All slots, from the classic to the most modern, operate according to common basic principles and mechanisms, which, in more advanced slots, are extended by an increasing number of additional mechanics.

Basically, a slot machine is a gaming device consisting of a variable number of reels, usually between three and five, but there can be more, on which symbols are depicted.

In this quick guide to the basic mechanics of the slot machine, we have introduced three concepts:

  • Roller
  • Symbol
  • Grid

These are three very important concepts that are the basis of how slots work. Their use can vary depending on the slot machine we are playing.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these three aspects.


lightning link

The reels of the slots are the main element of the slot machine, it is through them that players can play. These are, at least in the classic slots, mechanical and electronic, real reels, discs on the edge of which are represented a variable number of symbols, and which are rotated by activating a lever in order to activate a random extraction of symbols.

Usually a slot game involves a double activation of the reels. In the first activation the player spins all the reels of the slot, while in the second, he can choose to spin all the reels or just some of them. Only at the end of the second “draw” does the slot award any payouts to the player.


As we have seen, each reel of the slot contains a variable number of symbols or figures, some of which are repeated several times on the same reel, increasing the chances of that symbol being drawn.

Symbols are crucial to winning, because when playing slots, you need to build up a continuous string of symbols of the same type in order to win.

Common symbols are those very frequent “standard” symbols, which are used to build combinations of symbols of the same type, usually sequences of at least three symbols. 

Then there are the special symbols:

Wild: special symbols, quite rare, but not too much, which act as a joker, so they can be used to complete any sequence of symbols already started, assuming the value of the symbol that precedes them, generally from left to right. In some slots wild symbols are also bonus symbols, and you can build up sequences of at least three wild symbols, in which case you generally get special features and extra prizes.



The slots grid is basically a grid of symbols, usually consisting of the total number of reels and visible rows of the reels.

In classic slots the game grid is three by three, i.e. three reels and three lines per reel. In more modern slots, the average grid is five-by-three, meaning five reels and three lines per reel.

There are, however, many slots that are configured with a four-by-four grid, such as the slot Star Clusters Megaclusters, where, however, the mechanics of the reels is not present in the classic form, but is adopted a system called “avalanche reels”.

The game grid is represented by all the symbols that are on the screen on the slot, and it is on this grid that the player must construct the sequences of symbols in order to achieve a win.

In fact, in order to achieve a win, it is not enough to build a sequence of symbols. How? Horizontally or diagonally, starting from left to right and only on lines on which the player has bet.