The mechanics of online slot machines are pretty much the same as they were in the old days. A player places his bet, spins the reels and then waits for the reels to end before finding out if he has won. That win will only come if the reels are stopped at such a degree that a horizontal line of the same letters appears in front of them. The first few spins will net nothing for a player, while a win after that may be just a matter of time.
Today, online slot machines are programmed so that they random number generators generate outcomes that follow specific rules. For instance, on a progressive slot machine, a jackpot can be won by hitting the right combination of buttons. The random number generators (RNG) inside the machines determine what symbols will be displayed on the screen and where those symbols are located. When a player wins, the result is a random number generator that has encoded with some knowledge of which icons are chosen.
Slots fall into three basic categories: progressive, semi-progressive, and direct-action slots. The type of machine that a player plays on depends on the category she chooses. In progressive slots, a jackpot is a fixed amount that will eventually be increased without any user intervention. In the case of indirect-action slots, a jackpot is not always constant; it may increase each time the machine pulls the lever, or decrease each time it is pushed. As it does so, the chances for hitting a jackpot increase exponentially, which means that the casino can afford to keep the jackpots small, making them appealing to players. Direct-action machines, on the other hand, function exactly like slot machines in land casinos.
Online slots are known to use a random number generator, also called a probabilistic scheduler, which generates and displays numbers as they are picked by the machines. These numbers are then combined with a set of rules established by the Online Slot Machine Industry Association (OSI) to decide which symbols to display on the touchscreen. Slots now come in a variety of designs, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Some are pay-to-play, while others require players to input specific starting hands. All have varying payouts and jackpot amounts.
Aside from the obvious math behind online slots, there is also another element to be taken into consideration. For each pull of a lever or push of a button, at least one symbol is chosen by the machine. The symbols displayed depend on the software used on each machine. This makes the game more difficult as a player would need to memorize all the possible symbols and combinations. However, keeping track of all the possible symbols and combinations is only the first step in winning big. A fully random wheel gives players an opportunity to get lucky and become a millionaire instantly.
Online casinos welcome new players by offering welcome bonuses, which give them free spins on different slot machines. These free spins do not necessarily mean that the player will have a winning slot; however, the casino takes advantage of the fact that most players are still new to the slots game and have yet to win big. Some casinos offer online casinos bonuses in return for referrals; others give free spins if a referral is used. Both welcome bonuses and free spins bonuses are excellent ways of enticing new players into playing more slot games.