How online slot machines work

And why is luck not on your side

In 2009, gambling was banned in Russia. Now you can go to the casino only in four specially designated gambling zones. Valeria Knysheva worked in a legal casino for more than three years. And there is no magic in it. It’s just such fun. Casino is not a way of earning or investing, it’s just entertainment for your money

You pay constantly so that sometimes you have a chance to get a big win. In parallel, you are entertained. All “systems” and “proven methods of guaranteed winnings” are either fraud or illegal. Spend only the money you don’t mind losing at the casino.

There are halls for slot machines in the casino.

They are called slot machines or slots. They are easy to play: symbols are spinning on the slot screen, the player’s task is to collect a winning combination. You deposit a bill, set the parameters of the game and place a bet. If several symbols are collected in accordance with the specified parameters, you win. The symbols are collected by themselves according to the algorithm sewn into the slot: sleight of hand and the force of pressing do not affect the result.

Briefly about how a slot machine works: any slot machine is a computer with a screen and several buttons. At the heart of this computer is a chip that decides whether you win now or not. His solution is tied to mathematics, internal tuning and a bunch of other things. The chip is made so that it is impossible to predict its behavior specifically now, but so that in the long run it gives a statistically predictable result on a large number of games.

Whether you win or not is up to the chip in the computer

There were stories in the press about how someone hacked slot chips using special emitters. They say that they gave out some waves that confused the chip and forced it to pay the winnings at a predictable moment. Even if this is true, it is a crime in Russia — if caught, they can put you in jail.

  • There are a huge number of slot machine models.
  • They come in different companies, the names of which make sense only for casino owners.
  • Regardless of the company and origin, all slot machines must be certified for playing in Russia and have customizable game parameters available only to casinos.

Slot machines are also divided by the type of case and differ in landing: upright and slant-top. On the upright machines, the monitor is mounted almost vertically, at eye level; on the slant top, it is significantly tilted. The gameplay of the machines is the same. The deciding factor when choosing a slot machine for a player will be the game he plans to play. The casinos where I worked preferred uprights. They had the most popular games, as well as mechanical, not electronic buttons. They are more pleasant to press.

For the player, the slot machines are distinguished by the quality of graphics, sound, body and buttons. Inside all the machines are soulless semiconductors and many layers of protection. There are no “more successful” and “less successful” games on slot machines. Aprites – slot machines with vertical landing

The slant-top monitor is significantly tilted


The jackpot is a super prize on slot machines. If you are very lucky, you do not get an ordinary win, but “break the jackpot”, that is, a large mega-prize. This is how casinos encourage players to spend time on slots. The jackpot can be fixed, progressive and secret.

A fixed jackpot is a jackpot whose amount is determined in advance. To get a win, you need to collect a certain combination. It’s just a super prize, nothing interesting.

The progressive jackpot grows as the game progresses.

It is easy to recognize it by the scoreboard, which is placed above a group of slot machines. All the slot machines in this group list a small percentage of each game in the total jackpot, then one of them takes it.

A secret or “mystery” jackpot is a random win that any player can receive regardless of the bet placed, the presence of a winning combination and compliance with any other conditions. The winner is determined randomly when the jackpot reaches a certain amount. The budget for the secret jackpot can be allocated by the casino management: to encourage players or to encourage them to play more.

Is it possible to win at the casino

Most of the jackpots and other casino winnings occur not at the expense of the casino, but at the expense of other people’s losses. Almost any win on the slot machine means that you take the money that other players have fed to the slot machine. And if they promise to tell you how to “ruin the casino”, do not believe: either they will deceive you, or they will offer you to deceive the casino. And both will not end well. This does not prevent you from winning honestly, just do not think that you have beaten the casino in this way.

How to pay winnings at the casino

When you win in a modern casino, a mountain of coins does not fall out on you. Instead, the slot machine gives out a special ticket — TITO. You can exchange it for money or continue playing on the same or another slot machine.

