The Basics of Slots Play

videoslots-logoPlaying the slot machines is very easy to learn and it could be quite amusing, if a player is well aware of what they are doing. Although slot machines have become more sophisticated in terms of design, the game itself has been simplified and a player can win or lose with just one click of the mouse button or a single tap on their smartphone’s touchscreen. Additional features have been introduced to slot fans around the world in order to make their betting sessions more enjoyable.

We shall now discuss the basics of play and the general information that a player needs in order to start playing a slot machine. Most importantly, we shall cover the objective of the game, which is quite simple – getting the symbols on the reels to fall in a perfect line behind the payline, so that one can collect a payout.

However, a player can bet on the slots for reasons different than aligning combinations of matching symbols. One could aim higher – targeting the jackpots, which could pay for the player’s new car, cover their mortgage and transform their life all over.

Activate the Slot Machine

By far, the easiest way to start playing a slot machine is by feeding it money in the form of bills, coins or tickets that have credit value. The machine will automatically display the number of credits that you have at your disposal by converting the bill into credits, in line with the machine’s denomination.

Each one-armed bandit has been equipped with a bill acceptor, which does exactly what you think it does – it accepts your bills. Slots have been modified to take bills of different value – $1, $5, $20, $50 and $100.

However, this has not always been the case. Some time ago, slot players were forced to either bring a ton of coins to the casino in order to play, or hunt down one of the employees who offered change. Additionally, some casinos had a change booth, whose function was the same as that of the employees who tirelessly pushed carts full of change. Once seated, a player can simply press the “Change” button and wait while one of the change employees arrives on the spot.

Although there are still some machines that accept coins, the majority of modern casinos avoid using them. Additionally, the models that are currently being built only accept paper, either money bills or tickets. In a sense, the change booth has persisted through time, but now it exchanges your bills for tickets rather than coins. The barcoded tickets can be used on the majority of machines or simply changed back to bills at the casino cashier cage.
Screenshot of people playing on Super Respin Slot Machines

Machine Denominations

The one-armed bandits are usually split into three types depending on their denomination. The small-coin machines include denominations of 5¢, 10¢, and 25¢, while the medium-coin slots are those accepting 50¢ or $1 per credit. Everything higher than $1 is considered a big-coin machine, with the per-credit amount going up as high as $500. Although seldom, a high roller can be spotted at one of those machines, seeking the big jackpot.

The most popular denominations are 25¢ and $1. Penny machines have proven to be quite a hit among slot players. The number of large-denomination machines in a casino is usually smaller compared to other slots. Machines with denominations of 10¢ and 50¢ are scarce as well. However, the penny machines are everywhere.

Photo of a classic single payline slot machine

Multi-denomination Slots

This type of slot machine accepts different denominations and asks players how big of a bet they want to place. Let us say machine A takes 1¢, 5¢, 10¢ and 25¢, while machine B will only accept $1, $2, $5 or $10 bills. Once inserted, the money will be converted into credits according to the denomination picked by the player. For example, if a player inserts two bills of $5 each and one $10 bill and chooses a denomination of 25¢, they will have 80 credits at their disposal.

Inserting Coins

Although it is a rare event, there are players who still prefer inserting coins into the one-armed bandits rather than using bills or tickets. Once such a player enters the casino, they will be looking for machines that have a coin acceptor or a coin entry in order to start playing.

One of the major differences between coin machines and their predecessors is that the newer version does not have a 5-coin limit and allows much higher bets. Some machines support up to 100 coins per spin.

Although coin machines still exist, they are no longer in production and nowadays manufacturers create slot machines that only accept bills.
Screenshot of Lucky Charm Slot Screen

Playing Multiple Machines

It is not uncommon to see a player operating two slot machines at once. Sometimes one can see someone playing three machines but players would rarely bet on more. However, it is important to keep in mind, that although a player will have more action and bigger earnings by playing more than one machine at a time, the money put at risk will be more as well.

