Slot machines – how they work, types of bonuses and strategies

The purpose of this guide is to address the most important aspects of slot machines. The guide aims to inform readers as comprehensively as possible to help them in their upcoming games.

One of the basic things that probably a lot of people are aware of is that slot machines are the most popular and lucrative game in any casino in America. This doesn’t go for Europe, but the trend also exists in Australia, where they have another name for slots, calling them “poker machines” or “pokies”.

If someone had a magic formula to win any game, then they would certainly be very rich by now. However, we can offer you some insights into the math of this type of game to help you improve your prospects of success playing slots in the future.

Slot Machine inside

What are slot machines and how do they work?

Slots are a game of luck. Generally, this is a screen, which shows reels spinning. The reels have symbols on them, which are adjusted in different ways and take different configurations. To activate the spin, you need to place a bet. If the symbols are arranged in winning lines, you will win a prize based on which symbols fell on the so-called “winning line”.

Slot games have been around since the late 19th century and they are becoming more and more popular. Initially, they were mechanical, propelled by springs and gears. With the advancement of technology, most of them are now played on a monitor powered by a computer program.

Modern computerized slots have a random number generator. Simply put, this is a program that processes thousands of numbers per second. When the spin button is pressed, the program stops where it is, and the numbers correspond to stops bearing the respective winning or losing symbols.

Let’s briefly summarize the two types of slot machines:

The early slots had math that was relatively easy to understand. You could have 3 reels with 10 symbols on each of them. The chances of getting any particular symbol were equal – 1 to 10. If you wanted to calculate the chances of getting a certain combination of symbols on a line, just multiply 1/10 by 1/10 by 1/10 and thus you get that the probability of this event happening is exactly 1 in 1000. You can then make a comparison between the prize and your chances to come to some conclusion about the return of the slot. For example, if a casino offers a payout of 998 to 1 on a bet that had a 1/1000 chance of winning, then that casino may have a slight advantage.

Modern slots are more difficult to analyze because the symbols and reels are programmed into the system itself. This in turn is good for players, as it offers more flexible rewards that are not limited by the size of the reels. One of the great advantages of modern slot machine manufacturers is that they can regulate the chances of a specific symbol appearing. Some symbols can be set to appear once every 10 spins, and others every 20 or 30.

Online slot machines vs. Physical Slot Machines

Online slot games vs. physical slots

Online slot machines work just like their land-based counterparts. However, all actions are processed via your computer online. In fact, most casino software vendors make online slot machines that rival their land-based counterparts in terms of graphics, gameplay and sound effects.
Some online slots have advantages over physical ones, such as:

Free game options
Higher return rates

You will learn more about the free game options in the next section.

Free slots?

Free slots are a relatively new development in this field. When the only place you can play is a land-based casino, you can’t take advantage of free games.

Online casinos do not worry about how much money they make from each machine, which is why they can afford to offer free slots. These encourage the users to get used to them and eventually start betting real money.

You might be wondering – what’s the point of free slots? The answer is ambiguous. They can be quite useful for people who want to start with them, learn the mechanics of the game, and grasp the mathematics. On the other hand, the whole point of the game is to risk money to make money. If you remove the risk from the equation, all you’re left with are some beautiful lights on the screen and some nice sounds.

Bonuses with free spins

Many experienced gamblers are looking for slots with free spins online. These bonuses are available when fulfilling various conditions of the game. The bonus is extremely attractive and at the same time fun, because you do not have to risk your own money to make any profits.

Casino Slot Strategy

Slot Machine Strategies

Even if you read all the available literature on “slot machine strategies”, this will not increase the chances of a random symbol appearing on the reels. However, you can make some decisions about which games to play.

The more bells and whistles there are, the lower the return rate” – This is one of the most important rules when choosing a slot game. Do keep it in mind.

For example, if a game has a progressive jackpot, it has a lower rate of return than a flat jackpot game. This is because the ever-increasing progressive jackpot must be “powered”, and the money that feeds it is received as a small percentage of each bet.

So which slots to play?

Since we warned you what to watch out for, we should also guide you in what to look for. The truth of the matter is that the slot itself it not important, even if it promises a higher rate of return. What is important is looking for slots that guarantee you a lower return rate over a longer period of time. Observations show that traditional 3-reel, flat-jackpot games have a higher return rate.


Slot machines are one of our favorite topics that we can write a lot about. We hope the guide managed to cover the most important information. There are many more things that we will write about in our upcoming guides.

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