Most online casinos today focus heavily on their online slots. In, fact you would probably struggle to find an online casino that did not offer slots to their players. This is because they are by far the most popular game at any casino with millions of players putting their money into them all over the world. Slots are relatively easy to get the hang of, but for the purpose of this guide, we will talk you through the three different kinds of slots you can play. These are video slots, classic slots and progressive jackpot slots.
Still, first things first. You are probably wondering where online slots came from, so let’s first talk about the history of slots.
A brief history of slot machines
Slot machines have a very long and interesting journey and they have taken many different shapes and names since their inception, which was all the way back in the 1800s. The very first name for them was bell machines, which then evolved into fruit machines and one-arm bandits and are now known today as pokies and video slots. Even though the names have changed over the years, there is one common thing that has remained and that is they are the most popular form of gambling.
The very first slot machine, which dates back to 1891, was based on a game of poker and the poker combinations determined the payout. There were fifty symbols that were each divided into five drums and the reels would spin when a player placed a coin in the machine and pulled the lever. Charley Fey went on to make the first modern-day slot machine, which consisted of 3 reels and 20 symbols, which was named Liberty Bell. They soon became extremely popular and grew massively through the 1930s, 1940s, to the present day.
Now, slots make up around 30% of an average casino’s profits. As popular as they were in land-based casinos, they are even more popular in the world of online gambling. Online slots took the industry by storm over a decade ago and the gambling world has never looked back. In the 1990s slot machines took a computerized route and online software developers quickly started to develop a massive range of slots that became available to players worldwide in hundreds of different online sites. Anyone and everyone who could legally access them could with the right technology.
To date there are literally thousands of online casinos sites where you can now access and play slots, many of which offer staggering payouts and progressive jackpots, giving you the chance to become an instant millionaire!
A video slot can generally be defined as a slot which has five or more reels. Slots which have less than five reels are often referred to as classic slots, which we will talk about later in this guide. While each online casino will categorize their slots differently, this is the general consensus. A video slot basically consists of a number of reels with numerous different symbols which, when match up, will award a win. In fact, video slots now are far more complex with many different features all developed to help you win more. Even though they are generally easy to play, we will break down all of the features you should expect to see when you start playing online video slots.
The object of any video slot is to match up the symbols in a sequence to win you the most money. However, to get you started with video slots, the best advice we can offer is to always know the rules of the game by checking the slot’s paytable. Each and every slot you play will have its own paytable and you should check these prior to placing any bets on the slot in question. The paytable holds some key information that you need to know. It will inform you of how much certain symbols are worth, so you will be able to see exactly what you will receive for each and every win. It will also show you which symbols are your wild symbols, which ones trigger your bonus rounds and your rounds of Free Spins and what these games consist of, but more on those later. A paytable will detail any rules of the game and will usually show you where each and every payline is on the slot. You can analyse this information and decide whether or not you want to play that slot or move on to another one. Every gambler is different and each will have their own requirements for the games they want to play.
Most online slots will have a set number of paylines. While there are some software developers that create slots without any paylines, the majority of slots you will see will have these paylines, which can range anything from five paylines all the way up to one hundred paylines. Some software providers also develop slots with 243 ways to win right up to 1024 ways to win and more. Most slots will allow you to choose how many paylines you want to play with. Still, you should bear in mind that this facility is not available with slots that offer 243 ways to win or more. The number of paylines on a slot can be seen at the side of the reels or within the paytable. In order to gain maximum profit from your games, it is recommended that you play with all paylines active. Naturally, this is down to your personal preference. You will be able to place a line bet, which is the amount of money you place on each line of the online slot. The minimum amount you will usually be allowed to place is 0.01 credits per line and the maximum amount can vary drastically, from one software vendor to another, as could the minimum amount.
So, let’s say you were playing a slot with 20 paylines and you wanted to place a minimum bet per line of 0.01 credits. This would mean you would be placing a total bet per spin of 0.20 credits. Alternatively, you could place a bet per line of 1.00 credits resulting in a total bet per spin on 20.00 credits. Again, how much you bet comes down to personal preference. The more you bet, the more you win for the winning symbols. If you are a beginner, you may want to start placing minimum bets and work your way up if you feel comfortable in doing so. You can also place a coin bet by clicking the amount you want to bet; this is in addition to the line bet. However, you do not have to increase the amount of coins you bet per spin. This option is there to appeal to both low and high rollers to use as and when you wish. You can bet just one coin, a set number of coins or you can even hit the ‘Bet Max’ button. When you press this ‘Bet Max’ button in most cases this will automatically spin the reels based on a bet max bet. Pressing this button by mistake could take a lot of money from your bankroll.
