The slot machine has become symbolic of Las Vegas – but there’s more to this iconic casino game than the glitz and glamour. From how they work to what you can win from playing them, here are some things to keep in mind when you spin that reel.

Modern slot machines are computer-controlled and use random number generator software to determine whether the symbols on a pay line match one of that game’s specifically listed symbol combinations. The result is a winning or losing spin depending on how many matching symbols land on the pay line. The number of symbols on the line varies from game to game, with three being the most common.

Traditionally, slot machines were mechanically powered by cranks that turned a series of reels (typically three) with pictures printed on them. The machine’s outcome depended on which of the images lined up along the pay line, a line running vertically through the middle of the machine. Today’s slot games offer a wide variety of different types of symbols and payouts, with some offering thousands of ways to win.

Despite the complexity of how slots work, they’re actually fairly simple to play. Just place your coins or money into the slot, select your bet size, and click the spin button. The results will be displayed on the machine’s screen. The pay table explains how much you can win based on the possible symbol combinations, and often includes information about the Wild and Scatter symbols as well.