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Slot Machine Slang – A Definitive Slots Glossary

Whether you’re a newbie or a slots expert, the rapid and insane growth of slot machine terms in recent times means there is always something new for everyone to learn. Just like bingo, slots have their own language and thanks to us, you can get one step closer to becoming a native speaker. With this definitive slot glossary, you’ll never feel out of place at the casino again. Prepare to impress your friends with your slot machine slang!

Slots terms and imagery

Now don’t fret, you don’t have to memorise them all at once. We suggest picking one or two you like the sound of or that are particularly relevant to you and the slot games you like to play. And of course, most importantly, to have fun while you read!

The Definitive Slot Glossary

With the surge in popularity of slot machine games, we felt it was about time players of all experience levels had access to the one-stop definitive guide to slot machine terms. It’s got everything you need to know and more. The slots glossary is arranged alphabetically, however, if you’ve come to find out what a specific word means, we would suggest using the Ctrl+F function to type in the word to save you time scrolling down. Right, let’s dive in!

Slots Glossary
3D Video Slots Slot games with 3D video involve animation-heavy graphics which provide added depth to gameplay by bringing the symbols to life upon hitting a payline.
3-Reel A typical online slot that has three reels in addition to three rows of symbols.
5-Reel A typical online slot with five reels in addition to three or four rows of symbols.
243 Ways to Win Slot games that don’t consider just one payline to determine winners are known as 243 Ways to Win. Instead, winners are based on any winning combination of symbols that appear on all the reels on the screen. For example, of this type of game, check out the Game of Thrones slot machine.
Action Slot action refers to the total amount played in addition to other amounts they’ve won or lost during a session. This information is generally kept track of on the players’ slots club card offered by most casinos.
All Ways An online slot that has hundreds of possible paylines, both running left-to-right and right-to-left.
Annuity Winner When slot machine jackpots are offered in yearly instalments as opposed to a lump sum. Winnings can be collected all at once, however, there is usually a significant tax involved in this.
Autospin A feature that enables plays to automatically set the number of spins within a game.
AWP AWP is an acronym which stands for ‘Amusement With Prizes’. They are typically the classic-style slots with fruit symbols. To be classed as an AWP, the slot machines must provide some level of player interaction. That can be via a game board in the head of the machine with different buttons and options creating the feeling of playing a board game. The games do not, however, depend on skill. Skill-driven games that provide cash prizes are referred to as SWP machines. Both AWP and SWP began as trade terms but have since seeped into the general slots player’s vocabulary. The most common AWPs in the UK were Cherry Master and Pot-o-gold, if you remember those. Sadly, today, most AWPs are redundant following the rise of online slots technology.
Basic Slots Basic slots, or straights as they are sometimes known, are slot machines that have one single payline and a static jackpot or a jackpot amount that does not change as progressive jackpots do.
Bet The total amount of money wagered on any spin.
Bet Max The bet max refers to the maximum number of credits on a slot game that a player can bet on each spin. There is usually a button on the slot machine that enables the player to bet the maximum number of credits. Typically, the highest payout amounts are calculated for the bet max spins.
Bet Min The bet min refers to the minimum number of credits that can be bet on a slot machine during each spin.
Bet One The bet one means to only bet one unit or credit per spin of the slot machine.
Betting Units Betting units are the units used to wager. The value of the betting units is determined by the denomination slot machine that you are playing. Betting units are the same as credits.
Big Bertha In slot machine slang, a Big Bertha refers to the really large machines that are usually used in casinos as attention getters. These games are much bigger than the regular ones and usually have multiple reels. The term Big Bertha is euphonious for anything large and has been used to describe several things throughout history. In the first World War a heavy mortar-like howitzer gun built by Germany was named Big Bertha. Callaway Golf also uses the term to describe its largest club – the driver. The term has also been popular in fiction. In the Great Lakes Avengers series of Marvel Comics, Big Bertha was a member. Also, Big Bertha appeared as a large enemy character in Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. 3 video game.
