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Slot Machine Glossary – All The Terms You Need

While slot machines may be simple games, there is a vast amount of terminology associated with them. In this guide, we shall take you through all the terms you need to know in order to understand fully how to play slots, both online and in land casinos.


1,024 Ways to Win – This is a slot with 5 reels, each with 4 rows. It means that there are 1024 paylines, or in practical terms, it will payout as long as enough matching symbols land on adjacent reels.

243 Ways to Win – This is a slot machine with 5 reels, each with 3 rows, and it will payout when symbols appear on any of the reels in any position as long as enough of them land on adjacent reels.

3D Video Slots – These are games with that feature three-dimensional graphics on screen.

3 Reel – This is a slot with 3 columns of spinning symbols.

5 Reel – This is a slot with 5 columns of spinning symbols.

6 Reel – This is a slot with 6 columns of spinning symbols.


Action – This is the total amount that a slots player bets in a certain period of time. It can usually be viewed in a player’s account, both online and offline, and it is sometimes relevant to bonus offers and when clearing wagering requirements.

Active Payline – A payline is considered active if a bet has been placed on it. It mean that it is possible to land winning combinations along it.

All Ways – These are slot machines that have paylines that payout from left to right and from right to left.

Annuity Winner – This is a term used when a player chooses to take their jackpot prize in payments over a number of years rather than as a lump sum.

Autoplay/Autospin – This is a feature that allows players to set a predetermined number of spins for the game to play automatically without the need for further player input.


Bars – These are classic slot symbols with the word ‘BAR’ on them. Often they come in single, double and triple versions.

Basic Slots – These are games that have three reels with a single payline running through them. They offer a fixed jackpot amount and have no special features.

Bet – The amount wagered on a spin.

Bet Max – This is the maximum amount a player can bet on a slot machine per spin. There is usually a button to quickly set the maximum bet and set the reels in motion.

Bet One – This is a button that will set the wager to be one single coin of the selected denomination per spin.

Betting Units – These are the units used to wager. The value of the unit is determined by the machine and the units are the same as credits.

Big Bertha – This is a term used in land casinos for physically big slot machines that are used to grab the attention of people as they walk in.

Big Hit – This is a term used for winning a particularly large payout or jackpot.

Bonus Feature – A bonus feature, or game, will be something such as a free spins round, payout multipliers, and so on. Full details will be available in a slot’s paytable.

Bonus Multiplier Slot Machines – These are slot machines that offer larger payouts when players bet the maximum number of credits.

Buy a Pay – This is a term for a payout that players can only win if there is a certain wager per spin. For example, a progressive jackpot that can only be won by betting a specific amount.

Buy a Feature – This is a term used when a slot gives players the option of purchasing one of the bonus features, such as the free spins.


Candle – This refers to the light on the top of a physical slot machine in a land casino. It is used to call for assistance and on some games, it will also be lit if the jackpot is won.

Carousel – This is a group or bank of slot machines that are together on a casino floor. Often, they will be of a common denomination of betting units, such as dollar slots.

Cascading Reels – This is a game feature whereby winning combinations are removed from the reels in order to allow more symbols to fall, or cascade, from above.

Certified Slots – These are machines that casinos guarantee have a payout percentage of 98% to 100%.

Coin In / Coin Out – This refers to the number of credits both paid in and paid out. Coin In is the number of credits bet and Coin Out is the number of credits won.

Coins – This is the total number of money being bet on a slot.

Coin Size – The coin size is the value assigned to each coin or credit, it can be as little as €0.01 and as large as €100 or more. The total bet is calculated by the multiplying the coin size, the number of coins bet, and the number of paylines.

Coin Slot – This is the physical hole on a slot machine where the coins are inserted.

Cold Slots – This is a term used for machines that payout rarely.

Collect – This is a button that is used to cash out the remaining credits from a machine.

Comps – This refers to complementally prizes, such as drinks, spins, food or accommodation, which are awarded to regular players at an institution.

Columns – These are the vertical lines of symbols that spin, it is sometimes used interchangeably with the term reels.

Credits – Coins are converted into credits once they are inserted into the machine.


Denomination – This is the value of a credit on a slot machine.

Demo Mode – This is when you are given fake credits with which to try a slot. The winnings will not be real money and cannot be withdrawn.

Doubles – These are symbols that when they land will double the amount that is won.


