Whether you are playing at brick and mortar casino or an online gaming platform, slots are arguably one of the most popular casino game. The origins of this fan-favorite game can be traced way back to the late 1800s when the game was played using a manual vintage machine that was spun using a lever on the side. The introduction of internet gaming in the mid-90s also brought along the idea of playing slots online.
The internet opened more doors for slots, allowing more innovative ideas to be incorporated into the design and form of the online slots machines. Online slots currently command a larger following relative to the traditional slots machines found in brick and mortar casinos. One of the reasons why sots have remained so popular over the years is the very nature of the game that makes it very easy to understand. In comparison to other casino games such as poker, slots are way much easier to understand and play, even for beginners.
In this article, we will give you a comprehensive round-up of all that is entailed in playing online slots. We will also give you a breakdown of the game’s basic rules and how to select the best online slots to play at.
For you to join in the fun of playing online slots, it is important you get to understand the basic features you will find in an online slots machine. Generally, online slots are developed based on the same idea and features as the physical land-based slots machines. As such, you will find the gaming concept and features involved to be the same. Technically, however, the two function quite differently since one is a virtual machine while the other is a physical machine fed with actual coins.
Features of Online Slots
In this section, we have broken down the key features you will find in any online slots machine. You might notice some slight differences in the appearance of some of these features such as the playing symbols from one game to another. However, the general idea and rules of play tend to remain the same across all online slots machines, despite the differences in design.
- Online Slots Symbols
Slots symbols are one of the most integral features in any slots game. The symbols are the special characters that are displayed in on the game’s main screen, placed on the spinning reels. With classic slots machines, the common slots included the traditional golden bells, red cherries, and 7s. The advent of online slots has opened the doors for more ideas to be incorporated into the design of the slots symbols.
With modern online slots machines, there are endless possibilities on the designs of the slots symbols. You will find slots with symbols based on various inspirations, including blockbuster movies and superhero characters.
The online slots symbols have a very specific purpose as their frequency on the reels determine whether you win or lose in each spin. To further enhance the gaming experience, the game developers assign some symbols special ‘powers’ that set them apart from others. The most common of these special symbols with special powers are wild and scatter symbols.
Wild symbols on online slots games are a unique type of symbols that are normally used to boost your winning chances. Whenever you land a wild symbol or two in any spin, it helps you complete a winning payline by filling in the gaps you might be missing out on. For example, if you needed to have three golden cherry symbols to win, but instead you land two golden cherries and a wild symbol, this will still be considered as a winning payline.
The wild symbol is distinguishable from other regular symbols on the reels based on its unique design. The uniqueness and powers of a wild symbol will vary from one slot machine to the other, depending on the design of the game.
This is also another type of special slots symbol. Although closely related to wild symbols, scatter symbols, also simply referred to as scatters, are normally associated with triggering bonuses rather than completing paylines. Generally, when you land a pre-determined series of scatter symbols on a certain spin, you are rewarded with various types of bonuses, which could be anything from free spins to free coins and bonus games.
Since each online slots machine is designed to be unique from the other, it is imperative you take your time to study the symbols involved in the game and the powers attributed to each type of symbol.
- Online Slots Reels
Working closely with the online slots symbols are the online slots reels. Reels are the columns on which the symbols are set. Reels are an integral part in slots since they determine how the symbols land to form various paylines.
With traditional slots machines, these reels used to be actual spinning drums that contained the faces of the game’s symbols. With online slots, however, the reels are virtual and animated with graphics that make them resemble the manual spinning reels.
The number of reels you get on a game will vary, but the most common are 3 and five reels.
- Online Slots Paylines
If you are to be good at playing slots and winning money, this is the important feature you need to master. A payline is the pattern that the slots symbols have to form for you to win from each spin. With traditional vintage 3-reel slots machines, the payline were quite easy to master as all you need was to match three symbols across the middle row on the reels. With modern online slots, on the other hand, you will find the paylines can take any form or shape, usually zigzagging across the screen.
More reels allow for more payline patterns. As such, you will find slots machines with 5, 15, 20 or even more paylines. These means you have more room to form winning patterns with each spin. For beginners and even seasoned gamers, memorizing all these multiple paylines across online slots games is nearly impossible. You need not worry as every online slots machine will display the payline patterns in the ‘Help’ section.
The money aspect of playing online slots is made possible through the playing coins. With online slots, you will be issued with virtual coins that you can ‘feed’ into the machine to pay for each spin you are making. The denomination and number of coins you choose to determine how much of your real money you are betting with each spin.
The value of each playing coin will depend on the specific game you are playing. For instance, you could find a game where each playing coin is worth $1, while in another it is worth $0.5.
How to Play Online Slots
With a good grasp of the basic features in online slots machines, we can now explain how to go about playing your first slots game. The basic rules of playing slots have remained the same, despite the game having gone through tremendous changes and innovation over the year. All you have to do is hit the spin button or lever, then wait to have the symbols on the reels match to form a winning pattern, also known as a payline.
The frequency of appearance of the symbols and formation of patterns is determined by a Random Number Generator. Commonly referred to as RNG, this is a computer algorithm that is used by the game’s designers to give randomized results from each spin. If you are playing at a legit slots machine with a good RNG, then the results of each spin should be completely random and independent from each other. This essentially gives each player a fair and equal chance of winning.
