May 21st 2007
All those flashing lights and gadgets that you will see on slot machines nowadays are eye catching, but the game has not changed much from an operating point of view. You still have to insert the coin and pull the lever, just as always. But what most players do not realize is that the handle and the reels are nothing more than props.
They are meant to make your gambling experience more exciting and entertaining. You may think that the outcome of a spin depends on you, that pulling the handle in a certain manner will somehow influence how the symbols will line up, but in fact you have no control over these things.
Here is a comparison between how slots used to function in the beginning and how they work nowadays.
In the past
Understanding how slot machines used to work will help us better understand how modern machines work nowadays. All slots players are sure to know about the "Liberty Bell" slot machine. In 1899 in San Francisco Charles Frey developed a slot machine known as "Liberty Bell". It quickly caught on and the design of this machine has been the predecessor to all modern slot machines.
Frey's machine had 3 spinning reels and on these reels there were ten stops or sections. Each stop displayed a symbol. The symbols used where Diamonds, Clubs, Heats, Spades, horseshoes and Liberty Bells. Frey's machine worked in a similar manner as modern machines do. All you had to do was to insert a coin and pull the handle.
The reels then started to spin. In order to win you had to get three identical symbols in a line. Your chances of winning were one in a thousand. We did not take into consideration the possibility of the machine being rigged. In that case your chances of winning are practically non-existent.
Not many players in those days really understood how the game worked and what the odds were. That is why most of them were tricked and lost their money. Payouts of only 22 coins meant nothing in the long run, and that is why people started calling slot machines "one-armed bandits". Luckily enough things have changed.
All slot machines nowadays are required to have a slot machine RNG chip, or Random Number Generator chip. It is this chip that will select a random number from zero to a few billion every millisecond. These numbers are then translated into a specific combination of symbols on the reels.
Have you ever wondered how modern slot machines work? You may think you know, but you have no idea. The truth of the matter is that you have no control or the minimal influence on the outcome of a spin. The outcome is decided the moment you insert the coin in the machine and pull the handle or push the button.
The moment you do that the slot machine RNG will choose a random number and it is that number that tells the other mechanisms when the reels will stop. So as the reels spin and you get your hopes up you have no idea that the outcome is already decided. All that spinning is only meant to make the game more exciting and entertaining.