Understanding the Different Types of Symbols in Slot Machines


When you play a slot machine, the random number generator generates a number sequence that determines whether or not you win. This process is continuous, generating dozens of numbers per second.

You can insert cash or, in “ticket-in, ticket-out” machines, a paper ticket with a barcode. A lever or button activates the reels, which spin and stop to rearrange the symbols.


Understanding the different types of symbols in slot machines can help you maximize your winnings. Whether you’re playing at a brick-and-mortar casino or online, knowing the payouts and definitions of different symbols can help you make smarter decisions about how much to spend on a machine.

Symbols are the images that appear on the reels of a slot machine. These symbols can vary in number and variety, depending on the game’s theme. They can be standard symbols that pay out a fixed amount for landing them on an active payline, or they may have special features, such as expanding wilds or scatters.

One of the most popular slot symbols is the lucky number seven, which has been a mainstay since the early days of slot machines. The bar symbol, consisting of elongated rectangles, is another iconic symbol that’s been around for years. Its origin is unclear, but it’s thought to be derived from the logo of the Bell Fruit Gum company.


Paylines are the lines on which matching symbols need to land to form a winning combination in a slot game. Typically, these lines run from left to right, but some slots allow you to win when matching symbols appear anywhere on the reels. In order to be paid, the symbols must land on a valid payline in a single spin. You can view a slot’s paylines by viewing its paytable, which is usually located within the main game screen.

Some players may be tempted to choose a slot with more paylines, believing that more lines means more chances of winning. However, it’s important to remember that all slot games have a house advantage. Choosing the right number of paylines will be a personal decision, and should be based on your preferences and gaming budget.


Volatility is a key concept in slot games that gauges how frequently a game pays out and how big these payouts are. It is different from hit frequency, which measures how often a slot awards prizes but does not take size into account. A high volatility slot will often have longer periods of time without a win, but when it does pay out, the payouts are typically much higher than those on low-volatility slots.

While the volatility of a slot game may not have as much to do with Return To Player Percentages (RTPs), it is still important for players to understand. This is because the volatility of a slot will dictate everything from the frequency and size of its wins to how risky it is. To find out how volatile a particular slot game is, you can check its volatility index rating, which is usually displayed in the paytable. Alternatively, you can also look at online information sites and message boards for player experiences.

Bonus rounds

Bonus rounds in slot machines are an exciting way to add extra winning opportunities and increase the fun factor. Some bonus rounds are random, while others are predetermined. Regardless, they add excitement and are one of the most sought-after aspects of online slots.

These bonus features are often triggered by specific symbols or scatters. They can range from free spins to jackpots, multipliers, and cash prizes. Depending on the game type, they can also be retriggered for a limited number of times or unlimited.

Some slots also offer a “feature buy” option, which allows players to pay an additional fee to guarantee entry into the feature round. Typically, this will cost between 25x and 100x the original stake. This is a great way to avoid the frustration of missing a bonus round by landing just one scatter symbol. Other types of bonus rounds include pick and win, wheel of fortune, and multi-level bonus games. These features can vary widely from game to game and are designed to appeal to a wide variety of audiences.