Slot Machines – What Are Slits?

A narrow notch, groove, or opening, as in a piece of machinery or a slit for a coin in a vending machine. Also: a position in a group, series, or sequence; a berth on an aircraft or ship; an appointment or job. (From Middle Low German slit, from Old English sleot)

Modern slot machines still have reels—though they are more often than not just images on a video screen—and the same basic game mechanics as those invented in the 19th century, but they are programmed differently to weight particular symbols and the odds of getting them on a payline. Since microprocessors are in virtually every device that uses electricity, manufacturers can configure the computer system in each machine to vary the likelihood of a particular symbol appearing on a specific reel.

The newer machines also have a number of extra features, such as multiple pay lines and bonus games, which give players the chance to earn larger payouts. But even when taking into account all these extras, the odds of hitting a jackpot remain about one in seventy-five million, and most players never win one at all.

To increase your chances of winning, you should test out a machine before playing it for long periods of time. Put in a few dollars and see how much you get back after an hour or so. If it’s more than you spent, the machine is probably loose and worth playing. If not, move on to another.