With the colossal explosion of online gaming, spinning the reels has never been so fun and easy! Have you ever tried to score some cash on a slot machine but without any luck? If you couldn’t win and your bankroll dried up, you may not have played these games correctly. Additionally, for beginners, while it’s fun to pop some coins into slots, it’s better to wait and memorize some basics before investing your cash.
When you try real-money slots online, you’ll need to gain an awareness of some key facts, like slot machine layouts and gameplay, slot types, rules, tricks to win, etc. And the best way to do that is to find it all in one place — in this article!
So don’t miss this how-to-play-online-slots guide. We’ll reveal some of the fundamental rules and winning strategies!
So how do these casino games work? What is it about them that creates entertainment and opportunities to win real money? And most importantly, how should you start?
It’s been a really long time since slots were first made back in good old 1895. Actually, the first machine was the famous “Liberty Bell” which came into existence in sunny San Francisco. And, after over 120 years, slots have secured their place as some of the most played and most popular online games.
The online gaming universe experienced a “big bang” in the late 1990s, and it hasn’t stopped developing. In fact, nowadays, many experienced players have shifted their focus to online gambling since the benefits it offers are fascinating. And that applies to slots as well! Today, there’s a limitless pool of real-money slot offers with various game types, ways to win, bonus offers, etc. People are truly crazy about these gambling games both in the USA and across the globe!
But in order to understand how these awesome casino games work, you must be aware of some details regarding their construction.
How Do They Even Work?
For those who are mere novices — these games contain a few elements that are essential. Namely, you can launch them on a desktop or mobile platform. After that, there will be the main screen with reels, paylines, game symbols, and buttons for gameplay options.
The reels and symbols are the most important — usually, there will be a 3×5 grid for most modern variants. Commonly, five reels are used, and when players spin them, they will begin to rotate. The reels contain various game symbols on them, and the object of the game is to line up a specific combination of those as the machine’s reels come to a halt. To get a payout, you must place a coin wager on one or multiple paylines.
If the winning match pops up on the payline(s) you have chosen, get ready to have the best time and a big smile on your face since it will be collecting a payout!
All of it sounds incredibly simple, but you may be wondering about how the best online slots for real money are designed to give you reliable and fair results. And that’s completely understandable since there are countless stories of land-based casinos rigging their machines and stealing money from customers.
Online slot games actually utilize an RNG (random number generator). It is a brilliant invention since it always generates completely random outcomes.
There is a range of results which is connected to the possible winning matches, and the RNG is there to make sure you’re playing against a fair, unbiased machine. And, it creates those outcomes in just one millisecond, 24/7. Additionally, it doesn’t memorize or program the results in order to compromise your game. From the moment you launch the reels, the RNG simply gives you a random result (one per reel). And when the game stops, the system automatically calculates the losses and wins, adding them to the player’s balance.
So why is this important? Namely, it ensures that you have a 100% fair shot at the game. All the reliable game developers and casinos will also have to get their RNG technology tested and inspected by independent companies, which further ensures their fairness.
Payout Return and Key Elements
What’s more, other factors come into play regarding the design of slots. Firstly, the main thing to understand is that slots will always give the casino a small advantage. After all, it’s how casinos are able to stay in business since they have to make a profit.
That’s why all games have a payout percentage (RTP). Statistically speaking, this is the long-term rate of total money wagered and won. For instance, let’s say the percentage is 95, and you want to make 100 bets of $1. For all those bets over time, you can expect the total winnings to be $95. With a higher RTP of, for instance, 98%, the total return would be $98 if you use the bet size and amount from the previous example.
In general, most online slots will have better RTP rates than land-based variants. The typical rate for online slots is around 95% to 98%. While the RNG is something you can’t or do not need to control, one way to win more often, in theory, is to pick high RTP machines.
