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Slot Machine Terrminology

Some of the more common terminology used in the slot trade are perhaps nice to know but not necessary depending on your personal view of such things.

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.

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

Pay line:
Usually the line in the middle of the slot window but also it can be three lines or even five lines. Only winning symbols on a pay line will drop coins in the tray. Reels: The reels upon which the symbols are displayed, usually three reels but sometimes you will find a two reeler and four or even higher. The more reels the machine has the harder it will be to hit the jackpot.

Payout Percentages:
Payout percentages vary from Casino to Casino and even from slot to slot within a particular Casino. You will often see signs posted regarding the percentage of payout particularly at the dollar carousels. You might see as high as 98.2 % payback, this does not mean that for evry 100.00 you play you will get a return of 98.20, hardly. What it does mean is that over the "long" haul the machine will pay back the posted percentage. Calculated in all of this are the small wins and the jackpot wins, you could put 500.00 into a dollar slot machine and get very little back perhaps a hundrd or two and even less. This does not mean the percentage payout is incorrect, it simply, means that you have not experienced the 98.2% payback. The next guy coming along may feed a few dollars into the slot machine and win a jackpot. In his case the payback far exceeded 98.2% posted on the carousel. And so you can see that over a longer period of time it all averages out to the posted percentage

Progressive Slots:
This type of slot machine offer growing jackpots dependent on the amount of money that was played. A larger bankroll is required and all progressives are at least three coin max slots with two jackpot levels.

Random Number Generator (RNG):
This is the computer program that determines which symbols line up on the reels. Its sole purpose is to generate a sequence of numbers in milliseconds. Each random number it generates corresponds to a reel combination. Even when a slot machine is not being used, the RNG keeps doing its job of generating numbers. Whatever random number was generated the split second you pull the handle (or hit the "bet one" or "max bet" button) will result in the corresponding reel combinations that appear on your screen. The RNG doesn't care how much you bet, whether you bet one coin or five, whether you pulled the handle or hit the spin button, whether it's your first play or last, whether you are winning or losing, or whether you are playing with or without your slot card. It just continually generates random numbers. If you happen to be the lucky player that plays the very split second the RNG generated a number corresponding to a jackpot reel combination, you'll be a big winner.

Reels stand for the number of wheels/reels showing on slot with diffrent symbol combinations; some slot machines have three, but some have five.

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.

Slots tilt usually because they have run out of coins, it happens, or because a coin is jammed in the mechanism. They stop paying and the tilt light comes on. Coins owing the player are held in the slots memory and will pay after corrections have been made to the problem. I have never seen a machine that didn't give out the correct number of coins, regardless of a tilt.

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.

This is where the coins are held in the machine. Often hoppers are filled to overflowing by players, so they don't only run empty they sometime are overflowing. 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.