Slot machines, oftentimes known as fruit machines or pokies, have evolved significantly from their humble beginnings. With the advancement of technology, these machines now offer a plethora of features, bonuses, and terminologies that can be overwhelming for both seasoned players and newcomers alike.
This comprehensive guide aims to demystify these terms to enhance your gaming experience.
3 Reel Slot
Often considered the foundational version of slot machines, the 3 Reel Slot is typically adorned with various symbols. The aim is to match these symbols across the middle line. Some contemporary versions of 3 Reel Slots might also include additional features.
5 Reel Slot
The 5 Reel Slot is a more intricate version of its 3-reel predecessor. With an increased number of reels, it offers more potential winning combinations and often includes additional features and bonus rounds.
243 Ways to Win
Shattering the convention of traditional slots, 243 Ways to Win slots allow players to win by matching symbols from left to right across adjacent reels, regardless of specific lines. This results in even more ways to potentially form a win.
3D Video Slots
3D Video Slots feature more advanced graphics than the typical 2D design commonly used on slot games. These slots feature vibrant graphics and animations that add an extra layer of immersion to your gaming session.
An Active Payline refers to the paylines on which winning combinations can occur for that spin. The number of active paylines can typically be adjusted by the player, allowing them to more finely control their bet size and the number of potential winning chances.
In All Ways slots, winning combinations can form from left to right or right to left as long as the matching symbols are on adjacent reels.
Autospin is a feature that automates the gameplay. Instead of manually clicking the “Spin” button on each round, players can set a specific number of spins, and the machine plays through that many rounds.
Backing is the act of a player supporting another player in the game. This could involve financing their play or simply providing moral support.
“BAR” is a common symbol found in many slot machines. It can come in various forms, such as single, double, or triple BARs.
The Bet refers to the amount of money wagered on a single spin. The size of the Bet can influence potential winnings and losses.
The Bet Max button allows players to wager the maximum permitted amount on a single spin of the slot game.
Conversely, the Bet Min (or Min Bet) is the smallest amount that can be wagered on a single spin.
Bet One is often used in relation to classic slot machines, allowing the player to bet a single coin on the next spin.
Big Bertha refers to oversized slot machines that were popular in the early days of gambling. They often had multiple reels.
A Big Hit means landing a significant win on a spin.
A Bonus Buy feature allows players to purchase direct access to the game’s bonus round. However, this feature may not be available in all jurisdictions. For example, the Bonus Buy feature is not available on slot games in the UK due to UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) regulations.
A Bonus Round is a bonus feature that offers slightly different gameplay than the base game and potentially offers extra winning opportunities. These rounds can vary significantly, ranging from free spins to interactive mini-games.
Branded Slots are ones based on popular franchises, such as films, TV shows, or celebrities. These slots feature characters and themes from the associated brand.
Buy-a-Pay is a unique type of slot machine where each coin inserted provides access to different sets of symbols that can provide a win. However, it’s important to note that the highest wins are usually only available if all options have been bought.
The candle is a light located on top of the slot machine. It flashes if assistance is required from a member of staff.
In slots with a Cascading Reels feature, the winning symbols disappear, and new ones fall from above to fill the spaces left behind, potentially leading to multiple wins in a single spin.
Cashback is a rare casino promotion that offers a percentage of a player’s losses back.
To Cash Out is to convert casino chips or winnings into cash.
Certified Slots are games that have been officially tested and approved for fair play by external parties and gaming authorities.
Classic Slots – sometimes referred to as “fruit machines” – hark back to the early days of slot gaming, featuring timeless symbols like fruits, BARs, and 7s.
The Coin Hopper is a container that holds the coins inside a slot machine. When a player wins, the machine dispenses the winnings from the Hopper.
A Cold Slot is a term used to describe a machine that doesn’t seem to have paid out recently. It’s worth noting that random number generators govern slots, so this is down to perception rather than a statistical fact.
A Cold Streak is a term used when a player goes through a prolonged period without a significant win. It’s important to remember that slot machines use random number generators, so a cold streak is typically down to coincidence, and it doesn’t necessarily indicate that a big win is imminent.
The Collect Button is used to claim any winnings and transfer them to the player’s casino balance.
Comps are complimentary items and services given by casinos to encourage players to stay/keep playing. These can range from free meals and hotel stays to tickets to shows or even airfare, depending on the casino.
