A Glossary of Online Slot Machine Terms

September 7th, 2006 3:21 pm EST


Action- The total of all money played specifically at one game, such as Slots. For instance, if you are playing dollar bets on a slot machine and play ten times, this is considered to be $10 dollars of action.

Bonus Round- A special feature of some Slot machines where you are allowed to try to increase your winning through such things as a bonus game or an additional spin. In most cases, these bonus rounds will either double your intial payout- or take it away completely if you lose, so proceed with caution.

Coin Size- The size of a bet on a single Slot machine bet. For example, if you play a dollar machine, your coin size is $1. Even if you play the max coins of three for a $3 spin, since each coin was $1, then that is the coin size.

Hold- A term for the amount of money that the casino takes in as profit from a Slot machine. Traditional, brick-and-mortar casinos are most likely to have a much larger hold than offline casinos, many of whom offer better-than-Vegas odds on many games.

Max Coins- The maximum amount of coins that a player can use on a single spin of a Slot machine. For example, if you are playing a quarter machine and the max bet is three coins, then three coins (75 cents) is the max coins.

Pay Cycle- Commonly held belief amongst Slot Machine enthusiasts that Slot machines must pay out once it reaches a certain amount of play. This is why many players will not play a machine right after someone wins big on it- they fear it won’t pay out again for a long time. Since payouts are random, this theory does not really hold water.

Pay Line- The line that reel symbols must land on in order to win. It is usually marked in some way across the screen of a Slot machine, or you can refer to the pay chart to find out the pay lines. Pay lines can range from single lines across the middle of a machine to horizontal, zig zag and many other types of lines.

Progressive Jackpot- A special prize on certain Slot machines that is usually a very large payout. In order to win a Progressive jackpot, the player must play max coins and hit on the largest winning combination possible for that particular Slot machine. A Progressive jackpot increases in size with each non-winning play so the amount paid out each time it hits can vary.

Payout Percentage- The amount of money that a casino pays out through wins. If the casino only keeps 3% of the intake on a Slot machine, then they are said to have a 97% payout on that machine. An overall payout percentage would be the average of all the Slot machines.

Pay Table- A chart located somewhere on a Slot machine that tells the player what winning combinations they can hit on. It also lists the payout for each winning combination and how much that payout increases with each coin played, including any jackpots if applicable.

Reels- The circular mechanisms that spin around upon playing a Slot machine. Each reel has symbols on it that allow you to possibly win a payout of some sort. Modern-day Slot machines can range anywhere from three to five reels per machine.

Static Jackpot- This is the exact opposite of a Progressive jackpot in that it is a set amount, no matter how many times the machine is paid. In a Progressive jackpot, the amount increases with play.

Symbols- The images found on the aforementioned reels. The original Slot machines had hearts, spades bells and horseshoes. Modern-day symbols include everything from animals, celebrities and logos to simple icons such as stars, bars and numbers.

Take Cycle- In this theory, each pay cycle (see definition above) must be followed by a take cycle, wherein a Slots player may win a small sum but no large payouts and especially no jackpots (such as in a Progressive Slot machine). Once a given Slot machine has taken in enough money for a large payout during the take cycle, it may then begin to start making larger or jackpot payouts. Since payouts are random, there is no proof that this is true, therefore it remains a theory.

Tilt- In Slot machine terminology, a malfunctioning machine. In many cases, a tilt machine voids the play, whether it was a winning play or not. This is quite different from the Poker terminology for tilt, in which a player goes on a bad streak of luck due in part to their frustration over previous lost hands.

Wild- A symbol on a Slot machine reel that can be used to replace certain symbols in order to hit on a winning combination.

Zombie- Casino industry slang for a Slot machine player who mindlessly puts coin after coin in a Slot machine as if in a trance.