Big Hit The big hit is a slots term for when the player hits the jackpot combination.
Bonus Feature Bonus features include wild cards, symbols and free spins.
Bonus Multiplier Slot Machines Bonus multiplier slots are slot machines offering larger jackpots to entice players to bet the maximum number of credits.
Bonus Round A special feature which offers free games or instant cash wins.
Branded Slots An online themed based slot game typically with famous movies or TV programmes with added features and attractive gameplay graphics.
Candle The ‘candle’ is slot machine slang for the light at the top of the game. When change is required, the player can push the ‘service’ or ‘help’ button which will flash the light to alert the operator.
Carousel A carousel is the name for a group of slots, typically in an oval or circle formation. Slots carousels are famous for sharing a common feature such as the denomination of betting units. In Las Vegas, in particular, players can find a carousel for penny slots, or dollar spins etc. Not only does this allow casinos to better organise the gaming floor, but it allows for easy navigation to their desired slot machines too. One of the most famous slot machine carousels in the world is at Circus Circus’ hotel and casino in Las Vegas. This slot machine carousel is also an actual, spinning carousel as well, allowing players to spin the machines whilst simultaneously spinning around themselves.
Cascading Reels A bonus feature where winning-combos disappear from the reels to be replaced by the symbols above creating the opportunity to accumulate more wins on a single spin. Also known as Tumbling Reels or Rolling Reels. For example, of this type of game, check out the Gonzo’s Quest slot machine.
Cashback A reference to rewards given to slots club card players.
Certified Slots Certified slots are those machines that casinos guarantee have a payout of 98%-100%. These are well advertised within land-based casinos.
Classic The classic as the name suggests is a certain vintage-style slot based on the old-school slot machines with minimal paylines and no bonus features. Classic slots usually feature the famous fruit, bell, seven and BAR symbols. The symbols themselves have roots as far back as the 19th century. Early machines would give out fruit-flavoured gum as prizes, and the fruit on the reels represented the flavour of the gum. The bell comes from one of the first-ever slot machines, The Liberty Bell, launched in 1895. The BAR symbol was derived from an early logo for the Bell-Fruit Gum Company that provided the prizes for classic slots back in the day.
Coin In / Coin Out Coin in and coin out refer to the number of credits or units both played and paid out. Coin in is the number of units played and coin out is the number of units won.
Coins Coins for slots come in many denominations from a one penny to one pound or more.
Coin Hopper The container where the coins that are immediately available for payouts are held. The hopper is the mechanical device that rotates coins into the coin tray when a player collects credits/coins (by pressing a “Cash Out” button).
Coin Size The set amount of money a player must put in order to play that specific game. Different machines will have different betting amounts per payline.
Cold Slots Slot machine slang for games that do not pay out very often.
Collect Collect is usually a button or an option on the slot that enables the slots player to convert their credits/coins into cash.
Comps Slot club members may be entitled to ‘comps’ or complimentary rewards in the form of free accommodation, meals or other gifts for playing often.
Console Slot Machines Console slots are machines that are angled down towards the player with the idea of making the playing experience more enjoyable and comfortable. The most famous of all the console slot machines is probably the Jennings & Company series from the 1930s and 40s. The machines were striking in design and featured huge levers or handles to activate the spins. Today, these machines are very rare and change hands through antique dealers for large sums of money. Very few of the machines are still functional but serve as striking conversation pieces in ones home. Part of the appeal of these antiques is the knowledge that slots machine will never be manufactured in this way ever again, that’s for sure.
Credits Coins are converted into credits to once they are in the game. For example, on a penny slot machine, when a pound is inserted, the player will then have twenty credits on that game.
Credit Meter A visual display of the amount of credits in the machine at any given time. These can be shown by video, LED lights or an animation based on the design theme of the game.
Denomination The denomination is the value of each credit played on a particular slot machine. For example, pound slot machines are one-pound denomination.
Doubles Doubles (also triples) refer the rare occasion when symbols on the slot machines come up two or three at a time which results in double or triple the winning amount being won.
