How to play online slots

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Slot machines have been fan-favourites when it comes to casino games ever since the first one-armed bandits were created back in the early 20th century, and that’s why knowing how to play online slots is important.

Today, slots have reached previously unimaginable heights. Thanks to modern technology, slot machines are now available across virtually all computer devices, from computers to smartphones and tablets.

Their form has changed dramatically to include up to hundreds of paylines, rows of symbols, bonuses, and jackpots measured in hundreds of thousands, if not millions. The most lucrative slots are the ones with huge progressive jackpots where the pots are continually increased with every bet placed by all the players playing the particular game anywhere in the world. Incredible, right?

There are many kinds of online slots that differ in the number of reels, types of bonus games, symbols, themes, and many other characteristics that make a particular slot unique and that we need to know if we want to learn how to play online slots. 

The visual representations with 3D animations and superb audio effects offer an immersive playing experience few other casino games can. 

A lot of people think there’s not much to playing slots than hitting the spin button and hoping for the best, but there is so much more than that. Even though the gameplay is relatively simple, there are many tips and strategies you can rely on. 

If you want to know more about how to play online slots, their structure, symbols, and bonus features, you have come to the right place! 

How to Play Online Slots and Common Slot Machines Elements

Let us guide you through the most important elements of slot machines and learn how to play online slots and maximise your chances of winning. 

Betting Amount (Bet Level)

Primarily, slot machines are casino games, which means bets are going to be placed, and money is going to be won. The betting amount and betting levels differ from slot to slot, but there are specific common characteristics we shall discuss.

Bet Level bar - Online Slot machine
Bet Level bar – Online Slot machine

First, on most modern online slots, the amount of your bet is set with the help of coins. These coins are there to mimic the coins of old that were actually inserted in the slot machines. You need to set the value of the coin, and the range can be anywhere from as low as $0.01 to as much as $10 and more per coin. It all depends on the type of slot you are playing. 

However, that’s only half of the story. In almost all slots nowadays, the total amount of the bet is calculated according to the coin value per payline. A payline is simply one of the patterns on the reels according to which symbols formulate the wins. For the total bet, you need to multiply the coin value to the number of paylines. For example, if the slot you are playing has 50 paylines and you have set the coin value to $1, the total bet per spin is $50. 

Paylines Explained

As we briefly stated earlier in the text, a payline is a line that cuts through the playing grid in diagonal, straight, and zigzag patterns and according to which the payouts for the symbols that land on the reels are calculated. Usually, there can be anywhere from 1 to 100 paylines in a slot game. 

Book of Ra Slot Paylines
Book of Ra Slot Paylines

The power of the payline is that the symbols do not need to be next to each other to form wins; they need to be connected via the designated payline. The winning combos for symbols are usually calculated from left to right, but there are slot games that calculated the wins in different directions as well. 

Also, it is common in most slot games to adjust the number of paylines per spin. If you want all paylines to remain active, the possible payout is more significant, but so is the cost of the bet, so you should watch out for that as well. 

Bonus Symbols

In the majority of slots, the symbols are divided into standard low and high-paying ones, plus the bonus symbols. The bonus symbols are usually worth more when part of a winning combo and they also activate exciting bonus features. Let’s see what types of bonus symbols there are as they are crucial when learning how to play online slots.

Wild Symbols

Wild Symbols are colourful joker symbols that have existed since the early beginnings of slot machines. They function as a joker in a card game and can make a winning combination with any other symbols on the reels except Scatters and other bonus symbols. The power of the Wild lies in the ability to substitute all other symbols and form a winning combo that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. They are usually one of the highest paying symbols in a slot game. 

Wild symbols - Online slot machine
Wild symbols – Online slot machine

The Wilds appear randomly to occupy the positions on the reels, and in some slots they can land only on specific reels, like the 2nd or 3rd reel. 

Scatter Symbols

scatter symbols

The Scatter symbols are the door that leads to numerous bonus features like free spins, bonus rounds, etc. These symbols, unlike other basic symbols in the game, trigger the bonus features when at least 3 of them land anywhere on the reels. Their representation is unique and usually matches the theme of the slot perfectly. Also, they are the highest paying symbols you can encounter in a slot game. 

Expanded Wilds

expanded wilds

Expanded Wilds are one of the many new variations of the Wild symbol that bring not only great excitement but also lucrative rewards. When an Expanding Wild lands on the reels, it expands, as its name suggests, and covers the entire reel with Wild. This way, several wins can be made over multiple paylines. Also, these Wilds happen entirely at random, so there is no way of predicting where they’ll land.  

