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How to Read a Slot Machine

Most people look at the vast array of slot machines at the casino and think they are all alike. They see a handle, coin slot and flashing lights and figure one is as good as another. What they are missing is a lot of valuable information that can help determine if and how they play a certain slot machine.
Not all machines are the same and the way to separate one machine from another is to learn how to "Read" a machine by looking at the pay out schedule on the front. Lets take a look a typical slot machine and see what information can be found.
First of all you will find the denomination of the coin needed to play that machine. I don't know how many times I have seen a person drop a quarter into a machine only to get a confused look when the coin drops through and back into the tray. Upon closer observation they discover that they tried to put a quarter in a dollar machine. This is the first thing you should look for. There are several types of machines that you need to be aware of:

This machine has a pay out for a certain symbol and the number of coins played multiplies it. If the machine pays 5 coins for three lemons when you play one coin, it would pay 10 for the second coin and 15 for three coins played. This machine does not penalize you for not playing maximum coins. If you plan to play only one coin at a time, this is the type of machine you should look for.

Bonus Multiplier:
This machine operates the same as the multiplier except that it offers a bonus when you play maximum coins and hit the jackpot. Three 7's may pay 1,000 for one coin, 2,000 for two coins and 10,000 for maximum coins. You need to decide if the bonus is worth playing the extra coin.

Multiple Payline:
These machines have more than one line of play. Each coin activates a particular line. If you hit a winner on a line that is not activated, you will not receive anything. The older machines used to have three lines but the newer video slots can have up to nine lines.

Buy A Pay:
These are the most misunderstood machines in the casino. Each coin activates a different pay out. You need the maximum coins to activate the largest jackpot. One example is the "Sizzlin 7's" machines. The machine will pay on cherries, bars and sevens. The sevens pay 1,000 coins. If you play one coin you can collect only on the cherries. If you play two coins you can collect on cherries and bars. You need three coins in to collect on the Sizzlin 7's. If you hit the jackpot with one coin in YOU WILL NOT WIN ANYTHING!!! Do not play this machine under any circumstances unless you are playing the maximum coins.

Progressive Slots:
The progressive slots take a certain percentage of the money played and add it to a pool for the top jackpot. "Megabucks" or "Quarter Mania" are examples of machines from several casinos linked together to offer a life changing jackpot. Keep in mind that the percentage of the payback on the lesser wins is lowered to allow for the big prize. Some casinos have machines linked together within their own casino to offer mini-progressive jackpots. NEVER PLAY A PROGRESSIVE WITH LESS THAN MAXMIMUM COINS!! There is a story circulating that a lady hit the "Megabucks" when the jackpot was 20 million but because she only had one coin in she collected only $5,000. While this is an "Urban Legend" there are other cases of people losing out on lesser progressive jackpots because of short coin play.

All of the slot machines have the information you need posted on the front. Before you sit down to play, take a minute to "Read" the machine. This will make you a knowledgeable player and help you determine which machine is best suited for you.