Dragonfish Dragonfish is a famous online slot game manufacturer established in 2007.
Drops A new feature of online slots where symbols fall into place on the reels.
Drop Bucket The container where excess coins are diverted from the hopper usually located at the base of slot machines. A drop bucket is mostly used for low denomination slot machines.
EGM An EGM is an acronym for ‘Electronic Gaming Machine’.
Expanding Wilds A special type of wild (see below for description of ‘wilds). When this symbol appears on the screen, it will expand to cover the entire reel, creating larger chances of wins. Famous mobile slots with this feature include Starburst and Thunderstruck II.
Feature A feature in slots can consist of bonuses, free spins among other things.
Fixed Value Slots Fixed value slots are games where the betting amount and coin size cannot be altered. They tend to be one denomination, one coin per spin.
Five Liner A five liner is a slot game that contains three reels where players have the chance to win on up to five payout lines. There are two diagonal payout lines as well as the traditional three horizontal payout lines on a five liner.
Freeplay / Free-to-play Slots that can be played for enjoyment without risking any money.
Free Spin An additional spin offered for free usually as part of a bonus feature on a bonus slot machine.
Fruit Machine A nickname coined by British people during the first introduction of slot machines in the UK which all contained fruit symbols.
Gamble A common feature which allows you to try and double your winnings on a spin.
Games Per Hour On average, slots players can play about five hundred games per hour on a standard coin-operated slot machine. This can vary depending on the style of the machine and the player.
Hammer a Machine To hammer a machine is slang for playing the same slot for a long period of time, usually in an attempt to win a large progressive jackpot.
Hit and Run Hit and run refers to a player that plays a single payline slot at max credit bets for only a few spins, moving on to another machine if it doesn’t payout any credits.
Hit Frequency How often a particular game pays out on average. The lower the number the better, as a game with a hit frequency of three can be expected to payout on average one out of three spins.
Hold Percentage The hold percentage refers the amount of the players’ money the casino keeps. For example, a 99% slot machine keeps one pound while returning ninety-nine pounds back to the player.
Hot Slots The opposite of cold, hot slots refers to machines that payout more often than others.
Icons Icons is another way of referring to the slot symbols, for example, the fruit icons. The symnbols used to have meaning in the sense that represented what the player had won. However, over time, the fruit icons became purely symbolic and were eventually replaced with a wide variety of themed icons unique character symbols.Today, almost anything can be used as an icon thanks to digital technology. Icons are even not longer static, and we’re starting to seen animation come into the icons as well, with characters moving and interacting with the reels during the spins. What a time to be alive!
IGT IGT is a famous slot game manufacturer founded in 1990.
Instant Winner An instant winner is a jackpot that is paid on the spot as opposed to an annuity winner where the jackpot is paid out over a number of years.
I-Slot An immersive online slot which allows players to save their position in a bonus round and return to the game later on.
Jackpot A jackpot is the top prize or the highest amount of winnings that a slot machine can pay out.
Line Bet A line bet refers to the activated paylines on multiple payline slots. Usually, max bets must be played to activate all the paylines on these types of games.
Linked Progressive Jackpot A linked progressive jackpot or wide area progressive is two or more slot machines whose progressive jackpots are all linked together.
Loose Slots A loose slot refers to how often a particular game typically pays out. A player can expect to win more from a loose machine as opposed to a tight one.
Max Bet The same as the bet max, the max bet refers to the maximum number of credits on a slot machine that a player can bet on each spin. There is usually a button on the machine that enables the player to bet the maximum number of credits.
MEAL book The MEAL book is an acronym for the machine entry authorization log which keeps track of the casino employees’ entries into the game.
Megabucks The famous Megabucks slot is land casino machine developed by IGT which holds the record for a progressive jackpot payout at $37 million. The jackpot is paid in installments over 25 years, making it subject to income tax. The machine and its inner-workings are still a bit of mystery, but several slots experts have estimated its RTP to be 88.6%. The payot rate is based on data for wins on the Megabucks slot machine between 1994 and 2009. The massive progressive jackpot has been reset multiple times over the years, to $7,000,000 in 2005, and then $10,000,000 in 2010. A total of 11 jackpots have been paid out since then, totalling more than $167,000,000.
