Online Slots Glossary

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Before you learn the ins and outs of how to master online casinos and online slots, should spend some time learning key online slots terminology. Knowing the terms and what they mean will help you get a head start on the path of becoming a better online slots player.


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Common Slots Terms

243 ways to win: Unlike other common slots, This machine pays out the player when symbols appear on any of the reels and not just when they are in one pay line. Instead, winners are best on many different combinations of symbols that are specific to that machine. Often, the symbols will at least have to be adjacent to each other. It is important to read the payout rules prior to playing any of these slot machines.

3-reel slot: This is a common slot machine where there are three reels along wih three rows of symbols

3D video slots: These machines have three dimensional animated symbols in their reels. This is a flashier, more modern machine that tries to attract younger players.

5-reel slot: This is another common slot machine where there are five reels in addition to three rows of symbols.

Action: This is the total amount of money wagered throughout the players slot session. This is independent of the profit or loss of the player. The casinos are more concerned with a player’s total action than the win/loss of a single session. The casino edge ensures that as long as the player provides enough action over a long enough period of time, the casino will profit. Players are graded and comped based on action. 

Active payline: This line of reels is where the combination of symbols must land on the marked line in order to payout a win. Some machines let you activate and deactivate paylines to adjust the wager. 

All-ways slots: These are online slots that have many different paylines both running left to right and right to left. You need to read the specific payout instructions for these types of machines as they can be confusing. 

Annuity winner: A great problem to have. Annuity slot winners are huge jackpot payouts. A jackpot winner can either take a lump sum payment once or take annual installment payments. Annuity winners take the latter option.

Auto play: A function of online slot machines that allows the player to automatically spin the slot reels continuously for a set amount of time. 

Auto spin: This online feature allows the player to pick a number of spins that will automatically commence once the player decides. The player predetermines the amount of spins and the denomination of each wager. 

AWP: Amusement with Prize. These machines are often skill based and sometimes are not considered gambling slots. The prizes are often something other than money

Bar: a common slot symbol 

Basic slots: The most common slot has 1 payline and a limited fixed jackpot. 

Bet: The amount of money a player wagers per spin of the slot.

Bet max: The largest amount of money the slot allows the player to bet on a single spin.

Bet minimum: The smallest amount of money the slot requires the player to bet on a single spin.

Bet one: When a player bets only the minimum credit per spin

Bet per line: The amount of money the slot player has wagered on each line of the slot machine. Occasionally you can wager different amounts on each line, but most of the time the player has to use the same denomination for each wager.

Betting units: The amount the player wagers per spin.

Bonus feature: Rewards that the slot gives the player as he/she plays the game. The rewards vary wildly between different slot machines, but they often include free spins, expanding wilds, multipliers, ect.

Bonus multiplier: A bonus reward from a slot game that increases the players winnings by a predetermined amount. Often the multiplier can double, trippler, quadruple, ect. The players winnings depending on the game. 

Bonus round: A reward that gives the player a free extra slot game. Similar to a bonus spin.

Branded slots: These are slots that have themes from different areas of pop culture including celebrities, movies, television shows, ect. Be careful playing these machines, because although the themes can be fun, they often have much lower payouts than non-branded machines. This is usually because the branded machines have higher licensing fees. In turn, the machines need a larger casino hold to turn a profit. 

Buy a feature: These are slots that allow the player to purchase access to their bonus games directly instead of having to play the generic game and win the feature organically. 

Buy a pay: A slot amachine that requires the player to wager more money to unlock more winning combinations on the slot reel. 

Cascading reels: More commonly referred to as an avalanche slot. These slots have bonus features where winning combinations disappear from the reels and are replaced with the symbols that have the opportunity to accumulate more wins on a single spin. This can lead to jackpot payouts or bonus multipliers for the player. 

Cash out: Withdrawing the remaining balance on a slot machine. 

Cashback: When the slot machine refunds all or a portion of the players wager. 

Casino bonus: A reward from the casino for a player’s slot play. These bonuses typically encourage the player to stay at the slots longer and give the casino a better chance of winning the player’s money over time.

Certified slots: These are slots that are checked and endorsed by the gaming commission of the state where the slot is located. They ensure the slots play fair and to its advertised payout table. It is important that players protect themselves and only play on certified slots if possible. 

Classic slots: Vintage style slots that typically utilize familiar symbols (freut, bell, 7’s, bars, ect) and have only 1 payline. They also use random number generators to output the result. 

Coin in: The total amount of money wagered in one slot machine

Coin out: The total amount of money withdrawn from one slot machine.

Cold machine: A slot game that has not payed out a jackpot in a long time. While random number generators ensure fair play, superstitious slot players avoid machines like this that have not paid out in a while. 

Collect button: The button on the slot game that allows the player to transfer slot credits into withdrawn funds.

Comps: Benefits that the casino rewards players that have accrued enough action on their slot machines. Average bet size and length of play are the two main factors that determine how much comps a player will be given. 

Credit meter: a visual gauge that tracks the active balance of the player’s slot credits.

Denomination: The value of each slot credit played on a slot machine. 

Doubles: Multiplier symbols that double the player’s winnings when hit.

EGM: Acronym for Electronic Gaming Machine

Expanding Wilds: A special type of wild that can substitute for all symbols on the reels for the slot game. These wilds can lead to large payouts for the player. 

