When walking into a casino, you know you’re in for a surreal experience – the bells and whistles of slot machines, the racketeering noise when pulling the levers, the crowds’ murmurs, the jingling of quarters, the neon and strobe lights – there’s so much to keep you excited. And now, thanks to online slots, you can capture this entire fascinating experience on your mobile phones and computers.

Whether you’re a beginner looking to start your reel-spinning journey or a seasoned player seeking improvements in your game, you’re in the right place. Our guide discusses how to play online slots, the best online casinos, hot tips to win at slots, popular slot machine themes, and much more. Read on to improve your gaming skills and increase your winning chances.

How Do Online Slots Work?

Like many other casino games such as roulette or video poker, online slots are a game of chance dependent on random outcomes that cannot be predicted. The complete randomness and unpredictability of slot games guarantee all players have the same chance of winning. Also, this game type is usually created to give the casino an upper hand, known as the house advantage – an element that varies from slot to slot.

From old-school three-reel classics to more sophisticated video slots, software providers are constantly adding new features to improve their game dynamics and continue to excite American online slot players, who make up a massive 17% of gamblers in the United States. Now, you can find interesting themes, fascinating symbols, wilds and scatters, and many innovative elements in slot games.

Cash Bandits 2 online slots

To learn how slot machines work and how to win at slots, you should first understand some basic terms, functions, and features associated with this casino game. Here, we discuss some of them.

Slot symbols

When you launch a casino slot, the symbols are probably the first elements you’ll notice on the grid. The symbols form the basis of all slot games, appearing on the reels and rows to create winning combinations to earn players a payday. Often, they are designed to fit the theme of the slot. For instance, a Greek-themed slot will likely feature symbols like Thor, Odin, Mjolnir, and other related items.

Greek-themed slot

Video slots usually have low-value symbols and high-value symbols, which are the ones you want to land on slots with the highest RTP to get bigger rewards.

Wild symbols

Wild symbols online slots

Wild symbols are a popular feature in video slots, offering players a chance to increase their winnings significantly. These special symbols, which appear randomly on the reels, have the power to substitute any other symbols on the reels, subsequently completing paylines that otherwise wouldn’t result in a win. That said, wilds cannot replace scatters, free spins, and other bonus symbols. In some slots, they are the highest-paying symbols.

Scatter symbols

Scatter symbol online slots

Sometimes called a video slot game player’s best friend, scatter symbols are usually the highest paying. You don’t have to land them in any specific order on the payline to win; once they appear anywhere on the reels, you win, and mini-games, free spins, and other bonuses are opened. Scatters present a great opportunity to trigger a bonus on slot machines.

Reels, rows, and paylines

In online slots, the vertical lines of symbols are called reels, while the horizontal is known as rows. Meanwhile, a payline or bet line is a line on which certain symbols land and, when landing in a particular order, form combinations that result in a win. The lines can be horizontal, vertical, diagonal, or even zigzag. Your total winnings depend on the symbols and combinations you land. Common payline methods include fixed, 243 ways to win, win both ways, and megaways.

Coin value and paytable

Paytable online slots

Simply put, the coin value is the amount you’re willing to wager per spin in an online slot in terms of real money. For instance, you’re playing IGT’s Cleopatra which has 20 fixed paylines, and set your coin value to $0.01. Whenever you make a spin, it’ll cost you 0.01 (coin value) x 20 (paylines) = $0.20. Different slots have varying minimum and maximum coin value wagers per spin.

Paytable, usually found in the info tab in slots, shows all of the winning combinations and payouts when they land. It’ll also define the symbols in the game, specifying the Wilds and Scatter symbols and their functions.

Random number generator

The best online slots have a random number generator (RNG) program that determines the winning and losing combinations. The software is created in such a way that it produces an unpredictable and random outcome, ensuring fairness in gaming.