Mega Fortune Mega Fortune is the record holder for an online slot payout at $17 million. The game was developed by Net Entertainment and has been a hit among online casino fans since its launch. It has become famous for it’s multi-million pound jackpot payouts and seems to be paying out all over Europe. In 2005, a Finish player won £6,155,505 on the game, and there has been jackpot wins recorded at £6,668,735 (United Kingdom), £7,690,874 (Sweden) and £10,522,881 (Norway). The popularity of this slots title has resulted in a number of spin-off games being developed – the most notable being Mega Fortune Dreams, themed on the high-life and all things luxurious.
Mega Moolah Also known as the ‘millionaire maker’, Mega Moolah is an African savanna themed game that has become known for delivering the biggest progressive jackpots online. There’s not much that can be said about this game that hasn’t been said before. It is probably the single most famous online slot in the world, a title it has earned by shovelling out buckets of money in ridiculously sized jackpots. The game might be much to look at, but it’s most loyal player don’t care. It remains the go-to game for players looking to become overnight millionaires. It’s RTP suffers as a result, but those chasing the dream don’t seem to care about that either.
Microgaming Microgaming is an online slot game manufacturer famous for delivering one of the first genuine online casinos in 1994.
Mobile Slots Slot games optimised for your mobile phone or tablet devices. These games are usually created using HTML5 and JavaScript and are compatible with most operating systems. If you are interested in mobile gaming, check out our guide to the best mobile casinos in the UK.
Multi-Line Bonus Slot Machine Multi-line bonus slot machines offer more than one payline. Some multi-line bonus slots have as many as fifty.
Multiplier A multiplier is a bonus feature where the payouts can be multiplied up to ten times on a bonus spin.
Multi-way An online slot betting system that can see hundreds or thousands of paylines.
Near Miss When you just miss out on a winning combination at a slot machine, it is referred to as a near miss.
NetEnt Developing online slot machines for over 20 years, NetEnt is one of the biggest manufacturers of online casino games in the industry.
NextGen NextGen gaming is a games developer specialising in both land-based and online slot machine games.
Nudge Slot A nudge slot machine allows the user to move or ‘nudge’ a key line up or down to help create a winning combination.
One Armed Bandit The one-armed bandit is nickname for a slot machine that has been around since they were first introduced. For more information, check out the history of slot machines. The name is derived from a combination of two things.One-armed refers to the machine itself, which on traditional slots features a large lever – or arm – which is pulled to trigger the reels at the start of a new spin. The lever appears on only one side, giving the appearance of being ‘one-armed’. Bandit refers to the term given lawless marauders of the Southern States of the United States where slot machines were popular.
One-Liner A one-liner is a slot machines term that refers to games with only one reel where players line up three symbols to win.
Onesies Onesies is slot terminology for a player who only plays one coin or one credit at a time for each spin of the slot reels.
Optimal Play Optimal play is the return-to-player rate for a gambler using the optimum strategy in a skill-based slot game.
Payback Percentage The payback percentage is a reference to the amount of money a slot game should return to players over a period of time.
Payline The payline is the line at which winning combinations on the slot reels must land in order to win the payout amount.
Payout The payout is the amount won for a winning a specific combination of symbols on the slot machine. For more information on this topic, check out our guide to slot game payout ratios.
Pay Table The pay table is the sign on the slot machine that tells what all the different winning combinations are and how many credits they each win, as well as any specific game or bonus rules.
Penny Slots A slot machine game that accepts one penny for credit specifically designed for low-stakes players. The term comes from the terms ‘penny’ to mean one pence, the lowest possible coin denomination in pounds sterling. The same term is used to describe one cent in American dollars. Low-stakes slot machines are still popular all over the world as it gives players the opportunity to play for longer time periods without spending too much money. Given that a spin takes somewhere between 3-5 seconds, the cost of chasing a jackpot can really stack up quickly if the minimum bet is too high. If you’re low stakes player, check out our guide to the best low stakes casinos sites in the UK.
