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Slots Dictionary of Terms

Below you'll find a listing of terms associated with slots (some are used more frequently then others but it's still wise to learn them an know their meanings). You don't really need to know any proper terms to play slots but you may hear them form time to time and wonder what they mean. We've only touched on the terms that are associated with slot machines and slots gambling but if you visit Dictionary of Gambling you'll find several other slots gambling terms from A - Z.

Coin Size - The size of each bet played at the slot machine. More than one coin can be played per spin of the wheel.

Coins Per Spin - The number of coins you can play for each pull / spin of the wheels

Fill - 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.

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

Loose/Tight Slots - Loose slots have a higher payout over a period of time. Usually achieved by having more payout symbols. The opposite is true for tight slots.

One Armed Bandit - A popular slang term for the slot machine.

Pay line - In general this is the middle line of the slots window, but can vary depending on the type of slots and the number of pay lines offered. Some slot machines offer five pay lines and can offer up to 9 pay lines in some cases.

Payout Percentages - The measurement of a machine, calculated by the number of times a given set of symbols occurs in the computer selection table multiplied by its particular coin payout. All these payouts are added up and divided by the total possible combinations. The result is a percentage that, over the long run, the machine will return to the player. The range, practically, is 85 to 100 percent with few in the 97 to 100 category. The slot manager when ordering the machine, to provide the casino’s mix of machines, and move his overall payout up or down, determines this number.

Pay Table - The schedule posted on a slot machine that shows how much is paid for each winning combination.

Progressive Jackpot - This is a top prize that grows as people play. Often these machines are linked up at several casinos so the jackpots can grow very large. As always "reading" the machine before you play is a must.

Progressive Slots - Offer growing jackpots dependent upon amount of dollars played through the linked bank/carousel slots. A larger bankroll is required and all progressives are at least three coin max slots with two jackpot levels - primary and secondary. When either jackpot wins, values are reset to minimums for each. Max play is mandatory here.

Random Number Generator (RNG) - The heart of a slot machine. The RNG randomly generates numbers that determine the winning combinations. More about the Random Number Generator

Reels - Wheels/reels showing on slot with symbol combinations imprinted: usually three, but some slots have five. Always remember that your chances of winning go down as the number of reels goes up.

Symbols - Although lemons, cherries, and 7s are familiar symbols that can be found on slot machines, the symbols set on the reels can be whatever the casino or the manufacturer chose. There is no absolute industry standard.

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