What Is a Slot Machine?

A slot machine is a gambling device where the player inserts coins to try and win money. The machine then rotates a series of reels, each of which contains pictures. Winning or losing is determined by which of these pictures line up along the pay line, a line in the middle of the viewing window.


Slots use a computer program to determine the result of each spin. The computer pulls a number from a table of numbers for each of the reels. The number is then cross referenced with another table of payouts, which determines if the symbols you pulled are the “big win” and how much it pays.


Most slots have a paytable, which lists the number of credits you’ll receive if the symbols on the reels line up on the pay line. Some slots also have a wild symbol, which can represent any other symbol in order to complete a winning combination.

Payback percentages

A slot’s payback percentage is the amount of money you win over time. Each machine has different payback settings, so it’s not uncommon for identical-looking machines to have slightly different percentages.


Slot payback percentages are programmed only in that the odds of the game are set to achieve a certain payback percentage. However, the results are random, meaning that big winners turn up less often than other combinations. This is why you might see a long streak of wins on one slot while someone else doesn’t.