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How To Bet/Play Slots

Since they first came into public consciousness in San Francisco in 1895 when Charles Fey invented his coin-operated Liberty Bell machine, slots have gone from strength to strength.

Today, they are widely heralded as the most popular games in a casino. The same goes for online casinos where online slots continue to attract millions of players a day worldwide.

But why? Well, one of the most attractive things about slots is how easy they are to play, which, when added to the huge prizes potentially on offer, makes it easy to see why these games tend to do so well.

While there are many different types of slots, they all really work in very much the same way. This is to say that, essentially all slots have symbols on reels that spin downwards on the grid. Where the symbols land on each spin dictate what the players will win.

Some games are played on three reels, and others are played over five reels, which will alter and increase paylines and consequently affect bonus features. But, at the end of the day, all slots are essentially about one thing, making winning combinations.

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Online Slot Types

There is more than one type of slot game for you to try and, while they all work in the same basic way, there are a few subtle differences for you to understand.

Video Slots

Video slots, similar to Video Poker, are what they say they are, a way of hosting slot games through the screen. With video slots, there is a far greater range for themes, extra paylines, bonuses, side games, and other features to keep users happy.

Progressive Jackpot Slots

Progressive jackpot slots are games connected to a bigger jackpot. The jackpot pool gets bigger each time the game is played, but the jackpot is not won.

Classic Slots

Classic slots are slot games with three spinning reels or bars. Such slot machines contain the original classic symbols like liberty bells and cherries.

Online Slots Terminology

Despite their simplicity, anyone new to online slots might be unfamiliar with some of the terms involved. That is why we have added this quick slots terminology guide for your reference.

Slots Basics

Bet Level: Your bet level is the stake that you wish to bet per spin. Players can easily adjust how many coins they wish to bet on each payline. Plus some slots let you choose how many total paylines they want to play.

Paylines: Paylines are the lines that connect the combinations. Some games have more than others, while some slots pay in one or both directions and can zigzag all over the grid.

Reels: The reels are the spinner lines that run vertically down the grid and have the symbols attached to them. They can number three or five to a game.

RNG: RNG stands for Random Number Generator. It's a game mechanism that ensures the randomness of each slot game to keep payouts fair and regular.

RTP: RTP stands for the return to player, and it refers to the game’s payout ratio. It is expressed in a percentage, and the higher it is, the better the game is for the player.

Slot Bonuses & Jackpots

Bonuses: Many slots have bonus features that can contain bonus games, like free spins, multipliers, or gamble features. These are a great way to boost winnings.

Jackpots: Jackpots are the maximum amount that can be won playing online slots or any other casino game.

Progressive jackpots: Progressive jackpots are communal between games and contain a shared prize pool. The prize pool is made up of fractions of each of the bets made on connected games. The jackpot will keep growing until someone wins it.

Slot Reels & Symbols

Cascading Reels: Each time a winning combination is formed in cascading slot games, symbols involved in the win leave the game, and new ones cascade down to replace them.

Scatter: Scatter symbols do not need to be connected through a payline to trigger wins and/or bonus features.

Symbols: Most games normally have around 10-12 standard symbols that have different paying levels. Very often, there will be low paying playing cards 10 through ace, as well as higher paying symbols that relate to the theme of the slot.

Wild: A wild is a special symbol that can substitute itself for other symbols. Wild symbols can form winning combinations that would otherwise be unlikely.

How To Play Online Slots

While there are many different types of slots, they all really work in pretty much the same way. This is to say that, essentially all slots have symbols on reels that spin downwards on the grid. Where the symbols land on each spin dictate what players win.

Why Play Slots Online?

There are so many reasons we love to play online slots, but the most obvious point to make is that there is minimum skill required to begin playing. They also provide endless hours of fun, come with great themes, and, crucially, have massive jackpot potential, especially through progressive jackpots and bonuses.

How To Choose the Best Online Slots Sites

When you are looking for slot games at an online casino, there are a few factors you need to consider before settling on a site.

Are Online Slots Fair?

While it is true that online slot games come with a house advantage, players will almost always pick up winning spins at least once in three or four spins. This is because casino games apply Random Number Generators (RNGs) to these games. RNGs ensure every spin is random and has the same odds on your success as any other spins.

On the plus side, you can quickly find the RTP level of each and every slot which helps you determine the risk factor associated with the video slot you want to play. RTP is usually between 90-99%.

  • 98%+ = High RTP
  • 95-97.9% = Medium RTP
  • 94.9%- = Low RTP

Slots, after all, are games of chance, and a casino won’t benefit from short-term success over players. Repeat business is the route to an online casino’s wider profit, and rigging games in their favor would lead to customers leaving their casino in droves, not to mention draw the attention of the authorities.

Are Online Slots Safe?

The concerning issue of whether or not the slot game is safe greatly depends on where it is you are playing. So long as you choose to deposit and play at a site that is fully vetted and licenced by an international gaming authority, you should be fine. 

If the casino is licensed, then it will employ all of the latest security software, making it safe for players to play there. However, if you choose to play at unlicensed casinos, then you are making what could be a very costly mistake.

High Or Low Volatility

When choosing an online slot machine, there are different levels of risk for players to consider. This is referred to as high or low volatility. You can have anything in between such as a medium volatility slot too.

When a player chooses a low volatility slot, they will face less risk but also lower value prizes. On the flip side, players choosing to play highly volatile slots raise the risk level but also elevate their prize level also.

How To Bet/Play Slots FAQ

How Do Online Slots Pay Out?
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Online slots will pay out when players make combinations of winning symbols in a payline.

What Is A Payline?
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A payline is the line that connects all of these symbols together, which makes the combination.

Are Online Slots Fair?
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Yes, do not worry about that. So long as you are playing with a fully vetted and licenced site, all online slot games are totally random, thanks to the RNG

How Do Online Slot Games Work?
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These games are not complicated at all. Players just need to hit the spin button and hope that those all-important combos begin to form.

Do Online Slots Require Complicated Strategies To Win?
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No, there really isn’t anything you can do to alter your success rate in these games of chance.

About this author

Cole Paganelli author profile

Cole is really big into Major League Baseball, but really - the big four Pro US sports are his passion. Cole grew up a Yankees fan, but married a Red Sox fan. It's tough around the house during those big games, but his hatred for the Red Sox has waned a little. Cole has a goal of seeing every Major League Baseball Stadium before the end of 2022!

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