How Do They Work?


A slot is an allocated, scheduled time and place for an aircraft to take off or land as authorized by an airport or air-traffic authority. See also slat (def. 2). In ornithology, a narrow notch or other similar opening between the tips of the primaries in some birds, which during flight allows for a smooth flow of air over the wings. Also known as a lama’s slot.

Slot is the most popular casino game, but how do these machines really work? Is there a secret sauce that will ensure you win every now and then?

The pay table is a key component to understanding how slot games work. It displays the payout values of different combinations and indicates which symbols are wild, which can substitute for other symbols and trigger bonus features. The higher the number of matching symbols in a winning combination, the bigger the payout.

In modern slot games, a random number generator determines the outcome of each spin. Once it determines a winning or losing result, the computer causes the reels to stop at the appropriate placements. Then, the symbols on each reel indicate the result.

In the past, players inserted cash or, in “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, paper tickets with barcodes into a designated slot to activate the machine and start spinning the reels. Upon reaching a predetermined stopping point, the machine would display the amount of credits earned based on the symbols displayed. Today, most slot machines accept electronic bills and credit cards.