When it comes to gambling, slots are one of the most popular options. But while they may look simple enough—just put your money in and watch the reels spin—there’s actually a lot going on behind the scenes to make sure that every spin is fair.

The first step in a slot machine’s computer system is to generate your sequence of numbers. Then, it translates that sequence to the corresponding stops on each reel. A microprocessor can also assign different weights to different symbols, so that losing ones appear more often than winning ones. This is done to give the appearance of the game being rigged, but it does not actually change your odds of winning.

Conventional mechanical machines gave way to electrical ones, which still work pretty much the same way. They still have the same physical parts, but they can now include features like flashier light displays and money-handling systems. In addition, they can use a computer to determine whether the spin was a winner or not.

Getting started playing slots is easy: Load up your machine with the amount of money you want to spend, choose your paylines and set your bet. Know what you’re aiming for—a certain percentage of your initial bankroll, for instance—and stick to that. Before you start spinning, read the machine’s pay table to learn about its payouts and rules. And don’t be afraid to ask a casino attendant for help if you’re confused!