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Reading The Slot Help Screen


I grew up in an era that was not as technically advanced as it is today. I’m sure many of you can remember the times I am talking about. Back then when an electronic device was described as “plug and play’ it meant you plugged it in the wall and turned a switch on to make it play. Although it seems like home computers have been with us forever it has actually only been about 10 years since they have become affordable enough for the majority of people to own. The VCR made its way into our homes around 20 years ago and with it came a huge manual that you had to read just to figure out how to get the clock to stop blinking. As technology became more sophisticated it became necessary to include instruction manuals for virtually all new electronic devices so the average person could figure out how these products operate. Technology is wonderful but there is a learning curve in order to get the most out of these modern wonders.

It’s not just products in the home that has been changed by technology. Anyone who visited a casino twenty years ago knows that the biggest change brought about by modern technology has been to the slot machine. Like the plug and play phonograph of the past, the slot machine was a very simple device. You put a coin in the slot and pulled the handle to activate the three reels. The pay table was on the front glass and if you lined up three winning symbols you won. The modern video slot machine is as different to its mechanical predecessor as the CD player is to the old record player.

The new slot machines are truly modern day wonders that can do more than the old machine ever dreamed of. The new machines are run by microprocessors that make it possible to have virtual reels and many stops making it possible to offer life changing jackpots. The majority of the old slot machines had one payline. The new video slot machines have five, nine or even more playlines. You can also bet multiple coins on each line that you select. The winning paylines can be vertical, horizontal, diagonal or zigzag. There can be scatter pay or bonus pay symbols on the reels. It can be confusing at times trying to figure out how to play the machine. Sometimes it seems that you almost need a manual to figure out the game.

Although the new slots don’t come with a manual, they do offer the next best thing in the way of a “Help Screen” that will explain how the game is played. If you are playing a game you never played before it is a good idea to spend a minute looking at the help screen so you understand the game. The first screen of the help menu will usually show you the pay lines for the game. This screen will also explain how the symbols must line up for a winning spin. Many of the new video slots require that the winning symbols must start on the left reel and go to the right. You may up three or four symbols in a row but if they don’t start in the first reel on the left it is not a winner. You need to know this so you won’t be confused as to why you did not win even though you had multiple symbols. The screen will also tell you how many coins you can bet on each payline.

The next screen you want to look at is the pay table that shows how much each symbol pays. Slot makers try to make the hierarchy of winning symbols easy to understand. For instance a silver coin on the reel would be worth more than a bronze coin and a gold coin would be worth more than the silver one. Some of the games have themes that make the value of the symbols easy to understand however some can really be confusing so it is always best to check the pay table, before you start.

If the machine has a bonus round the help menu will explain what symbols activate the bonus portion of the game. The game may also have a special symbol that acts as a wild card for a scatter pay bonus. This will be explained as well.

Help is only a touch of the screen away. Take a few minutes to read the help screen of any new slot game you want to play. It is better than trying to figure out the game as you play along and will make the game more enjoyable.

Until next time, remember:
"Luck comes and goes...Knowledge Stays Forever."

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