Slots, slot machines, pokies, fruit machines, one-arm bandits, no matter what the preferred name is in your part of the world, slots have been capturing imaginations and entertaining people for more than 120 years. Before we explore what modern video slots have to offer, let’s take a brief look at the history of these legendary entertainment and gambling machines.
Although you might associate them with the bright lights, luscious graphics, and jarring sounds of the casino floor, slot machines are one of the oldest casino games around. The first machine we can now identify as being the earliest slot machine was an invention by an American named Charles Fey. In 1887 he changed the course of casino gaming history when he put together a mechanical device which featured three reels and five symbols — which included the Liberty Bell, horseshoe, heart, diamond and spade. This early prototype was named the Liberty Bell and established the basic shape, format, and mechanics that contemporary video slot machines replicate today.
This basic prototype was adapted and improved many times over the late 19th and early 20th century. For many years after, the machines remained purely mechanical, in line with Fey’s original design. The next significant evolutions in slot machine design wouldn’t come until the 1960s when slot machines began to move away from the classic lever, spring, and reel design of the older devices. The first fully electromechanical slot machine arrived on the scene in 1964. Developed by the Bally company it was called ‘Money Honey’.
That machine used the same basic shape and structure of the classic mechanical slot machine but replaced the internal workings with entirely electric ones. From that point, there was a slow but steady shift to the fully computerised we see in casinos all over the world today. Nowadays, most casino games have moved on from actual machines and use software-based slot machines to play. Despite this completely virtual format, however, they still replicate many of the same features and aesthetics of Fey’s prototype.
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Although the basic format of slot machine games has remained relatively consistent through a 150+ year history, there are today a huge variety of slot games out there. But with so many different types of slot machines and a seemingly never-ending array of game formats, how can we tell them apart?
The number of reels present is what is used to categorise slots. The most common type of slot machines are three-reel and five-reel slots, although you can also see seven-reel and even nine-reel machines. The ‘reel’ in a slot machine is simply the vertical wheels on which the pictures you need to match are displayed. Generally speaking, the more reels on offer, the more difficult it will be to win, and the bigger the potential payout that you can then withdraw using your preferred payment/withdrawal method.
Another way of distinguishing slot machines is whether it is a ‘classic’ slot machine or a ‘video’ slot. Some casinos still offer fully mechanical slot machines, although they tend to have fewer features than the newer devices. The most common type of slot machine today is video slots, which use software and sophisticated algorithms to replicate the mechanical insides of classic slot machines.
You will also see slot machines differentiated by the type of bonus on offer. Bonus spin slots offer bonus spins as their most common prize, while jackpot slots have a fixed amount you can win if you hit the big jackpot. You might also see ‘progressive jackpot’ slot machines, which use a system where a percentage of the combined bets of players are pooled into a giant prize pool that individual players attempt to win.
Given how wildly popular online slot games are these days, it is no surprise that many developers have emerged. Of the many out there, Microgaming is probably the most well-known, in part due to how long it has been around. These days, however, there are hundreds of developers specialising in online casino games. Some of the most popular are NetEnt, BetSoft, Yggdrasil, Quickfire, Play’n GO, Real-Time Gaming, and Playtech.
Unlike the more strategic games such as poker and blackjack, slot machines are a game of pure chance, which is what makes them so exciting to play! As such, there aren’t any strategies or quick tips you can do to guarantee a victory in a given game. You simply have to play it safe and hope your luck doesn’t run out.
One of the most common myths about slot games is that there are certain times of the day when they are more likely to payout. A lot of people swear that in quieter times of the day, such as the early morning or late at night, slot games are more likely to pay out as fewer other players are draining the game of its quota of player winnings. However, this is simply not the case as all online slot games nowadays are run by ‘RNG’ or Random Number Generator software. As such, there is no sure-fire way to predict when a machine or game will payout.
Although some players swear that they feel luckier in the morning or at night, there is no logic behind this perception, given how slot machine games work these days. Online slots and video slots are run by software that generates random numbers, which then dictate which reels/pictures you get given in a particular game. As such, there is nothing you can do to guarantee your chances of success — you simply have to put some time in at a machine.
Playing with real money adds to your overall playing experience — there is nothing quite as exciting as winning big!
Playing with real money gives you the opportunity to take advantage of deposit bonuses and free spin offers when you first sign up to an account.
Playing slots for real money is an excellent way of combining a fun, relaxing pastime with a way of making a little extra cash on the side — if you get lucky, of course!
One of the essential pieces of information to keep in mind when you are choosing a slot game to play is the RTP rate. It tells you how often, on average, the game in question pays out winnings to players.
Several online casinos may give you the option of trying out games before playing for real money. That allows you to try it out before committing any cash to the platform. Additionally, when you do play for real money, many online casinos will give you free spins as a bonus when you sign up to a casino for the first time, or if you are a loyal customer. Be sure to take advantage of any bonuses on offer when you sign up!