Welcome to the thrilling world of slots!
Slots are by far the most popular casino game, both online and offline, and with good reasons too. They are extremely engaging with superior graphics, fantastic themes, and stimulating features that could keep you entertained for hours. However, the most enticing thing about slots is knowing that you have the opportunity to walk away with a life-changing amount of money on your next spin!
Many people all over the world play online slots but not everyone knows how they work. Online slots use a random number generator (RNG) algorithm to determine the result of each spin. It’s this RNG software that’s responsible for the return to player (RTP) rate of any slot and it must be approved by a third-party authority to ensure that the game is fair.
Online slots are made up of reels with symbols on them which are all represented by computer-generated imagery. The aim is to spin the reels to have a certain combination of symbols land on your active payline, creating a winning combination that will give a set payout. Online slots differ from their mechanical counterparts in that they are not limited to physical constraints, hence, software developers can introduce many exciting features into the game.
Types of online slots
With such an overwhelming number of slot games online, it helps to understand the different types of slots you can find so you know which are the games that cater to your tastes. Online slots can be grouped into the following categories:
- Classic slots – the original slot machines, classic slots often feature a vintage style and simple gaming mechanics. The most distinctive differences between these slots and video slots are they often only have three reels and a smaller number of paylines. Most classic slots are low variance which means that they have smaller payouts but a higher chance of landing on a winning combination. People who prefer classic slots like its straightforward game play, clean traditional charm without many distracting animations and effects.
- Video slots – Video slots are slots with no physical moving parts with a screen display representing the reels and symbols. In terms of online slots, video slots usually feature five reels, therefore, having more paylines (up to hundreds) than classic slots. Furthermore, video slots usually come with sophisticated graphics and exciting features, making them extremely engaging to play. These slots are usually medium to high variance where the payout can get very high but the frequency of getting a winning combination is relatively lower.
- Progressive slots – Some slot games are linked together, feeding into the same progressive jackpot which is dynamic in nature. Every time someone makes a bet with any of these slots but doesn’t win, a percentage of the bet is funneled into the jackpot, increasing its value. When a lucky punter strikes the jackpot, the progressive jackpot is reset to its base value and starts to build up again. Progressive slots are perhaps the most enticing of all slots with a life-changing amount of money to be won, having the ability to make you an instant millionaire. They are almost always high variance with an enormous jackpot but lower chance of winning it.
- Free slots – Many online casinos offer a free version of the slot games they have, encouraging you to explore the site without any financial risks. You can get a taste of how a game works with free slots and test out strategies without paying a single cent. You’ll receive virtual credits that you can’t cash out to use on the slots. These slots are a great way to find out if you like the game before betting any real money on it.
Can you win real money with slots?
Everyone knows that casinos are not charity organisations and operates on a for-profit business model. Hence, they ensure that the house will always have a long-term slight advantage over their clients, called the “house edge”. The RNG software is programmed to have the spins result in less winning combinations than the casino’s loss.
However, this doesn’t mean that you could never win. The casino holds a small long-term edge but punters can receive significant short-term gains. For example, Jonathan Heywood from the UK was making wagers of only 25p per spin when he struck the Mega Jackpot on the Mega Moolah slot game, walking away with a whopping £13.2 million, which still stands as the largest payout ever from an online slot.
You might think that these jackpots almost never get cashed out but it’s not as rare as you might believe. In 2017, a new millionaire was born almost every month by just winning Mega Moolah’s Mega Mega Jackpot alone.
Anyone can scoop up a win, even if you don’t have a large bankroll. In fact, 32-year-old Katherine from the UK cashed out £1,200 without even spending a single penny! She logged in to Maria Casino one afternoon to find that her account was credited with some free spins on Neon Staxx which she used and got on a lucky winning streak. She then used her winnings generated by the free spins and hit the jackpot!
How to play slots like a pro?
There is no sure-fire way to win at slots but seasoned punters will tell you that there are certain things you can do to prepare yourself mentally and increase your chances of winning. Here’s how you can play slots like a pro:
- Do your research – Not all slots are made equal and some have lower house edges than others. The RTP of slots are easily available online and you should only play the ones with the highest rates.
- Expect losses – It’s inevitable that you’ll always lose money at some point. It’s important to keep your focus on the big win and not be discouraged by the small losses.
- Only wager what you can afford – You should start with a fixed bankroll which you can afford to lose completely and never take out a debt to gamble. It’s all about being disciplined and wise with your bets.
Which games should you try first?