Multiplier online slots

As the name suggests, multipliers are a special feature of online slots that can multiply your winnings by a predetermined figure. Their primary purpose is to increase your payout – double, triple, or even by 1000x. They may be a common element in video slots, but it’s worth noting that not all games have them. Also, multipliers are more likely to be seen in bonus rounds and free spins than in the base play.

What is RTP?

The Return to Player (RTP) refers to the average amount of money that an online slot pays back to players over a long period. Represented as a payout percentage, it’s the direct opposite of the house edge – which refers to the mechanical advantage of a slot game. For instance, Play N’ Go’s Book of Dead has an RTP of 96.21%, indicating that the video slot machine will pay $96.01 for every $100 staked on average.

The following 5 online slots have some of the the highest RTP slot rates that give players high payouts when playing them long term.

Slot Game Developer RTP
1. Ugga Bugga  Playtech 99.07%
2. Mega Joker  NetEnt 99%
3. Blood Suckers  NetEnt 98%
4. Good Girl, Bad Girl  Betsoft 97.80%
5. White Rabbit  Big Time Gaming  97.72% 

What Slots Have the Best Odds?

Slot volatility shows how often a slot pays out and the typical size of the wins. In other words, it’s a measure of the likelihood of a slot landing a winning combination and its average payout. While low-volatility poker machines give small wins in quick succession, high-volatility pokies feature less frequent wins and large payouts.

How to Play Online Slots for Beginners

With the global casino online gambling market projected to grow at a rate of 13.70% between 2021 and 2028, there hasn’t been a better time to start playing casino slots. Beginners looking to start wagering at video slot machines can follow this step-by-step guide to start their gambling journey.

Step 1: Choose a reputable online casino

Select your preferred video slot machine from the best online casinos for real money, depending on your taste and needs. It’s advised to pick one with a variety of casino payment options like cryptos, credit cards, and debit cards. Navigate to the ‘slots’ section, choose your favorite game, and wait for it to launch. If you’re not prepared to put your cash on the line, you can go ahead to play free video slots – demo versions of games.

Step 2: Familiarize yourself with the game

Look closely at the symbols in the video slot, noting the high-paying and low-paying ones, along with the Wilds and Scatters. Also, make sure you confirm the minimum and maximum coin value.

Step 3: Study the paytable

Open the video slots’ paytable and study the winning combinations so you’ll know which symbols to land to earn a payout.

Step 4: Select a bet amount

Enter the amount of money you intend to wager and the number of paylines you would like to play. Click the ‘max bet’ button if you want to select all paylines at once.

Step 5: Spin the reels

Select ‘spin’ to spin the reels and wait for the outcome. If you win, the game displays your winnings and adds to your bankroll. Make sure you gamble responsibly not to wager more money than you intend.

What Are Bonus Rounds in Video Slots?

Bonus rounds are an innovative way to spice up your spinning experience in pokies and video slot machines, adding an extra layer of excitement to gambling. Available on many video slots, they are additional rounds of a game that can be unlocked to give players a chance to increase their winnings and enhance their overall betting experience.

Depending on the casino or video slot game, bonus rounds are triggered when a player lands a certain combination of symbols, usually wilds, scatters, and other specials. You can check an online slot’s paytable to determine whether they provide bonus games and how to activate them. Bonus rounds include free spins, mini-games, progressive jackpots, and more.

Common Slot Machine Game Variations

If you’ve browsed many slots, you’ll notice differences in some of these games. And this is because online casinos provide several games with variations. Here, we will mention the different types of slot machine games available.

3-reel slots: Often called classic slots, these are the easiest form of online slots, and they can easily be identified by their number of reels – usually three, five, or seven. If you’re seeking a traditional game experience in online casinos, the 3-reel slot is your best bet.

Video slots: These add an extra layer of multimedia for more thrill and excitement. Apart from the regular reels and buttons, the best video slots feature captivating sounds, animations, and thematic graphics. They are closely similar to fruit machines and arcade games.

