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Slots 101

Slots 101

What is the first thing that catches your attention when you visit a casino? If you are like many, you are instantly drawn to the flashing lights and sounds coming from the establishment’s slot machines. Even if you do not know how to play slots and you are unfamiliar with slot machine basics, you may have difficulty resisting the lure of playing slots.                        

Slots are far and away the most popular form of gambling in casinos throughout the world. Reports compiled by the Nevada Gaming Control Board show slot machines typically generate more revenue than the amount produced by the combination of all other casino games. The same reports reveal no casino game generates more revenue than penny slots.

While their entertaining lights and sounds attract many casino visitors to slot machines, their ease of use and the wide variety of available games also make them appealing. Not having to memorize slot machine strategies in order to play slots makes it simple for anyone to take a seat and start playing instantly. You just choose your bet using the buttons on the machine and press the “spin” button or pull the lever to begin. Here is an overview of what to expect from slot machines and also what we have available at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino.

Why Play the Slot Machines?

Advantage of Slots

The biggest advantage to the slots is they require less knowledge and experience than most other casino games. Anyone can play them. For newcomers to a casino, playing slots may feel less intimidating than sitting down at a table with a dealer or playing alongside people who have more experience at dice or cards. You can also win big money at the slot machines, despite the relatively small investment.

There are a number of different types of machines, and you will find through trial and error which ones you prefer. While you may have seen people play multiple machines at once, when it is crowded on the casino floor, it is considered polite to stick to one machine.

The House Edge

The house edge is the average percentage of every dollar you bet that the casino expects to keep. The casino will not earn the house edge on every spin. Sometimes the house will collect more and sometimes it will pay out instead. The house edge is simply what the casino reasonably expects to earn off of a game over the long term.

Unlike games like blackjack, where playing strategically can increase your odds of winning, there are no slot machine strategies that can have a similar effect on your results. The results you get every time you bet on a spin are completely random. While you may hear rumors of a “hot” machine, or one that pays more often than others, there is no such thing. A slot machine is not more or less likely to pay out on the next spin if it does or does not pay out on the previous spin.

While there is nothing you can do to increase the chances you will win on a given spin, there is something you can do to increase the amount you will collect if you win a bet while playing slots. In general, you will get more money on a winning spin the more you bet, if you play a machine that allows betting. This means you will typically have to bet the maximum amount to collect the largest payout on a winning spin.

Playing With the House Edge

Although betting the maximum is often the only strategy you can employ when you play slots, there are a few things you can do before you take a seat in front of a slot machine to maximize the amount of time you can afford to play slots.

Make a commitment to play slowly. Many slot players play quickly, meaning they spin again as fast as they can. While that approach certainly adds to the excitement of the game, it also increases the cumulative cost of playing if you plan to stay for a certain amount of time.

Playing quickly does not just mean you will pump more money into the machine. It also means you will expose yourself to more losses. Take your time between spins to extend your playing time as well as your bankroll.

Join the Capital Club

When you play slots at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, there is one more thing you should do before you hit the machines to get the most out of your gambling sessions — join the Capital Club.

When you are a Capital Club member, we give you more whenever you play on any of our 2,300 slot machines or participate in our table or poker games. Just insert your Capital Club membership card into a slot machine, and you will get rewards for playing your favorite games.

As a premier member of the Capital Club, you will receive special offers and discounts from Dover Downs Hotel & Casino via email and/or through the mail. You will also accumulate rewards points as you play, which can elevate you to the next level of membership.

Here are the membership levels you can achieve when you join our Capital Club:

  • Capital Gold: For people who enroll in our Capital Club.
  • Capital Platinum®: For individuals who amass 600 rewards points in a one-year period.
  • Capital Elite®: For people who accumulate 1,500 rewards points in one year.

Different Kinds of Slots

Just as there are many variations of poker, you have different games to choose from when you play slots. Here are some popular kinds of slot machines and some tips about how you should bet on each.

Multiplier Machines

A multiplier machine is what its name implies. This kind of machine will “multiply” your winnings depending on how much you bet. If you bet two coins and win, for example, you will collect more money than you would if you had only wagered one coin. While the size of your bet will influence your payout if you win, the amount you wager will not affect your chances of winning in any way.


If you want your bankroll to last a long time, it is a good idea to find a multiplier machine that does not have a big difference between bet sizes and their related payouts. If there is not much difference between what you would win betting one coin instead of two, you will be less likely to place bigger bets that will not yield significantly greater payouts if you win.