The main factor when playing any slots machine is understanding the number and types of symbols you are working with, as well as the possible paylines available on the game. With most online slots machines, you can adjust the amount you bet in each spin by either choosing the coin size to use, the number of coins or the number of paylines you want to remain active in that spin. As a beginner, it is advisable you keep your stakes low when starting at a new game, to buy yourself more playing time for a better understanding of the game.
Types of Online Slots
When navigating the online slots world, you will get to discover how much this age-old casino game has evolved. Although the rules of play have largely remained the same, you will realize that one game can differ greatly from the other. In this section, we have broken down the main types of slots machines you will find when playing in online casinos.
- Classic Slots
This is the most basic type of slots you will find in online casinos. The classic slots are quite similar to the traditional mechanical slots in that they feature only three reels and a single payline. The symbols used here are also the traditional casino symbols such as golden bars, red cherries, and 7s. Usually, classic slots have a low betting range, with many allowing you to bet stakes as low as pennies.
- Multi-reel slots
The multi-reel online slots come in as a next-generation upgrade to classic slots. With this type of online slots, you will find the games have more advanced features with five or more reels. Also commonly referred to as video slots, these type of slots are designed based on various themes ranging from blockbuster movies to football leagues and TV series. As such, you will find symbols with all sorts of patterns and animations. It is also common to find multi-reel slots with extra features such as bonus games that are triggered within the game.
- Progressive Slots
This is a different type of slots that incorporates jackpots into the game. With progressive slots, you get a jackpot prize that grown based on all the players’ activities at the game. Every spin that involves a real money bet contributes to the overall jackpot prize money. With time, progressive jackpots can rise to a couple of millions. Learn more about slot jackpots here!
- Mobile Slots
This is a relatively newer type of online slots that is played through mobile phones. With mobile slots, you can find all the other types of slots including classic, video and progressive slots. The only difference is that these games have been optimized for playing through small screens on mobile phones and tablets.
Choosing an Online Slots [Tips]
As a beginner in the online slots world, choosing the right game to play at could turn out to be a daunting task, thanks to the thousands of games on offer online. To help you navigate through the myriad games on offer, you can put to thought a number of factors that will affect your success rate and overall experience at a particular slots game. Some of the factors to consider here include;
- Bonuses offered
As a new player, it is of paramount importance to consider if the game you go for or the casino that hosts that game has any bonuses or offers. Such bonuses could be anything from free-play money, free spins or even deposit match-up bonuses. We have explained more on the type of bonuses available in online casinos here. Such bonuses give you more playing time for spending less money. You should also check if the game you are interested in has in-play bonuses that can be triggered using certain symbols or paylines. In addition to longer playing time, the bonuses can also be a good way of you increasing your winning chances.
- Return to Player (RTP) rates
Slots Return to Player (RTP) rate is the average payback rate of the game. This is calculated as a percentage of the average number of wins players have had at that particular game over a certain extended period. In simple terms, the RTP lets you know how likely it is to win at that particular game. Seasoned gamers will tell you a good slot machine should have an RTP of no less than 92%. Also, you need to be warry of slots machines whose RTP rate is publicly published.
- Casino Software Used
This is one of the key factors to consider when choosing a slots machine. The online casino world is made possible by a group of casino software developers. Some of the most common brands you will hear of include Microgaming, Realtime Gaming, Playtech and Net Entertainment. The software provider determines everything about the game, ranging from the RTP to the types of symbols used. Often you will find some online casinos with proprietary slots machines that have been developed in-house, with equally good performance.
- Type of Online Slots
As mentioned earlier in this review, you will find various types of online slots games on offer. As a new player, it is advisable you take your time to sample the various type on offer before settling on one particular type of game.
- Players’ reviews
Lastly, you need to consider what other player are saying about a particular slots game. The reviews help you get a real picture of what it feels like playing at a certain online slots machine. Here at Divine Casinos, we have done a review on both seasoned and new online slots machines, to help you get a grasp of what each game entails.
Frequently Asked Questions
First, take advantage of the no deposit welcome bonuses, check out the competition between online casinos where free spins and bonuses are offered.
The odds of some online slot games are low. Slot games are played at a faster rate compared to other casino games such as table games and therefore your ban roll depletes very fast. However, make use of the welcome bonuses to increase your chance of winning and go for slot games with good player return rates.
There are various ways to win online slots. First, choose winning slots that have the highest payout, make higher bets, avoid playing banned slot games, make use of free spins, and determine the volatility of slots. With these tips in mind you can make a win in online slots.
There are hardly ways you can cheat on slots since they use RNG technology but you can get a hand over them by choosing an online casino that offers a no deposit bonus, make use of free spins, bonus rounds and multipliers.
Without a doubt, online slots are one of the most popular casino games. Online slots are easy to play, with minimal skills and strategy required. Nonetheless, a lot is to be considered if you are to develop into a good online slots player. Most important are reviews are done by professional and seasoned gamers, such as these online slots reviews done by our team of professional online casino gamers.