Slots Dictionary - Glossary of Slots Related Terms

Listed below are some terms and definitions which are associated with slots gambling. Some are relevant to online slots gambling, some to land based slots and some towards both. Although you do not necessarily need to know these to play slots it's a good idea to read over them so when you visit a casino you'll know what everybody is talking about.

Bonus Feature - Some of the newer slot machines have an added special feature that once activated will automatically give you free spins or a bonus round where you will win additional coins.

Coins Size - This is the amount of each bet; on most machines you can play more than one coin. Common coin sizes range from one cent to five dollars.

Hit Frequency - Refers the frequency at which winning spins occur. A larger hit frequency is better than one that's lower, although you have to take the machines pay cycle into account, which can make measuring this difficult.

Hopper - This term is associated with land-based slot machines. It is the place where the coins you put in are stored. Often hoppers are filled to overflowing by its players, so hoppers don't only run empty, they sometimes overflow. When this happens the excess coins drop into a bucket underneath the hopper. This is the profit the casino takes. The buckets are usually emptied in the early morning hours when the traffic is light.

Free Spins - These are spins which are awarded for free when a certain combination of generally "usually 3 scatter symbols or more" appear on the screen.

Fill - When hoppers run out of coins, a fill is called for, which simply means an attendant gets a bag of coins from the cashier and refills the empty hopper.

Hold and Re-Spin - A version of slots that allows the player to hold one or more reels and spin a second time with the goal of improving the result.

Hold - This is the percentage of coins played that are held by the machine, the house profit. In most cases this number is roughly 3% to 15% and up.

Loose/Tight Slots - Loose slots will have better payoffs, as high as a ‘certified’ 100%, on average over a period time. Tight slots are the opposite.

Multiline - Slot versions having more than two pay lines to form winning combinations.

Pay line - In general the pay line refers to the line in the middle of the slot window but also it can be three or even five lines. Only winning symbols on a pay line will drop coins in the tray.

Progressive Jackpot - This is a top prize that grows as people play. Often these machines are linked up at several casinos so the jackpots can grow very large. As always "reading" the machine before you play is a must.

RNG-Random Number Generator - A computer chip placed inside the slot by the manufacturer that randomly selects hundreds of numbers and symbols every second at a rate faster than you can push the spin button and even when it is idle. Each number corresponds to a certain symbol combination that is randomly chosen after the spin button is activated. The fewest programmed combos are for the top jackpot. This program computer chip is also designed to determine that particular slot's average payout percentage. No slot will pay back its preset payoff percentage rate every time because the final outcome of every spin is randomly selected.

Reels - The reels upon which the symbols are displayed, usually three reels but sometimes you will find a two reel, four or even higher. The more reels the machine has the harder it will be to hit the jackpot.

Scatter - These are symbols that produce a win regardless of if they are in order or even on a payline. A combination of two or more of these symbols scattered throughout the visible symbols generally on a 5 line slot machine will yield a win.

Symbols - The icons or symbols that appear on the reels are of an infinite variety and can be practically anything that the manufacturers and the casinos can dream up.

Pay Cycle - It is a widely held belief that slots go through pay cycles, which means that, after taking in a number of coins they must pay out in order to meet the percentage payout that has been programmed into the software.

Take Cycle - This is the opposite of the pay cycle. If you subscribe to the pay/take philosophy then you believe that a pay cycle is followed by a take cycle, whereby you may get the odd small hit but essentially it's feeding time for the slot.

Virtual Reels - Found on most bonus slots allowing computerized selection of reel results. Reel combos are given a series of different numbers that are then selected by the RNG.

Wild Symbol - A symbol is considered a wild symbol if it can be substituted for other symbols in order to form a winning combination.

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