Slots are the most popular game in online casinos. Accessible, straightforward, and bursting with vivid graphics and music, slots can also reward you with substantial cash prizes.
It’s these prizes that have earned slots a reputation among savvy players as being the most interesting way to win seriously big.
However, venturing into an online gaming area for the first time can be daunting, especially if real money is involved. Wising up in advance can therefore be helpful.
So, what are slots, and how do you play them?
What are slots?
Online slots continue the iconic tradition of the historic machines that first graced the casino floors in 1895.
The game involves matching symbols in order to win a prize, and today’s games involve digital bonuses in the form of mini-games and free spins.
How to play
Slot machines are always evolving. However, they follow a basic pattern of reels and paylines. There are sometimes three reels, but most slot machines have five.
The reels have around 10-15 different symbols, and the aim is to align these symbols across all five reels in order to create a payline.
Slots typically have around 10-25 possible paylines and sometimes up to 4096 (or in rare cases even more!). This means that it’s not always a case of having to get a line of matching symbols in order to win. Rather, the aim is to find one of the winning combinations. In today’s world, these are more dynamic and creative than ever.
How to begin
You can click to visit the ‘Paytable’ (also sometimes simply labelled as ‘info’), which will give you a guide to the slot machine that you want to play. The paytable shows winning paylines and their associated prizes.
The paytable will also explain which Random Number Generator (RNG) it is using, and the Return to Player (RTP) percentage. This shows you how much of the win is yours, and how much the casino will take as its margin. Most online casinos offer a healthy RTP of around 95-98% on their slots.
How to bet
The side of the game-screen will have a list of available paylines. The more paylines you play, the greater the chance of a win.
Unless it’s a free spin, each of the paylines requires you to place a bet using virtual coins. Most online casinos allow you to bet between 1 and 10 coins for each payline.
Some slots have fixed paylines. Fixed payline slots are popular because the payouts tend to be larger and the probability of winning higher. However, as they don’t give you a choice about how much money to put down, it can feel like the bets are quite high.
It’s a case of preference. Some people prefer to choose their own coin-payline combinations, while most like to roll with the preferred standard settings.
Hitting the spin
It’s as simple as that! One button to set the wheels moving, and another click on it to bring them to a stop.
If you win, some games will give you the option of doubling your prize. This isn’t done by more spins. Instead, you are offered a simple bonus game of double of nothing, usually this is from a mini game of red or black.
Any insider tips?
Online casinos have to use RNGs that guarantee fair play. This means that everyone should be in with an equal chance of winning.
However, it’s always worthwhile checking out online guides, many of which offer reviews and tips for specific games.
Most casinos will let you try before you buy in, so that you can get a feel for the slot machine before you play for real cash.
Wilds, scatters, and bonuses
Throwing fortune in favour of the player, wilds, scatters, and bonuses up your chances of winning.
Players can add a wild to a flagging payline in order to turn it into a winning combination.
Scatters are random, and if you hit one it pays out regardless of the payline.
Hitting scatters will usually trigger a bonus. The bonus round is always unique for the specific slot you are playing. Often the bonus game is free spins of some kind but sometimes machines have something different. It is always a good idea to check what bonus game the slot is offering before you start hunting it.
Online slots are packed with extra bonuses. Pick ‘em, click-me, cascades, and avalanches are all widely used. These mare mini-games that allow you to collect prizes.
Free spins are a routine offering in the world of digital casinos. They are a great way to try out new slots, or simply to indulge in a bit of on-the-house fun.
Nope! The great thing about slots is that they’re designed to be idiot-proof. The games are crafted to be entirely intuitive, meaning that they guide you as you play.
Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll quickly learn your favourite games and techniques, and the rest is the spinning reel of history.