When it comes to graphics and sound animations, video slots really do set a very high standard and are definitely a step up from your traditional classic slots. Some software developers are creating some extremely innovative video slots and even 3D slots. Graphics and sound really come into their element when you manage to trigger a bonus round or Free Spins. Both of these are features which can be found in your standard video slot. Some slots will offer both of these features, whereas others may only offer one. Some slots may offer multiple different bonus games, as well as a Free Spins feature. Most video slots will offer some kind of Free Spins feature, although there are certainly lots that do not, as well. Free Spins are usually triggered by landing three or more scatter symbols on your reels. Usually, you can land three scatter symbols anywhere on your reels to trigger the Free Spins; they do not have to land on a winning payline, hence the name - scatter.
However, each slot is different, so make sure you know exactly how many scatters you need and where they need to land before playing the slot. However, it is not only the scatter symbol that can trigger Free Spins, so again, checking the paytable will ensure you know how you can win those Free Spins. Free Spins are exactly how they sound, you are awarded with a certain number of spins that are free and the winnings will be added to your balance. These really can vary massively from game to game, but you can expect to look forward to multipliers, re-triggers, expanding wilds, extra spins and much, much more.
Next is the bonus rounds. Just the same as the Free Spins, every game is different and each bonus round is different from the next. However, a bonus round is basically as it sounds, you get to play a bonus game to win extra cash! Bonus games can be a bit of fun but can bring in some serious winnings. Again, how this is triggered will depend on the individual symbols which you will need to check beforehand. Some video slots will have a randomly triggered feature, which means that at any point during your game the feature will be triggered without having to land any symbols on the reel.
There is one other symbol that you are almost guaranteed to come across in every slot you play and that is a wild symbol. Wild symbols act as a substitute for any other symbol, which usually doesn’t include scatter symbols. This wild will create a winning combination when next to two or more matching symbols. Some wilds can also come with extra multipliers. Finally, we will quickly mention the Autoplay button. This button is usually available on most slots and it allows you to be able to adjust the settings, so the game will automatically spin for a set number of times. This is great for players who are busy and just want to run their games in the background.
It is important to note that every video slot is different. In this guide we have explained to you the kind of symbols and features you can generally find in most slots you play. How they are displayed will differ, but nevertheless, they all pretty much mean the same thing. We also need to reiterate how important it is to read the paytable before you play, because without knowing how a machine works can make for a frustrating and expensive first time. You can also use the paytable to compare the different payouts between slots to choose which ones you want to play. All slots are a game of chance and very little slots require any strategy at all. The more you play them, the more you will understand how they work and you will soon start to build up your favourites. Still, always remember that you should never gamble money that you cannot afford to lose.
Classic slots, also known to players as traditional slots, were around long before video slots and this is how slots have evolved over the years. Classic slots usually have three reels and more often than not only have one payline. However, some classic slots can have up to five paylines. Their symbols usually consist of the classic fruits, bars and sevens, and unlike video slots, you should not expect to see such features as bonus rounds and Free Spins. The traditional fruit machines that you used to see in arcades and land-based casinos often featured a ‘nudge’ feature. Some online classic slots have incorporated this feature, but very few.
The way in which classic slots work is exactly the same as your video slots. You need matching sequences on your reels to make a win, the difference being there are less reels and far fewer paylines, as we mentioned. Don’t be mistaken; classic slots can still produce some massive wins. Still, these wins will definitely not be as frequent as the wins you would get on a video slot. The paytable is often displayed at the side of the reels with classic slots and they are a lot more basic than the ones you would find on a video slot.
Modern technology is fast replacing these classic slots, but most online casinos will have a selection of these slots for players to choose from.
Most software providers have developed some form of progressive slots, which means most online casinos will have at least one you can play. In terms of how the slot actually looks, they are usually pretty much exactly the same as a video slot. Basically, progressive slots are video slots in which you can win a progressive jackpot. A progressive jackpot works like this: the more players who put money into the game, the higher the jackpot climbs, until it is usually won by one lucky player. In most cases a player can even win a progressive jackpot by placing a very minimal bet, which has been achieved many times. There are some slots that offer a progressive jackpot and, as we mentioned, they are just your average video slot. However, there are also progressive slots that require you to place a much higher minimum bet. These kinds of progressive slots could require a minimum bet in the region of $5+ per spin. Some progressive slots are often networked, which means that each casino contributes towards the jackpot.
Each progressive slot is different and, in order to win on some, you may be required to match the top paying symbols on your reels. However, there are other progressive slots like the Age of the Gods slots which have become very popular that are randomly dropped at any time. Some progressive slots even require you to play a bonus game in which you could strike it lucky and hit the jackpot!
In conclusion to this guide, online slot machines of any kind are the most popular games in the gambling world and they offer great diversity and fun to players all over the world.