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What are the main characteristics of a slot machine

The defining characteristics of a slot machine are well defined, whether online or physical. Do you know everything that makes a slot machine unique? Let’s see it together.

Hit Frequency

Hit frequency, or hit rate, is the term casinos use to describe how often a machine will stop on a winning combination. For example, if a machine has a hit frequency of 8%, it means that the machine will stop on a winning combination about 8% of the time. It’s worth noting that many slots and VLTs allow players to bet on multiple lines on each spin. The result is that, on a single spin, a player could get one or more winning combinations, along with numerous losing combinations.

Among slots and VLTs there can be great variation in the hit frequency. In most cases, slot games display hit rates of between 20% and 30%. The hit rate does not determine the amount of payouts. In fact, a slot with a high hit frequency may deliver small wins that make the game seem “loose”. While games with a low hit frequency are often perceived by players as “tight” because the wins can be so far apart.

It’s always about striking the right balance to make the game enjoyable and fun for users.

The hit frequency of slot games is often confused with volatility, which is also referred to as variance. Slot volatility refers to the tendency of a pokie to table rewards on a small scale


Every day you find yourself studying and evaluating new slots with which to enrich your portfolio. But do you know what is volatility in slots?

Volatility decides the number of individual winnings and the risk level of the slots. Specifically, low volatility slots will bring low and frequent winnings, while high volatility slots bring more rare and large winnings.

There are three levels of volatility in the industry:

  • Low volatility slots – these slots bring more frequent wins, but small gains. Big wins will be quite rare.
  • Medium volatility slots – wins are not slow in coming and payouts are neither very big nor very low.
  • High volatility slots – these slots are the opposite of low volatility slots. They pay significant earnings, but with long intervals between winning spins.

The choice between the types of volatility slots depends a lot on the player’s risk appetite. In some cases, there might be users who want to win a lot regardless of frequency. Others, on the other hand, may have more fun with small frequent winnings.

The total amount of winnings and the profitability of the slot do not depend on the volatility rate, which only affects the frequency and consistency of the result.

RTP or Return To Player

RTP stands for Return to Player and is one of the main characteristics of slots and gambling in general. This number shows, on average, how much the player has left at the end of the game.

Let’s take an example: Imagine you have bet 100 coins in a gaming session. If the slot’s RTP is 95%, the statistic says that the thing is that when the game ends you will have 95 coins in your pocket.

The RTP is a theoretical figure that is calculated on large numbers and across the plays of all users. The result of each game, in fact, can be different. Returning to the example above, there will be players who at the end of the game will have less than 95 coins and players who will have more.

How to calculate the RTP? RTP is the average of what is left to the player after a significant number of gaming sessions in which all bonuses and extra features have been activated. So, in case the provider does not say this figure to you, just have the patience to play the Demo.

In general, we consider an acceptable RTP to be 95%. When it is above 96% it can be considered good and above 96.5% very good. However, in the feeling of the profitability of a slot, one must also consider the volatility that can change the gaming experience a lot.

Scatter and wild symbols

In the evolution of slots over the last few decades, Scatters and Wild Symbols have been gaining momentum. Their main function is to make the game more appealing and to supply the perception of a higher probability of winning by following this equation: higher winning symbols, higher odds.

Industry experts know this equation can be misleading, but the greater depth of gaming experience provided by these elements is currently irreplaceable. What differentiates the two?

Scatter symbols

The Scatter symbol unlocks various bonus features built into the game. Unlike other regular symbols that need to be lined up on a payline to earn a win, the Scatter symbol simply needs to appear on the reels to award free spins, mini-games, or other bonuses.

Wild symbols

Wild symbols are symbols that can substitute for any other, thus leading to a winning combination.

There are several types of Wild symbols:

  • The Sticky Wild stays stuck at the initial position once it is first met in the Slot Machine’s game interface.
  • The Wandering Wild moves to a different reel each spin, thus remaining ever-present, but on a different reel each time;
  • The Stacked Wild/ Trailing Wild leaves a trail of more wilds on later spins. The Stacked Wild/Trailing Wild can be stacked or trailed, leaving behind more and more wilds each spin until it fills the entire reel;
  • The Expanding Wild expands, widening and reaching the last column of the Slot Machine.


The reels are the elements on which the symbols spin to generate combinations. Visually, they are the columns of the online slot’s grid. But what differentiates the two types of slots?

3 Reels slot

Slots with 3 reels are the classic form where it all began. Even online you can find slots that simulate the respective physical classic fruit. The main feature of 3 reels slots is simplicity: the slots are easy to play and it is easy to understand the payout. These slots have a limited number of paylines (usually 10) where the payout is diversified depending on the symbol aligned. It often happens, in fact, that more experienced players prefer these slots when they want to play in a relaxed way.

5 Reels slot

Slots with 5 reels are more advanced in technical management and are, therefore, a little more complicated to understand for the less experienced player. The main feature that makes them more interesting is the number of paylines that can exceed 100. This serves to add winning combinations to make the game more compelling. Also, it often happens that these slots have specific bonuses and storylines to follow to diversify the gaming experience.

Which ones are most likely to win?

The number of reels does not affect the slot’s winnings. Although the number of combinations may give the feeling of a higher probability of winning, what figures out the probability of winning is the Return to Player. For more information on this follow us as we’ll be talking about it next week!

Free Spin & Bonus Round

Why do you find Bonus Round and Free Spin in slot games? First, however, a little explanation to better know what they are and what we are talking about.

Bonus rounds come in many forms, supplying a chance to win extra payouts during the feature. Bonus rounds are typically accessed when lining up special symbols. They tend to last a short period before returning to the base game. Some bonus rounds have sophisticated graphics, and others require some skill.

Free spins are the most popular bonus features. They serve up extra spins that can boost your winnings. A free spins round may be activated in several ways. By linking up specific symbols in a row. With free spins, winnings stack up as you watch the reels revolve. They are the most bonus rounds you can find on slots.

Bonus rounds and free spins help increase the winning sensations. You might not even win from several spins, but if you unlock a free spin don’t you feel the satisfaction go up? Here, this is the main reason why these systems are implemented in games. They are a good reward for you who are playing with passion.

RNG or Random Numeric Generator

RNG stands for random number generator. This is defined as a device or algorithm that comes up with numbers by random chance. RNG refers to events that are not the same every time you play. You can imagine how crucial this element is to gambling and slots. But how does it work?

There are True RNGs and Pseudo-RNGs. The former use physical tools to randomly generate numbers. The latter, instead, use algorithms and are the most used in gaming and gambling. Pseudo-RNG uses an algorithm (think of it as a formula) that performs mathematical operations on a seed (starting) value to come up with a random number. To achieve different outputs each time, it’s important to use a seed that’s as random as possible.

In slots, the RNG figures out the combinations displayed on the screen and, so, the player’s winnings. Having a good RNG algorithm is essential to balance the fun and unpredictability of the game.