Welcome to the thrilling world of slots!
Most people immediately make a beeline for the slot machines when they get to a casino and it is no different in online casinos. Slots are engaging, do not require many skills to play and most importantly, they give you the opportunity to win a life-changing amount of cash prize.
Slots are no doubt the most popular game in any casinos but not everyone knows how they work. Online slots use a random number generator (RNG) software to generate random numbers for determining the outcome of each spin. This RNG is in charge of the payout percentage of the game, which must be approved by a third-party authority to make sure that the game is fair.
The most important elements of slots are the reels, symbols, and paylines. Online slots‘ reels and symbols are computer-generated graphics and work the same way as real slots. Without the constraints of mechanical parts, software developers can easily add more reels and create different types of exciting symbols, resulting in potentially more paylines. For example, apart from the standard symbols, other types of icons like scatter, bonus, wild, and multiplier symbols help give out more rewards. With more reels, there could be hundreds of paylines not just going horizontally and vertically but also in a zigzag fashion. These features help make online slots a lot more multifaceted and captivating than mechanical ones.
Types of slots
Although there’s a staggering number of slot games on the internet, they fall into just a few categories. Understanding the nature of different slots will help you determine which games most suit your budget and play style.
- The ancestors of slots, classic slots usually have a vintage look with simple game plays. The main differences between a classic slot and its video counterpart are the number of reels, paylines, and themes. With only 3 reels, classic slots have a more limited number of paylines. However, the frequency of payouts is higher though the amount is usually smaller. Some people prefer these slots for their straightforward gaming experience and basic appearance, with no distractions from complicated videos and animations.
- Video slots evolved from the 3-reel classic slots to be more attractive with superior graphics and a variety of exciting bonus features. These type of slots commonly have 5 reels and can have more than 100 paylines that you can bet on. Video slot games often adopt their themes from pop culture like iconic blockbuster films and popular characters, making them even more appealing. With the availability of advanced graphics technology today, 3D video slots can offer a very realistic gaming experience.
- When online versions of casinos started hitting the internet by storm, the concept of progressive slots really took off. This type of slot games contributes to a dynamic jackpot, which grows every time someone makes a bet on the game but does not win. A fixed percentage of the wagers made on the game is funneled to the jackpot, making it rise until it resets to the base amount when a lucky player cashes it out. Progressive slots jackpots can build up to a gargantuan amount, potentially up in the millions, creating an irresistible allure to players who dare to dream big.
- Many online casinos offer a free version of their slots games. These free slots are a great way for you to get a sneak peak of the game without betting with real money. Free slots offer you a risk-free way to get an idea of the gameplay, theme, and experience so you should take advantage of it. Most free slots have a trial period and once the trial ends, you will be asked to make a deposit to continue playing. However, free slots are just there for you to get a taste of the game without any financial commitment so you will not be able to cash out any winnings gained from playing it.
There are many terms used in the slots industry that might require some explanation to someone who is new. Here are some of the most common words that you should know if you would like to join in on the fun in online slots:
- Action: the total amount played by a gambler, including any wins or losses.
- Active paylines: the paylines that are in play that will result in a payout or bonus if a winning combination falls on any of them.
- Bankroll: the amount of money that a player has to bet.
- Bet max: A player could choose this option for betting the maximum number of paylines and the highest value for each line.
- Bonus feature or bonus round: an off-reel side game or special activity different from the regular play mode that can award payouts or free spins to the player.
- Bonus symbols: symbols that will trigger the bonus feature when they appear in the right combination.
- Cashback: the reward given by the casino to their slot clubs card players, usually in the form of comps or part of the club membership fee.
- Comps: the incentives offered by casinos to members of their slot club. Usually, the more the member plays, the better the incentives.
- Credits: these are what your money is converted to once they are in the slot machine.
- Free spin: a spin where the player does not have to use any real money to make but gets to keep any winning resulting from it.
- Hit: a hit occurs when a player wins a spin.
- Hit frequency: how often a slot gives out a winning combination.
- Hot slot: a game that is loose or has more payouts than others.
- Jackpot: an amount of money a player can win for hitting a winning combination or winning the bonus feature.
- Loose machine or game: a slot with a high payout percentage.
- Line bets: the activated playlines on a slot that has multiple paylines available.
- Multi-line slots: these are slots, which have more than one payline.
- Multiplier: Usually this symbol will boost the payout by multiplying it.
- Nudge: some slots have a nudge feature that you can use to nudge a reel either up or down.
- One-armed bandit: refers to slot machines because mechanical slots used to have one lever on the side.
- Pay table: a chart that indicates all winning combinations and their corresponding payouts for a slot game.
- Payline: the line on which you will receive payouts and bonuses if you get a winning symbol combination.
- Payout: the amount of money you get for hitting a winning combination on an active payline.
- Payout percentage: this refers to the percentage that the slot game pays back to its players over the course of its life.
- Progressive jackpot: a jackpot that grows in value as players bet on slots linked to the jackpot until someone wins it. The progressive jackpot will then reset back to its base amount.
- Random number generator (RNG): the computer software used by casinos to determine the result of each spin on the slots.
- Reel: A reel is like a wheel with different symbols on it. When you make a spin, you turn the reels, which will eventually stop and display a combination of symbols.
- Scatter: a symbol which you only need to get enough number of to receive a payout, even when they do not land on your active paylines.
