Different Types of Slots Machines - Slot Machine Variations

A look at different types of slot machines, such as mechanical slots, video slots, 3 reel slots and 5 reel slots.

Mechanical Slots

Mechanical slots machines do not have much variety. There are basically two types of mechanical slots machines.

  • 3 Reel slots
  • 5 Reel slots

3 reel slots have three spinning reels and therefore three symbols in each combination. 5 reel slots have five spinning reels and therefore five symbols in each combination. The total number of combinations in five reel slots is much larger. Therefore usually there are many more combinations in the payout table and also the payouts are larger. The flip side is that the probability of getting a given combination is much lower.

Video Slots

Since video slots are run by computer programs they are more amenable to variations. The different types of video slots are listed below. Some slots machines have more than one of the listed variations.

  • Multi paylines slots: Usually slots have only one payline. That is only one combination is compared with the payout table. In multi payline slots the computer generates many sets of combinations for comparison with the payout table. The number of paylines varies from 3 to 40. The payouts are so adjusted that the average payout of the machine is around 95%. That is for each dollar wagered the player can expect to get back 95 cents with 5 cents being the house edge.
  • Free spin slots: In free spin slots the player gets another spin, instead of a cash payout, if certain symbols or combination of symbols appear in the paylines. That way the player gets another opportunity to receive payouts at no cost to himself.
  • Bonus game slots: Bonus game slots give the slots players the pleasure of playing two types of games in one, with the opportunity to win additional prizes. Bonus games are activated when certain symbols appear in the paylines. These symbols are known as scatter symbols. There are two types of bonus games. One type involves pure luck. This could involve a number of chests each with different amounts of treasure. The player picks a chest and collects the treasure it contains. The other type of game involves some skill. The player may have to show some skill in order to win the prize. Some bonus game slots have two or more bonus games.
  • Progressive slots: Usually slots payout a predetermined amount as per the payout table. However the payouts are limited and not the life changing payouts one reads about. These payouts are delivered by progressive slots machines. A portion of each wager adds to the jackpot. Thus the jackpot amount keeps increasing with each wager and is displayed on the machine. When a player hits the jackpot payline he gets the full amount of the jackpot.
  • Fruit machines slots: These are interactive slots machines that allow players to nudge and hold reels. After the reels come to rest the player can decide which reels to hold and which to spin again. This increases the chances of winning. Fruit slots machines have other features such as gamble feature, cash ladder and bonus board.