The Anatomy of a Slot Machine

Modern video slot machines look a lot different than the classic, 3-reel slot machines of old. Let’s take a look at the different components of slot machines and what you need to know about them. Let’s take a look at the various components of a Slot Machines.

Symbols of Slot Machines

Since the dawn of the 20th lemons, and so on. Modern online slots might feature these well-known symbols, along with an almost unlimited array of other exciting symbols, often matching the theme of the particular slot game.

The Reels

Slot machine symbols appear on vertically spinning strips known as reels. Classic slot machines and many online slot machines of today contain three reels, while games with four or five reels are quickly becoming the standard of online slots. Online casinos have experimented with slots featuring as many as ten reels, though these games remain in the realm of novelty.

A typical slot machine reel will have between 20 and 24 symbols, also known as steps, on it. Every century, slot machines have been associated with cherries, 7s, bells, bars, step equals a possible place where the reel could stop on a payline. Some steps contain symbols, while other may not. Obviously, you can only win when a step with a symbol appears on a payline, as blank steps typically don’t lead to payouts.

The Paylines

The window on the front of the slot machine, through which the reels appear, is criss crossed by one or more horizontal, diagonal, or mixed lines, known as the paylines. These are the most important part of the machine, as winning combinations of symbols must appear consecutively on a valid payline in order for you to win.

The Payout Display

The payout display is one of the most important parts of a slot machine as it is shows the player which combinations pay out, and how much you win if when they do. Classic slot machines normally have the payout display printed directly on the outside of the machine, while modern video slots usually have the payout display on a separate screen, accessed by a button on the display.

Payouts are normally listed in coins, not cash amounts, as certain models of the same machine might have different limits. As an example, three identical symbols on one payline might pay out 100 coins for each symbol bet. Progressive jackpots tend to be listed in dollar amounts, and typically be found on the top of the machine, constantly ticking higher and higher.

Buttons on Slots

We’ll take a brief look at the buttons that you will interact with at the machine. We’ll take a brief look at them here.

Play One Credit Button

This button is the basic way to place a wager. By pressing this button, you show that you want to bet one credit per spin. Pressing it again will increase the wager to two credit, while pressing it continuously will raise the wager until the maximum number of credits reached, where it then resets to one. Pressing this button never starts the game, you still must pull the handle or press the SPIN button.

Play Max Credits Button

This button automatically bets the maximum number of credits allowed as well as instantly setting the reels in motion. For example, if the maximum amount that you can bet on a certain machine is 10 credits, pressing this button will automatically deduct 10 credits from your balance and start the game. If you have fewer credits than the maximum bet for the machine, this button will do nothing.

Spin Reels

Very few modern video slots and online slots have the traditional handle, and even if they do, you might still see this button. If you choose to bet one credit at a time, this button is what you press to actually start the game and set the reels in motion. Often times, hitting this button again will prematurely stop the reels.


The credits display indicates how many credits you currently have on this particular machine through deposits and wins. Each credit is equal to the amount of the machine, so 100 credits on a $1 machine is worth $100, while 100 credits on a 5 cent machine is worth $5. Therefore, depositing $20 into a $1 machine will equal 20 credits, for example.

Every time you spin the reels, either through betting a single credit and hitting the SPIN button or through the BET MAX button, the amount of credits you wagered will be deducted from this display. At the end of a spin, any winnings from that spin will be added to this amount.

Credits Played

This display shows you how many credits you are currently planning to wager on the next spin. If you hit the PLAY ONE button three times, for instance, this display will read ‘3’.

Cash Out Button

While you can certainly continue playing slot machines until you lose everything and your credit balance equals zero, you are also free to stop playing and withdraw your remaining credits at any time. Pressing this button ends your current session and results in the remaining credits being given to you in the form of a ticket or sent straight to your electronic online casino account.