Originally, casinos installed slot machines
as a diversion for casual gamers. Unlike traditional table
games (such as blackjack or craps), slot machines don't require
any gambling knowledge, and anyone can get in the game with
a very small bet.
The technology of slot machines has also changed
a lot over the years. The classic mechanical designs have
been almost completely replaced by computer-controlled machines.
But the game has remained the same. The player pulls a handle
to rotate a series of reels (typically three) that have pictures
printed on them. Winning or losing is determined by which
pictures line up with the pay line, a line in the middle of
a viewing window. If each reel shows the same winning picture
along the pay line, you win (certain single images are sometimes
winners as well). The amount you win -- the payout -- depends
on which pictures land along the pay line.
There are three main types of slots: flat top
or basic slot machine, progressive, and video slots. Of course
in the world of online slot machines, video slots may simply
be grouped within either of the first two categories.
Flat Top (straight or basic slots) Slot
Although often referred to as 'basic', there
are many types and styles of basic slots. What categorizes
a slot machine as 'basic' is the nature of its jackpot. If
a machine has a constant top jackpot that doesn't change with
the money played through the machine, it's known as a basic
Progressive Slot Machines
Unlike basic slots, the jackpot amount on progressive
slot machines increases according to the amount of money played
through them. It's sort of like the lottery; the more people
play, the bigger the jackpot gets - until someone wins it.
Progressive jackpot machines most often display the total
jackpot number in large numbers at the top of the machine.
Flat rate machines have a set jackpot
payoff while progressive machine's jackpot continues to grow
with each coin that's inserted until the jackpot is hit.