The slot machines are the easiest game beginners can play in an online casino as they’re quick and easy to get the hang of, and great fun to play. This is because slot machines are purely random: none of your gameplay decisions affect your chances of winning.
What matters though is where you play, which game you choose, and when you should stop. Here’s how you start playing online slot machines if you’re completely new to online casinos in general and slots in particular.
Reel – a vertical line where symbols are located. Usually, there are 3-5 reels in a slot, and each reel fits 3-5 symbols.
Symbol – basically, any image that is used to create a winning combination along the pay line.
Payline – a virtual line that goes across the reels, usually from left to right. A win occurs when you get a certain number of matching symbols on an active pay line as indicated in the game’s help screen.
Wild symbol – a so-called Joker in slots that substitutes other symbols to create a winning combination. For example, if you get three Cherry symbols and a Wild on an active pay line, it counts as four Cherries.
Scatter symbol – a special symbol in advanced slots. The special thing about it is that it doesn’t have to appear on an active pay line to trigger a win. It may be “scattered” across the reels. In most cases, it also activates some kind of bonus round.
Bonus round – a mini-round within a slot game that grants extra winnings. It may be a simple “pick one of the three chests” game, where your pick determines the win amount, a complex multilevel video game-like experience with shooting aliens, or anything in-between.
Free spins – another form of a bonus, where you get a number of spins that don’t reduce your balance. It sometimes comes with additional features like extra Wild symbols, win multipliers, etc.
RTP – stands for Return to Player. This is a theoretical percentage a game gives back to players in the long term. For example, if the RTP of a slot is 97%, it means that for every €100 wagered it returns €97 as payouts, keeping €3 in the casino. Note that this number doesn’t necessarily apply to your particular gaming session, but rather to billions of spins made by all players in total in the lifespan of the game. You may win €1000, and it would mean that a hundred other players lost €10 each. The opposite is also true. Good casinos usually publish this information somewhere on the website. Some slots also have this information available in the game rules.
Variance – this is basically how often a slots pays out. Low variance slots pay smaller winnings often. High variance slots are the opposite: you may not get any wins for a while, but when the win comes – it’s big. This may result in the same overall RTP, so it’s just a matter of personal preference.
Type of Slot Machines
- Classic Slots (or Three-reel Slots)
- Video Slots (or Five-reel Slots)
- Fruit Machines
- Mega Spins Slots
- 3D Slots
- Virtual Reality (VR) Slots
- Interactive slots (I-Slots)
Standalone Progressive Jackpot
This is a progressive jackpot, which can be won on one slot only. Consequently, the jackpot is accumulated slower, being still a large sum.
Proprietary Progressive Jackpot
Another kind of jackpots, shared inside a single casino. Don’t expect a multi-million winning here, however, the chance to win such a jackpot is higher.
The jackpot sum is accumulated owing to players playing in different online casinos, which use the software of one provider (NetEnt, Microgaming, BetSoft…). The opportunity to hit a jackpot here is low, but the sum is cosmic.
In this case, a casino sets a sum which does not change. So, neither the number of players, nor playing time or the round size impact the size of a winning. The fixed jackpot is less popular than the progressive one, but still is of demand.
How to play
- Choose your preferred online slot machine and open the game on your chosen device. The screen will fill with the reels of your slot machine and operating buttons such as ‘spin’ and ‘max bet’. You’ll also see your bankroll in the corner of the screen.
- Take a look at the game’s paytable. This will show you how much each symbol is worth and let you know which ones you’re on the lookout for.
- Choose what you want to bet and how many paylines you’d like to play. Use the ‘max bet’ button if you’d like to select all paylines at once.
- Click ‘spin’ to spin the reels. If you have won, the game will display your winnings and offer you the chance to gamble. This gives you the opportunity to win bigger prizes via a bonus game.
- You can continue spinning the reels for as long as you wish, but don’t forget to keep an eye on your bankroll.
Strategies to Beat the Slots
- Research the payout percentages on different slot machines.
Percentages can run anywhere from 80%-98%.
A payout percentage refers to how much of the money spent on the machine is returned to customers. If a payout percentage is 90%, that means the machine pays out 90% of what it takes in.
- Choose machines with higher payout percentages to increase your odds.
Picking higher payout percentages may help your overall chances; payout percentages are one of the few concrete pieces of data available to aid you when choosing slot machines. However, these statistics are taken over millions of spins. Because you’re only on the machine a short period of time in relation to those millions of spins, you could see a lot of variance in your winnings. You aren’t guaranteed that percentage.
- Pick machines with the smallest jackpots.
Machines that offer a lot of large prizes tend to pay less often, while machines with smaller prizes tend to pay out more frequently. The bigger the jackpot, the harder it is to hit, so you’re better off choosing a machine with a smaller jackpot. This phenomenon is referred to as “volatility” or “variance.”
- Double-check the machine’s maximum jackpot.
Two machines might look exactly the same, but one may pay out a 1,500 credit jackpot and the other 10,000 credits. Be aware of the maximum you can win on your machine.
- Bet the max wager to increase your jackpot chances.
Most machines only pay bonuses and progressive jackpots when the maximum credits are bet. Even on non-progressive machines, the jackpot payout for the maximum credit bet is typically markedly higher than at any other level.
Since you can’t win a progressive jackpot if you don’t bet the maximum, it makes sense to spend your money wisely by betting the max.
Improving Your Odds by Stretching Your Money
- Increase the number of rounds you can play.
To do so, choose a low maximum bet machine. If you’re on a budget, choose a lower denomination slot machine. For example, play a two coin slot machine instead of a three coin slot machine. You’ll lose money more slowly and get to play longer, increasing your chances of winning.
The lower bet machines sometimes have lower payouts as well. This information will be listed on the machine in the payout table.
- Check for bonuses and promotions.
Many casinos will advertise bonuses and promotions on their websites. These bonuses can include extra gambling money, meals, and giveaways. Check with your favorite casino before gambling by visiting the website or calling a customer service representative. The more money you save, the more money you’ll have to gamble.
- Budget your gambling money properly.
You need to bet the maximum bet on each Wheel of Fortune to be eligible for the jackpot or to spin the wheel. Therefore, you should bring enough money to play the machines for at least a few minutes. If you bring twenty dollars for a five-dollar max bet machine, you may only be able to play four rounds.
There are many different machines with maximum bets ranging from a few quarters to a hundred dollars. The more rounds you play, the more likely you are to win money.