### Understanding the Pay Table When Playing Slots

When playing a slot game, it is important to understand how the pay table works. The pay table displays all of the symbols in a slot, how they combine together to form winning combinations, and what the payout amounts are. It also explains how to trigger bonus features. In addition to displaying the regular payouts, a slot’s pay table will usually also explain any special symbols that can appear and how they work with the regular symbols.

Unlike the mechanical reels of vintage slot machines, today’s video and online slots have no physical reels. Instead, a microprocessor inside the machine pulls thousands of numbers every second and translates them into combinations of symbols on the screen. The computer then cross-references the number of matching symbols with a table that tells what each symbol pays out and how much to win. In addition, the microprocessor assigns different probabilities to each stop on each reel, determining which symbols are more likely to be pulled and which ones less often.

The pay table is typically displayed in the bottom corner of a video slot machine’s display or on a separate information window that opens when you click an icon next to the reels. The pay table is often shown as a set of straight lines, a question mark, or an “i” icon and is very easy to read. Most players will find it helpful to take the time to read the pay table before they play a slot.

Some players believe that they can use a mathematically-based optimal strategy to increase their odds of winning by choosing the slot machine that has the highest percentage chance of paying out in the long run, and by only playing the maximum number of coins. This belief is based on the Monte Carlo fallacy and the gambler’s fallacy. It is also not based on reality, as there are no statistically averages for short to medium intervals of spins.

Some players will change machines after they believe that a specific one has not paid out for too long or because they have won a large amount of money. This is a bad strategy, as it does not improve the player’s chances of winning and may cause them to play more than they should. In addition, it can cost the player valuable time and money as they search for a new machine.