How to Play Slots
One glance at this page and you may be tempted to think that there is no way one can possibly go into so much detail on slots. Why write a guide on how to play online slots when all you have to do is open the game and press the spin button to get the reels going, right? We are confident that all our readers know the basics of operating a slot machine. However, in this text, we’re covering the matter of playing slots from a more in-depth perspective. Keep reading and you will access a thorough article on slot machines explained in such a manner that no aspect related to slots would remain unknown. We’ll start with the essential elements of slot machines such as paylines, bet size, or coins. Then, we’ll take a closer look at the special symbols, functions, and bonus features that can make the difference between a win and a huge win.
Getting Started with Slots
Online slots are, without doubt, the most popular choice among casino players. And while these games are fascinating for how easy it is to win money playing them, it’s just as easy to lose if you don’t know what you’re doing. If it’s your first time around and you’re on a mission to learn how to play slot machines, it’s better to start playing for free or watch a streamer to get a better grasp. After you’ve seen how an online slot looks and got the basics of what’s going on when you play, it’s time to get familiarized with the following basic elements.
What are Paylines?
The payline, also referred to as winning line or betting line, is the actual combination of symbols that result in a win when playing a slot. Classic slots usually offer just one payline, in the middle of the reels and that’s what makes them excellent for beginners. As slot machines evolved and more studios appeared, the number of paylines started to increase and diversify in shapes. If in a classic slot you won by getting three identical adjacent symbols on the middle line of the reels, video slots can come with up to 100 paylines in all possible shapes and orientations.
Even more than that, to deliver an even better experience for players, slot creators switch from paylines to “ways to win”. In other words, in a ways to win slot you won’t have to worry about the number of paylines. In a 243 ways to win slot, getting three matching adjacent symbols will always generate a win. This idea was taken to the next level by Big Time Gaming with online slots such as Dragon Born with 117,649 ways to win by extending the number of reels during certain events.
The bet size is the total bet amount you place for the reels to spin once. The bet size can be modified by either modifying the number of paylines, the bet value per payline, or both. Some online slots even offer bet levels from 1 to 10 to multiply the bet size and find the best amount to place per spin.
Online slots with fixed paylines that use ways to win or the megaways mechanic use a combination of coins and bet level to set up the total bet. So, instead of changing the number of paylines, you will choose Coin Value. This can start as low as $0,01 and go up to €2 in some cases. Interesting fact, slot machines with a coin value of $0,01 are also called penny slots . So, if you were wondering what all those “How to play penny slots” are all about, now you know.
What is the RTP Percentage?
Another thing you need to know when learning how to play slots is the RTP percentage. Short for Return to Player, the RTP represents the percentage out of all the bets going towards a slot machine that is returned to players as winnings. The RTP is calculated from millions of test spins and there are independent audit companies that vouch for a certain slot’s RTP.
Now that we’re up to date with the basics and you already have a pretty good idea on how to play slot machines properly, let’s check out the various types of symbols. You’ll notice that every slot machine has standard and special symbols. The special ones such as Wild, Scatter, or Bonus can dramatically increase your winnings. The detailed information for what you win with each special symbol in various slots is displayed in the paytable.
The Wild symbol is present in almost all video slots and it can substitute any other symbol on the reels to form a winning combination. In some situations, it can also double the win amount for the symbol it replaces in the winning combination.
Most slot players love the Scatter symbol because it is tightly linked with free spins. Three or more such symbols often activate the free spins round that usually comes with multipliers for massive wins! The amount you win for getting three or more Scatters in the base game isn’t significant.
This one is only available in slots that are equipped with a jackpot, such as Mega Fortune Jackpot from NetEnt. Three or more Bonus symbols will open a bonus game that can vary from picking certain objects, spinning a wheel, or many other actions. The goal is to take your pick so you get the largest possible jackpot.
What is the Autoplay Function?
So far you’ve got the slot machine lines explained together with the various symbols that may come upon the reels and how to choose your bet. You should also know that most slots come with an Autoplay function allowing you to choose a certain number of spins that will be automatically triggered with the bet size you choose.
What is the Freespins Feature?
We’ve touched on this in the paragraph detailing the Scatter symbol when we said that this symbol activates the free spins. A freespins feature is the game event in which the reels spin and you have increased chances of winning without having to pay for any of these spins. Take Gonzo’s Quest for example, three Scatter symbols activate 10 free spins that are played with the same bet size as the spin that triggered the event. No funds will be deducted from your balance during the 10 free spins and everything you win is credited to your account.
Special Slot Features
By now you can give a complete answer if anyone asked you “How do slot machines work?”. There’s just one more aspect we need to cover before you can consider yourself a guru when it comes to playing online slots – the special features.
Designed to increase your overall win amount, the Gamble feature allows you to double any win in the standard game. So, if you win $2 and the slot machine comes with a Gamble feature, you can turn that into $4. Just guess the color of the next card in the deck or flip a coin and predict if it’s going to be heads or tails.
As the name indicates, this feature is linked with the Wild symbol. Some online slots have special Wild symbols that will remain in place during a certain number of spins. Every Wild symbol maintains its position while the other reels spin to give you more winning chances.
Since the Wild symbol is such an important one, substituting other symbols for winning combinations, this special feature makes it expand when it lands on the reels. Expanding Wilds can either cover the entire reel or a certain number of adjacent symbols to boost your possibilities of winning.
When referring to cascading reels, we’re talking about a whole different game mechanic that some online slot machines offer. Whenever you get a winning combination, the symbols that generated the win disappear from the reels and other symbols cascade from above to take their place. This feature offers the possibility for multiple wins in one spin.
Both Ways Slots
We’ve mentioned when discussing about paylines that you need three matching and adjacent symbols to get a win. Well, for most slots this is only valid from the leftmost reel to the rightmost. However, Both Ways slots multiply your winning chances by making it possible to win from right to left as well.