Online Slots Rules: How to Play Online Slots

Don't know how to play slots? Read official online slots games rules. Learn best tactics and strategies to beat this superb game!

The age-old game of slots has some basic rules that everyone can understand in five seconds (or less), each game has its out unique payout structure, bonuses, minimum bets, number of paylines and return to player rates.

And while understanding these elements is not exactly a requirement if you just want to know how to play slots, it is if you want to improve your chances.

You need to understand the basic and unique rules of each game if you don’t want to make foolish bets or choose the wrong slot machine to play.

This is precisely why mindlessly hitting the 'spin' button of a slot machine is not how you play slots. It’s how you get a disappointingly empty wallet.

Why Play Slots

Before playing any game, you need to understand how to win. And slots make no exception.

  • When you play blackjack, you need to beat the dealer
  • When you play poker, you need to beat the other players
  • So...what about slots?

The basics of slot machines are as simple as this: you need to get a specific sequence of symbols on one (or more) of the game's active paylines.

Not all sequences and symbols are created equal and some are way harder to get then others. Obviously, the hardest-to-get ones are connected to the best payouts – those you find advertised at every corner of a casino.

Knowing how to play slots means that you recognize this and that you know that big slots win are the exception. Most of the times, you'll have to grind hard to put together a sequence of small and unexciting wins.

How to Select Betting Amount

A lot of players underestimate the importance of adjusting the default betting amount to a value that suits their budget.

Think about when you play slots. If you have £15 to invest on your games, should you really bet £1 every time you spin the reels?

The minimum bet accepted in a game changes from one slot machine to the other. The range start from a minimum of 0.10 / 0.20 to a maximum of a lot more. Some progressive slot machines let you bet up to 100 credits / spin but, again, the fact you can does not mean that you should bet so much.

How to bet on Slots

All slot games open showing a pre-set betting amount that is rarely the minimum bet. If you are not comfortable with the amount on the screen or you are just curious to know all the possible bets on your slot machine – change the bet amount.

Once you know how much you are going to bet, push the 'Spin' button and let the reels (and your luck) do some spinning. It will take only a few seconds for a new combination of symbols to appear on the screen.

But to understand if you won or not, you need to take a step back and examine the concept of paylines.

How Slot Paylines Work

Simply put, the paylines are the designated lines in the table of symbols where winning combinations will count.

Depending on the game, you can have several paylines selected. In most games, activating a payline costs you some credits.

Remember the last time you looked at the screen thinking the slot machine was rigged because you didn’t get paid for that winning combinations? It wasn't the machine – it was the paylines.

If you didn’t activate the one the combination landed on, there was nothing you could do to reverse the mistake.

How to Slot Paylines Work

Depending on the slot you play, the paylines begin left to right. Some games have them starting from right to left and some other have even diagonal paylines…but those are more 'advanced' games that we find unsuitable for beginners learning how to play slots.

An easy way to read the board and understand what paylines are featured is to is click on one and see the path that becomes 'active' on the screen. Do this, and you will understand why and how you are winning or losing on a slot machine.

Slot Payout Tables

Understanding the payout of a slot machine game is an important part of learning the basic rules of slots.

As a slot player, you should always keep in mind that when it comes to payout calculations there is no such thing as a general rule. The payout changes from one game to the other and you should always check out the payout structure of a slot game before you play.

Graphics and flashy themes aside, different games reward their players for various combinations that can range from hundreds of thousands to…pennies.

Because slot game rules are simple, your choice of game is the biggest strategic step you need if you want to improve your odds.

A key advantage that online slots players have over the ones wandering around brick-and-mortar casinos looking for 'the right slot' is much simpler. When you play online, the payout table of a game is always a click away and information are much easier and faster to find.

You'll also notice that every game has its own unique set of symbols that are valued differently and that can trigger different features. This is what we are going to touch next.

Bonus Symbols: What They Are and How Do They Work

Fruits and gems used to dominate the slot game industry and defined the genre of fruit slots. But, are they still the most recognizable symbols of all the most popular slot machines?

Out of all the symbols you find on slot machines, the bonus symbols are the ones you want to keep your eye out . In general, we could say that there are roughly four categories of bonus symbols, each connected to very different features.

Scatter Symbols

The scatter symbols are perhaps the most valuable slots symbols as they are the ones that trigger most bonus rounds and special features.

Scatter Symbols

While you usually need to have rows of symbols aligned on a payline from a certain direction, if you manage to get a scatter symbol (or set of them, depending on the game) you automatically trigger a bonus feature which could be anything from free spins to bonus rounds.

Wild Symbols

The 'joker card of slots', a wild symbol can be substituted for any other symbol except scatters and other special ones. This comes in handy if you have a payline with a row of three symbols, and the next one is a wild which will reward you with the next payout level!

Wild Symbols

Expanding Wilds

Not only do these symbols work in the same way as the wild symbol does, but when you get an expanding wild it ends across the entire column of the reel. What this does is allow you to win on more than one payline depending on your luck across different rows.

Expanding Wilds

Stacked Wilds

Similar to expanding wilds, stacked wild symbols come in bunches of 2, 3 or more and end up stacking on top of each other, improving your chances at hitting a combination across several paylines.

Stacked Wilds

Bonus Games: What They are and How do They Work?

Most new slot games feature bonus games. These are mini-levels that are included within the standard game. These games are triggered by certain combinations depending on the rules of the game and often have much higher returns on wins that the normal version.

Free Spins Bonus Rounds

If you are playing video slots and you manage to unlock a bonus-round, it is usually a free spins bonus-round. What this means is that you can enjoy this mini game and win bonus cash without making any real money bets.

Free Spins Bonus Rounds

Standard Bonus Rounds

Aside from the free spins bonus rounds, others are simply a minigame that may offer higher payouts for combinations or higher volumes of bonus symbols. Either way a bonus rounds is always good news!

Classic slots vs Video Slots

Progressive Jackpots: What Are They and How Do They Work?

On most online casinos, you will find that the featured slot games are divided into two categories, classic slots and video slots. While the answer may seem obvious (that video slots have video animations incorporated while classics don’t), there are a few more important differences.

Classic slots are usually played on three reels and most have a single payline. Video slot machines on the other hand can have as many as five reels and dozens of paylines.

Moreover, classic slots are usually missing bonus rounds and do not have any special features such as scatters or multipliers.

Hit Frequency (HF)

Hit frequency refers to how often a machine’s RNG gives out a winning combination. Usually expressed in a percentage of spins, and while games with higher hit frequencies pay you out more often they usually have lower winning amounts on their pay tables.

This is precisely why you also need to look at the return to player rate to get a complete overview of your odds of winning a slot machine or online slot game.

Return to Player Rate (RTP)

Return to Player Rate

Return to player rates (RTP) are also expressed in a percentage, but this percentage shows the average amount of money returned to players versus what was put in.

For example, the hit online progressive slot game Mega Moolah has an RTP of 88.12%. Out of all the money players have put into the game, 88.12% was returned.

Still hungry for more info? You can find out even more information on general online slots strategies here.

We have prepared some additional readings that help you hone your skills and get more chances to win at your favorite slot games.

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