Fill: Term specific to video poker where the player draws a card to make a 5 card hand. 

Five-liner: a 3-reel slot that allows players to win on up to five payout lines

Fixed jackpot: A non-progressive jackpot that pays out the same amount of money no matter how long its 

Fixed-value slots: A slot machine that requires the player to wager the same denomination for every spin.

Free spins: Opportunities to spin the reels and win without having to wager additional money. Free spins are often earned during normal gameplay or can be awarded as a casino comp. 

Freeplay: Reward similar to free spins that is typically comped by the casino. This allows players to play a slot game for a predetermined amount of time or spins for free.

Fruit machine: A classic slot machine with the traditional fruit symbols on the reels. 

Gamble feature: A bonus reward that allows the player to choose one of two outcomes. The correct choice will multiply the players' winners, while the wrong choice leads to the loss of the existing winnings. 

High volatility: Slot machines that have a large disparity between the maximum and minimum amount a player can win. 

Hit and run: When a player makes a few max bets on one machine and then immediately moves to a different slot game after winning on the previous slot game.

Hit frequency: How often a particular slot game pays out a player. 

Hold percentage: The amount of money that the slot operator profits off of the player. This term is often referred to as the “house edge”

Hopper: This feature allows pliers to put the results of one or more reels on hold as they try to multiply their winnings based on spinning the other reels. This is a similar concept to video poker, where the player is allowed to hold as many cards as they want on the first draw. They they then redraw to try and improve their hand. 

Hot machine: This is a slot that has recently been paying out a lot of players and has also given up a jackpot recently. 

Instant Winner: A jackpot winner who decides to get paid that day in one lump sum instead of an annual payout over time.

Line: The payline where the winning combination of symbols must be located in order to receive a payout.

Linked progressive jackpot: When 2 or more slot machines have their jackpots linked together. Money that is put into any of the slots on the network contribute to the overall progressive jackpot. The progressive jackpot can also be won from any of the machines that are linked together. 

Loose slot: A slot game that pays out many different players while not necessarily giving up its jackpot. 

Low volatility: These slot games may be looser and payout more players, however thier jackpots are much smaller than high volatility machines. 

Multi-line slots: These slots offer more than one payline. They are often low volatility machines that payout more often but for less money. 

Near miss: When the player loses a slot pull, but was only 1-2 symbols away from a winning combination.

Nudge slot: These slots are more forgiving to the player and allow them to move a key line up or down to create a winning combination. These slots are also usually low volatility.

One-liner: A single-payline slot where a player must line up 3 symbols in a row to achieve a winning combination. These are typically vintage style classic slots. 

Onesies: A slang term that refers to players that only wager 1 credit at a time.

Optimal play: Understanding the specific rules of a given slot game and adopting the best strategy for the player to turn a profit while playing the game.

Pay table: The outline of all winning combinations and payouts associated with those combinations. They are different for all slot games and should be reviewed by every player prior to gameplay. 

Penny slots: Slots that cost the player cents to play a single payline. These are typically the most popular and profitable slots for the casinos. 

Pick me machine: A bonus that allows players to select a given symbol that will reveal additional bonus or prize. 

Progressive slot machines: These slots have a jackpot that continues to grow as more players pay into the game but don't win the jackpot. 

Random number generator: Online softwar that allows the slot machine to generate a fair but random result. Each slot pull is independent of the others thanks to the RNG. 

Reels: The vertical column of a slot machine. 

Scatter: a special slot symbol that can appear anywhere on the gaming reel to produce a win for the player. 

Scatter pay: When a player is paid based on a scatter symbol appearing on the slot reel.

Second screen bonus: This bonus occurs during certain winning combinations. Once activated a second screen is generated, where the player gets additional rounds to win money. These slot games are much more interactive and are popular with modern slot players.

Short pay: When the slot machine does not have sufficient funds to pay out a win. Online casinos and slot machines that payout in tickets have made this problem go away for the most part.

Skill stops: A special feature that allows a player to stop the spinning reels anytime they want during the game. 

Slot tournament: A tournament where slot players play predetermined slots for a predetermined amount of time. The players that win the most money during this time, have a chance to win a pool of money set aside for the tournament. This is a great way for advantage players to reduce the house edge against them.

Stacked wilds: When wild symbols are connected in combination during a slot pull. They can lead to massive payouts. 

Streaky slots: Slot games that have been known to play both hot and cold

Three-liner slot: A traditional slot machine that features three reels that require lining up three identical symbols on the pay line for a win.

Tight slots: High variable slots that do not pay out often, but sometimes have massive jackpots.

Trail: A bonus feature where the player unlocks different levels in the game to win a final prize or jackpot.

Two-liner: A two reel slot machine. These slots are rare but can still be found.

Video slots: Modern slot games that utilize computerized animated reels rather than the physical reels that are used in vintage slot machines. 

Wide Area Progressive: This is a slot machine with a progressive jackpot that gets contributions from multiple casinos that have the same game. These slots often have the largest jackpots. 

Zig-Zag: A win pattern on certain multi-line slot machines.

Online Slots Resources

Although online slots require more luck than skill, it's recommended to follow a strategy to maximize your earning potential. Here's a list of resources that can help you become more prepared when you are ready to play online slots.

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