Slot Machine Terms
Ever been in Vegas and heard the floor walkers talking a foreign language about slot machines. To help you understand slot machine, terms I’ve put together a list of slot terminology as heard in casinos across the U.S. This list describes many slot machine terms with their definitions and meanings. The meaning of each of these buzz words in the list portrays typical slot machine jargon and vocabulary that has evolved over time
and has become a standard lexicon in slot machine gaming.
“Action” describes either the amount of money bet by a player or the total amount of money bet by a group of players over a specific time interval.
“arm” refers to the handle or lever located on the right-hand side of a slot machine which is pulled by the player in order to activate the reels.
“bank” of slot machines refers to a row of slot machines.
“bankroll” or “gambling stake” refers to the total amount of money used by a player for betting.
“bug” is a device installed into slot machines that prevents certain symbol combinations from appearing in the slot machine window.
“carousel” describes a bank or row of slot machines which are of the same type, and are usually linked to a progressive slot machine jackpot.
“certified” slot machine describes a slot machine that has been examined by casino regulators and clearly marked to guarantee a certain payout percentage to the player.
“change person” is a casino employee who assists players by changing cash for tokens or coins.
“Coin-In” is a term used to describe the total amount of money played by a player in a slot machine. This amount of money is factored in when giving out comps.
“cold” slot machine is a slot machine which is recognized by slot machine players as not paying out frequently. Also known as a “tight” slot machine.
“Comps” means “complimentary”, and refers to free rewards given out by casinos for gambling a certain amount at their casino. Comps may include free buffets, tickets to shows, discount hotel rooms, cash rebates for gambling, and more.
“countdown” is a number displayed on an electronic card reader on a slot machine which shows the number of coins needed to earn 1 slot club point.
“driller” is a slot machine player that tries to cheat a slot machine by drilling holes into it in order to make it pay off its jackpot.
“edge” is defined as the mathematical advantage of either the casino or player when playing a gambling game. Most of the time it refers to the casino advantage or house advantage, as opposed to the player advantage.
“flat-top” is a slot machine that pays out a fixed and non-progressive jackpot as its top prize. It is also a description of the slot machine itself, having a flat-top so players can sit down in a chair and lean over it for greater convenience when playing.
“fruit machine” is the name for a slot machine in England.
“ghost” in slot machine terminology means a blank stop on a slot machine reel, containing no symbol.
“hit frequency” is the rate at which a slot machine will produce a payout, expressed as a
percentage of time.
“hold” is the amount of money expressed as a percentage that is held for the casino per
bet. For instance, if the casino “hold” is 10%, a bet of 1 dollar will result in the casino holding or retaining 10% or 10 cents of that 1 dollar, as their profit from the bet.
“hopper” is the container under the slot machine which holds the dropped coins. Players
insert their coins into the slot machine, and they fall into the hopper.
“Hot Slots”, or a “Hot Slot Machine”, is a slot machine that pays out frequently. Also known as a “loose” slot machine.
“house” is another name for the casino. “Casino” is the Italian word for “house”.
“house edge” is a pre-set mathematical advantage per bet for the casino, and is expressed as a percentage of the amount bet. It is the same as the word “Hold”.
“jackpot” refers to either a top prize or the highest payout made by a slot machine.
“load” a slot machine means to play the maximum number of coins per bet for that slot
“loose slot machine” is perceived by slot machine players to pay out fairly frequently. It is programmed to pay out at a high “hit frequency”.
“Money Management” in gambling describes strategies or methods a player uses to avoid losing his or her bankroll. Strategies may include dividing up one’s bankroll into playing sessions on different slot machines, playing just a small percentage of one’s winnings beyond one’s bankroll and pocketing the rest, and other methods.
“multiple coin slot machine” is a slot machine that requires at least 2 or more coins to be
inserted in order to win a jackpot.
“odds” refer to the probability of an event happening, which is expressed as a ratio of the
favorable to the unfavorable chance of that event occurring.
“One-Armed Bandits” is a nickname that refers collectively to slot machines
“payline” or “pay line” is the line in the slot machine window where a combination of
symbols must line up in order to win a jackpot.
“payoff” or “payback” is the amount of money paid out by a slot machine to the, and is expressed as a percentage.
“poker machine” or “pokie” is the name for a slot machine in Australia.
“progressive jackpot” is a type of jackpot where the jackpot grows each time a player bets. A multiple progressive jackpot is a jackpot that grows when there are many slot machines connected to that one jackpot. As each player bets on each of the slot machines connected to that one jackpot, it quickly grows into a huge jackpot, often into thousands, or even millions of dollars.
“reels” of a slot machine are the metal strips or hoops that contain the symbols displayed in the slot machine window. The “reels” spin when either a button is pushed or a handle or lever is pulled.
“Rhythm play” refers to a strategy or method used by some players to try to control the reels in a slot machine in order to bring about a winning combination of symbols by timing the pulling of the slot machine handle or lever.
“RNG” stands for “Random Number Generator”. The random number generator is a computer chip within a slot machine that cycles through billions of numbers when the slot machine is not being played. Each number represents a combination of symbols. When a coin is inserted into a slot machine, the RNG stops on a number and waits for the player to either push a button or pull a handle on the slot machine to activate the reels. When the handle is pulled or button is pushed to activate the slot machine reels, the RNG sends the combination of symbols represented by the number it stopped on to the spinning slot machine reels to be displayed in the slot machine window when the reels stop.
“slot” in gambling terminology is either a shortened version of the term “slot machine”, or refers to an antique slot machine, as in an “antique slot”.
“slot club” is a program offered by a casino whereby slot machine players receive
“complimentary” gifts or “comps” and/or cash backs from playing the casinos’ slot machines.
“slot tournament” is a type of casino promotion and is either a free or fee-based competition
“Slots” is a shortened nickname for “slot machines”. “Slot” plus the “s” in “slot machines” equals “slots”.
“Spooning” describes a cheating method used by a slot machine player to bring about a payoff by using a spoon-shaped device that holds up the jackpot coin counter’s sensing microswitch so it doesn’t count the coins as they’re being dropped, resulting in more coins being dropped beyond the size of the jackpot.
“Stops” collectively refer to the areas on a slot machine reel which contain the symbols and blank spaces. Any combination of “stops” can line up on a “payline” or “pay line”.
“Stringing” is a method of cheating a slot machine by soldering a string onto a coin, inserting it into the slot machine, and then pulling the coin back up so as to gain a free play.
“tight slot machine” is perceived by slot machine players to pay out fairly infrequently. It is programmed to pay out at a low “hit frequency”.
“token” is an alternate form of money used by slot machine players to play slot machines. A “token” represents the amount that a coin would otherwise represent.
“Two-Armed Bandits” represent a nickname for slot machine hustlers who roam the floors of casinos looking to swindle unsuspecting novice slot machine players by either offering them “deals” for playing a slot machine, or gaining part of a jackpot that the novice slot machine player missed when he or she cashed out.
“vigorish” or “vig” is another name for the “hold” or “house edge”. It is the percentage of a bet that is retained by a casino for the casino profit, or in other words, it is a betting fee set by a casino.