What is a Slot Machine?

In a slot game, players insert cash or, in “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, a paper ticket with a barcode into a designated slot on the machine. This activates a series of reels that spin and stop to rearrange symbols, which then award credits based on the pay table. Symbols vary depending on the theme of the machine and can include classic objects like fruits, bells, and stylized lucky sevens. Many slots are themed after popular TV shows, movies, and other locales, with bonus features aligned with the theme.

In the past, electromechanical slot machines used to have tilt switches that made or broke a circuit in case they were tampered with (door switch in the wrong position, out of paper, etc). Although modern games have far more complicated mechanics than their early counterparts and use giant HD computer monitors, they still use tilt sensors and other technical fault detectors. This is because a modern slot machine’s outcome, whether it’s a jackpot or not, is determined by an unpredictable process called a random number generator (RNG).

A payout value is displayed in the pay table of a slot, alongside the picture of each symbol and how much you win for landing three or more matching symbols on a payline. The pay table also indicates how many active paylines the slot has and explains any special symbols or bonus features that are part of the game. You can find the pay table on the machine itself or in a separate help screen.