Online Slots Guide: The Jargon and Lingo You Need to Know
Looking at the glut of amazing modern slot machines disarms most people. The physical games and the online games dovetail in their excitement and uses of themes and colors.
They also share many of the same payout rates, Slot machines, at least in American statistics, pay out as much as 92% of the bets made. They also make up for nearly 70% of all casino earnings.
With 60% of players enjoying small frequent payouts over large jackpots, it is easy to see how much time and money can be spent. Playing at a slot machine more and more resembles gambling less and a night out for entertainment more.
Part of this appeal comes from the experience. Don’t go out to play unprepared reading a slots guide helps you hit the ground running.
Useful Terms Slots Guide to Terms
For a quick refresher on the history of slot machines check out this.
Understanding the following terms and jargon will help you understand the stakes and actions of slots. Hopefully, this information will help you get right to playing and enjoying the thrills of gaming.
One or more amounts placed on the outcome fo the slot machine’s results. Bets may be in proprietary currency for a slot machine online. Real-world versions may use different denominations of coins or whole dollars.
Multiple amounts can be placed on a single pay line or across any number of pay lines on a machine.
Return to Player (RTP)
Generally reported as an average, this indicates how much of each bet put in the machine pays out. A 90% RTP indicates a machine pays out $0.90 of each $1 put in.
Looser slots pay out more often. Tighter slots less. These otherwise meaningless phrases tie into real numbers through the RTP.
Slot machines in both online and real-world casinos must display RTP through a menu option or on the machine itself.
While RTP reflects how much a machine pays out, hit frequency quantifies how often a payment occurs. Hit frequency can be represented as a ratio. A machine with a frequency 4 pays out, on average, 1 out of 4 times or 1/4.
An important concept related to how slot machines work is the pay line. Most common in video and online slot machines, pay lines represent the paths that a winning bet can take.
The typical idea of left to right in a straight line or along diagonals and verticals may appear. A machine where the vertical columns and horizontal rows have different symbol counts. In these games, lines may trace indirect paths across the playing field.
Pay lines allow for more dynamic betting because a player has more choice and can take more time per game to hope for victory. Each line may or may not be bet on at the player’s discretion.
Some, but not all, pay lines can have bonuses attached. Sometimes a bonus or wild will apply every so many lines. So line 5 and line 10 offer better payouts and odds than 4 or 9 lines, for example.
Just like in poker, a wild takes the place of another symbol. Betting on pay lines with wilds gives you better odds which is the best way to play slots.
The game is random chance, so always be looking for what gives you the advantage on that chance.
Scatter symbols appearing in a machine provide alternative win conditions. These don’t always pay out as a bet but instead offer selectable prizes, extra spins, or other bonuses.
Play machines with scatter symbols for a variation on the win/lose mentality. That’s just another quick casino slots tip.
Bonus, Bonus Multiplier, and Bonus Round
Bonuses come in a variety of types depending on what they provide.
A straight bonus is an extra spin or extra game that is awarded as part of a payout or wild symbol.
Bonus multipliers represent enticements in forms of extra payout when tiers of pay lines get bet on.
A bonus round can provide free games or instant wins for prizes.
A maximum payout given by a machine. These rare winnings can offer 100s of times more money than a standard payout.
A jackpot that increases the more play a machine sees. Some progressive jackpots get linked across branded machines to increase a central payout. Scoring a jackpot on a machine may not mean scoring the progressive jackpot in pooled cases.
A single play of the machine. No matter how many bets and pay lines might exist a spin is just the action of the machine when a go command is given.
Also sometimes called drums or wheels (in older machines) these are the playing surfaces which show symbols. A machine may have 3-reel setup or a 5 reel setup.
A type of bonus game where a player chooses from several options to claim a prize. The pick me segment may be forward facing, where the prize is known or hidden where the prize is unknown until selected.
You may hear the following lingo in specific regions or regional online casinos.
Australian terminology reflecting a transition from poker machine. Used to describe both slots and video poker devices and games.
British terminology for slots. The reference comes from original machines using fruit shapes on reels.
A classic phrasing from the early days of mechanical slots in the United States. Specifically related to the pull lever used to spin the reels.
Used to describe simpler machines with limited pay lines and functionality.
Practice Your Skills
If you are looking for how to play slots and win always remember to actually have fun. Winning and losing seen as part of the ebb and flow of the game makes part of the entertainment. Don’t forget to flex your newfound knowledge and impress your friends.
For more tips on how to enjoy a fine time playing games read or blog. We have similar guides to this slots guide for common online games like poker and roulette.