We all have some sort of understanding of casinos and gambling but do you know the mechanics behind online slot machines?

Online slots dominate the gambling industry. Most online casinos carry hundreds or thousands of slot games, simply showing how powerful slot machine industry is.

All slot machines are solely luck-based. There are literally 0 strategies involved – you can only rely on luck. The luck-based mechanics comes from a system called random number generator. In its essence, it’s a complex algorithm that calculates the outcome of every spin. The algorithm consists of millions of potential outcomes, so for the player, the spin is completely random. It’s important to understand that a random number generator still generates the outcome out of a fixed number of possible outcomes. That number is simply so huge that you can’t ever guess the next potential outcome but it’s essential to understand that a random number generator doesn’t really take the outcomes out of thin air.

Every single slot machine relies on a random number generator and that’s the whole essence of the game. However, slot machines can contain a vast amount of different bonus mechanics that make the game a lot more fun and exciting.

Typically, you can find these bonus games within the slot machine:

  • Wilds – Wild symbols are the most sought-after bonus features in slot machines. Wilds act like “wild cards” – they replace any other symbols on the reels to create bigger winning chances.
  • Free spins and respins – Free spins and respins are very beloved for one understandable reason: these are free playing rounds that give you simply more options to play.
  • Bonus wheels – If you’re after big wins, you should opt for games with bonus wheels. These bonus games are often part of progressive jackpot systems and thus, might give you great wins.
  • Avalanche – This mechanic is made by NetEnt and in a way, revolutionized the whole industry. After winning combination, winning symbols are removed from the field, making way for new symbols to fall to the screen. This can bring an avalanche of wins!
  • Pick and click – Some slot games include a special bonus feature called “Pick and Click”. As the name says, you just have to pick objects and reveal the prizes (which can be coin wins, free spins, multipliers, etc).

Slot Games, Volatility, and RTP

When it comes to any slot game, you need to consider its volatility and RTP. These two factors determine the “profitability” of a slot machine. Though all slots depend on random number generators, each game has pre-determined volatility and approximate RTP (return to player).

Volatility determines how easy it is to trigger wins: the higher the volatility, the more rare wins are (but usually, the triggered wins are bigger). Low-volatility slots can trigger wins very often (even on almost every spin) but wins are usually small.

RTP is an average number, calculated based on millions of spins. It shows the approximate percentage that the slot machine pays out to players over a long course of time. Though it’s still an average number and will not determine the outcome for one particular gaming session, it’s a good tool to find potentially more profitable slot games. The higher the RTP, the better for you as a player!