Expanding Wilds – This is a special type of wild symbol that will grow to fill additional rows when they land, often the entire reel. Occasionally there are wilds that expand horizontally rather than vertically.

EGM – This is a commonly used acronym for “Electronic Gaming Machine”.


Feature – This is something offered by a game, such as free spins, bonus picking games, and so on.

Fixed Value Slots – These are machines where the betting amount and coin size cannot be changed.

Fixed Jackpot – This is a set amount that can be won by landing the jackpot combination. It is sometimes also called a flat-top slot.

Five Liner – This is a term for classic slots with three reels and five paylines. Usually there are three horizontal paylines and two diagonal paylines.

Free Play – A free play slot will allow you to try it without having to bet any real money.

Free Spin – These are spins that players can play without risking money but still offer real money winnings.


Gamble – This is a feature that gives players the chance to try to increase their payouts by making a guess at something, such as the colour of the next card drawn from a pack.

Games Per Hour – This is the number of spins it is possible to play per hour. On average, it is possible to play around 500 games per hour.


Hammer a Machine – This is a slang term used to refer to someone who is playing a machine for a very long time, usually trying to hit a jackpot.

Hit – This is to land a winning combination on a payline.

Hit and Run – This expression is used to refer to players who bet the maximum number of credits but then quickly move on to a different machine if they do not win within a few spins.

Hit Frequency – This is the term used to refer to how often a machine pays out on average. For example, a slot with a hit frequency of 3 will on average payout on one out of three spins.

Hold Percentage – This is a term used to describe how much of a player’s money the casino keeps. For example, a 99% slot machine will keep €1 out of €100. It is very similar to RTP.

Hopper – This is the area below the reels on a physical slot machine that is used to catch the winning coin payouts.

Hot Slots – This is a term used for slots that payout more often than others.


Instant Winner – This is a term used for a player that takes the entire jackpot prize at once rather than as a series of payments over a number of years.


Jackpot – This is the top prize that a player can win from a slot.


Line Bet – This is the amount bet on each of the active paylines.

Linked Progressive Jackpot – A linked progressive jackpot, or wide area progressive, is a jackpot that is fed into from multiple slot machines, often from multiple casinos.

Loose Slots – This is a term for a slot that pays out regularly or has a higher than average RTP.


Max Bet – This is the largest amount that it is possible to bet on each spin; often there will be a button to quickly place this bet.

Mechanical slots – These are traditional old-fashioned slot machines that have physical reels displayed behind glass.

Min Bet – This is the smallest amount it is possible to bet on one spin.

Mobile Slots – These are slots that have been optimised to be played on smartphones or tablet devices.

Multi-Line – These are slots with more than one payline.

Multiplier – This is a bonus feature or symbol that will increase the payouts. For example, a x3 multiplier will triple the payouts.


Near Miss – This is a term used when a winning combination almost lands.

Nudge Slot – These are slot machines with reels that can move symbols up or down one row to help and form wins after they have stopped spinning.

Numbers – These are symbols that can be found on the reels. For example, 7 is a very common number symbol.


One Armed Bandit – This is a slang term for slot machines with a physical lever that is pulled to start the reels.

One Liner – This is a slot machine that has just one payline.

Onesies – This is a slang term for a player who bets just one coin or credit at a time on each spin of the reels.


Payback Percentage – This is the amount of money a machine pays back to players over a period of time. The term is used interchangeably with RTP.

Payline – This is a line, pattern, or path, through the reels that the symbols need to land on in order to award a payout.

Payout – This is the amount won for a winning combination. It will be determined by the bet, the symbol value, and any active bonus features.

Paytable – This is the part of a slot that explains how much can be won and the various bonus features and rules.

Penny Slots – These are slot machines that accept very small bets of €/£/$0.0.1.

Pokies – This is an Australian slang term for slots.

Primary Jackpot – This is the largest payout that can be won from a particular slot.

Progressive Jackpot/Progressive Slots – This is a prize that is contributed to from the bet of every spin of the reels until it is won and then resets to a base level.


Reel Stop – This is a single position on the reel of a slot machine.

Reels – These are the strips of symbols that spin round. On old-style machines, they were on physical disks, which is where the name comes from.

Random Number Generator (RNG) – This is a piece of software that uses algorithms to produce numbers at random. These numbers then determine the outcome of the spins.

Return to Player (RTP) – This is a percentage of the total money bet on a machine that is returned to players over time. It is calculated over a vast number of spins.

