Visitors to online casinos may get the impression that slots are the pinnacles of these sites – and for good reason. Online slots tend to make up the majority of content at online gambling sites, generating a billion dollar industry. There are literally thousands of online slots available today, created by different software providers and covering multiple themes.
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Online slots are based on the original slot machine created by Charles Fey over 100 years ago, but they differ from one another in terms of wagering limits, payouts, bonus features, themes, skill levels and more. They are also known by a multiple number of names, depending on their type and even on the player’s geographical location – from classic slots to fruit machines, progressive slots and more.
There are literally thousands of online slots to choose from with new games being released every year. Slots have come a long way from the pull machines of the arcades and casinos. They have become sophisticated with state of the art graphics, animations, sounds and visuals, making them most popular online game by far.
If you’re new to the world of slots, then our comprehensive guide will ensure you get the most from your bet. Learn the basics of the game, the rules, betting tips and strategies. You’ll be ready to spin and win in no time.
Online Slots Game Rules
One of the reasons that slot machines are so popular is that the rules are simple to follow. While games differ in terms of themes, paylines, odds and other factors, the basic premise of slots remains the same. Players need to choose the type of slot game they wish to play and how much they want to bet. They then press ‘spin’ and are paid out according to a pre-determined payout table if relevant.
Players need to make two decisions regarding the coins they pick, namely the value of the coin and the number of the coins to be played. Most slot machines will offer coins worth different denominations, which means the player first chooses the denomination and then how many times to wager that coin. The player who opts to wager a $1 coin five times, will essentially be making a $5 wager per spin.
Players may come across different variants of slot games, which introduce new rules or concepts.
In multi line slot games, for example, more lines can be activated by adding extra coins. These games can be played by landing winning symbols in multiple angles, including diagonally and horizontally.
In the case of progressive online slots, players are paid out an ever-growing jackpot when they land specific symbols on the reels. The rules of most of these games determine that players need to wager the maximum number of coins offered by the machine to put themselves in line to win the progressive jackpot.
Many online slots offer bonus features which have the potential to reward well.
Wild symbols substitute for other symbols in the game (usually not all of them) in order to create winning combinations. Scatter symbols will trigger a bonus game or higher payouts wherever they land on the reels. Usually more than one needs to land to trigger the extra features or payouts.
Free spins allow players to win extra games, usually triggered by scatter symbols. The number of free spins will differ from game to game. In many cases, bonus games triggered by scatter symbols are actually ‘games within a game’, meaning that they have their own rules and objectives.
Certain online slot variants, especially fruit machines, carry Nudge and Hold features. By pressing the ‘hold’ button, players are able to hold one or more of the reels on their next spin. The ‘nudge’ feature allows players nudge one or more of the reels on their next spin to create winning combinations or trigger a bonus feature.
Popular Online Slots Games
Slots have been adapted for the digital age and there are now a few different variations available to play.
Just like the arcade slot machines this online version has 3-reels. The aim of the game is to line up three matching symbols along one pay-line. This simple design is perfect for the novice to get to grips with the game.
The 5-reel online slots are the most popular and are often themed making them even more fun. It takes the classic slot to another level, with two extra reels, additional rows to make a grid and multiple pay-lines giving players even more chances to win.
This basically refers to the graphics and look of the game. The 5-reels are usually video slots with animations, colors and characters. Video slots have given the original game a modern and creative twist. The betting opportunities with video slots seem endless with additional cash bonuses, free spins and with hundreds of pay-lines and symbols.
In progressive jackpots the prize money grows with every bet placed by thousands of players, either within the game on that particular website or across a network of online casinos. The jackpot will continue to increase until someone wins, then it will begin all over again. To win the jackpot you must match the specific winning symbols with a maximum bet spin.
Game Buttons Information
While online slot games differ in terms of how they look and how they pay out, it is safe to say that the majority of them have similar buttons which control certain aspects of the game, determined by the player.
Some of these buttons are explained:
- Lines Per Spin: This button controls how many lines the player wants to bet on in each game.
- Bet Max: By pressing this button, players essentially tell the machine to bet the maximum number of coins and to begin the game.
- Cash/Collect: Players ask to have their winnings credited to their account as they want to end their gaming session.
- Help/View Payouts: Some machines provide additional information about the game such as its payout table. Clicking this button will usually open another screen with the data.
- Auto Play: A special feature where players request that the casino slot spins itself automatically. Players determine the number of spins they want and the game will begin automatically and continue for the duration decided by the player.
- Spin: The Spin button is undoubtedly the one used most by players, and simply begins the game.
