How Does a Slot Machine Work?


Slot machines

  • Winning the jackpot is everyone's dream. But, how exactly do those slot machines work? Is there a trick? Are they made to only pay out a jackpot after a certain number of spins? In fact, a slot machine's inner workings are complicated and require a good amount of explanation. Here it is in the simplest terms.

Inside the machine

  • When that handle is pulled, a lot of things start happening. Pulling the handle operates a hook that grabs hold of what is called a kicker, a rectangular plate ton the bottom of the machine. The kicker pulls stoppers away from the reels, or wheels that spin with the pictures and that one word everyone is looking for: Jackpot!

    In regard to the movement of the control cam, the spring and rotating gears play a game of tug o' war. The spring pulls the control cam toward itself, but is slowed by the spinning of the gears.

The kicker

  • The handle continues to be pulled; the reels don't spin until the handle has been pulled back fully. At this point, the hook that moved the kicker is pushed up against a ramp that tilts it in order to make the hook release the kicker back to its original position.

    Due to the force of the kicker springing back to its position, when it hits the notches in the disc, the rotation caused by that force is intense, which causes the disc to spin rapidly. The disc is connected to the reels, thereby allowing them to spin as well. Now the disc and reels are spinning freely and the player has released the handle fully.

    Once the control cam has returned to its original position, the stoppers will be forced to stop as the control cam forces the cam plate to spring back also releasing the stoppers from its notches. The stoppers return one at a time because of where the notches in the cam plate are located. As each stopper is removed from the cam plate, it hits is relative reel thereby stopping that specific reel's rotation as well.

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