Credits are the digital representation of a player’s money in a slot machine used to place bets. These are calculated based on the denomination of the slot machine.
The Credit Meter is a display of the amount of money or number of credits on the machine. On physical slot machines, this is typically an LED display showing the amount won on the previous spin or the total amount of credits available for the next spin.
Demo Slots allow players to play a slot game for free, providing a way to learn the game’s mechanics and features before wagering real money. However, due to regulations, Demo Slots may not be available in all jurisdictions.
Denomination refers to the value assigned to each credit in a slot machine. Different slots have different denominations, allowing players to choose the value of their bets.
Double Up Slots
Double Up Slots provide players with the opportunity to gamble their winnings from a previous spin, potentially doubling their money. It’s a risk-reward feature that can either potentially boost your winnings or leave you with nothing.
Drops refer to features where symbols “drop” into the reels instead of spinning. This can create a unique visual effect and change up the gameplay.
If Expanding Reels is active, some reels can expand to accommodate more symbols, possibly increasing the player’s chances of landing a winning combination.
A Feature refers to a special game or bonus round within the slot that offers additional opportunities to win. These can include free spins, re-spins, pick-me rounds, or interactive storylines.
The Feature Buy option allows players to pay a premium to access the slot’s bonus round without waiting to potentially trigger it. It is the same as bonus buying. Again, this may not be available in all jurisdictions.
Floating Wilds are a type of wild symbol that can change position every time you spin. This feature adds an element of excitement and unpredictability, as you never know where the wild symbols may land next.
Free Spins are a common feature in many slot machines. Triggering Free Spins allows players to spin the reels a set number of times without using their own credits.
Fixed Value Slots
Fixed Value Slots have a set Jackpot or top prize that does not change; it stays at a constant value or constant multiplier of the total bet.
A Five Liner is a classic slot machine with five paylines, offering players five potential ways to form a win. This is a perfect option for those who prefer a simple and straightforward gameplay experience.
A Fruit Machine is a specific type of classic slot machine that typically features fruit symbols like cherries, lemons, and plums. They are a nod to the early days of slot gaming and are a staple of many casinos.
Some slots offer a Gamble Feature that allows players to try and double their winnings by guessing the outcome of a game of chance. It is an optional feature that allows players to stake their winnings for the chance to potentially increase them.
Grid Slots do away with the typical reel setup and feature a grid of symbols that can lead to potential wins in various ways. Grid slots often use cluster pays instead of paylines.
Hawking means to constantly play slots. It serves as a reminder to gamble responsibly and avoid chasing losses, as the outcome of slot games is determined by random number generators and not by how long you play.
A “Hit” in slots refers to a winning spin. It can be a small win or a massive Jackpot; a hit is simply a spin that results in some form of win for the player.
Hit and Run
The Hit and Run strategy involves aiming for a quick win and then cashing out, moving on to another machine or leaving the casino. It’s a strategy preferred by some players who believe in leaving as soon as they’ve had a win.
Hit Frequency is a statistical metric indicating how often a slot machine is likely to award a winning spin. It’s a useful indicator for players, providing them with an idea of how frequently they can expect to win.
Hold refers to the average percentage of each wager that a slot machine retains for the casino over time as profit. For example, if a slot has a 5% hold, it means that the slot averages out as taking 5% of all bets placed on the slot as a profit in the long run and averages out as returning 95% of each wager back out to the players as winnings.
Hold Percentage is another way of expressing the casino’s edge over players. It represents the average portion of each wager the casino keeps, typically as a percentage.
Hot Slots are machines that appear to be paying out frequently or that have recently delivered a big win or numerous wins. While this term is commonly used, it’s important to remember that slot outcomes are determined by random number generators, and the chances of landing a win on a given slot are the same on every single spin. So, whether a machine is “hot” or “cold” is down to coincidence.
The Hopper is a container that holds the coins inside a slot machine. If a player wins, the machine dispenses the winnings from the Hopper.
Icons is another term for symbols. So, the various symbols displayed on the reels can also be called icons. These can include fruits, numbers, letters, and images related to the slot’s theme.
An Instant Winner is a slot machine that pays out a prize as soon as a player spins the reels – i.e. on their first spin.
i-Slots are a product of the digital age. These interactive slots often feature characters and storyline narratives that progress as you play, making the game experience more engaging.
