Slots Rules

While slot machines may not seem as complicated as other games such as Texas Hold ‘em and blackjack, you do have to understand a few rules in order to play. Whether you are sitting at home or pulling the levers of slot machines at a casino in Las Vegas, you don’t want to begin your slots experience by blindly pushing buttons. Before you get started, make sure you read through this handy guide to the rules of playing slots.

What is a Slot Machine?

Before you decipher the rules of play, you’ll need to understand precisely what a slot machine is and how it works. Slots are immensely popular because you don’t need extensive gambling knowledge in order to play (unlike Blackjack and Texas Hold ‘em). Both traditional slot machines and their computerized counterparts require players to pull a lever (or push a button) that rotates a series of reels with symbols printed on them. Today, slot machines are controlled by a random number generator that determines when the reels will stop spinning, and whether you win or lose.

Terms to Know

There are a few terms you’ll need to know before you pull the lever (or push the button):

5-2-Free-SpinBonus Games – Most video slot machines contain bonus games. These are special rounds that are generally triggered by the presence of certain symbols and give slots players the opportunity to win an additional payout. There are innumerable variations of bonus games – from Cascades to Free Spins to Pick ‘Em. The games are often tied to the theme of the slot machine and are one of the many reasons that video slots have become so popular.

Paylines – Lines across a set of reels in a slot machine that determine whether a spin wins or loses. A combination of certain symbols must land on a payline to result in a payout. Most live and online slots have multiple paylines, and they can run vertically, horizontally or diagonally. Some video slots even have paylines that take on the shape of Vs or zigzags.

Payout – The amount of money or credits that you win from a successful spin. It is also possible to win payouts while playing bonus games. The amount of a payout may depend not only on whether the symbols land on a payline, but also which order they line up in and the amount the player bets.

Reels – The rotating wheels that spin when a player pulls the ever or presses the “spin” button. Each reel is covered in symbols, and it is the order in which these symbols line up that determines whether or not the player wins a payout. Most slot machines have three or more reels. When the reels stop spinning is determined by the random number generator.

15-2-ScatterScatters – Symbols that trigger a payout when they end up on the slot machine screen, regardless of whether or not they are on a payline. Scatters can also trigger bonus games or result in a special jackpot.

Symbols – Images that appear on slot machine reels. The symbol designs may vary between machines, but where they land determines a player’s payout (or lack thereof). Common images include a piece of fruit or a colored bar.

Wilds – A specific type of symbol that can act as any other symbol on the reel, similar to the role that Jokers often play in card games.

Rules of Play

Getting Started

If you are a first-time gamer, you’re in luck! The rules of playing slots are relatively simple. First, you will need to choose the type of slot machine you wish to play. There are several things to consider as you make your choice: How much does a one-coin bet cost? How many coins can you play per round? How many reels are there? How many paylines? Use the answers to these questions to guide your decision.


After selecting the game that you wish to play, it’s time to place a bet. When playing slots, it’s generally best to select the maximum bet because that is usually the only way you are eligible to win the jackpot. To place your bet, slide your money into the slot (or make a payment online). The equivalent number of credits will then be displayed on the screen. Now that you have your credits, you will need to decide how many paylines you wish to activate. When playing video slots, you have a number of options (everything from straight across to Vs and zigzags).

Winning in Slots

6-4-Bet60-Lines100After selecting your paylines, click spin. This will activate the random number generator, causing the reels to spin and land on a certain set of symbols. This is where fate takes over: All that’s left for you to do is sit back and watch. The computer will calculate your winnings based on which symbols stopped on the activated paylines, so if you want to continue to play, all you have to do is keep betting and pressing “spin.”

When playing video slots or online, you will also find that bonus events are occasionally triggered. This may either allow you to take additional spins or play a game that could help you win more money. These bonus events vary between slots, so just follow the simple directions on the screen. As you win money, credits will be added to the meter on your screen. You can either use them to continue playing slots or cash out when you are done for the day.

Keep in mind that no matter what variation of slots you choose to play, the basic rules of the game will stay the same. When you begin to play a new type of slot machine, make sure you understand the paylines, options and features before you place your bet!