Buy-A-Pay Machines

Unlike multiplier machines, buy-a-pay machines do not pay you more if you wager more and win. Instead, betting more on a buy-a-pay slots machine simply increases the number of ways you can win on a spin. Because betting more gives you more ways to win, it is always advisable to bet the maximum on these machines as long as you can afford to do so.

Progressive Slots

Progressive slots are easy to spot because they often have an oversized display board over a bank of slot machines. These slot machines are linked together, and the jackpot total shown on the display board grows every time someone makes a bet on one of the progressive slot machines. In this community game, the first person who wins the jackpot gets a percentage of the total accumulated from all of the related slot machines instead of just what is on their individual machine.

While you can still win small amounts if you do not bet the maximum when you play progressive slots, you will need to bet the max if you want a shot at the jackpot. Jackpots for progressive slots can reach incredibly high figures, so making the maximum bet consistently can lead to a sizeable payout. Of course, making the max bet every spin can also take large chunks out of your bankroll, so use your discretion.

Video Slots

Video slot games are similar to buy-a-pays, and they are often called “multi-line” slots. You decide the number of lines you want to bet on and how much you want to wager on each. You can often bet anywhere from one penny up to one dollar per line. Even though some video slot machines have as many as 500 lines, you should do your best to bet every line. You do not necessarily have to bet the max on every line, but you should wager on every available line when you play video slots.

Video Slot Games

Video slot games have grown in popularity in recent years. This is largely because video slots provide bonuses that give you the chance to win something for nothing.

Slot Machine Bonuses

Whether you will have the opportunity to win a bonus while you play slots depends on the kind of game you decide to play. Here are some of the bonuses commonly available to slots players when they play on certain slot machines.

Bonus Games

Bonus games are often available on video slots. A bonus game is triggered when certain numbers or symbols appear on the screen after a spin. These games give you the chance to collect an additional payout without requiring you to put more coins in the machine.


This kind of bonus is as visually intriguing as it is exciting. It happens when symbols “fall” from the top of the screen and replace the numbers or symbols on a given line. The symbols that fall from the top of your screen are the equivalent of wild cards that can increase your payout.

Free for All

This type of bonus gives you the chance to choose from a selection of hidden bonuses within a set period of time. Hiding among your bonus options is at least one choice that will bring your free-for-all to an end. If you have more options that might end your free-for-all, the available bonuses will be more worthwhile. Those typically available in a free-for-all include free spins and multipliers.

Free Spins

Slot machines that are reel-based often reward players with free spins after they risk a certain amount of money. Free spins do not cost you money when you initiate them, meaning they are not deducted from the money you have put in the machine.

Hold n’ Spin

These bonuses are unique because they allow you to hold certain reels in place while you make other reels spin at a faster rate. Then you can influence the outcome of a spin.


With a multi-level bonus, you can earn additional bonus rounds until you fail to finish off a particular level.

Pick a Box

This bonus is pretty self-explanatory. You will simply choose a box from several options and win the prize contained in the box.

Pick ‘Em

This bonus is available when you earn a set number of coins or a certain symbol appears on your screen. You will spin a wheel or throw a die to advance on a digital game board. The further you make it on the board, the bigger the prizes you can win.

Scratch Cards

This bonus gives you the opportunity to “scratch” a virtual card to see if you have won a prize.


Sliders are particularly useful because you can swap icons from one line with symbols from another. This means you may be able to create a winning combination even though your spin did not actually produce one.

Spinning Wheel

This is a fun bonus because you typically get to physically spin a wheel to try to win a prize. This kind of bonus is often limited to video slot machines.


Wilds are one of the most popular slot machine bonuses because they let you substitute icons similar to wild cards in place of other symbols to try to create a winning combination on a line.

X of Y

With this bonus, you get to pick one or several objects, and you keep the prizes related to the things you choose.

Come Play at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino

When you visit Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, you will see we have a wide range of slot machines to try out. Experiment to see which ones you like the best. You will have the chance to win a wide variety of slot machine bonuses when you play your favorite games in our luxurious casino.

Dover Downs

Whether you are learning how to play slots or you have enjoyed the game for years, we invite you to visit our location. When you arrive, we will enroll you in our Capital Club so you can earn even more rewards as you play, or you can pre-register online before you visit our award-winning property.

Make plans to play slots at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino now. We look forward to giving you a wonderful experience when you visit our breathtaking location.