Nothing embodies the gambling world like rows of shiny slot machines. Pulling a lever and watching with bated breath as the reels spin, then hearing the jangling of bells and tooting of horns when symbols line up – it’s an experience that is hard to beat. That’s why millions of people play slots in casinos and online, where you can find hundreds of different games.

Slots have an innate appeal to the primitive brain and there’s probably a lot that we can learn about the human psyche from studying these simple, yet addictive distractions. But before you start playing, know a few things.

Understand how slot machines work:

When you press the spin button on a slot machine, a random number generator determines your next sequence of stops. The symbols, known as icons, are arranged on multiple rows of reels, and the paytable lists the payouts based on the symbol combination. Some slots also have special symbols, known as scatters, which can award a payout regardless of their positioning on the reels. Most slot games have a theme and the symbols and bonus features are aligned with that theme. The number of stops on a slot reel can vary between three and five. There are also slots that have multiple paylines and a progressive jackpot.