There are so many slot games out there and it could be difficult for a beginner to choose one to start with. A badly-made game could ruin your first slot experience so we’ve brought you some of the most popular tried-and-tested slots which are perfect to introduce you to the thrilling world of slots.
- NetEnt’s Hall of Gods – If you like progressive jackpots, Hall of Gods features not one but three pooled cash prizes. The size of the Mega Jackpot in this Norse mythology-themed video slot is fit for the gods, often going up to the millions.
- Microgaming’s Immortal Romance – Unlike other slots, this successful vampire-themed slots has a progressive storyline where you can unlock characters and discover their special abilities the more you spin.
- Yggdrasil’s Joker Millions – If you prefer the traditional fruit machine visuals, then Joker Millions is the game for you. The developer has revamped this classic-looking slot with modern HD graphics technology but maintained the vintage charm of fruit machines. Furthermore, there’s a progressive jackpot up for grabs too.
Top tips for online slots
As with all games of chance, there’s no foolproof formula to winning. However, this doesn’t mean that you should play slots blindly, purely relying on your luck. There are still steps that you can take to help you achieve better odds.
- Use our slot reviews – Our comprehensive slot reviews analyse the slot in question based on a strict set of criteria. Use the review to identify the games that most suit your preference while having peace of mind in knowing that all our recommended slots are fair and safe.
- Take advantage of slot bonuses – Casinos constantly give out slot bonuses and it’d be crazy not to use them to your advantage. These bonuses come in the form of free spins, reload bonuses, loyalty points, cashbacks and more which you can use to boost your bankroll.
- Understand the terms and conditions – All games and bonuses come with its own set of rules. It’s crucial to understand what they are before playing a game or accepting a bonus to know exactly what you’re getting into.
- Only play on a trusted site – Perhaps the most important thing is to know which casinos you could trust to play your favourite slots at. There are rogue casinos that try to seduce you with offers that seem too good to be true but are only there to scam you.
- Action: the entire amount wagered by a punter, including both wins and losses.
- Active paylines: the paylines of which a payout or bonus round will be triggered if a winning combination falls on them.
- Bankroll: the sum of money that a punter has to make bets with.
- Bet max: an option for betting the maximum number of paylines and the highest coin value per spin.
- Bonus feature or bonus round: a separate game that is not the base game and sometimes on a second screen which can give free spins and cash prizes .
- Bonus symbols: symbols that will activate the bonus feature when you spin them in the right order.
- Cashback: a reward by the casino for recouping losses made by punters when they did not win with their wagers.
- Credits: these are the currency your money is converted to when they are in the slot game.
- Free spins: spins where you don’t have to spend any money to make but you’re allowed to keep the winnings and usually come with some wagering requirements.
- Hot slot: a game that is loose or has more payouts than others.
- Jackpot: an amount of money you can win for spinning a winning combination or winning the bonus feature.
- Loose slot: a game with a high payout percentage.
- Line bets: the activated playlines on a slot which has multiple paylines available.
- Multiplier: a feature which boosts the payout by multiplying it.
- Pay table: a table showing all winning combinations and their corresponding payouts
- Payline: a line which you could activate to receive a payout or bonus if the right symbol combinations fall on it.
- Payout: the amount of money you get for getting a winning combination on an active payline.
- Payout percentage: the percentage that the slot game pays back to its players over the course of its life.
- Progressive jackpot: a dynamic jackpot which increases in value when someone makes a bet but did not win by playing any of its linked game. This jackpot will reset to its base value after someone cashes it out.
- Random number generator (RNG): the software that is utilized to conclude the result of each slot spin.
- Reel: part of a slot resembling a wheel with different symbols on it.
- Scatter: a symbol which does not need to land on an active payline to be part of a winning combination.
- Symbol: Symbols are images on a reel which you want to aim to line up in a particular combination to receive a payout or bonus.
- Tight slot: a game with a low payout percentage.
- Wild symbols: symbols that have the ability to substitute all other symbols except for the bonus and scatter symbols to complete a winning combination.
- Winning combination: a particular sequence of symbols which trigger a payout or bonus.
There are certain terms used in the world of slots which could sound confusing to someone new. Here’s a list of common words or phrases that you should know before you begin your slot adventure:
Join in on some slot action now
Now that you’ve equipped yourself with the knowledge and know-how to playing slots online, why not pick one of our recommended casinos and experience the thrill of slots first-hand? All you need is the right mindset, determination and luck to be the next lucky slot winner.