Popular Features on Slot Machines and How They Work


Popular Slot Machine Features

Slot machines are some of the most popular games at casinos. This is true for both the online and physical location machines. The great designs and the ease of use make them a great source of entertainment. They truly are a lot of fun.

While there are some standard features that are common among most slot machines, what I have found is that there are features that really make playing the game a lot more enjoyable.

It is these features that not only add value, but they incorporate ideas that make it hard to walk away.

Not Always Easy to Grasp

While these features add to the slot machines, you may not always understand exactly how they work or how they benefit you.

Some of these features are pretty straightforward, but there are ones out there that can be a little more difficult to understand. This is true whether you are using slot machines at an online casino or you are physically at the facility itself.

The truth is that if you don’t understand how the game works you are either likely to not play or to walk away after just a few minutes. I know I don’t like to feel foolish or ignorant, so it is better to avoid embarrassment by simply walking away.

If you are like me, then you understand that may deny you hours of fun, if not a chance to win big money, so here is a description of some of the more popular features on slot machines and how they work.

Bonus Rounds and Free Spins

No matter what slot machine you play, you are likely to find that there are bonus rounds or free spins that are available. Some slot machines offer both. This is a way for you to have an extra payout or to play additional rounds at no cost to you.

While most of us understand the concept of the bonus round and free spins, it is important to understand that there are many options out there that are available. Not every slot machine offers the same types of bonuses, so here are some of the more common ones.

Simple Bonus

This is the most commonly offered type of bonus. In the simple bonus, the player is awarded for hitting some particular combination or symbol on the reels. Sometimes that may mean that the player receives additional credits or money. He or she may also receive additional spins or the wheel may continually spin until a monetary value is hit.

What separates this type of bonus from other ones is that you will clearly understand that you are winning. When it occurs you will know what is going on and will feel a sense of joy and knowing you are about to win something.


The self-playing bonus is one where the machine takes over for you. Depending upon the number of bonus spins that you won, the machine will continually spin the reels with you winning each time the reels stop.

So, for example, if you won six self-playing bonus spins, the machine would start to spin the reels. Each time that it stopped, you would win whatever prizes or credits were shown on the reels. You may receive nothing, you may receive big prizes. You will receive whatever the six spins give you.

Pick Game Bonus

Why many people like this type of bonus is that you are guaranteed to win some type of prize. You don’t necessarily know what that is, but there is something coming your way. Usually, in these types of games, you can pick certain rooms or symbols where prizes are hidden behind them. Whatever is hidden becomes your prize.

It is interesting that some slot machines will offer both the pick game and bonus spins. This may allow you to choose more than one prize, however, it is fairly rare that you will come up as a winner. It’s great when you win, it just isn’t going to occur very often.

Skill-Based Bonuses

This is one other type of bonus that I want to talk about. In the skill-based bonus, you actually play a major role in determining your prize. The wheels will spin, and it becomes your responsibility to press stop when you feel the reels will hit a winner for you.

These can be very tough to play. Even the best videogame players, people who have incredible hand-eye coordination, struggle with this type of game.


It’s not easy to hit the bonus, primarily because the challenge is that you don’t really get to practice.

I know when I have played slot machines that offer this bonus, I may only hit the bonus once or twice in an hour. That doesn’t really give me much of an opportunity to feel when it is right to press the stop button to win.

Scatters and Wilds

Another common feature on slot machines is scatters and wilds. For wilds, these symbols represent another symbol that can make you a winner. It’s like having a joker in a deck of cards. A wild symbol in a line where you have three kings and the wild would make it four kings, which can earn you a big prize.


Some machines add bonuses for receiving more than one wild. Should you receive two or three in a row, you can be a winner.

The scatters allow you to win no matter where they appear on the reels. Even if you don’t have five in a row, let’s say, the scatter acts as the missing symbol to make you a winner.

Ways to Win

This is becoming one of the most popular features on slot machines these days. Traditionally, you won when you had a line of symbols directly across the screen.

That has changed drastically over the years, as you can now play so that you can win if you have the right combination up-down, left-right, or even diagonally. Some slot machines even allow you to win if there is any type of direct connection between symbols.


An important feature directly related to the ways to win feature is the payline. Many of the more popular slot machines have anywhere between three and seven rows of reels that you can choose to bet on each time the wheel is spun.

By offering this option, it allows you to incorporate many different ways to win. If you purchased just the single payline, you would need that line to have the right symbols for you to win. However, if you chose all five paylines in a game, you would win if there were any of the right combinations of symbols in any direction.

This is a very popular option, but it is also more expensive. If you are playing a $1 machine, for example, and you wanted to play all three paylines, you would have to pay $3 each time you spun the wheels. It’s a greater risk for a greater opportunity for reward.


The three most common and popular types of slot machines that use these paylines afford you 243, 1024, or over 100,000 ways to win. It depends upon the number of lines that are in play.

Progressive Jackpots

One last feature I wanted to include is the progressive jackpot. This is not a feature offered at every casino, but it should be. Many people love this feature, as the jackpot increases as people play until somebody hits the right symbol combination. That may take a few days, it may take months.

What often happens is that these jackpots will reach a rather sizable amount before someone reaches the payoff. Some casinos have paid a lucky winner more than $10 million. Some of these progressive jackpots begin at $1 million. If this jackpot is offered and you find a slot machine you really like to play, you may want to sit down and play for a while.

They Can Be Fun

There is no doubt that slot machines can be a lot of fun to play. They can be even more enjoyable when there are features that pique your interest and keep you playing.

Hopefully, this explanation will help you to enjoy games more fully. It should also help to steer you toward games you may not have tried before.

So good luck to you. My hope is that you will be a big winner now.

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