Slot Machines – What is a Taste?


A slit or narrow opening, especially one for receiving something, such as a coin or a letter. Also, a compartment in an aircraft or ship. American Heritage(r) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

In slot machines, a win occurs when symbols line up in a payline. The win amount is based on the number of symbols and their payout values, as determined by the machine’s pay table. These pay tables are displayed on the machine’s face or in a help menu. Some symbols are wild, meaning that they can substitute for other symbols to complete a winning line.

The term taste is a reference to the small amount paid out by electromechanical slot machines in order to keep players seated and betting. It is often enough to keep players interested, even if the machine hasn’t paid out a big jackpot in a while.

Before microprocessors were incorporated into slot machines, the number of possible combinations was limited to about 22. This resulted in a house edge of 75%, which is a significant advantage over the player. When the manufacturers added microprocessors, they could assign different probabilities to each symbol on a reel. This created the illusion of a high chance of hitting the jackpot, when in reality the odds were much lower. This is known as the Near-Miss effect. The manufacturer can do this by weighting certain symbols more heavily than others, but this can lead to a confusing and frustrating experience for the player.

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