Having a better understanding of the different types of slot machines is an important step to getting the most out of your slot machine experience. Whether you are entering an online slots website or an exciting Vegas casino, your slots environment is going to be vibrant and diverse. The sheer choice and variety of all the different slots games can be overwhelming as it is enticing. To help you find your way around, we will explore and explain 5 types of slot machines that you are likely to encounter.
1. Back to Basics: Three Reel Classic Slots
Three reel slots are also referred to as classic slots. Classic slot machines came into existence back in 1899 and they have remained popular until this day. If you prefer simplicity over excess, then classic slots are the way to go. The traditional slot machine is made up of an intricate mechanism containing physical wheels with symbols. Each reel might contain anywhere between 10-32 symbols, also referred to as stops. Online slots are not restricted by physical space so they can be programmed to contain many more symbols/stops. The number of stops per reel will naturally affect your odds and payout. Slot players have the option of pressing a button or pulling a lever on the side of the slot machine to spin the reels. The lever is an iconic feature of land based slot machines and is the inspiration behind the term ‘one armed bandit’. When three identical symbols line up, this constitutes a win! These days, five reel slots and even seven reel slots have become incredibly popular. They maintain the classic principles and simple qualities of three reel slots, but add a more variety and excitement to the game. To add to that, games with additional reels are more challenging to win, therefore more reels usually equal an even bigger jackpot!
To sum it up:
- Three reel slots are the foundation and basis for all modern day slots games
- Slot reels contain a number of symbols and when the symbols line up, this constitutes a win
- Online slots technology allows for more symbols (aka stops) per reel plus bigger jackpots
- 5 reel slots are hugely popular today as they bring more excitement to the game
2. More Lines More Fun: Multi Payline Slots
Early classic slot machines contained just one payline, simply meaning that if three identical symbols land on the one line, it’s a win. These days however, it is a common scenario to have a five reel slots game with multiple paylines. In multi line games you can wager on one line or anywhere up to 20 multiple lines. When you wager on one line, it’s usually the middle line. When more lines are involved you can make a winning pattern using two or three symbols from several lines. In a 20 line slots game, for example, your chances of winning something are much higher because you are covering a lot of ground, although it will likely cost you more too. Sometimes you can improve your odds even further by increasing the number of credits wagered per line. It’s true that the busy visuals and complex patterns of multi payline slots can be somewhat overwhelming, however the extra focus and patience usually pay off!
To sum it up:
- Classic slots contain just one payline
- Multi payline machines provide the chance to bet on one or many paylines
- Winning paylines comprise of a pattern containing 2-3 symbols from each line
- The more lines, the higher your chances of winning something
3. 80’s Nostalgia: Video Slots
In the 1970’s slots transitioned from electronics into the video era. The first video slot machine, aptly named ‘Fortune Coin’, was invented by Walt Fraley and first hit casino floors in 1975. However, it wasn’t until the early 1980’s that video casino games earned public trust and really took off. Video revolutionized the industry because this new technology was not constrained by physical mechanics or dimensions. A video slot machine has digital spinning reels displayed on a screen and a spin button that you press to spin the reels. Video slots come with a variety of line counts, graphics and bet options that are way beyond the capacity of a traditional mechanical machine. Video poker also became hugely popular during the 80’s and the two are a staple fixture in land based casinos to this day. Video technology also enabled the introduction of bonus games and free rounds, plus the linking of machines for progressive jackpots. The combination of unlimited line counts and betting options, coupled with alluring bonuses, graphics and progressive jackpots are what turned video slot machines into a huge money making industry. You could also say that video slots paved the way for the bustling world of online games that we see here today.
To sum it up:
- The first video slot machine came about in 1975
- In the 1980’s video slots and video poker became a focal point in land based casinos and they remain so until today
- Video technology enabled the introduction of bonus games, free rounds and progressive jackpots, turning slots into a huge money spinner
- Video slots were a precursor to online slots
4. Power to the People: Progressive Slots
Shortly after the invention of video slots, progressive slots were introduced. In a progressive slot machine, the jackpot grows as more people play until someone hits the jackpot. At first this took the form of a cumulative jackpot in one machine, but soon it became apparent that many machines could be linked together to produce much larger jackpots. Money from all the slot machines in one casino could be pooled together. Machines could even be linked across various locations, on a national scale! Slots caused a stir by becoming a new breed of lottery. As you can imagine, with online casinos, the sky is the limit as thousands of computers across the globe can be linked to one progressive jackpot. By linking jackpots, both land based and online casinos have the ability to accumulate multi-million dollar jackpots which can grow fast and hit often.
To sum it up:
- Progressive slots came about soon after the invention of video slots
- In progressive slots, the jackpot grows and grows until somebody wins, just like the lottery
- A progressive jackpot can be limited to one slot machine, or it can be linked to hundreds if not thousands of slot machines or computers
- Progressive slots can produce massive jackpots
5. Not Just in the Movies: 3-D Slots
To keep players interested, slot machine producers introduced 3 dimensional characters and narratives to their games. With computer technology, this is easier than ever to accomplish but it also means that there is stiff competition as designers keep pushing the creative boundaries. As a player, you may now discover slots symbols that move and jump around or animated cartoon characters and games based on your favourite films and television shows. These days you can find a dynamic slots game to fit every genre, from action and adventure to romance or whatever tickles your fancy. Slots game developers even invent new narratives and characters that become iconic in their own right. Naturally, the larger more reputable gaming companies will have the largest budgets, so they are more likely to produce the most interesting 3-D slots games with the highest production values. This works in favour of the player as it is always better and safer to choose a more established and reputable gaming site.
To sum it up:
- To keep slots interesting, game producers introduced 3 dimensional elements to the game
- Designers are constantly pushing creative boundaries in order to stay on top of their game (literally)
- These days it is common to find 3-D slots games that are based upon popular culture, tv and film
- The larger and more established the gaming company, the better your slots game is likely to be
Slot machines have a long and colourful history and they are a fascinating product of the industrial and technological revolutions. To date, there are so many different types of slot machines and countless dynamics to the game. It’s best to just pick the game and conditions that speak to you the most and, as always, remember to have fun with it and play responsibly.