Slot Answers and Questions

by Gayle Mitchell

If you are looking for Slot Answers about your favorite casino game, then this is the lesson for you.
Using a Q&A format based on actual questions received, below are a dozen answers for the lingo, jargon and queries related to the slot playground.
Many of the terms or phrases will be familiar to you while others will be a new addition to your slots dictionary.
Let’s have some fun...

Q. What are certified slots?
Slot Answers #1: Rotating, neon signs greet you at the banks/carousels of certified slots. Casinos raise the percentage payout up to 98% for these special slots. However, two cautions. This guaranteed return is an average payback and could be over weeks, months or possibly a year.
Secondly, not all the slots are necessarily high return versions. Is the casino lying to you? Not if just one of those slots spits out a large return. Make sure you ask the change people and/or slot manager if all slots are programmed with high rate of return or just some. I would only play if all is the answer.

Q. What do you mean when you say a nudge slot?
#2) A nudge slot is one that will jump up or down to complete a win on the payline. These versions can be found with the word Deluxe in the version name. For example, Double Diamonds Deluxe.

Q. Is it true that more symbols at the slot machine make it a loose slot?
Slot Answers #3: Looser slots have more paying symbols on the reels. Therefore, when a match-up occurs, payouts are more frequent, thus a looser slot. Tight slots at airports, restaurants and bars have fewer paying symbols and should be avoided. Bring on those loose slots.

Q. What does zigzag mean?
#4) Zig zag is a descriptive word that I use referring to the up, down and across of the many paylines on a slot machine that appear to be moving in all directions across the screen. To me, it looks like a zig zag pattern.

Q. I am not sure what you mean by single payline vs. multiple payline. Can you please explain?
Slot Answers #5: Ok. When you look at the front of the slot, you see a single line across the screen and the button panel does not mention 5, 10 or all lines.
Multi-line slots have five, nine or more paylines. If you look at the help menu it will show you how the lines zig-zag for payouts. There are not many single payline slots in land-based casinos now, but there are plenty of versions online.

Q. I have been curious about the penny slots that range in betting from .20 to $5.  Does each betting denomination have a separate pay table, or does the machine just pay on a random spin no matter what the bet?
#6--Two slot answers. A) If you are talking about a multi-denomination slot machine that offers pennies, quarter and a variety of denominations, then yes, the payouts are different. Higher denominations get better payouts.
B) However, if you are talking about a penny denomination ONLY slot then it does not matter, as it is a random spin.
I recommend that you always bet and activate all lines, even if you are only playing a penny or two per line.
Then you can be certain you receive credits. Once your credits mount, you can afford to hit maximum spin occasionally.

Q. I do not understand the meaning of average hit frequency for a slot machine.
It says that a lower frequency of 2 would merit a higher rating than say an 8. It would seem just the opposite to me as more hits should be better. Can you please explain this to me so I can better understand the logic?
Slot Answers #7: The average hit frequency is based on an overall percentage and number of spins for that particular slot. If the hit frequency is 50%, that would mean that there is some sort of payout every 2nd spin. Conversely, if it is 14%, that would be a payout every 7th spin. 14 divided into 100 = 7. Therefore, it is better to have a payout on average every 2nd spin (50%) rather than every 7th spin (14%).
Think of it this way: if you are sitting at XYZ slot, would you like to get some credits every second spin or wait until 7 spins have gone by? 

Q. Can the casinos flip a switch or otherwise change slot payouts?
Slot Answers #8: Changing payouts entails contacting the slot manufacturer who in most cases is the only party that can make that change and frequently having this operation witnessed by the Gaming Commission.
I always offer the opinion that no credible casino is going to risk losing their gaming license by fooling with their slot payouts. Almost all gaming venues are highly regulated by the Gaming Commission.
Additionally, with video poker, it is the pay schedule that determines the payout along with optimum player strategy. Therefore, if you are playing a 9/6 Jacks or Better version (9 coins for a full house and 6 coins for a flush) with optimum strategy, the overall payout is 99.54%.
Unless the VP slots are programmed not to produce Royals or higher paying hands, it is difficult to change the payouts as per the pay schedule. Again, I go back to the risk of losing their gaming license as a reason not to cheat the players.

Q. When I play slots, all jackpots exceeding $1199. are reported accompanied by a tax form.
If I put in 3-dollar coins and win $1200, I have actually won $1197.00, the $1200 less my 3-dollar wager.
I would think the tax form should be for all jackpots over $1202.00. What is the accurate interpretation of this policy?
Slot Answers #9:  The tax form trigger is based on the actual amount paid out by the casino and they are bound to follow the tax rules or lose their license.
I have an example. I was sitting beside a lady who hit a progressive jackpot that was $1199.45. The casino rounded the payout up to an even $1200 and she was asked for ID to write up the tax form.
She and I protested but to no avail, as the casino had to follow the tax rule for $1200.
It sure would be nice if we could deduct the amount we put into a machine before hitting from our winnings, but the taxman would not agree.

Most slot players, including me, find nightmares of a slot machine malfunction follow dreams of that multi million dollar win.
Slot Answers #10 from The Nevada Gaming Commission explains a malfunction
or tilt.
There are over many thousands of slot machines normally operating 24 hours a day 7 days a week in Nevada and unfortunately, on rare occasions, there are malfunctions. Malfunctions occur for a variety of reasons including, improper tampering, coin/bill jams, switch failures, computer chip failure, power outages and accidental contact.
When a malfunction occurs, the slot machine will normally not accept additional monies nor play existing credits, the lights on top will flash, the readout on the face of the machine will likely flash or display an unusual number or code at which time the reels may stop briefly then rotate or spin slowly, or there may be an on-screen indication of the problem, such as call attendant.
All slot machines post a notice that a malfunction voids all pays. For very large jackpots, there is no payout and while you may challenge the casino before the gaming commission or a court, it is rarely a winning action. Just a very bad nightmare.

Q. Is there a separate RNG function that determines the wheel spin outcome for Wheel of Fortune type machines? Or is that payout preset by some other mechanism independent of the RNG? Moreover, is there a communication between the primary reels and the bonus spin wheel that regulates the combined payout over a period of time?
Slot Answers #11) As to your question about Wheel RNG, the outcome of the wheel spin is pre-determined when the third reel lines up the Spin symbol. It is all one function. I was playing the other day and went to the Wheel seven times. Three of those times, it produced 200 credits--very unusual to be that high, but that's life with the RNG!

Slot Answers #12 completes this lesson with a detailed explanation of the RNG.
RNG - Random Number Generator: A computer program consisting of numbers created by the manufacturer related to a reel result that is then duplicated. Higher payouts are assigned fewer numbers, while lower payouts assigned more numbers. The RNG then sequences through a series of numbers determining a result when the player triggers the spin button or slot handle. All slots are pre-set with an overall payout by the slot mfg. as directed by the casinos. This program is also designed to determine the slot’s average payout %.
The slots payout % is reported as returns over a long period while the RNG picks numbers in a short period.
Therefore, no slot machine will payout its preset payoff percentage rate every time as the final outcome of every spin is randomly selected.

Slot Answers is followed by Slots FAQ=Frequently Asked Questions to expand your slots education.
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There are 12 Slot Answers and Questions in this lesson including a detailed explanation of the RNG=Random Number Generator embedded in each slot machine.

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