The Jackpot can be one of the highest possible payouts in the game or the highest possible win in a game.
Jackpot King is a popular progressive Jackpot system from Blueprint Gaming that links a number of their slot games, with all of them contributing to a single massive Jackpot prize. The prize increases as a portion of each bet placed on every participating slot contributes to it.
The Lever is a classic component of older slot machines and led to them also being known as “one-armed bandits”. Pulling the Lever was the original way to set the reels in motion, before the move to pressing a button.
A Line in slots refers to a payline. It is the pattern that matching symbols must land in to form a winning combination. The number of lines can vary from one to hundreds, depending on the slot.
The Line Bet is the amount wagered per payline in a multi-line slot.
Linked Progressive Jackpot
Slots can be part of a network that contributes to a single Jackpot known as a Linked Progressive Jackpot. The bets placed on any connected machine contribute to the prize, and any player playing one of these slots can potentially win this Jackpot.
A Loose Slot is a machine that appears to pay out more frequently compared to others. It’s a term often used by players to describe a slot machine that they believe is more likely to pay out.
The Maximum Bet is the highest possible wager that can be placed on a single spin on a slot.
The Max Bet button allows players to wager the maximum permitted amount on a single spin of the slot game. It’s an easy way for players to instantly bet the highest amount without having to cycle through all of the other bet amounts first.
The Minimum Bet is the smallest amount that can be wagered on a spin of the slot.
Megabucks is a popular and well-known slot game famous for its huge Jackpot prizes.
Megaclusters is a slot mechanic where winning symbols can split into smaller ones. It’s a unique feature that can lead to more potential wins and adds another level of excitement to the gaming experience.
Megaways slots offer an increased number of ways to win. The number of symbols on each reel can change with every spin, resulting in a different number of ways to win on each spin. They can offer thousands of potential ways to win on some spins.
Multi-Denomination slots are machines that accept a variety of denominations. This allows players to choose the value of each credit, offering more flexibility in terms of betting amounts.
Multi-line slots are slot games that feature multiple paylines – i.e. players can bet on more than one payline at a time. Multi-line slots can offer fixed paylines (the number is the same on each spin) or adjustable paylines, where the player can change the number of active paylines if they desire.
Multi-way slots are ones that offer numerous ways to win. Ways to win are different to paylines in that players only need to land matching symbols on adjacent reels starting from the leftmost reel, but they can be in any position – as opposed to following a specific pattern.
A Near Miss is when a player is only a symbol or two away from a win or triggering a bonus feature or jackpot.
A Nudge is when a slot allows players to move a single reel down one position. This was a common feature of retro slot machines that is still available in some modern iterations. It can be a saving grace for players that experience a near miss.
One-Armed Bandit is simply another name for a slot machine. It is a call back to when slots operated using a lever, which stuck out like a single arm.
The Payback Percentage is the other side of the Hold Percentage. It is the amount of each bet that the slot averages out as paying back to players in the long run. It is a theoretical value based on a large sample of spins.
A payline is the pattern on which matching symbols must land in order to form a winning combination and award a payout.
The payline indicators are the numbered nodes on the sides of the reels that, when hovered over, reveal the pattern of an active payline.
The payline pattern is the shape the payline takes. It could be a straight line through a single row or on a diagonal, or it could be zig-zagged through multiple rows.
A Payout is the prize for forming a winning combination. It is typically a multiple of the bet amount.
The Paytable is essentially the guide to the slot game. It is an information page that explains the different symbols and their potential payouts, the different features available and how to trigger them, as well as statistical information on the slot games, such as the volatility and Return To Player (RTP) value.
Penny slots are slot games that offer a low minimum bet amount, oftentimes literally offering a minimum bet of £0.01.
Pokies is another name for slot machines.
The Primary Jackpot in a slot is the main/biggest jackpot prize available in a slot that offers more than one jackpot prize.
Progressive Jackpots are jackpot prizes that continue to grow because a portion of each bet placed on a participating slot contributes to the pot.
Random Number Generator (RNG)
A Random Number Generator (RNG) is the software behind the outcome of slot machines. It uses complex algorithms to generate random number sequences at high speeds. Each sequence corresponds to a random array of symbols on the reels, thereby producing an unpredictable outcome.