TITO (ticket-in, ticket-out) is a ticket with a barcode and face value. You can present it at the ticket office and receive the amount at the face value of the ticket. Small operations with TITO and money can be carried out in special exchange devices. They look like ATMs, only for TITO tickets. Such machines are placed around the hall for the convenience of visitors and in order to remove some of the load from the cash register. Through the car, you can buy or cash out TITO tickets yourself and change small amounts. Usually they have an upper limit on transactions, for example 50,000 rubles.

TITO ticket, which is issued by the slot machine at the moment of winning

Large amounts of winnings can be cashed out only with the help of employees of the slot hall.

Depending on the situation and the size of the payout, a slot supervisor or a shift manager may come to the rescue. Before proceeding with the payment, they can check with the video surveillance department, check the setting of the slot machine. They need to make sure that the payout is calculated correctly. After that, the employee accompanies the guest to the cash register and helps to get the winnings.

How the casino earns money on slot machines

In the slot industry, there is an indicator of RTP – return to player. This is the average percentage of money that the slot machine theoretically returns to players, if you look at a long period of time. The casino earns on the difference between how much customers deposited and how much they took away.

The minimum RTP is defined by law, in Russia it is 90%. Theoretically, if 1000 people bet 1000 rubles each, the machine will receive 1 million rubles and return 900 thousand as a prize.

In short periods, large fluctuations in payments are possible: now you have been paid 1,000 rubles, then nothing was paid for a long time, and then 30,000 rubles at once. But over time, the average payout approaches RTP.

RTP — how much the machine returns in the form of winnings. It is always less than 100%

Casinos benefit from players winning more often, so they set a higher payout percentage than required by law. For players in the premium sector, RTP can be 94-96%. The remaining 4-6% of turnover is “hold”, casino earnings. In fact, this is a commission for using the car. People put money in the car, the casino takes a small percentage, and gives the rest as winnings.

A special commission monitors how slot machines work in casinos: each slot machine must be certified, have a special seal and documents. If during the check it turns out that the chip of the slot machine was replaced or the RTP was underestimated, the casino will have to pay a fine. For serious violations, the casino’s activities can be suspended for up to 90 days. Therefore, in legal gambling zones, the management carefully monitors compliance with the law.

Card and other games

Roulette, baccarat, Russian poker, Texas Hold’em and blackjack are popular in the casino. These are also types of games in which players make money bets and multiply them with some probability. There are games based on pure luck, such as roulette. Where the ball fell — that sector won. There are games in which you can apply strategy — they are referred to as advantive games. For example, in blackjack, with the right strategy, a player can change the mathematical advantage of the casino in his favor.

Dealers serve players at the tables. This is not some glamorous mystical profession, there is no need for espionage techniques and incredible sleight of hand. The main task of the dealer is to accept bets, explain the rules of the game and monitor their compliance. The dealer is not a friend, not a bartender, not a service staff, he just leads the game.

There may be an inspector next to the dealer.

He also monitors the correctness of the game and enters the bets and the result in a special program. It is very important for casinos to collect information, because there are a lot of fans of cheating. The more information the casino has about the course of the game, the better it is protected.

It is almost impossible to count the cards and outwit the casino, as they do in Hollywood movies. Several decks are used in one game. They are mixed by a special shuffle machine, which is responsible for the unpredictable sequence of cards in the deck. For example, there are 8 decks in baccarat. They are used only once per game, then disposed of in a special room. Life in the casino is much more prosaic than in the movies.

Life in the casino is much more prosaic than in the movies

Casino cards and chips are the subject of close attention from the management. They are very expensive and there is always a risk of fraud. They are carefully counted during and after the shift and stored in strictly designated places. The game, players and employees are monitored by a video surveillance service. Its task is to prevent dealer mistakes and fraud on the part of players.

Why does a casino always make money, even when it loses

In a gambling game, any bet has a certain probability of winning. For example, if you flip a coin and bet on one of the sides, the probability of your victory is 50%. If you flip 100 times, the probability will remain the same and will always be 50-50. This is a game with equal chances.

In gambling, the odds are not initially equal.