Las Vegas Slot Machines have long exerted an almost mysterious attraction on the largest percentage of visitors to the world’s gambling capital. Whether it is because of the simplicity of the game itself (people don’t really need to possess any special abilities or knowledge to successfully operate one of these machines) or because of the possibility of fabulous winnings with very little effort involved, remains a question. One thing is sure though: it is financially more lucrative for a casino to stuff a room it could’ve used for live poker, full of slot machines, than to use it for anything else.
In this respect, we can safely consider the good old Las Vegas slot machine the true “workhorse” of the gambling industry.
Not only in North America, but indeed all over the globe, slot machines went from a mere distraction for casual gamers in the old days, to the industry backbone that they are today. The technology used in them went through quite a change as well.
In the early days, Las Vegas slot machines were intricate mechanical assemblies comprised of dozens of moving parts and sub-assemblies. While they were awfully complicated to build, they were very simple to operate, and because they had a set number of symbols on the reels the actual payout odds could be calculated
The central piece of a traditional slot machine is a shaft unto which the reels and the notched disks are attached. There is a secondary shaft too, which supports as many lined-up paddles (also called kickers) as there are reels on the main shaft. These paddles are pushing against the aforementioned notched disks.
The secondary shaft also supports the stoppers, which lock into the notches on the notched disks when the reels stop. They make sure that the display part of the machine always clearly stops on a symbol and doesn’t get stuck halfway between two. All of these pieces are kept in place by springs. Whenever someone pulls the lever, these mechanical pieces do a lot of the work. There’s also a gear-system in the machine acting as a mechanical delay, a currency detector (which tells the machine what denomination coins the user inserted) and a series of sensors which tell the machine whether the reels stopped on a winning combination or not.
As the user pulls the lever, the reels start rotating. They then stop, one at a time. This little twist is meant to increase suspense on our gambler who goes through alternating states of excitement and disappointment until all reels stop and his combination is finalized.
The next step in the evolution of this intriguing gambling game were electrical slot machines. In these, the reels were moved by electrical motors, and the stoppers were actuated by coils.
Nowadays, the intricate mechanics of Las Vegas slot machines have been entirely replaced by an electronic random number generator. The lever is no longer needed (since these machines don’t really need a mechanical force to get them going) though they still put levers on some for the sake of authenticity. Reels are no longer there either, and thus gone are the mechanics that used to put them in motion. Instead there is a CRT or LCD display, which shows a bunch of spinning reels.
A micro-processor which runs a random number generator selects the symbols and the stopping of the virtual reels. As long as the RNGs are fair (most land based and online casinos are subjected to regular independent audits to make sure they are) the player can rest assured he will get a fair game. Slots Guide tells more about this new breed of slot machines.
Odds however, can no longer be calculated for these machines. Given the fact that they’re run by the RNG, one can never be certain exactly how many symbols there are on their virtual reels. But the fact remains that due to the very competitive market, Las Vegas slot machines still offer the best overall odds.
Written by a Canadian online poker player. Check out the best rakeback offers on his web site.
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