Slot games

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Slot machines , which are also often referred to as slots or one-armed bandits, are among the icons of online and offline casinos. The digitization of casinos in particular has led to a flood of new and increasingly creative slots. The presentation was given special importance and is sometimes animated in a complex manner. But also new game concepts and features are introduced again and again in order to keep the game interesting. In this article we will explain slot machines to you in detail and also show you what to look out for.

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A brief history of the slot machine

slot retro

The history of slots goes back to the 1890s. In the Wild West in particular, engineers and resourceful salon operators developed devices with which you could “automatically” play with your luck. To this day it is not clear who invented the first real slot machine. Developing the first slot machine is often attributed to the Caille brothers. In 1889 they brought their “Black Cat” machine onto the market. The machine had 6 coin slots with different colors and levers. A mechanical disk was then rotated using these levers. The game was considered won if the disc stopped at the position of the previously inserted coin.

The first modern slot was developed and published by Charles August Fey in 1895. According to the “legend”, Charles came up with the idea for his “Liberty Bell Slot Machine”, after which he did not have enough money for the casino one evening and wanted to develop a machine that automatically pays out the winnings. Charles came up with the idea of combining three simple reels with five symbols each so that the machine can calculate the paylines itself. There were already devices with five reels and more than 50 symbols, but such a combination led to technically insoluble problems at the time. So Charles succeeded in developing the first functioning automatic slot machine.

More than 100 years have passed since then and the machines have continued to develop. The next big revolution was of course the electrification of slots. This made it possible to turn the reels quickly and, above all, more reliably, and it was also possible to upgrade the design with lights. The last revolution to date came with the Internet and better computers, as complex machines were now also possible.

The basic structure of almost all slot games

Despite all the advances, most slot games are still based on the same principle. A certain number of reels, usually three or five, with several rows, also here usually three to five, spin after the game has started. At the edge you can then see the different pay lines, should the same symbols land on these lines, then you will be shown a win. With many machines you can adjust these lines yourself, i.e. how many are active. You can see the different lines in the machine's menu, as well as the winnings of the individual symbols.

The gamble feature

Many machines also offer you the option of using the gamble feature. This is activated as soon as you have made a profit. Here you usually have one of two versions of the Gamble feature. With the first variant, you choose between a red or a black one. Then a card is turned over, if you are correct, the stake is doubled, but if you are wrong, the entire profit is gone. In the second version you will be shown a ladder with possible profits. A marker then jumps up and down between a larger and a smaller win.

If you hit the perfect moment and the marker lands on the higher profit, you will get the displayed profit. If it lands on the smaller amount, then that is your current profit. After that you can choose to take the winnings or continue playing. At this point we want to remind you of “A sparrow in the hand is better than a pigeon on the roof”.

Free spins and scatter symbols

Most slots now offer free spins, these are triggered by certain symbols. During these free spins you can of course receive more. The winnings from free spins are considered a big win on most machines. When and, above all, how many of these free games are to be received, you can always see in the information menu of the machine.

Scatter symbols are symbols that trigger a win or bonus feature, but do not have to be in a row. This means that the symbols can be randomly distributed over the different reels.

The different slot variants

slot

Slot machines have evolved significantly since the early days. Although all machines are more or less based on the same basic principle, there are major differences in the design. Especially since the advent of online casinos, there have been more and more variants, all of which are waiting for you with different rules and peculiarities. You can find a handy listing in our list. First of all, video slots are simply the online version of classic machines.

The classic automat

According to our breakdown, this includes all machines that are the classic basic structure. In other words, machines that bet on three or five reels with three or five rows. The customer can choose how many of the paylines should be active per spin. There are no bonus features with this type of slots with the exception of free spins or the gamble feature. An example of this variant would be “Book of Ra” from Novomatic.

Fruit slots or fruit machines

This is more like half a variant, as many of these machines also fall into the other categories. But especially in the British Isles, the so-called fruit slots have established themselves as a separate category and in Germany, too, they are often seen as a separate variant. These slots differ from the other categories mainly in that the symbols are fruity in nature. There are often many similarities with classic slots. An example of this variant would be “Plenty on Twenty” from Novomatic.

3D slots

Here we come to our first modern variant, the so-called 3D slot machines. As the name suggests, you will find machines here, which primarily focus on high-quality presentation. Many of these machines are provided with an animated background and feature small films that, for example, announce the free spins or a bonus feature. These machines often rely on one or more features or a famous license that sets their own machine apart from the crowd. An example of this variant would be “Batman Begins” from Playtech.

Progressive and Static Jackpots

casino jackpot

All slot machines that offer one or more jackpots fall into this category. These can come in several variants. There are progressive jackpots in which the prize pool grows with the stakes of the players, while with static jackpots the winnings always remain the same. The jackpots can also be limited in time, i.e. they are paid out at a specified time at the latest. You should always see which variant it is in advance. An example of this variant would be “Vikings go Bezerk” by Yggdrasil.

Table games

Of course, not only were the one-armed bandits transferred to the online world, the various table games were also digitized. On the one hand through live offer, but also through slot machines, which offer poker, blackjack, roulette and Co. For us, scratch cards and bingo also fall into these categories. The machines differ more or less from the original, so the roulette variants are often very close to the original, while the poker variants often have certain artistic freedom. An example of this variant and a free interpretation of poker would be “Bonus Poker” by Habanero.

The particularities

Under the special features we count all slots or gaming machines that cannot be classified in the other categories, but there are not enough machines themselves to justify their own category. Here you will mainly find creative machines that leave the classic structure almost completely behind. Here you will find machines that offer you combinations of dice from which you can gradually build your own winning combinations or almost entire top-down shooters. An example of this variant would be “Dice Fortune” from Stakelogic.

What is hidden behind RTP in slots?

slotmachine

The “Return to Player” rate is hidden behind RTP. This shows how high the expected win rate is for each bet. So let's take 97% RTP as an example (generally the RTP is between 95% and 97%). With such an RTP you will “ideally” “win back” 97 € with a stake of 100 €. We are deliberately describing the ideal situation here, because with a single spin of € 0.50 you can win hundreds of euros. The RTP is calculated based on all games on the slot machine.

Therefore, we would like to point out again that the rule is not static. So you can't expect to get a guaranteed 97% back, but the machine normally “gives” back this percentage. However, spread over millions of games and players.

Our conclusion on slot games

The modern slot has a long and, above all, eventful history behind it, but is still as popular today as it was then. We would like to give you one last tip: if you are looking at a new slot you should always test it first in demo mode. So you can find out whether you like the game or not. Otherwise we wish you a lot of fun and, above all, good luck.

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