How to Play Video Slots

How to Play Slots

While there are countless variations of video slot machines they are all played in a very similar way. Once you learn what all the buttons do and how to read the payout tables you should be able to play any game without any trouble.

Always remember though that the way you play has no outcome on the reels or the payout percentage. If you ever find a machine that you cannot figure out then ask the casino staff as they will always be happy to assist you.

Video Slot Diagram

Below is a diagram (Fig.1) showing a simplified view of the outside of a slot machine with the main sections of interest highlighted by color.

Video Slot Machine Diagram

Fig.1 - Slot Machine

  • Pay Table / Game Art
  • Video Screen
  • Game Buttons
  • Coin / Note Acceptor
  • Coin Tray

The Pay Table

In general the pay table of a video slot machine can be in one of three places. On the top front of the game above the screen, on the lower panel below the screen or on the screen itself accessible via a view payouts or help button.

Before you play you should take a minute or two to read all of the information on the payout table as it will contain information on the games payouts, the bonus features and betting requirements. If max bet is required for a jackpot the pay table will always indicate this so it is relatively easy to find out.

The Screen

This is where the reels are displayed and where all of the action happens. In the old days this would be a CRT screen although now it is also common to LCD screens and either can also be touch screens. On the screen you will see the following.

  • The game reels
  • Game coin size
  • Line / Way indicators
  • Your credits
  • Current Bet Level
  • Current win total

The Buttons

All video slots have a front area where there are a range of different buttons. All of these buttons have a different use or purpose. In general there are two rows of at least five buttons although this can range from between five and seven.

The back row of buttons tend to be related to the amount of credits you want to bet per line. These go from the lowest on the left to the highest on the right. For example 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 credits per line. The back row buttons also often control the gamble feature.

The front row of buttons include the lines per spin, the bet max button, the cash collect button and in some cases a help button. The purpose of these buttons is explained in detail below.

Credits per Line
These buttons control how many credits you bet per line / way
Lines Per Spin
These buttons control how many lines you are betting on per game.
Bet Max
This button automatically bets the maximum number of coins and starts the game.
Cash / Collect
Press this button to take your money out of the slot machine.
Help / View Payouts
On some slots this lead to additional screens of game information

The Coin / Note Acceptor

This is where you insert notes or coins into the machine. You should always confirm that the correct amount of credits are displayed on the screen before you start playing. On some machines a dollar value is displayed but on others you may only have a credit display which can confuse some players.

For example on a penny machine with a credit display you will get 1000 credits when $10 is inserted but on a a nickel (5c) machine you will get 200 credits when $10 is inserted. Machines commonly have a sign that states $1 buys X amount of credits.

Today quite a few casinos have moved to ticket based gaming (TITO or Ticket In / Ticket Out) where you can also insert tickets from other machines in the note acceptor.

The Coin Tray

Below the lower panel known as the Belly Panel you will find the coin tray. This section of the machine is common on both reel based and video slots and is where the coins make the wonderful sound of crashing into the tray when you collect.

These days it has become quite rare for video slots to accept or pay out physical coins so the days of collecting buckets of coins are over at a lot of casinos. Instead this may be where your win ticket is printed. Alternatively it may be printed near the note acceptor.

Step by Step Guide

Step 1
Read the pay out table before you do anything else
Step 2
Insert coins or bills and confirm that you have the correct amount of credits
Step 3
Choose your credits per line / ways or press Max bet* for max credits
Step 4
Choose your number of lines / ways per spin or press Max bet* for max lines
Step 5
Start the reels spinning. Depending on the machine there may be a "Spin" button. *Alternatively the reels can be activated by pressing the Max Bet button or in some cases the line selection button starts the reels.
Step 6
Wait for the reels to come to a stop to see if you win or lose
Step 7
Start the reels spinning again (Step 5)
Step 8
Press Collect to take out your cash

As you can see, playing slots is a very simple way of having some fun gambling at a casino and to have the chance at coming out a winner with little need for skill. In our opinion the most important step is the first one as reading the pay out table is a MUST for every slot player.

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