Glossary of Slots Terms

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Basic Machines

Machines with a simple, straightforward payout scheme. Examples: Double Jackpots, Crazy Doublers, Double Diamonds, Mag Sevens, Black Golds, Ten Grands, Blazing Sevens, Flaming Sevens, Home Runs, Red White Blues.

Big Bertha
An oversized machine from the electro-mechanical slots era, characterized by a huge handle, and containing eight to ten reels.

Bonus Feature
Free spins and/or a bonus round available on some machines.

Bonus Multiplier Slots
Machines offering proportionally larger top jackpots when you play max coins. The top jackpot symbol, (usually 7s) pays when max coins are deposited.

Each coin triggers a specific symbol payout. For example, one coin might trigger cherries to pay while two coins might trigger cherries and bars to pay, and three coins might trigger cherries, bars and 7s to pay.

A group of interlinked slot machines, sometimes on a round platform in the middle of the casino floor.

Coins Size
Coin size is a unit of measure, the denomination or the value of each coin that the machine accepts. If the machine accepts quarters, then the coin size is 25¢ regardless of the number of coins you bet.

Computer Selection Table
The table in the computer chip that contains all possible symbol combinations and provides the designated payout percentage. The spinning reels are simply a visual enhancement; the computer table determines the outcome of each spin.

Credit Meter
Tallies the credits earned rather than dropping coins in the tray after each win.

Double Machines
When designated symbols line up, double machines pay double or triple winnings.

A machine that pays double winnings if a designated symbol lands in conjunction with other paying symbols.

Down Slot
The machine has a low average payout.

Drop Through
A coin that drops through to the tray without registering before the spin. Drop throughs can result in a player mistakenly playing fewer than max coins.

A full hopper.

Full Pay Machines
Machines paying a larger payoff for full-coin pay.

The location inside the machine where the money is stored.

The largest prize at any given slot machine.

Liberty Bell
An early slot machine invented by Charles Fey.

Loose Slots
Machines with a higher payoff.

Low Level
Slot machines where players can sit and play.

Max Bet
The maximum number of coins allowed on each spin. Often, you must play the max bet on a machine to qualify for the jackpot.

Mills Slots
The predecessor to modern slots: the first to use standard fruit symbols, the first with a jackpot'invention credited to Charles Fey.

Slot machines with two or more pay lines.

Multiplier Slots
Machines that pay on a graduated scale. For example, a winner plays one coin and receives 5 coins, pays 2 coins and receives 10 or more coins, etc.

Near Misses
One-half turn of one reel away from a jackpot. The computer selection table can include many near misses for each actual jackpot hit.

Number of Coins Bet
The number of coins bet is always a multiple of the coin size For example, if you're playing a 25¢ machine and you deposit three quarters or in any manner bet 75¢ on a spin, your number of coins bet is three.

One-Armed Bandit
Popular slang for slot machine.

Slot players who bet one coin per spin.

Random short-term statistical trends, not to be confused with long-term statistical averages. The short-term trend may be better or worse than the long-term average.

Pay Cycle
The commonly held belief that slot machines run on pay cycles: after taking a certain amount of money, the machine pays out a certain amount of money. This is why people look for a machine that hasn't 'hit' for a period of time. In reality, slot machines pay out on a percentage basis over a long period of time, typically up to one year, not in short-term cycles.

Pay For Play Machines
Slot machines with the option of playing 1-3 coins. Winnings are proportionally higher for each additional coin after the first coin (called a staggered payout).

Pay Line
Usually the line in the center in the window, the line on which the designated symbols must align in order to receive a payout. Some machines have multiple pay lines.

Pay Table
The pay table is the section of the slot machine (usually at the top) that lists all pertinent information about payoffs. It includes the payoffs for each winning combination; any bonus features, and if the max coin bet pays any bonus. Payouts are quoted in number of coins.

The winnings a machine pays out in relation to the amount of money put in, stated as a percentage.

Payout Percentage
The percentage that the slot machine returns to the player, often calculated over a year's time.

Primary Jackpot
The big jackpot for any machine'rarely hit.

Slots offering the largest jackpots. Machines have a base jackpot figure which grows with each coin played. After a jackpot is won, the machine is reset to the base jackpot.

Progressive Jackpot
The top jackpot that grows progressively as more coins are dropped into the machine. Machines are sometimes linked together among several casinos to form a larger combined jackpot.

Progressive Slots
A linked group of slots with a growing common jackpot. The amount of the jackpot depends on the amount of money played in all machines. When a jackpot is won, the jackpot is reset to the low jackpot, where it begins to accumulate again with each coin played.

Three or more rotating barrels with symbols. The object is to line up the symbols in a winning pattern.

Random Number Generator. Computerized slots are programmed by the manufacturer to randomly select numbers on a continuous basis whether the machine is in play or standing idle. Each number corresponds to a pattern of symbols, with the fewest numbers corresponding to jackpots. The same chip that generates the numbers is programmed with the slot's average payout, and determines the generated numbers based on the average payout.

A defined period of time to play the slots or to play on one slot machine, rather than endless play with no built-in goals or stop loss.

Short Win
Large jackpot won in a short period of time with a small cash outlay.

Sizzling Slot
A slot with a high payoff.

Slot Placement
The physical location of slot machines, usually mixing tight slots and loose slots, and often placing loose slots in high-traffic locations.

Slot Schedule
Information, such as type of slot, coin denomination and winning amounts, posted on the front of each slot machine.

Slot Testing
System used by slot players. Slot testers play a single roll of coins all the way through without taking any winnings in an attempt to determine the possible payout for the machine.

Slot Types
Two major types: basic, straight, or flat-top, which pays out a static top jackpot, and progressive, which pays out a dynamic jackpot, dependent on coins taken in by a group of linked machines.

Mixing loose slots and tight slots according to a slot placement plan. Loose slots are often placed in high-traffic locations to tempt casino patrons and encourage play.

Slots Drop
Amount of money dropped into the slot.

Slots Hold
The opposite of slot payout; this is the percentage that the house keeps.

Sound of Rain
The sound of coins dropping after a payout.

Sputtering Slot
Slot with a low average payout.

Stand Up
Slots that require players to stand while playing.

A jackpot that is pre-determined and does not change.

Straight Slots
Machines that pay out fixed amounts that are posted on the front of the machine.

The images on the reel. Symbols can be anything, but often include cherries, lemons and 7s.

Take Cycle
The opposite of a pay cycle'the belief that the machine will not pay out until taking in a predetermined amount of coins.

Tight Slots
Machines with lower payouts.

When a slot machine locks up due to a malfunction, the tilt light illuminates, and an attendant resets the machine. The machine has run out of coins, a coin has jammed, or the hopper is full. If you deposited money or if you won money, the machine has a memory, and the attendant will ensure that you get your winning or get your coin back.

Up Slot
The machine has a high average payout.

Video Machines
A slot machine using video to simulate spinning reels.

The container at the bottom of the machine where winning coins fall.

Wild Symbol
The slot machine equivalent of a joker symbol in cards.