Understanding Slot Machines

The casino world is alight with towering slot machines that flash their bright video screens and whiz-bang bells and whistles at you. But if you want to walk away from the games with more than you brought, it pays to be a little bit smart about how they work.

The simplest way to understand a slot machine is to treat it like a piece of equipment. Every time you push a button or pull a lever, the machine’s random number generator determines what will happen. That means that every time you play, your chances of winning are as good as anybody else’s.

In addition to its random number generator, each machine has a pay table that lists the number of credits you’ll earn if you match certain symbols on the reels. This list is usually displayed above and below the spin button, or, on older machines, beside the machine’s face. Newer video slots might hide this information inside a help menu, but most still display it.

Knowing how to read a slot’s paytable can be especially helpful when trying to determine its volatility. The higher the volatility, the more likely it is that you’ll experience a large swing in your bankroll. By checking the pay table before you start playing, you can gauge a machine’s risk/reward ratio. Moreover, you can also look at the total payouts of the slot’s regular and bonus symbols to find out how much you can win for a specific amount of coins.