Gambling machines now dominate the casino floor at resorts across the world. Although the first slot machine was invented by Charles Fey more than 100 years ago, the revenue produced by gambling machines was always secondary to table games until the 1980's when new microprocessors made their mark and video poker was introduced.
In the 1980's, Harrah's casino in Reno became the first property with over 2,000 slot machines, but by the 1990's, several properties in Las Vegas like the MGM had over 5,000 slots. Today, slot machines (coupled with video poker) account for as much as 80 percent of the gaming revenue produced at large casinos.
Slot machines were first manufactured for single-coin play and paid jackpots of less than 100 coins. Today, most standard machines have a bill validator so you can insert cash and receive credits for play. These ticket-in-ticket-out machines allow players to quickly move from one game to another, or to cash their ticket at an ATM-type machine to retrieve cash, eliminating the need to go the cashier's cage and exchange coins for bills.Beware of How Many Coins You Are Betting!
Most common reel-style machines require a minimum of one credit (or coin) to pull the handle, but many offer the option to play multiple coins on multiple lines. Some new video machines have video reels that look like the real thing! Make sure you check your machine's play screen to be sure how many credits it takes to play. There are machines that take a minimum of 50 credits, and machines that can be played for as many as 720 credits. One mistake and you could lose your bankroll on a single spin!Gambling Machine Types
- Old-style 3-reel machines
- Progressive jackpot slots
- New video 3-reel machines
- New video screen games with names like Batman, Ghostbusters and The Hangover
- Multi-player videos with themes, like Beat the Field and Reel 'Em In
- Video poker with single games or multi-hands like Triple Play
- Video blackjack, craps, roulette
- Simulated blackjack, craps, roulette with actual moving parts (cards, wheel, dice)
Today, with computer-driven random number generators, the machines can pay huge amounts, even in the millions of dollars, as the IGT Megabucks machines do. The machines are linked together over a group of casinos and share an ever-growing jackpot.
Jackpots are more likely to be won on machines that have small jackpots, while a Megabucks jackpot is the least likely to be won, because the odds are so much higher against the winning sequence.
New video slot machines have great graphics and are fun to play. They offer bonus screens when certain combinations are hit, but require specific minimum bets for some bonuses. Click on the screen to find the game information before playing! This is also true for multi-player games like Beat the Field, so read the instructions before getting shut-out of a jackpot.
Video poker games are also very popular and come in many styles. If you are playing a multi-hand game like Triple Play, make sure you are playing enough credits to win at least 4,000 credits for a royal flush. Some players play only three or four credits on each line. If this is what you like, consider playing a single-line game. Your overall odds will be better.
Several machines like Game Maker and Game King have keno, slots, and video poker. Some even offer blackjack. Be aware that almost every video slot that offers blackjack pays only even-money when the player gets blackjack. This makes the odds much worse for the player than at a regular, live blackjack table game.
Some casinos now offer simulated game machines by Organic such as craps, roulette, and blackjack. These games are very close to the real thing, especially the roulette games, that use a standard-size wheel that you can view shipping while you place your bets on a video screen.The Upside of Simulated Games
The upside of simulated games is that there very few problems, no errors, and you can bet your money on a video screen. This helps some players stick to a betting pattern or amount. There are more spins and rolls than at live games, and there is no dealer to tip. The machines also keep track of patterns and display them for your perusal.
Unfortunately, there are a few downsides also, such as a clock ticking in your face at all times. You can't ask for time-out, the next spin or roll happens with or without you! And, while there is some interaction between the players, there is no dealer to joke and banter with.
As for the blackjack, the simulated game by Organic uses an 8-deck shoe and can be well-used for learning the game at minimal cost (many machines require only a $1 bet). However, the maximum bet is capped at most of these machines at $29, and the number of hands dealt is agonizingly slow.