Slots School: The Key Terms You Need To Know

We love getting deeper into the world of slots. But sometimes the deeper you get, the harder it is to comprehend… That’s why it’s essential to brush up on your slots terms every now and then.

So the next time you’re sitting down for a session or chatting to a friend about your play, you’ll be more likely to know what’s going on.

This is by no means an exhaustive guide, but it’s a handy jumping off point to polish up on your slots terms when you need to.

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All of the time you’ve played slots added together is called your action. Usually, this includes all slots at a particular casino, either online or offline.

Bet Max

One of the most common slots terms, bet max simply means the most you can bet on a slot in a single spin. Most online slot machines have a Bet Max button, which automatically jumps you up to the maximum in a single click.


Finished with your session? There’s a collect button on most slot machines that converts your credits (your slot machine earnings) to cash.


The value of each slot machine credit is called a denomination. You still see this from time to time, but often online slot machines simply use cash amounts in Euro, Pounds Sterling, US Dollars or any other local currency.


Can’t change the wager per spin? Then you’re playing a fixed slot. These slots are fairly traditional and mean you can only spend a certain amount on each spin.


If you’re really into slots, the GPH or games per hour, of a slot will be important to you. This translates to how many spins you can do in 60 minutes. Some people like to really pack games in, while others like the experience to take a little longer and entertain them.

Hit frequency

Trying to figure out when you might expect a win? Then you should pay attention to the hit frequency of an online slots machine. The lower the number, the more frequently the slots machine pays out.

Instant winner

This is one of our favourite slots terms and it might become yours too with a bit of luck. If you become an instant winner, it means you can take home your slots jackpot immediately. Some traditional slots jackpots, particularly in land-based casinos, pay out substantial jackpots over a number of years instead. They’re known as annuity jackpots.


Speaking of jackpots, this refers to the top prize that a slots machine, or a group of slots machines, pays out.

Line bets

Did you know that different paylines can be activated depending on how much you bet? The line bets are the number of active paylines on a particular slot machines. Generally speaking, if you bet the maximum amount then all the paylines are activated.


This is one of the most used slots terms in the industry. A multiplier is usually a bonus feature or a special symbol which means that your payout can be multiplied, making a much bigger win than you would ordinarily get.


Some slots can move a winning combination slightly to give you a more significant win. They, in effect, give your reels a little nudge.

One Armed Bandit

One Armed Bandit is the original slang name for a slots machine. It’s because players used to have to pull a lever to play.


This is the pattern symbols have to strike in order to give players a win. Usually there are lots of paylines for more modern online slots.


Many casual players even know this slots term. A reel is the column of symbols that spins on a slots machine.


Scatter symbols can award players payouts whenever they appear on the screen. The number of symbols required for a win depend on the slot. More and more online slots are offering a range of scatter win options, so it’s a great one to look out for.


If a slots machine doesn’t pay out very often, it’s said to be tight. This is the opposite of loose slots.

Up/Down Cycle

Because slots machines are random, the amount they pay out fluctuates over time. The term for this fluctuation is the up/down slot cycle.

Video slot

Pretty much every single slot you’ll come across either online or in a land-based casino is a video slot. This basically means that it’s not run by physical reels, it’s run by a computer program.

Wager management

Arguably the most important of all the slots terms, wager management is all about making your bankroll work for you. This means figuring out how much you can reasonably spend on slots (be conservative with this figure) and then working out the best way to spend it.

This depends entirely on your playing style, but could be either a small amount on lots of games or a large amount on one game. You also need to decide at what point you’ll cash out and, crucially, stick to the plan.

Zig zag

If you’ve got a multi-line payout slot machine, chances are there are zig zag lines. These don’t just go straight across or diagonally, but they criss cross all over the screen.