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Slots Glossary of Terms

The following glossary is a listing of definitions for commonly used slot machine terms:

Action The total amount of money bet in a specific period of time.
Bars Bars are a common symbol you’ll see on many slot machines. It is usually a rectangular shape with the word BAR printed on it. There are usually single, double, and triple bar symbols on the reel.
Bonus Game A secondary event in a slot machine game that permits the player to win additional money through an activity other than the spinning of reels.
Buy-A-Feature A slot machine that includes a bonus feature that is applicable only when multiple coins are wagered.
Buy-A-Pay A slot machine with a pay schedule that includes winning combinations that only apply when multiple coins are wagered.
Carousel A group of slot machines.
Cold Machine A slot machine that is not paying much out. This is likely because it is set with a lower payout percentage.
Coin-Free Play Slot machine play that involves using printed tickets or credit tokens instead of coins.
Credit A credit is the slot machines equivalent to coins. When you insert coins or bills into the machine you are awarded one credit for each coin. You are also awarded credits for winning spins. Each credit awarded is equivalent to one coin. You can turn your credits back into coins by pressing the Cash Out button on the machine.
Fill New bag of coins used to refresh an empty hopper.
Low Level Slot machines you can sit at to play.
Hit Any winning combination of symbols on the pay line.
Hit Frequency The frequency with which a slot machine registers a winning combination relative to the number of games played.
Hold And Respin Game A slot machine that permits the player to hold the results of one or more reels and spin the remaining reels a second time in an attempt to improve the result.
Hopper This is where the money is stored inside the machine. When the hopper overflows, the excess change flows over into a bucket. The “excess” is the profit the casino takes home. Hoppers are generally emptied in the morning before the crowds arrive.
Hot Machine A slot machine that is paying out well. This is likely because it is set with a higher payout percentage.
Jackpot The highest payout on a slot machine.
Loose Machine A slot machine that is paying out well. This is likely because it is set with a higher payout percentage.
Max Bet The maximum amount of coins that you can play per spin.
Multi-line A slot machine with more than one pay line. Slot machines may have several pay lines.
Multiplier A slot machine with a pay schedule where the pay schedule for each winning combination is multiplied evenly by each coin wagered.
Pay Line Usually the line in the middle of the slot window but also it can be three lines, five lines or even more on video slots. Only symbols on a pay line will result in a win.
Pay For Play These are generally one-two-three coins option slot machines with staggered payoffs. The more coins you put the better the payoffs.
Pay Table The section of the slot machine that shows the payoffs for each type of winning combination. The pay table will also tell you if there are bonus features.
Payback The percentage of winnings a machine will payout in relation to the amount put in, also known as payout percentage.
Progressive Jackpot A jackpot that grows progressively as people play. For each spin/hand played the machine adds a small credit to the running jackpot total. Sometimes several machines are linked up together to form a combined large jackpot, and also several casinos may join together to form an inter-casino progressive jackpot that can generate very large sums.
Progressive Slots A group of slot machines linked together to pay one common big jackpot.
Reels Rotating narrow barrels on which the symbols appear. You might find two, three, and four reel slot machines, but three is the most common. The more reels, the harder it is to hit jackpot.
Scatter Pay A winning combination in which the individual jackpot symbols are not required to line up on a single pay line, common on video slot machines.
Slot Club A promotional club that uses player identification cards to electronically track the amount of money wagered by each member, for the purpose of rewarding loyal players through cash rebates, complimentary meals, services, and special members-only events. Also called a Players Club.
Slot Tournament A special event in which players compete for preset cash prizes on specially programmed slot machines, receiving points for accumulated credits.
Stand Up Slot machines where you play standing up.
Symbol The image that spins on the reel.
Take/Pay Cycle Based on the assumption that most slot machines work on cycles, it is when to expect a machine to pay out following a certain amount of coins fed into it.
Tight Machine A slot machine that is not paying much out. This is likely because it is set with a lower payout percentage.
Tilt Slots often tilt for a couple of reasons: either they have run out of coins, or because a coin is stopping up the machine. When a machine tilts, it stops paying and the tilt light comes on. If coins are owed to the player, the slot’s memory will account for them and pay the player after the problem has been fixed.
Video Slot Machine A slot machine with a video screen on which the reels and other elements are simulated with graphics and animation.
Volatility The ratio of size versus frequency of jackpots in a slot game.
Wild Symbol Acts as a joker symbol to make up a winning combination on the pay line.
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