How Slot Machines Work


A thin opening or groove, such as the one in a door or window. Also, a position within a group, series, sequence, or rank.

A machine in a casino that accepts cash or, with “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, paper tickets with barcodes that can be scanned by the machine to verify the player’s identity and eligibility for payouts. The machine then spins reels that rearrange symbols to match a winning combination on the paytable, awarding credits to the player based on the symbols and their positions. Many slot games have a theme, and the symbols used to represent them vary by machine.

Whether in person or online, playing slots doesn’t require the same kind of instincts and strategies as other gambling games such as blackjack or poker, but understanding how they work can help players maximize their chances of winning.

The first step in any slot machine’s sequence is to record a number by the random-number generator, which assigns each possible symbol on every reel a specific probability. Whenever the machine receives a signal — whether from the button being pressed or the handle being pulled, for example — the computer reads the three-number sequence and stops the reels at their corresponding locations.

The next step is to’map’ the numbers to a sequence table, which translates the sequence into a series of stop positions for each reel. This map is stored in the microprocessors that run each slot machine. When the map is mapped, the machine can determine which stop will land on the symbol it needs to match to its paytable.

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