Understanding Microgaming's Slot Categories

Understanding Microgaming's Slot Categories

March 24, 2011.

Microgaming, the world's largest online casino software provider, has a wide selection of stellar slot machines. The company has broken their games down into various categories, but they don't really explain what these slot categories mean. With slots filling 18 pages and growing, it's good to know what you're looking for. Let's take a look at the various types of slot games offered by Microgaming casinos.

3Reel Slots

The most basic kind of Microgaming slot machine are those listed under the category of “3Reel Slots”. Conventionally, three-reel slots are the one-payline machines that were most common decades ago. The most common symbols on these three-reel slots are bars, sevens, and fruits, and bonus rounds and wild symbols aren't typically found.

However, Microgaming's three-reel slots often have a fresh, modern twist. In fact, there isn't a single slot under the 3Reel Slots category without some kind of spin. Sonic Boom, while it only has one payline, offers players a wild symbol with a cumulative multiplier of 2x. Other three-reel slots, like Spell Bound, offer players multiple paylines, making them more similar to video slots.

Video Slots

Currently the most popular casino game both online and in the real world, a “Video Slot” machine from Microgaming has the same principles as any other. In almost all cases, a video slot has five reels and three rows of symbols. These symbols can be arranged into paylines based on the game's rules, with anywhere from 9 to 50 or more. By spinning, a player makes a separate bet for each payline.

The big draw with video slots is usually some kind of feature. These are triggered by getting a certain combination of symbols, whether they be special scatters or a specific set of normal symbols. In Kathmandu, for instance, getting three bell symbols results in getting 15 free spins at up to a 5x multiplier.

Other Microgaming video slots, such as Good To Go, have a respin feature, where getting a certain combination of scatter symbols results in those reels being held in place as the others spin. Good To Go respins three times, and will reset the respin counter and freeze another reel if another scatter symbol comes up. These respin video slots have a virtually unlimited win possibility. The potential for a big feature win in addition to the possibility of a sizable line win is what makes Microgaming's video slots so popular.

Bonus Slots

Slots that are categorized by Microgaming as “Bonus Slots” play almost exactly the same as the ones listed as “Video Slots”. The only difference is in the type of feature or features offered. In a standard video slot game, the features are exclusively either free spins or respins. In a bonus slot, there is at least one kind of feature that is unique, and more or less a kind of game all of its own.

Big Kahuna Snakes & Ladders, for instance, has a miniature board game round similar to the children's game of Chutes and Ladders. With five rolls of the dice, the object is to get as far up the board as possible, with the maximum win being 100x the linebet. Fun games like these make Microgaming's bonus slots a refreshing change of pace.

Advanced Slots
Microgaming really sets the standard for online slot excellence with their “Advanced Slots”. There aren't really any specific criteria to define these. Some of the advanced slots, like Hot Ink, are special for their insanely numerous ways to win (Hot Ink having 1024). Others, like Queen of Hearts, feature stacked wild-scatter symbols to greatly increase the chance of getting a big win. Microgaming's advanced slots are in the same league as the newest land-based slots from major game manufacturers, and offer online players the ability to play such high-end games from the comfort of their own homes.


The last category of Microgaming slot machines is by far the most different and important to understand. AWP stands for “amusement with prizes,” and differs from any other slot machine by how the payout is determined. With any other type of slot on the Microgaming platform, a random number generator determines which symbols appear on the reels. The outcomes are completely random, and previous outcomes do not affect future outcomes. The return-to-player emerges naturally.

With an AWP, however, the casino's cut is predetermined over a particular cycle. This means that the game is programmed to have specific hot and cold streaks in a given span of time. For instance, a game might be programmed to pay out 95% over the course of 2,000 spins. While a select few players are able to detect when an AWP is hot, many prefer not to play them since it is impossible to come out ahead without knowing the ins and outs of the machine.