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Have you ever asked yourself: why are slots the most popular casino gambling game, when there's roulette, poker and blackjack too, games which are a lot more challenging and thus more interesting? Why do casino owners throw out poker tables from their cardrooms to fill the room up with slot machines instead?
Slots are the simplest ever casino game, and simplicity, coupled with the possibility of winning real money, is extremely attractive for the majority of occasional gamblers.

Slots ( and online slots) are the definition of a pure game of luck. Once the reels are spun, there's absolutely nothing the player can do to influence the results. In the case of real life slots ( the ones that have actual reels turning inside) odds for a certain symbol combination can be calculated, because of the fact that each of the reels contains a set number of symbols.

In the case of online slots, odds can't be calculated. Online slots and video slots work in a similar fashion. Based on digital random-number generators, the sequence of symbols resulting at their outputs is an absolutely random one.
Strategy-wise there are few options available for the slots player, as 99% percent of the game is based solely on blind luck. One thing the player can use to his/her advantage is machine selection.

It is a commonly accepted fact that three-reel machines offer some advantage to the player by virtue of the fact that a 3-symbol combination is easier to obtain than a 4-5 one. ( just think about how many times you've managed to flop a 3-of-a-kind in poker, and compare that to how many times you've had quads...)

If there were but one winning line on all slot machines, three reelers would definitely hold the advantage. The problem is, that many of the 4-5-6-7 reel slot machines offer more than just one winning line. ( some will pay out for as many as 15 such lines) This changes the equation a bit, since it would seem that the more reels a slot machine has the more payout lines it offers too.
What you want to play, is a machine with as few reels and as many paylines as possible. Many online slots will offer a player a bonus round ( every once in a while, depending on how much he plays)

The feature that is most attractive in online slots, is the progressive jackpot. Much the same way bad beat jackpots or 'magic hand' jackpots work in poker, progressive jackpots are accumulated over a longer period of time, from the losses players register at certain slot machines.

Ofter times, a number of machines are interconnected, and they all contribute to one common pot. Sometimes entire online casinos link up their slot machines and thus give birth to a huge progressive jackpot. The actual chances of a player hitting this jackpot are quite minor, though it'd be reasonable to consider that whoever hits it, will never ever have to play or work a single day in his/her life again.

A novelty thing concerning slot machines - something you might not yet have heard of - are online slots tournaments.
What you should never fail to do before paying the buyin to such a tournament, is to read the rules. There are no universally accepted rules regarding online slots tournaments, so, while you'll pretty much know what to expect by signing up for a poker tourney, an online slots ( or real slot machine) tourney might have a few surprises up its sleeve for you.

The buyin goes down the same way it does in poker tournaments. The player is then seated to a slot machine and play begins. The person to show the highest sum of money at the end of a set period of time, will win the tourney. Prizes will be paid out of the prize-pool made up by all the buyins. Sometimes, it's not the person with the most money at the end of the tourney who wins.

It might well be that the person with the biggest win on a bonus round will be awarded overall victory. This is why it's important that you know what you're getting yourself into, before you actually enter a tournament.

Probably the most important thing on any slot machine is the payout percentage or payout frequency. This refers to the number of spins ( on average) a player has to make in order to hit a winning line. There are tight and loose slot machines, according to the above named criteria.

A tight machine will hit a winning line less frequently but the winnings themselves will be bigger every time it hits, a loose machine will pay out much more often, though the amount of every single win will be less.

Slot machine ( both real and online slots) payout percentage is between 88-96, 97 %. This means, that for every 100 dollars put into the machine by players it will pay out about 96-97 dollars.
Before you say that doesn't seem lucrative at all, remember that you may well be paid out money lost by someone else before you, and thus earn more than you lose.