Pick Me A bonus feature round where players have a choice of icons or symbols to pick which reveal hidden cash prizes.
Playtech Founded in 1999, Playtech is one of the biggest and well-known gambling software and online slot game manufacturers in the industry.
Pokies An Australian term for online slots (pokie machines).
Primary Jackpot The primary jackpot is the highest payout prize that a player can win on a particular slot game.
Progressive Slot Machines Progressive slots have a jackpot that continues to grow until it is won.
Reel Stop A reel stop is one single position on the reel of the slot machine.
Reels The reels are the disks that spin inside the slot machine window with the symbols on them. By matching the appropriate symbols, players can win money.
RNG or Random Number Generator The random number generator is a computer program that selects the slot machine results at random from all the possible sequences.
Rows The rows are the horizontal lines of symbols.
Scatter Pay Slot machines with the scatter pay bonus feature have specific symbols on the reels that payout no matter what other symbols are with it.
Second Screen Bonus Some video slots that offer bonus features will have a second screen bonus. Certain winning combinations will activate the second screen bonus, and wins can really build quickly. The advatnage of a seceond screen bonud round with modern, online video slots is that it gives developers a chance to add more interaction into their games.Typical actions include selecting prize boxes, higher or lower-style actions with playing cards or similar, and rapid-click opportunities. Some bonus rounds play out automatically and require no further clicks but display animations and video content instead.
Select Lines Select lines are the number of paylines selected on the slot game.
Short Pay Short pay occurs when a payout is only partially made due to insufficient coins in the machine. In this happens, the rest of the payout will be paid in hand to the player.
Short Win A short win occurs when a player hits a large jackpot with very little playing.
Signature Slots The signature slots are the casinos own brand of machines.
Skill Bonus A skill bonus is typically a bonus feature with a skill game, for example, target shooting.
Skill Stop A skill stop refers to games that allow the player to stop the reels manually.
Slant Top A slant top is a slot machine that includes a stool or chair so the player has sit-down access.
Slot Club Slots clubs are member programs offered to players by casinos where prizes and rewards are offered in exchange for playing. The more you play, the more complimentary gifts you receive.
Slot Host The slot host is an employee at the casino who is there to assist in serving customers as well as handling slots club member issues. Often also referred to as a ‘casino host’, the role requires generally making sure slots players are having a good time. The slot host may also have the power to distribute ‘comps’ – complimentary meals, drinks, shows or accommodation to players staking a lot of money or displaying general high-roller behaviour. Casinos do this to keep wealthy players from moving onto to other venues. Hosts often develop a relationship with all levels of gamblers from VIPs and big-spending customers to first-time players and penny slots enthusiasts. They are key to keeping the casino floor a pleasant place to play.
Slot Schedule The slot schedule or paytable is the winning payout combinations and their payout amounts posted usually on the front of the slot machine.
Slot Talk Slot machine slang for the trading of information between players and hosts.
Slot Testing Slot testing is a reference to a form of player evaluation of a slot game where they will play an entire roll of coins to determine the payout ratio for that machine.
Slot Tournament A tournament where slots players play for a specific prize at a pool of slots.
Slot Type Refers to the slot machine type being either a basic, progressive or bonus slot.
Slots If you still don’t know what this is, you should probably check out our slots overview page!
Slots Drop Slots drop refers to the amount of money being played through the slot machine.
Slots Hold Slots hold refers to the amount of money that a slot machine does not pay back in winnings to the player.
Sound of Rain The sound of rain is slot terminology for the sound of the coins dropping when a slots player cashes out.
Spin The spin button or pulling the lever on the side of the machine activates the spinning of the reels to kick off the slot game experience.
Stacked Symbols When the same symbol is on top of each other, either covering most or all of the reel.
Stacked Wilds Alternating wild symbols that appear on top of one another.