Another critical element found in slot game design is the volatility, and it’s possibly the most complicated since it’s very difficult to calculate. Slot games come with high, low, and medium volatility. It changes the chances and size of the wins. Games with high volatility are designed to give players larger wins, but they will occur less frequently. Conversely, low volatility games come with a higher winning frequency but with smaller rewards. The trickiest thing here is to find the volatility that suits you. While it’s not possible to calculate this, you can test a slot to see how it really pays. Moreover, you could research the slot online and see what other players have noted about its volatility.
So those were the fundamentals of online slot machines, and it’s crucial to know how they function before investing real money.
A 200-Millisecond Miracle
To finish this section off, let’s show you what happens when you play an online slot. It’s truly fascinating.
Check out all the steps that happen in around 200 milliseconds after you press spin:
- When you select “spin,” the slot signals the game provider’s server.
- That server calculates the bet amount and automatically communicates with the casino’s server.
- The casino’s server takes that information and uses it to calculate the money you spent on that spin.
- Then a request is made from the provider’s server for a randomly generated number by the RNG.
- The RNG then sends back a number generated at random.
- The reels spin and the result of the round is calculated.
- In case of a win, the provider’s server will request the casino’s server to add the prize to the player’s balance.
- The casino’s server completes this process and adds the winnings.
- The result is then sent to the game, and it gets displayed on the player’s screen.
We’ve outlined a short description of how to play casino slots earlier on. However, there are many additional things to consider when learning the rules. Keep reading to see the complete guide on slots, and learn some of the key winning tricks!
Namely, there are many different variants of casino slots, and the main ones are:
- Classic (3-Reel)
- Video (5-Reel)
- Bonus Game/Free Spins Slots
- Mobile Slots
- 3D Slots
- Multi-Level Game
- Progressive Jackpot Games (standalone, network, multiple)
Each of these types of games come with their own features.
For example, classic slots usually include one payline and three reels, while video slots have five reels and multiple paylines (from 20 to 100 and over). Video slots are the most popular choices these days. They usually offer bonus games, free spins, mobile optimization, and progressive jackpots. Games that have one of these jackpots that can be won at any random moment in the game are classified as progressive games, but they can also be combined with video slots.
Plus, there are different types of random jackpots — standalone (only for one game), networked (for a network of games), and multiple (one game with two or more jackpots). Some of the newest slots offer 3D visuals as well as multi-level mini-games (bonus rounds), like pick & match games, etc.
Themes & Graphics
What’s more, each online slot includes a special theme and genre. Some of the most common and well-loved game themes are Christmas, ancient civilizations, like Greece or Egypt, mythology, horror, romance, adventure, etc.
Moreover, most of today’s slots will offer you pristine graphics, flawless gameplay, fresh animations and neat sounds. If you’re looking for slots, you shouldn’t expect any less than that! The majority of the highest paying and most popular slots is developed by famous names like RealTime Gaming or Rival.
Since slots are chance-based games, you can’t really take a shortcut to cut corners. You merely need to learn how to play video slots, start a game, and just play it. However, this doesn’t mean that you should play aimlessly.
Actually, before spinning, you have to get familiar with the game symbols, winning combos, paylines, bet sizes, etc.
Each game will have major and minor icons, with the major ones occurring less often but resulting in bigger wins. For example, the major symbol could be a witch, and the payout could be 1,000 coins if five of them appear on your payline. Conversely, the minor ones are always numbers, playing cards, or less important icons. If you get, for example, five Ace symbols, the payout could be around 200 coins.
This is the so-called “normal” play in the game, but the real fun starts when the game incorporates wilds and scatters. Typically, these icons are the key to winning since they can unlock bonus rounds and give you awesome multipliers.
A wild is a unique icon that swaps out any symbol per winning combination. This icon usually has a neat illustration in accordance with the theme. Plus, there are many types of it, such as expanding, stacked, sticky, and other wilds which contain various rules.
These are equally important since they can pop up in any position on the screen when the spin ends. The rules regarding scatters are game-specific for the most part. In many cases, when a certain number of them appears in a spin, a multiplier will be activated on your bet. Additionally, they can trigger free spin features and bonus rounds.