Stacked Wilds

Stacked Wilds are in essence a form wilds that are stacked on top of each other and can cover the entire reels. These wilds are particularly lucrative when they fill the whole reels as the number of paylines they can activate is vast. However, Stacked Wilds do not usually expand to feel the entire reels; they remain in the same positions where they landed.   

Bonus Games: What Are They and How do They Work?

Bonus games have become ubiquitous in the world of online slots and give an additional edge to them. They are mini-games within the slots that get triggered by particular combinations of Wild and Scatter symbols or can happen randomly. The most common types of bonus rounds are the Free Spins and Standard Bonus rounds. 

Free Spins Bonus Rounds

free spins bonus rounds

The Free Spins Bonus rounds are activated when 3 or more Scatters or Bonus symbols land anywhere on the reels. Depending on the number of symbols, you can get anywhere from 5 to 25 or more Free Spins. The betting structure remains the same during the free spins, and if you happen to land additional bonus-triggering symbols, you will receive extra free spins. 

Standard Bonus Rounds

Other bonus rounds that can appear in slot games are usually in the form of a mini-game where you reveal the positions on the grid and win the rewards. This bonus is often referred to as Pick-A-Box bonus. Another type of bonuses that you can see is the Pick’Em Bonus where the mini-game functions as your everyday board game. The player then spins the reels or throws a die and moves along the board. The further you get, the better the rewards to claim.


Multipliers are special symbols and features within a slot game that have the ability to multiply your winnings numerous times. These symbols either appear randomly on the reels or can be triggered after a series of continuous winning combos where the first combo can give a 2x multiplier, and every subsequent combo increases the multiplier by 2 or even more. Some of these multipliers appear solely in the base game, while others are reserved for the bonus rounds. Either way, knowing what they do will surely come in handy when learning how to play online slots. 

Return to Player (RTP) 

The Return-to-player, or RTP in short, is the percentage of how much the slot machine is expected to pay back the players for each bet they make over a more extended period. The RTP is always below 100% because the difference between the RTP and 100% is known as the house edge. 

Let’s say you are playing a slot machine that has a 95% RTP. This means that the house edge is 5%. In this case, if you make 100 bets at $1 each, you can expect to receive about $95 back in wins after hundreds if not thousands of spins. 

Hit Frequency (HF)

Simply put, the hit frequency refers to how often does an RNG generator give the winning combinations opposed to losing ones. As you already know, not all spins can be the winning ones, and HF regulates that. The slot games that have higher HF are known to pay out more and have not such high pay tables, whereas the ones with low HF have more substantial wins. 

Bankroll Management when Playing Slot Machines

It is crucial to have a proper bankroll management strategy when you want to learn how to play online slots and even after you have mastered them. Without it, you can burn through your money quickly and do more harm than good. With a sound bankroll management strategy and plan, you will learn how to limit the losses and preserve the gains. You should always play with the amount of money you are comfortable with losing so that you won’t lament over it. 

Slot Machines Quick Tips

If you want to learn how to play online slots and become good at it, you need to follow some instructions and have a clear plan. Although luck plays a significant part in the slot, there are tips and tricks you can use to your advantage. 

Choose the Slot With a Fun Theme

There are thousands of online slot games with such diverse themes that will make you wonder what themes are left unexplored. However, you would do well to choose a slot that best suits your style and preferences as it won’t get overly dull after a couple of spins. If you are interested in the topic, the chances are you will have more zeal and enthusiasm playing and thus increase your odds. 

Progressive Jackpots Can Do the Trick

You can’t find bigger jackpots than those found in progressive slots. If you have learned how to play online slots but haven’t played progressive jackpot slots, you have missed out on the opportunity to win a prize pool that increases with every bet placed on the game from all players around the world. Sometimes these slots require a certain amount of bet to be placed before you can go for the top prizes, so you should be prepared to risk a bit more if you want to win it all. 

Start Off With the Low Denomination Slots 

It is important not to be greedy all of a sudden as that is not the way how to play online slots. Choose the slots with lower denominations which can still pique your interests, and start with 20p bets. This way, you will get the hang of the slot machine without spending too much. After that, you can go to higher denomination slots and hope for bigger prizes. 

Play Within Your Budget 

As we have said before, bankroll management is vital. Sometimes, it can be considered a win if you don’t spend every last bit of money you have while waiting for that big hit. Knowing when to stop is a virtue, and it can help you with limiting the losses and making you feel comfortable playing slot games. Of course, without risking something you can’t hope to win, but you need to keep yourself in check by setting the limits of both wins and losses. Only then can you hope for a good time at the slot machine. 

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