How Does Slot Machine Work?

Tomb Raider Slots at Luxury Casino

Tomb Raider Slots at Luxury Casino

The idea of slot machines was originally brought into the casinos as part of a distraction to regular gamer. Unlike other table games like blackjack, poker etc. slot games never required any knowledge of the game. You just put in a coin and pull the handle and that’s it. But, this simple gaming technique had on the other hand become so popular that it brought more than 60 percent of the gaming profits in the United States.

People love to play slot games

A typical slot machine is built of gears and shafts. The central element is the metal shaft which supports the reels. The shaft is connected to the handle through which you make the reels move. A braking system is also provided to stop the spinning and a coin detector to initially register the input of a coin.
In olden days, these slot machines are purely mechanical devices which over a period of years have now turned to be completely computerized with complex permutations and combinations.

What happens when you pull the handle.

The handle rotates a hook mechanism which releases the kicker and brings it forward to the player.
A catch on the opposite end of the kicker grabs a control cam piece and pivots it forward. This rotates a series of gears connected to the control cam. A spring pulls the control cam back to its original position, but the gear assembly slows it down considerably — the gears act as a mechanical delay.

  • When the control cam is pivoted forward, it releases a spring-mounted cam plate extending across the back of the machine.
  • The control cam also pulls the stoppers away from the notched discs. As the kicker keeps moving, it pushes the stoppers against several catches on the cam plate. These hold the stoppers in place, so the discs and reels can rotate freely.
  • As the handle continues to move the kicker, the kicker paddles push the discs forward briefly. When the handle is pulled all the way back and the kicker has passed the discs, the bottom of the hook mechanism moves up against a slanted surface. The slant pivots the hook forward, which causes it to release the kicker.
  • The kicker spring jerks the kicker backward at a good speed. The kicker paddles hit the notches on the discs, spinning the reels rapidly.
  • While all of this is happening, the control cam is slowly returning to its original position. When it does return, it pushes the cam plate back, which releases the stoppers. The different catches holding onto the different stoppers are positioned so that the cam plate will release the stoppers one at a time. Each stopper springs forward and locks into a notch, holding the reel in position.

Whether it is a mechanical or an electrical or a computerized slot, it needs to decide if the player is a winner or a looser. Lets see how the machine decides on the winner.

Older mechanical machines decided the winner based on the depth of the notches. These kind of machines are very simple and they accept only one type of coin and only on set of winning combination.
In some other popular electrical slot machines, the discs have certain metal contacts and when the reel stops, it triggers a contact to one the circuits in the system. For each and every stop there is a temporary contact created in the circuit. Certain combinations of switches to the circuit will release the jackpot lever open so that the coins fall out.

Modern computer machines have a different set of working model. They choose a random number on where to stop a reel and the actions are controlled by a centralized computer inside the machine. These random numbers are generated once you pull the handle and the game is not pre-programmed to stop at a specified time interval.

Types of Slot Machines


Slot machines all over the world work the same way. You put a coin and pull the handle. This is the basic  principle of slot machines. But there are many different variations of slot machines out of which they are broadly classified into two different types, Straight Slots and Progressive Slots.

Straight Slots

Straight Slots have predefined totals. It means you will be detailed of how much you will win when the slots line up. For example, if you had deposited one coin into a straight machine and three symbols line up, you will win say, 100 coins. And similarly when you have deposited two or more coins, the results will vary doubling according to the input you have chosen. This is the basic functionality of the Straight Slot Machines.


Wildcard is a symbol that will substitute for any other symbol. This type of game will enhance the chances of your winning by substituting for other symbols.
The Multiplier – This is when one or more reels has a symbol that multiplies a win by a certain about, usually x2, x2, x5 etc.

  • Bonus Multiplier – This is when one of more reels has a symbol that multiples a bonus that is received if you get that symbol as well. Almost like a wild card, but only works when you get that wild card in a bonus payout.
  • Multiple Paylines – This is when there is more then one line that you can bet on to win. Some machines have up to 20 different pay lines that you can bet on and each pay line that you bet on is a new bet.
  • Buy A Pay – This is a very complex slot game. You bet on each payout table and your chances of winning the slot is also high. Cost to bid on this type of slots is high and you will have more combinations on each payout table so it naturally increases your chances of winning the slot.

Progressive Slots

Progressive slots also work the same way as Standard slots do. But the main difference is progressive slots are linked to other slot machines in a row or in a casino or even with different casinos across in banks. So whenever anyone drops in a coin to the progressive slot machines, a small percentage from each bet is taken and is collectively added to the jackpot amount. The more the machines are linked, the quicker the jackpot amount rises.

The winning amount is huge with these types of slots and is very interesting. People love to play this game and all you have to do is to pull the handle to get the right combination. Remember, there are a lot of people in the casino trying to do the same as you.

Bonus game Slots

Bonus game slots are just the same but the only advantage is these games offer you a bonus game when you get a certain combination of reels. These bonus games will give you the extra benefits to win more money for no additional bets. These bonus games vary differently from treasure hunts, to stopping spinning wheels. But these bonus slots are definitely work looking for.