Most online slot games have a no-frills layout that you can master in a few minutes. Namely, the middle of the game screen will show you the paylines, reels, and symbols where all the action takes place. To activate the paylines, you need to select them directly on the screen or using the game’s buttons.
The bottom will include the main controls, such as arrows and buttons. You can use them to modify the bet size, set the number of paylines, access the “Help” screen, or customize the gameplay with an “Autoplay” option. Of course, you will find the button for “Spin” here, usually at the far right.
Lastly, at the top, the games include counters for your bet and win amounts, your balance, and the jackpot size.
Before playing, the smartest thing to do is to inspect the paytable. It will contain a list of all the payouts you could receive based on the combinations. Moreover, it includes anything that needs to be explained, such as the rules for scatter symbols and wilds, bonus rounds, etc. The table also displays the payline options.
It’s important to know how the paylines work in each slot game. Firstly, they run from left to right, meaning that the winning combo starts on the first reel and connects to the others on its right side.
Video slots can have a rather large number of them, and before you bet, you must learn if that number is configurable or fixed. If it is fixed, it means you will need to add a wager on all of them, which will, in turn, cost a lot more. But in return, it will include many more ways to win.
If the game includes variable paylines, then the betways can be changed.
Depending on the game, it may also give you an option to “Bet One” (the wager only goes on the middle payline) or “Bet Max” (to apply the maximum allowed wager).
Most of the newest slots will include a good selection of allowed bets and coin denomination. The average is around $0.01 to $5 per a single line. If a slot has, let’s say, 25 lines, and you put the maximum coin size on all of them, you’d spend 125 for a single spin. And if you use the $0.01 size on all 25 lines, one spin could only cost you $0.25.
The majority of today’s online slots is devised to bring in a variety of low as well as high stakes players. For example, while you can play penny slots or high-stakes slot machines in land-based casinos, most online slots come with wide betting ranges.
Additionally, it’s not common for a slot’s RTP to shift depending on the bet size, and a reliable slot should always have an equal RTP.
When you take into consideration all the previously mentioned rules and features of slots, it’s not hard to play them at all. You can merely find a good game at an online casino, learn the rules, select the bet size and the paylines of your choice and hope to get lucky as you press “Spin.” This is also the main reason why slots are among the most played casino games — they don’t require the players to memorize strategy, rules, or outsmart other players.
Finally, we’ve devised an expert list of things you can attempt to win big more often. As mentioned, you can never cheat in an online slot game, nor should you. However, you may try some things to ensure better winning opportunities overall. Check out these three tips:
Tip #3: Avoid Promoted Games
When casinos promote new games with a lot of marketing and ads and they are found on the casino’s home page, they might contain unfavorable payouts. That’s why it might be better to steer clear and choose popular yet less promoted games.
Tip #2: Use Bonus Offers
The second tip is often overlooked, but there are many bonus-players who end up with higher prizes due to this strategy. Namely, at reliable online casinos, you can get a promotional award when you register. The offer might come in the form of a no-deposit bonus. It could give you free spins or chips even before you deposit any cash. After you use that, you can make an initial deposit — that way, you’ll get some welcome bonuses. It’s clever to play using these offers because your prize will ultimately be larger, and you will spend less.
Tip #1: Pick High RTP Games
And lastly, the key tip is to find slots with high RTPs. Usually, that should be 95% or more. It doesn’t guarantee you’ll get bigger prizes, but your chances will certainly improve. To find it, visit the game’s “Help” screen or look it up on the web. Some of the most generous providers are RTG or Rival, and you can also try some of their games with high RTPs.
To conclude, we hope that this guide has prepared you for your first online slot adventure! As you have seen, learning the basics of slots doesn’t take too long, and you only need to know a few basic rules. However, in a situation where you’re playing for real funds, it’s best to be as careful as you can and learn the essentials so you can gain the upper hand. So check out some of our other slots articles and start playing online slots today!