- Symbol: icons or images on a reel that will award you with the corresponding combination’s payout or bonus.
- Tight slot: a slot with a low payout percentage.
- Video slot: a slot with no mechanical moving parts but instead, has a screen displaying a graphical representation of reels and symbols.
- Wild symbols: these are symbols that can substitute all other symbols (except for bonus and scatter symbols) to complete a winning combination.
- Winning combination: any arrangement of symbols, which will result in a payout.
Winning money with slots
Casinos are business establishments and, therefore, will always ensure that they have a mathematical edge over their clients. The house edge is there to ensure the casinos earn enough to cover their operation costs and be profitable. The RNG that casinos use is programmed so there will be less winning combinations than losses.
Does this mean that you will never win at slots? On the contrary, online slots are known to produce millionaires. In April 2015, Jonathan Heywood from Cheshire was playing on “The Millionaire Maker” Mega Moolah slots in Betway’s website, betting on just 25p a spin when the Jackpot Bonus Game showed up on his screen. Unsuspectingly, he spun the wheel and it landed on the Mega Jackpot, winning him a record-breaking €17,879,645!
Another story that proves the house does not always win was when a Swede walked away with a whopping €4,531,301 jackpot playing on NetEnt’s Mega Fortune Dreams slot at Maria Casino. Less than a week later, another Swedish player, also playing on Mega Fortune’s slot, hit an even bigger jackpot of over €8.5 million at Folkeautomaten. This shows that you never know when the next millionaire jackpot winner will be!
You do not always have to have a huge bankroll to be a lucky winner. In fact, 32-year-old Katherine from Mersyside hit the jackpot without even spending any money at all. She logged in to her account at Maria Casino for some slots entertainment one afternoon and discovered that the casino had given her some free spins to use on the Neon Staxx slot. On an extremely lucky winning streak, Katherine cashed out on her winnings from the free spins. Subsequently, using that payout, she hit the jackpot and instantly became £1,200 richer!
Playing slots like a pro
Slots are a game of chance and there is no foolproof formula for winning. However, there are certain steps that you can take so that you can play like a pro, even if you are new to slots:
- Like all gamblers, pro slot players must have discipline and must play within their affordable bankroll. You must avoid playing on credit and never take a debt to play slots. It is all about being wise in what you do, not being arrogant in your bets.
- You should always take paylines into consideration when deciding how to make a spin. For example, if a slot has 20 paylines available, making bets with just 5 paylines will never get you that 6-digit jackpot. However, with smaller bet amount, you will be able to afford more spins, thereby increasing your hit frequency.
- Like all pro gamblers, you must prepare for losses, both financially and mentally. Tackling the slots thinking that you will definitely win might lead to high expectations and intensified disappointment when you lose a spin, which will negatively affect your morale.
- Before deciding on which slot games to play, you should always do your research. It is no secret that some slots are better than others, having higher payback percentage and bigger payouts. Information about many slot games is available online to help you make the best choice.
Which games should you try first?
The first step for a beginner to start playing slots online is to choose a good casino offering a wide range of slot games. Many reputable online providers offer several hundreds of slot games, which could seem daunting for a newcomer to choose one to start.
One of the best beginner slot games on the internet is the hugely popular Tomb Raider – Secret of the Sword. This 5-reel 30-payline slot’s design is amazing and has all the features present for a new player to learn the ropes like scatters, wilds, and free spin rounds. The bonus feature is triggered by landing the passport symbol on the centre position on all 5 reels, helping you get familiarised with second screen games.
If the thought of just pressing a button and making spins after spins bore you, then Immortal Romance might just be right for you. As one of the most successful video slots created by Microgaming, this vampire-themed game is extremely engaging which lets you discover various characters and their special abilities. The more you spin, the more characters and features you will unlock, each with their unique twists!
If your aim in playing slots is to win big, then look no further than Mega Moolah. Its progressive jackpot starts at an astounding £1 million but most jackpot winners walk away with an amount several times higher than the minimum. The game features a standard 5 reels and 25 paylines system with four exciting themes to choose from: Wild Africa, Egyptian, American or Holiday.
Head over to our slot reviews section to find the games that best fit your play style and budget. Enhance your playing experience and increase your odds on any particular slot with our professional tips, secret insider news, latest promotions, bonuses and more.
Top tips for online slots
When it comes to playing slots, a game of chance, nobody can give you a guaranteed methodology to win. However, you can equip yourself with certain knowledge and expertise to help you achieve better odds:
- The first thing you need to do is to set your bankroll and stick to it so you do not lose money that you cannot afford.
- Many casino providers regularly give out slots bonuses, which you should use to your advantage. With the bonuses, you can gain insights on certain slot games while gaining mileage on your bankroll at absolutely no risk. Online casino bonuses can be rather generous with thousands of free money for you to earn, usually in the form of deposit match bonuses, free spins, loyalty programme gifts and even no deposit bonuses!
- Check the payout percentages of the casino and the games when choosing one. Some casinos and games have award higher payout percentages than others.
- Read up on the rules and fine print on how the game and bonuses work to determine the best way for maximising your bets. Some bonuses have extremely high wagering requirements, which might just not be worth your time.
Although there is no sure-fire way to win at slots games, you can be smart about how to play them. Use our slots guide and reviews to help you find the best games that are right for you. With determination and lady luck on your side, you might just be the next big jackpot winner!