Penny slots: These video slot machines can be played for as little as one cent per spin. Although their payouts are usually relatively small, penny slots present a good opportunity for fun and excitement in online casinos. If you’re a newcomer to this slot type, you can play free penny slots to test your skills and learn new strategies before switching to the real-money variant.

Progressive jackpot slots: Do you want to earn a massive payday? Progressive jackpot slots like Mega Moolah is the way to go. They are a category of poker machines known for their huge prizes, which keep increasing every time a player spins the reels. Jackpots can rise into millions of dollars, so it’s no surprise that they’re one of the most popular slot types at online casinos.

Our Top Tips on How to Play Slots Online

Although classic and video slots are a game of chance, there are certain strategies that’ll help improve your gambling experience and potentially increase your winnings at pokies. Consider these tips as you prepare to spin the reels of your favorite game.

1. Play demos

The best slots apps provide free play, allowing players to play their favorite slot games for free. Indeed, you cannot earn any real winnings with demo versions, but they’re a great way to refine your skills before switching to real money play. It’s always a good choice to test out the free-play version of slots before wagering for real money.

2. Set a budget

To prevent problem gambling, you should play responsibly; setting a budget is a proven way. Before you start wagering, note the maximum amount you intend to spend at the online casino and set your coin value so you have maximum fun while remaining within your spending limit. Many slot games allow a minimum of $0.01 per spin.

3. Study the paytable

Before you start playing, ensure you open the game’s paytable to know the high and low-paying symbols and their worth. Also, you can get information on the slot’s winning combinations. Some video slots even allow players to select the number of active paylines on each spin.

4. Use special features

When playing modern online video slots, it’s a good idea to take advantage of special features like Fast Play or Auto Play to speed up your game so that you can earn winnings faster. Also, use wild symbols, scatters, and bonus rounds to increase your potential payout.

5. Check for casino promotions

Online gambling sites usually offer the best casino bonuses and promotions to help users enhance their gameplay. Check your betting platform’s promotions, like welcome offers, referral bonuses, loyalty programs, free spins, and more, and explore them to gain extra funds for gambling. Some casinos offer bonuses based on your mode of online payment.; take advantage and earn money to spin the reels.

Slots are one of the most popular casino games worldwide, and you don’t have to look too hard to figure out why. They often feature fascinating graphics, exciting sounds, and colorful symbols to produce interesting slot machine themes.

These themes are often based on popular books, TV series, movies, Greek mythology, and more. With video slot games, the possibilities are endless. These are some of the most common and exciting slot machine themes:

  • Asgardian and Norse gods
  • Animals
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Oriental
  • Fruits
  • Adventure
  • Alien and space
  • Books

Comparing Real Money Vs. Free Play

Before going on to wager for real money, playing demo versions of the online slot is advised to understand the game better. You can refine your skills, learn new strategies, and increase your confidence levels before staking your cash. The table below shows the characteristics of both real money and free play slots.

Real Money Slots Free Play Slots
Earn real money for withdrawal into your bank account ✅ Understand symbols and game rules ✅
Participate in fun tournaments  ✅ Provides an opportunity to practice playing before switching to real money slots ✅
Access to several promos and bonuses ✅ Enjoy entertaining without the risk of losing money ✅
The competitive nature makes for some thrill and excitement ✅ Learn winning strategies ✅
Risk of losing your cash ❌ Limited selection of games ❌
You have to make an online payment with a debit card, credit card, or other means ❌ Cannot win real money ❌

Choosing an Online Slot Machine

Now you know how to play slots online, it’s time to start placing wagers, but if you are still wondering which slot machine to choose?…the idea is always to select a winning poker machine that pays out the most. Here are some tips to help you choose the right slot machine to edge the casino’s house advantage.

  1. Check online slots reviews to determine expert analysis on the game’s RTP, volatility, and RNG.
  2. Select slots with the highest Return to Player (RTP) payout percentage to increase your odds.
  3. Stay away from slot titles that hardly payout.
  4. Pick video slot machines with the smallest jackpots.
  5. Choose a slot based on one of your interests for maximum enjoyment.


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