Streaky Slots Streaky slots are games that have a reputation for having hot and cold moments.
Symbols The symbols are the different pictures or graphics on the various slot reels. These symbols include cherries and pound signs as well as sevens and money bags. They can also include images of movie or game characters based on the theme of the machine.
Taste The taste refers to the often-small amount paid out to keep a player seated and continuously betting. Very rarely will machines fail to pay out over the course of several pulls.
Theoretical Hold Worksheet A manual provided by the manufacturer, which suggests the theoretical percentage that the slot machine should hold based on the amount paid in. It also indicates the reel strip settings, number of coins that may be played, the payout schedule and the number of reels.
Three Liner The three liner is a slot game with three reels where players must line up three identical symbols in order to win.
Tilt The tilt is a failsafe that can detect when a slot game is being tampered with or has any operating issues. If a tilt is detected, an alarm is triggered.
TITO: Ticket In / Ticket Out TITO slots insert coins and payout using printed tickets. At the end of the session, the player can cash out with the leftover tickets.
Tight Slots Tight slots are considering stingy and are expected to payout less frequently than loose slot machines.
Total Bet The total bet is the number of credits played on a machine at one time.
Trail The trail is a bonus feature where players progress around a track or ladder to gain more prizes.
Tumbling Reels A bonus feature where winning-combos disappear from the reels to be replaced by the symbols above creating the opportunity to accumulate more wins on a single spin. Also known as Cascading Reels.
Two Liner A two-liner refers to slot machines that have two reels where players not only have to line up three symbols but line up six symbols.
Up / Down Slot Cycle The up/down slot cycle refers to the fluctuations that occur with the payout percentage of a slot machine as these are calculated as an average over time.
Variance The variance of a slot refers to the risk associated with a particular game. For example, a low variance machine has smaller wins that occur frequently and a high variance machine has fewer but bigger wins.
Video Slots Video slots use a computer screen to display virtual reels. Unlike traditional machines which used gears and moving pieces to generate the gameplay, modern online slots are all digital. Most games today are video slots, even on land. Use video technology to provide reels opens the door to a lot of creativity and possibility in terms of variety of gameplay, the number of paylines that can be calculated and the potential for bonus rounds and extra features. The introduction of the video slot is really the starting point for the massive boom the industry has seen over the last 10 to 15 years. The slots you can find and play at online casinos today simply wouldn’t be possible without video slot technology.
Virtual Reel Virtual reels are the reels that are rotated based on computer programs. This technology is supported by RNG to ensure a randomised combination is returned.
Wager Management A system of managing your bankroll while playing on slots. By breaking your bankroll into smaller amounts, you can assign each to a specific playing session and hopefully cash out with a profit.
Well The well is the box at the bottom of the slot machine that holds all the coins when a player decides to cash out.
WAP or Wide Area Progressive WAP slots have progressive jackpots that are all linked to one another but are located in different casinos.
Weight Count Coined in the USA, the weight count refers to the dollar amount of coins or credit removed from a slot’s drop bucket which is weighed using a scale to quickly determine how much is there is.
Wild Symbol Slots Wild symbols that substitute for winning symbols in the event that they land in their place.
Wild Multiplier The wild multiplier is a bonus win feature applied to wilds.
Win If you don’t know what this means, you probably shouldn’t be playing.
Win Both Ways Win both ways refers to slots that award wins for paylines running left-to-right and right-to-left.
Zig Zag Zig zag is a term used to describe the line that can be created on many multi-line payout slots. Instead of the line going straight across the screen or diagonal, the line is zig zag.

Roundup

The definitive slots glossary of its time was crafted with much time and effort. If you know of a word that isn’t on this list (related to slots) then you are probably thinking in another language. Alas, the English language is ever-changing and more words and phrases will come and go. We will continue to update this slot glossary so that it will remain relevant to you and stand the test of time. Keep track of the evolution, bookmark this page and keep it open as you play your online games. You will never fail to understand a slots term again. If you are interested in learning more about online slots, check out our guide to the best online slots sites in the UK.