So, you’ve been hearing rumours that online slots are available in just about every theme, style and genre imaginable, there are 100’s of games to choose from, and that there is even the chance to crack a jackpot and become an instant millionaire.
But could all this possibly be true? Furthermore, how exactly do you go about playing these games online, and how do they work?
First and foremost, you’ll be pleased to hear that all of the above is indeed true. You can play at a top rated online casino like Vegas Palms for real money, and stand a chance to win a payout that could easily reach well over a million!
Read on to learn everything you need to know about getting started with online slots right now.
The Basic Rules
You probably already have a pretty good idea of how slots work. You place your bet, hit spin, and hope that you win. Right? Yes, that may be true, technically speaking, but there is a bit more to it.
First; the basis of the game is indeed to place a bet and spin the reels. The reels, for those unsure, are the vertical rows of symbols that spin, generally, from top to bottom. There can be 3 or 5 reels, depending on the game, and some slots may even have 6 reels or more.
The amount you bet can vary and could be as low as 0.01 coins per spin, which in turn can have an effect on the chances of winning, and the amount that will be won. The basic rule of thumb is the more you bet, the more you will be paid out. In some games the jackpot will not be available unless the maximum bet has been placed. Though, it is up to you how much you wish to bet, and how you want to play the game.
Winning is determined by the matches made on the paylines. After the bet has been decided, and “spin” option has been selected, the reels will be set into motion. After they come to a halt, any winning combination that has landed on active paylines will be highlighted, and payouts will be made according to the game’s paytable. That’s all there is to it.
How are winning combinations made, you’re wondering? By chance. Slots are a game of chance and all results online are governed by Random Number generators that ensure that each spin is completely unbiased by the one before it, or the one to follow.
Classic Versus Video Slots
Before we go any further, let’s quickly make a separation between video and classic slots. The main difference is that the video variety has the added spectacle of animated symbols, flashy effects and a great deal more in the visual department. They are essentially video games with slots mechanics. Video slots are also generally 5 reel games, and are bursting with extra bonus features to boost your wins. They also have far more paylines or make use of the Ways to Win format.
In contrast, Classic games tend to stick to 3 reels, and generally just 1 payline. We will learn more about paylines soon, don’t worry. So, choosing one over the other is also a matter of how complicated you like your games.
So, how do you know if you’re going to win or lose? Every game has its own set of symbols, which are the pictures that appear in the reels. Various matches of these symbols result in wins being achieved, and cash being paid out. If you want to know which symbol matches are more valuable than others, take a look at the paytable, which can be accessed from within the game.
Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s go into the specifics and talk more about paylines. A payline is a line on the reels in which a valid match can be made. They generally appear horizontally, although paylines with all sorts of weird and wonderful shapes are also possible. So, if symbols appear on a payline and are a match, a payout will be triggered.
You may have noticed that different games have different numbers of paylines, ranging from just a few, to some having 100 or more. How many paylines you want in your game is up to you, simply by choosing a game accordingly. The frequency of payouts is not guaranteed to be linked to paylines, so it is not accurate to say that the more paylines, the more you will win. Rather, it tends to be different for each game.
Fixed Versus Variable Paylines
Some slots have fixed paylines, while others have variable paylines. This means that for some games, the amount of lines you want to activate can be adjusted according to what you prefer, which adds an interesting layer of strategy and risk taking to the proceedings. The general idea is that the higher the bet, the more paylines activated, allowing for more wins. If the paylines are fixed, no adjustments of this kind are made, and it’s a case of bet, spin, win.
Now let’s get to the good stuff; bonus symbols. This is where slots get interesting, and inject a bit of random, money giving chaos into the mix. Newer games have many sorts of bonuses, so let’s take a closer look at each, and learn what they offer you, the player. Do keep in mind, though, that there is no standard for what bonus symbols look like in each game, and may appear as just about anything, depending on the theme of the game. The days of cherries and horseshoe symbols have evolved, after all.
Scatter symbols are unique in that they trigger a bonus, ranging from free spins to cash to a mini-game, but they do not need to line up on an active payline in order to be activated. They are called Scatters in that they tend to be scattered all over the reels, but still grant their bonus, even if not matched in a row.
Wild symbols are best referred to as the Jokers of slots. They can take the place of any other symbol in a matching sequence, and grant the relevant payout. They really are the friend of the player, and will help you win many a payout you would have otherwise missed. In most cases however, they cannot stand in for Scatters.
An Expanding Wild is much like the above, but it will occupy up to 5 full spots in the reels. This, of course, means that wins are possible in multiple different paylines, which in turn means massive payouts.
Stacked Wilds are able to even stack one on top of the other, granting bonus combination payouts. So, if a Wild appears above another Wild, this is a combination payout of two.
Many new slots have bonus mini-games, which are a big drawcard for that title. When activated by one of the above means, a new screen will generally open, introducing the player to a whole separate section of the game. How the mini-game works depends on the slot you are playing, but normally involves a choice between a few options such as a Pick’em round or tiered challenge, each holding a greater or lesser reward. Plus, these mini-games are presented in fun, interesting ways, which makes the experience all the more enjoyable.
Progressive Versus Fixed Jackpots
But hang on, you might be saying; what was this business about becoming an instant millionaire? We’re talking about progressive jackpot slots. These are the big win games that you’ve probably seen or heard about, that do indeed have jackpot amounts that can tick over into the millions. You can play these online right now, and take your own shot at raking in that mega-amount.
In a progressive game the jackpot is shared between all games of the type on a network, and continues to grow as players keep spinning the reels, and adding to the central prize pool. The jackpot will keep growing until it is eventually won. Payouts can be triggered by relevant symbols, or they may be completely at random. Often, progressive jackpot games have more than one jackpot and you could win 1 of 4 different-sized rewards.
Standard fixed jackpot slots do not have a progressive prize pool attached, and instead they will have a fixed payout of a set number of coins or a multiplier of your bet. It may not be in the hundreds of millions, or even tens of millions, but will be a respectable amount. The chances of winning a standard fixed jackpot are, of course, more than winning a progressive jackpot.
Extra Important Details
You now know everything you need in order to start playing slots online. But for those who are still curious about a few extra details, here are two terms to keep in mind that will give further information on any game.
There are two important terms, HF and RTP, that determine how likely you are to win. The first term is Hit Frequency. This determines how frequently the RNG, or Random Number Generator of the slot grants the player a winning combination. The second term is Return To Player. This indicates the percentage, on average, of money given back to the player, of all bets made. The higher the RTP the more likely you are to win, so keep an eye out for these in the upper 90 percentile.
Good luck, have fun, and we hope you hit a jackpot!