History of slot machines
The first slot machine was designed by inventor Charles August Fey in the USA in the middle of XIX century. It was then in the times of important discoveries and great changes, in the land of «big opportunities», that the reels began spinning in the game, which consequently would become one of the most popular and widespread in the global gambling market.
The collocation “slot machine” derives from the English word “slot”, meaning a hole where people drop coins to start the game. The first slot machine reels featured symbols of card suits – diamonds, clubs, hearts, and spades. But later when gambling was banned by the law, inventors had to play cat and mouse. Thus, in order to bypass the gambling ban, players were offered sweeties or drinks instead of cash prizes. As the result, fruit machines appeared, with images of cherries, apples, oranges, and the word “BAR” on reels. With time laws regulating gambling business have changed lots of times, but fruit slots are still popular and are believed to be samples of timeless classics.
Nowadays there is a huge amount of different slot machine themes, storylines and functional capabilities. Technological progress, implementation of innovations into slot machine creation, appearance of the Internet has transformed the world of slot machines into inexhaustible source of gambling games with unlimited opportunities.
Let’s have a look at main types of existing slots, their peculiarities and functionality.
Slots are divided into categories depending on different criteria.
Depending on operating principle and technology all slot machines can be divided into two main groups – classic slots and video slots.
Classic slots are standard land-based slot machines, whose operation is based on the principles of mechanics. Such slot machines have 3 reels featuring classical, historically developed symbols – sevens, fruits, card suits, bars. Mechanical slots usually have from 1 to 5 paylines and offer bonuses, progressive jackpots.
Video slots are modern, multifunctional, themed machines, whose operation is based on special software, and mechanics has no relation to spinning of reels. Sometimes reels are substituted by other forms in order to make the game look original and unusual. The number of reels in video slots ranges from 3 to 9, and the number of paylines can reach 100. Game outcomes are produced by random number generator.
But the notion of classic slot is common for Internet casinos as well. These 3-reel machines represent video slots designed as mechanical slots, using classical symbols and functions. Such imitation of mechanics is a way to satisfy demands of conservative players, who prefer time-honored slots with 3 reels even when playing on a computer.
Multi reel video slots
The unique feature of virtual video slots is the fact that they have more reels. Nowadays there are slots with 5, 7 and 9 reels.
Five reel video slots are the most popular among players, as far as despite their small size they offer the biggest opportunities.
Firstly, 5 reel slots are usually entertaining themed games, offering players to plunge into exciting story lines and adventures. Reel symbols reproduce all possible topics: history, adventures, fairy tales, myths, famous people, films, music, stars, etc.
The visual design of these slots amazes with the quality of graphics and sound.
Secondly, 5 reel slots offer players a variety of bonus features. Slots have wild and scatter symbols that trigger additional free spins. Some slots have different additional features such as multiplier, rolling reels, etc.
Seven reel slots are not as popular as 5 reel slots, as they have emerged more recently. The gist of the game is almost the same as in slots with fewer reels, but before you start playing, you should definitely get acquainted with the pay table. Seven reel slots have up to 10 paylines. But they don’t have special symbols.
Nine reel slots are the latest development in the industry. They look like ordinary 3 reel slots, but paylines are not only horizontal, but diagonal as well. Such slots usually offer progressive jackpots.
A payline is the line on which winning combinations of symbols are awarded. The more paylines a game has, the more chances there are to win. Today different slot machines offer from 1 to 100 paylines, positioned not only horizontally, but vertically and diagonally as well. Paylines can also have different shapes.
Players can choose the amount of paylines themselves, influencing the amount of bets. In order to make a right choice and count your bets, we recommend you to get acquainted with paylines in the pay table before playing.
Progressive slots and fixed jackpot slots
Fixed jackpot slots or in other words straight slots have a steady pay table and jackpot, which never alters as well. Winnings in such slots depend on bet size and winning combination of symbols.
Progressive slots belong to a separate group of games, allowing players to win the biggest jackpots. Such slots have progressive jackpots, meaning that every player that places a bet in the slot automatically contributes money to the total jackpot amount. Progressive slot winnings don’t depend on bet size. Everything depends on luck – you can place the smallest bet and win all the previous high bets, accumulated into jackpot.
Progressive slot machines are extremely popular among players, as far as you can win big by placing small bets.
Types of slots based on bet sizes
Slots can also be divided into types depending on bet sizes. Players can usually place a penny, nickel, quarter, 1-dollar, 5-dollar bet. There are also slot machines for VIP players, where bets range from $25 to $100.
Bonus and no bonus slots
This classification is simple – slot machines are divided into two types – slots with bonus rounds and features and slots without them.
Bonus feature is a very effective way of motivating a player. It gives an opportunity to stir up excitement, keeping the player in the game for a longer period of time, and correspondingly gives more chances to win. Usually bonus rounds are impressive additional games that take the player from the main scene to another scene. Most commonly bonus games offer players to guess the card suit or the correct location of the bonus. These games are easy and positive, they help players to distract themselves and have some rest.
No bonus slots are very rare today, as even 3 reel classic slots offer players some bonuses.
Innovative slot types
3D slots – playing machines of new generation that are developed with the help of three-dimensional image and sound technology. These state-of-the-art slot machines amaze with the quality of graphics and sound. Some developers such as Netent even offer virtual reality slots that allow virtually entering the game.
Company “Rival” has also developed a unique product – iSlots, or interactive slots. As a matter of fact, iSlots represent 5 reel slots with wild and scatter symbols and several paylines, but their distinctive feature lies in bonus games. These are not usual guessing rounds. Players have a more difficult task, for instance, to win when playing golf, or to complete a quest. In such a way one game combines an exciting slot and a computer game.