Reels are the rotating columns of slot machines that hold the symbols.
Reel Modifiers are mechanics or special features that can switch up the behaviour of the reels in a slot game. Reel modifiers can involve adding extra wilds, expanding the reels, or removing certain symbols, and more.
Reel Stop is the moment the reels cease to spin and display the outcome of the round.
Repsins are a common feature in slot games. It sees the reels – or a select few reels – spin again without the need to place an additional bet.
The Rows on a slot machine are the number of symbol positions on each reel in a slot game.
Return to Player Rate (RTP)
The Return To Player (RTP) rate is a theoretical value that indicates the portion of each bet placed on a slot game that it averages out as paying back to players over a long period.
For example, a slot with an RTP rate of 94% eventually averages out as paying £94 back out to players for every £100 wagered, in theory.
The Scatter Symbol is a special bonus symbol that awards payouts if enough land in view in a single spin; they don’t have to be on adjacent reels or along a payline. They can also be responsible for triggering bonus features in some slot games.
A Skill Bonus is a bonus feature that may require some degree of skill on the player’s part in order to achieve a win.
Skill Stop is a feature that allows players to stop the reels to try to manually form a winning combination. This requires a degree of skill from the player, kind of like trying to hit a moving target. This feature is not available in some jurisdictions.
A Short Win is a small, unexpected win on a slot game.
Slingo is a type of casino game that incorporates elements of slot games and bingo. Players spin the reel to try to match the numbers on a grid in a specific number of turns.
Slots Club is a loyalty scheme offered by some casinos.
A Slot Host is an employee of the casino whose role is to deal with the needs and requests of slot players.
A Slot Tournament is an event where numerous players compete to achieve the highest winnings in an allotted amount of time.
Slant Top slot machines are ones that include a stool that players can sit on as they play.
Sound of Rain
The Sound of Rain means the sound of the coins clinking into the prize tray after landing a win.
A Spin is simply one go or round on a slot machine. You place a bet, press the Spin button, watch the reels in motion and then see the outcome of the round once they come to a stop.
Stacked Symbols are matching symbols in vertically adjacent positions to each other on the same reel.
Stacked Wilds are the same as Stacked Symbols except displaying Wild symbols instead of standard ones.
Symbols are the icons/images that appear on the reels of a slot game.
A Three-Liner is a slot machine that offers 3 fixed paylines. It is common in retro-themed slot games.
Tight Slots are ones that apparently do not pay out as much to players as others. They are the opposite of Loose Slots.
Tilt refers to the frame of mind of a player who is playing with heightened negative emotions, such as frustration, and therefore making poor decisions.
The Total Bet is the whole amount the player wagers on a round/spin of a slot game.
A Trail is a feature in some slot games that sees players move along a trail by landing specific symbols or combos, with potential bonuses offered at certain points along the trail.
Tumbling Reels are the same as Cascading Reels. The winning symbols are removed, and new ones drop from above to fill the gaps and possibly form new winning combos in the same round.
Variance indicates a slot’s theoretical behaviour in the long run in terms of payout size and frequency. Low variance slots typically award smaller wins, but wins are likely to land more frequently, whereas high variance slots typically award larger wins, but wins are likely to be less frequent.
Video slots are modern slot machines that feature a fully electronic display and mechanisms, allowing for more detailed graphics, animations and features.
The Virtual Reel determines the positions of the symbols on the physical reels you see. It is the intermediary point between the RNG and the outcome on the reels.
Volatility and Variance are used interchangeably. So, volatility also refers to the slot payout size and frequency.
Wager is another term for bet or stake – i.e. the money bet on a spin.
A Wild Symbol is another special symbol that can substitute for the standard symbols to possibly help complete winning combinations.
A Wild Multiplier is a symbol that can substitute for standard symbols and multiply the payout of any winning combinations it contributes to.
A Win in slots means the player has landed symbols in such an order that the slot machine awards a payout.
A Winning Combination is a sequence of matching symbols that have landed in an order that results in a payout, whether it is along a payline or on adjacent reels from left to right, depending on the slot game’s rules.
Win-Both-Ways slots are ones that allow winning combinations to form from right to left as well as the typical left to right.
Zig-Zag refers to paylines that are not straight lines.