Are you new to the world of slots and have no idea where to start? We’re here to show you how easy it is to play slots. If you’ve never played online slots before, there are only a couple of things you need to know before you can hit the spin button and start playing. Slots are the most popular types of games amongst online players, and it’s easy to see why!

Slots are luck-based games which offer the exciting prospect of winning some nice prizes with a bit of luck. Online slots are also incredibly creative, and you’ll find everything from retro-style slots with classic fruit symbols to slots themed after your favourite TV shows or bands. There is really a slot out there to suit anyone’s liking, but there is a couple of things that you should about before you start playing them. 

1. Slots are completely random and unpredictable

All online slots are built using what is known as a Random Number Generator (RNG). This is a system that allows for a completely random game, so the outcome of it cannot be predicted. This makes slots completely fair to play and it doesn’t matter how fast you play or how much you bet. Placing a higher bet doesn’t increase the chances of winning, however, it does mean that when you do land on a win, it will be bigger than if you’re playing with a smaller bet. The higher your bet, the higher your prizes will be, although the likelihood of winning isn’t affected at all by your bet size.

2. Types of slots
  • Classic slots: classic slots are usually made of three reels and three rows, just like the old school fruit machines you would find in land-based casinos back in the day. 
  • Video slots: video slots are the modern version of slot machines, having a variety of themes and styles.
  • Jackpot slots and progressive jackpot slots: jackpot slots are games that have a fixed jackpot amount that can be won, while progressive jackpot slots have a jackpot that keeps on growing until it’s won by a player. 
3. Slot components
  • Paylines: In order to win a payout, the symbols not only have to land on the reels in the right order, but they also have to land on an active payline. These are predefined paths on which the symbols have to land in order to count as a winning combination. If you get three adjacent symbols that are not on a payline, this doesn’t count as a win. Generally, you need at least three matching symbols landing on adjacent reels, from left to right, and on a payline to earn a prize. Some slots also pay both ways, meaning more chances to win.
  • Ways to Win: Some slots are ‘ways to win’ games, meaning that there are no predefined paylines on which symbols have to land, but several ways to win without predefined lines. This generally awards players more often as ways to win slots usually have no less than 243 different ways to win.
4. Special symbols

Besides regular symbols that you need to match in order to win, there are also a few special symbols, mainly the wild and the scatter.

  • Wild: this is a special symbol that will substitute any regular symbols in order to form a winning combination. So, if you have two adjacent matching symbols on a line and the third symbol in the line as the wild, this will count as the third matching symbol and you will win a prize. Essentially, wilds are symbols you will want to see a lot of on the reels as they can help you form winning combinations whenever they appear.
  • Scatters: these are special symbols that generally trigger a bonus round, most commonly a free spins round. Generally, three or more scatter symbols will trigger a number of free spins. The scatter is the only symbol that can’t be replaced by the wild and sometimes, it also pays wherever it lands, known as ‘scatter pays’. This means that if you get a combination of scatters, you get a payout even if the combination doesn’t land on one of the paylines.
  • Multipliers: multipliers cause payouts to be multiplied by a certain amount. Sometimes multipliers can be attached to wild symbols, meaning that when that wild symbol is part of a winning combination, it also multiplies the payout.
5. Online slots features

Besides earning payouts during normal gameplay, there are also special features that can be triggered during the game.

  • Free spins: a number of spins which you don’t pay for, generally won when you get three or more scatters on the reels.
  • Pick Me bonus: a mini side game where you have to pick symbols to reveal prizes.
6. Gamble feature

Some slots allow you to gamble any winnings you’ve won in the main game, also known as the base game. This isn’t a special feature that can be triggered, but can be accessed whenever you win, if the slot offers this option. The most popular type of gamble feature is a card gamble, where you have to predict the colour of a face down playing card (red or black). If your guess is correct, you’ll double your payout and you can either gamble again or collect your prize. If your guess is wrong, you’ll lose all your winnings.

7. RTP rate

Online slots all come with a different Return to Player (RTP) rate. This refers to an estimate of what you can expect to get back from your bet over time. Theoretically, if you had to place one hundred bets of $1 each and the RTP rate is 96%, you can expect to get back about $96 in wins over time. However, keep in mind that the RTP rate is calculated over the long term so it doesn’t mean that if you bet a certain amount you are guaranteed to get back an exact amount. Generally, an RTP rate above 95% is considered a good return, with RTP rates above 97% considered very high.

8. Volatility

There are three types of volatility levels in slots: low, medium, and high volatility.

  • Low volatility: earn you frequent, but smaller wins.
  • Medium volatility: medium volatility slots offer medium-sized wins fairly often in the game.
  • High volatility: wins don’t come very often but when they do, they’re definitely on the larger side. When playing high volatility slots, you have to be prepared to spin the reels for some time before you hit the big wins.

If you’re still not totally sure about the way online slots work, you can always learn first-hand for yourself by playing slots for free without playing for real money. Playing a slot for fun gives you an accurate idea of how to play the game and the kind of prizes you can win before you play for real money. So, find your favourite slot and start spinning the reels!