Glossary of Terms
Pay Line - The pay line is a reference for where the slot symbols line up. Typically when the reels spin and symbols all line up on the pay line, a prize is won. There can be as many as 1 to over 100 pay lines, especially with video slots.
Symbols - These are the icons that appear on the reels. The objective to winning is to get three or more of the symbols to line up on the reference pay line. The most common symbols are single, double and triple bars, cherries and sevens but there are countless possibilities depending on the theme of the machine.
Scatter - A special type of symbol that does not have to line up on the pay line in order to win. Usually a combination of scatter symbols that are displayed are counted for money amounts and the more that appear, the more money you should win.
Wild - A wild symbol is different than a scatter symbol since usually it has to line up on the pay line, but can take the place of any other symbol. In some cases, the jackpot can only be won by lining up all wild symbols.
Reels - Reels are the physical or video wheels that spin when the slot machine is spun. The symbols are displayed on the reels and certain slot machines can have more than 3 but typically not more than 5. The odds of winning are higher when there is less reels and symbols.
Free Spin - In certain games, free spins can be won by lining up special bonus symbols or scatters depending on the machine.
Special Bonus - Some slots have bonus mini games built into the regular slot machine. These often times make the game more exciting and usually give players medium to large size prizes or free spins depending on the game.
Multiline - This refers to multiple pay line. Many slot machines, especially video slots, offer anywhere from 3 to 100 pay lines. Players may bet a credit for each pay line, giving them a higher chance of winning by having more chances of symbols lining up successfully.
Credits - The number of credits you have refers to how much money you have in the machine. Credit sizes refer to the coin denomination size such as playing penny slots or nickel slots. Credit sizes can vary from 1 cent to even 500 dollars. Video slots often times let players select their credit size where as physical machines usually have a fixed coin size.
RNG - Acronym for Random Number Generator. This is the electronic computer software inside the machine that randomly selects symbols in order to provide the fairest odds. Every machine is programmed to payout after some time unless it is rigged.
Rigged - This is an unfair slot machine that is purposely cheating players out by never paying out after taking so much money in or paying out very rarely.
Pay Cycle - A proper machine goes through pay cycles in order to meet the payout odds built into the machine software. Usually this is not predictable and machines can go for a long time without paying out and then hit a jackpot or pay out gradually and never hit the jackpot, but it must pay out so much money at a time to meet the payout percentages.
Take Cycle - This is the supplement to the pay cycle. The machine can go through a cycle of taking in money known as the take cycle, but must eventually go into the pay cycle according to the RNG.
Hit Frequency - This is similar to the payout percentage or how frequently winning spins occur. A machine with a higher hit frequency is better than a low frequency. Sometimes at land based casinos, the payout percentage is printed right on the machine and this number is also programmed into the software inside the machine.
Jackpot - A jackpot is usually just the largest prize available in the machine. These can be fixed jackpots which have the best odds of winning, or a progressive jackpot, which have extremely low odds of winning.
Progressive Jackpot - A massive collective jackpot networked between a group of machines locally or worldwide at land based casinos or online. The large networks of machines often times reach millions of dollars. A single machine usually takes a percentage of each bet and puts it into a pot that is also being built by every machine in the network and this is why they get so huge.
Hold and Re-spin - This is a feature similar to video poker. Initially after the reels spin, you can hold some on the pay line and then re-spin and hope the re-spun reels line up with the held ones.
Hopper - In land based casinos, coins are stored physically in the machine inside the hopper. The hoppers are usually overflowing unless players are winning. When they overflow, the coins fall into a bucket below and the casino takes that as profit.
Fill - When the hopper is empty and runs out of coins, a fill is activated and casino employees have to grab a bag of coins and refill the hopper.
Loose Slots - A machine that generally has better payouts or is paying out unusually high. This is the opposite of tight slots, which is when the payouts are low.