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Slot Machines - Comprehensive Glossary Of Terms

The following is a comprehensive glossary of terms regarding land-based and online slot machines. These are the terms a player will often come across while playing a slot machine. It is important to understand these slot machine terms in order to make the most of your slot machine experience, and take advantage of the best possible odds when choosing and playing a slot machine.

Coin Size/Denomination: The value of a single coin inserted into a slot machine. For example, a slot machine may accept a penny, nickel, dime or quarter per spin.

Coins Per Spin: Slot machines may accept more than one coin per spin. The player must decide how many coins they wish to play for each spin.

Hold: Opposite of 'Payout Percentage', the Hold is the average percentage of coins kept by the House, in comparison to the average percentage paid out to players. The Hold is commonly between 3% and 15%. Land-based casino slot machines tend to Hold a higher percentage than online slot machines.

Hopper: In a real slot machine (not Internet-based), the Hopper is the compartment on a slot machine that holds the coins.

Multi-Line Slot Machine: A slot machine that has more than one pay-line. A player must insert a single coin for each pay-line they wish to play/activate for the following spin. Multi-line slots generally range from 2 to 10, 15 or even 25 pay-lines.

Max Bet: The maximum amount that can be bet on a single spin. If a slot machine accepts between 5-cents and 25-cents per spin, with 10 pay-lines, a Max Bet would be 25-cents times 10 - $2.50. On every slot machine is a button marked "Bet Max". Pushing this button immediately sets the reels spinning with a maximum bet amount.

Payback (or Payout): The amount of coins a slot machine will award for hitting a specific winning combination, based on the amount of coins inserted by the player.

Pay For Play Slot Machine: A slot machine that pays different amounts based upon the number of coins inserted by the player. For instance, a winning combination may pay 5:1 for inserting 1 coin, 12:1 for 2 coins, and 20:1 for 3 coins.

Pay Line: A line on the slot machine connecting one reel to the next reels. Traditionally, a pay-line was straight across. Many of today's slot machines have multiple pay-lines, zig-zagging in all directions across the face of the machine. If a winning combination appears on a pay-line that was played/activated, the player wins.

Pay Table: The diagram located on the slot machine that informs the player of all possible winning combinations and their respective payouts in regards to how many coins are bet. The Pay Table is usually visible directly on a classic reel-based slot machine, where video slot machines often require the player to press a button to see the Pay Table.

Progressive Slot Machines: Slot machines with a jackpot prize that grows progressively larger each time it is played until a player hits the jackpot. A percentage of all coins entered into the slot machine goes towards the progressive jackpot. Some progressive slot machines are linked with progressives in other casino, whether online or land-based, causing the progressive jackpot to grow very rapidly.

Reels: The individual wheels on a slot machine that spin around to create combinations. Most slot machines offer 3, 5 or 7 reels. The more reels on a slot machine, the more difficult it is to create a winning combination.

Symbols: The various images depicted on the reels of a slot machine.

Wild Symbol: A specific symbol on a slot machine that can take the place of any symbol needed to result in a winning combination.