Rollover Requirements – Also known as wagering requirements, this is the amount that needs to be bet to clear a bonus offer.

Rows – These are the horizontal lines of symbols, each reel will have a number of visible rows.


Scatter – These are symbols that will payout as long as enough land on the reels, no matter where they are. Very often, they will also trigger a bonus feature.

Second Screen Bonus – This is a bonus feature that takes place away from the reels, on a different kind of screen.

Select Lines – This is a button that allows you to activate or deactivate paylines.

Shifting Wilds – These are wild symbols that grow horizontally across the reels or change position with every spin.

Short Win – This is a term used when a player hits a big win after just a few spins.

Skill Based Bonus – This is a bonus game that requires skill rather than just luck.

Signature Slots – These are a casino’s own brand of slot machines.

Slant Top – These are slot machines that are wide and short that provide players with a more immersive experience.

Slot Club – This is a loyalty reward scheme for slot players run by land casinos.

Slot Host – This is a person employed by a land casino to help slot players if they run into problems or have any questions.

Slot Lever – This is the handle on old-style machines that players pull to start the reels.

Slot Schedule – This is another term for the payable that provides information about a game’s payouts and rules.

Slot Talk – This is a slang term that slots players used when referring to talks about slots.

Slot Testing – This is a type of game evaluation carried out by players in which the player plays a whole roll of coins to determine the machine’s payout percentage.

Slot Tournament – This is a competition where players compete with one another, usually to see who can land the biggest win within a given time, and the winner then receives a cash prize or free play credits.

Slot Type – This is how machines are categorised, they may be progressive, 3D, video, classic, bonus, basic, and so on.

Slots Drop – This refers to the amount of money that is played through on a machine.

Slots Hold – This is a term for the amount of money that a machine does not pay back as wins.

Sound of Rain – This is a slang term for the sound of coins dropping when a player cashes out.

Spin – This is a single round on a slot machine, started by pushing/clicking a button or pulling a lever.

Staggered Payout – A machine with staggered payouts is one that offers a larger payout when more coins are bet.

Streaky Slots – These are machines that by reputation have hot moments and cold moments.

Symbols – These are the images, numbers, and bars on the slot machine reels. Often they will relate to the slot’s theme and each symbol offers a different payout or triggers a special feature.


Tight Slots – These are machines with a low RTP and are not in the player’s favour.

Three Liner – This is a slot machine with three reels that requires players to line up three identical symbols to win a payout.

TITO (Ticket In/Ticket Out) – These are machines that print a ticket with the winning amount on it when players cash out. The ticket can then be placed into another machine.

Total Bet – This is the total number of credits that are bet on a single spin.


Unique Reels – A game with unique reels is one that does not use the traditional layout, rather it may use a hexagon, tower, or side-scrolling display.

Up/Down Slot Cycle – This refers to the fluctuations in a slot’s payout percentage over a long period of time.


Variance/ Volatility – This refers to the way in which a game pays out. Low variance slots payout small prizes frequently while high variance slows payout larger but less frequent wins.

Video Slots – These are games that do not have any moving parts. Rather the spinning reels are simulated on screen by a computer program. However, today the term is also used to differentiate between three reel and five reel slots, with three reel games referred to as classic slots.

Virtual Reel – Virtual reel technology is what allows the RNG to randomly select more non-winning combinations than winning combinations without have to add extra reels or larger reels. Essentially, it brings down the odds of winning, which allows the games to offer larger jackpots.


Ways to Win – Instead of listing paylines, a game might advertise the number of different ways that wins can be formed across the reels.

Wager Management – This is a way of controlling a slot bankroll. It involves dividing the bankroll into small amounts for a specific number of gambling sessions and cashing out while ahead.

Well – This is the space at the bottom of a slot machine that the coins fall into.

Wide Area Progressive (WAP) – These are slot machines located in different casinos that all contribute to the same progressive jackpot pools.

Wild Symbol – A wild symbol can substitute for all the standard symbols in a game to help and form more winning combinations.

Wild Multiplier – This is a wild symbol that comes with a payout multiplier that then increases the winnings.

Win – This is what happens when the correct combination of symbols land on an active payline.

Win Both Ways – This is a machine with paylines that award payouts for combinations that land from left to right or from right to left.


Zig Zag – This is a term used to describe a payline that rather than going straight or diagonally across the reels, zig zags up and down.


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