- Coin Size: This button determines the denomination of the coin that the machine must play. Some games have a fixed denomination, while most provide players with a range of options.
How to play online slots like a professional ?
While slots is a game of chance and powered by a Random Number Generator (RNG), there are still things that you can do to improve your chances.
First of all, know your game and know the rules. As we already mentioned, each slot game is different so make sure you know what the winning symbols and combinations are. Study the game’s pay table or pay schedule which shows the symbols and combinations which will lead you to the big money.
Like any game, practice makes perfect. Many online casinos offer slots that you can play with no deposit. You can play just for fun and for free, which lets you get to grips with the rules of the particular game before you wager any real-money.
Bet: The amount wagered on the online slot.
Bet Max: To wager the maximum number of coins possible on the game.
Bonus Feature: An extra feature within the slot game that enables players to win in different ways.
Classic Slots: Slot games with a traditional twist that usually consist of three reels. The number of pay lines and bonus features differ from slot to slot.
Coins Per Line: The amount that is bet on each pay line.
Coins Per Spin: The number of coins wagered on each game.
Fixed Jackpot: The top prize in a slot game with an amount that remains unchanged.
Fruit Machine: The name used to describe slot machines in the UK. Usually have nudge and hold features.
Hit Frequency: How often a casino slot machine lands a winning combination.
Jackpot: The top prize in a slot game.
Multi Line: A slot game that has more than one pay line.
Pay Line: Images need to align on this line in order to see the player win.
Payout Percentage: The rate that a slot game pays out to players.
Progressive Jackpot: A jackpot that keeps growing each time players make a wager on the machine. A small amount of the wager funds the jackpot which continues to progress until it is won.
Reels: Virtual ‘barrels’ on which the slot game’s symbols are located, which spin until they come to a stop to reveal any payouts.
Scatter Pay: A type of random bonus payout found in video slot games which could trigger another bonus feature or game.
Stacked Wilds: The positioning of multiple wild symbols on top of each other on the slot’s reels.
Symbols: The images on the reels.
Wild Symbol: A designated symbol in the game that substitutes for other symbols to form winning combinations.
Wild Multiplier: A wild symbol (see above) which also multiplies the win it forms.
Winning Combinations: How many ways the player can win on the slot game.
Many video slots will offer bonus games, or mini-games within the standard game. These bonus rounds are unlocked when you hit certain symbols or combinations and let you spin for free and win without placing a bet.
Online slots strategies
The first step in any online betting strategy is choosing the right platform. Choosing the right online casino can make all the difference. Have a look about and find one which offers the best welcome bonus so you can build your bankroll.
Just be sure to read the small print when signing up, as each casino will have different wagering requirements for bonus cash and any subsequent winnings. Look for a high welcome bonus and low wagering requirements.
Don’t go for the first slot game you see, shop around first. There are hundreds of online slots available and smart slot players will do a little research before committing to spinning for money. Any casino worth their salt will publish the payout rates for their games, so you can pick the game with the best payout percentage.
Part of playing like a pro means knowing how to manage and maintain your bankroll. The best way is to set yourself a limit. Whether it’s a daily, weekly or monthly limit, set it and stick to it.
Don’t be tempted to place higher wagers on fewer lines. While your winnings might be bigger, with fewer pay-lines you’ll actually have less chances to win. Also, some games require you to play through all the lines before you can claim any bonuses or jackpots. So, make sure your bets are manageable to make it through all of the pay-lines.
Placing smaller bets across more pay-lines will ensure steady returns and minimal losses, keeping your bankroll healthy.
The best thing about playing online slots is that the RTP (return to player) is generally better than a regular land-based casino where the average payout rate is 80-90%. For online slots, however, that increases to 95% and above, depending on the game and the casino. When selecting an online casino to sign up to or which slot game to play, look for payout rates in the upper 90s to increase your chances of winning.
The very first slot machine can be traced back to 1891. The machine created by New York based company, Sittman and Pitt, was a bar game where players could spin 5-reels showing playing cards for a nickel. It didn’t payout though, instead winners would get their prize from the bar, in the form of a free drink or cigar.
A few years later, Charles Augustus Fey, designed the first slot machine with an automatic payout. His ‘Liberty Bell’ game was the blueprint for the later ‘fruit’ machines.
Nowadays, there is approximately 2000 different slot games from different game providers. One of the major online game developers, Microgaming has around 500 slots on offer. They were also responsible for the very first online jackpot slot game, Cash Splash.
One lucky gentleman from the UK made the Guinness World Records for winning the largest jackpot payout in an online slot machine game. He walked away with a cool €17,879,645 on popular slot, Mega Moolah.