A good way to play multiple slots without hurting your bank is to divide your gambling money to the number of machines you want to play simultaneously. For example, if you want to play with a maximum of $150 for the session, but you want to bet on three machines, feed each one of them with $50.

Screenshot of Mega 7 Slot game


In a typical casino slot machines cover the majority of the floor space, because they are one of the most profitable games for gambling operators. Additionally, slot machines provide that exciting environment of a casino with the noise of spinning reels, bells, sirens, coins, flashing lights and most importantly, the screams of happy jackpot winners. None of the in-house games provide such an amazing atmosphere.

Maybe the craps and roulette tables can get some excitement every now and then, but it is insignificant compared to slot machines. And poker is not even in the fun race, with everyone participating having their “poker” face on.

Slot machines are usually placed close to each other in groups of four or more, forming a circle or a rectangle shape. Those groups are called banks and each machine in a bank is strategically placed to face the player and have its back towards other machines.

Usually, the banks are located around a platform operated by a slot attendant, who is in charge of servicing players, including the provision of change, moral support and encouragement. Basically, they are responsible for keeping the customers happy, encouraging them to play more. The platform and the banks around it form a carousel.

As we mentioned above, each bank consists of several machines, which are usually from different manufacturers, but it is not uncommon to see two or three identical slots next to each other.

The specific order, in which the machines are placed, is decided by a slot director or manager, who aims at maximum effectiveness. Typically, entire banks consist of machines with the same denomination and it is rare to see several different denominations mixed in one bank. However, with the introduction of multi-denomination machines, managers got more freedom when arranging the banks.

This is done to help players easily find the denomination they are looking for and then pick the desired machine they want to play on. Additionally, this order allows players to operate more than one slot machine at a time.

Progressive slot machines are also bundled together and a flashy sign displaying the current jackpot is placed above the bank. This is done so that players can easily identify which slot machines offer a chance for the big win.

The environment that slot machines provide is not static, as manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to attract more players and improve their overall gambling experience. New lights, different colors and additional features are added to slot machines with every new release. Some of the leading manufacturers are even introducing new technologies. For example, GTECH received an accolade at the 2014 Slot Floor Technology Awards for introducing the first 3D slot machine.

In front of every slot machine there is a chair, so the player could operate it for extended periods of time.

To complete the ambience of the slot floor, casino operators place plastic buckets in easily accessible areas, usually between the machines or on top of them. Those buckets, which are usually branded with the casino’s logo, are used by players to collect their winnings, transport them to the cashier’s cage and then exchange them for bills.

Screenshot of many people in a casino

Slot Employees

There are three types of slot employees that are most commonly found in every casino. First, we have the slot attendants, who have been entrusted with the most important job – to provide players with coins to spend on the machines.

Casinos have understood the importance of keeping their slot players happy as they generate most of the revenue. Usually, slot attendants can be found very fast as they circle a given area and even cross paths with other attendants. Additionally, a player can call a change person by simply pressing the Change button.

Besides distributing coins, slot attendants will do what they can to keep a player in a positive mood – this includes sympathy after a string of losses, making small talk or even providing tips, if a player asks for any. However, do not make the mistake of thinking slot attendants are helping out just because they have to. It is not the case. They do it because a winning player rewards them with good tips.

Along with the slot attendants, there is the wait-staff – a number of people who are responsible for bringing drinks to the players. Every casino has a variety of liquid refreshments that they offer for free. A player can choose to drink anything from coffee, tea, milk, juice, beer, wine, and shots among other beverages.

Screenshot of a slot attendant

Slot Host/Hostess

Typically, casinos will have a person in charge of taking care of the slot player’s needs, including processing special requests and solving non-technical problems. A slot host or hostess will usually be found at their booth, which has a big sign saying Slots Host/Casino Host, located outside the slots area. Most importantly, that person has to ensure that players are having a good time at the casino.


A slot player is expected to tip the wait-staff every time they bring them a drink, like every other establishment that serves beverages. It is also customary to tip the slot attendants if a player is on a winning streak. However, if a player is losing, no one will expect them to give tips, unless a staff member has provided an excellent service.

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