Rules and Strategy

How to Play Slot Machines: Rules of Engagement for Online Slot Players

Having read our guide to online slots machines, we further expand on the topic of how to play slot machines within the casinos. We’ll introduce you the rules and terms of the game and set you on a path of successful gameplay with your favorite slot machines.

Introducing players to the slot rules and how to play the machines the correct way to win more

You’re here to learn how to play slot machines and our guide will take you through the process of use for players unfamiliar or new to the gambling concept. Here we look at an array of items associated to the game, they include:

  • Pay Lines
  • Wild Symbols
  • Sticky and Expanding Wilds
  • Scatter Symbols
  • Multipliers
  • Free Spins
  • Bonus Games
  • Progressive Jackpots

We will discuss each one of these to explain what they mean and offer to those playing the slots online. We will also cover the gambling rules at slot machines because it’s not just about tapping the spin button repeatedly for a big win.

What is a Slot Machine?

The slot machine is a variety of reels which can be as low as 3 and can extend up to 12 in some case, maybe more. The reels contain a variety of symbols which pertain to a specific value and function. The slot machine is developed by a software provider and not the casino. The number of developers is vast and they can produce an average of one game a month, this is why the numbers inside the casino reach into the hundreds.

How to Play Slots

Slot machines are built with specific functions. Players will be faced with the grid of symbols upon the reel. Relative to the game, the play button is marked as Spin, you will have a function to alternate your wager values and select the number of paylines. The slot can also contain bonus features or jackpot rounds which extend the gameplay into new areas away from the base level gaming. Your action will circulate around the spin button for the majority of any game, but strategies can be incorporated into how you budget your bankroll.

An Example of Diverse Gaming

One software provider stands out over many others in their development and design when it comes to slot gameplay. Elk Studio includes player setting into their games where users can control how they play on a whole new level.

Betting Strategies can control your total betting value, the percentage of your balance, so if you wanted to, you can spend 1, 2, 5 or 10% of your bankroll.

There is the option of level betting or alternative betting, so if you wanted to stagger your wagers you could begin with a 0.20 bet, followed by 0.60 and then 1.00 for the third. The pattern continues for 5 rounds and then goes back to the beginning value.

There is the option to do booster bets where the wagers climb in order till it lands a win then restarts again. There are more, but you can begin to see that there are ways in which the system you’re playing on can be manipulated.

How to pick the right slot machine

For you to understand which the best slot machine is to play or how to find the right one to use, we first have to look at what they offer internally. Let’s head back to our list of features that play an integral part of a slot game and explain what their involvement is towards how the games are played.

Slot Machine Features

1. The Pay Lines: When slots first came into production, the opportunity of winning came about by landing a singular line of matching symbols which would have been reflective of a specific value. This is just one payline. Now, jumping forward 10 or 15 years, we now have paylines which can carry as many as 3245 ways of winning from a single spin.

2. Wild Symbols: The symbol helps to complete a winning line. They come in many forms and some games use them as an integral feature of a game. The Wild symbol appears through all levels of a game including any bonus rounds.

3. Sticky and Expanding Wilds: These are specialist wilds which the developer has decided to use as a gaming feature away from the base game moves. A sticky wild is a symbol that can remain in position for an indefinite about of reel rotations, great in building up wins especially if the larger valued ones appear in the spaces not containing sticky wilds.

Expanding wilds are just as they sound. These wild symbols are usually contained within one block on one reel. The expanding wilds increase in length and will cover all the row of that one reel. Some games also feature giant wild symbols which block larger areas of the reels and rows, some taking up over half of the grid.

4. Scatter Symbols: The scatter symbol is a feature function that leads players into bonus rounds. If the bonus is to be triggered, players often have to land 3 of these symbols. Recently, as games have become more expansive, the number of scatters can now dictate the level of benefits the player gets within the bonus round, equalling more money, free spins or multipliers.

5. Multipliers: These are bonus functions which multiple the base wager by amounts that can be as low as 2x the bet value and can exceed over 100x the amount first placed on the original spin. Multipliers can be found in bonus and jackpot rounds.

6. Free Spins: Bonus features that can be triggered during a base level game and can appear as re-spin rewards. These bonuses allow for players to get extra free spins out of games which can be as low as 3 and can be unlimited in numerous cases. Free Spins can work alongside multipliers in some bonus rounds, so for each free spin you win on, the multiplier will increase along the way.

7. Bonus Games: For some slot players this is the Holy Grail for entertainment and reward. The bonus game transports players into a new platform of play which can introduce a number of alternative games. Bonus rounds can include free spins and multipliers. It can contain ‘pick me’ rounds and wheels of fortune. Every possible reward can be contained within a bonus round and with it the opportunity to win bigger returns way from the base game.

8. Progressive Jackpots: No bigger prize exists in any online casino. This is the pinnacle of all prizes. The progressive feature is a linked system which combines all matching games, from all casinos, to create a pool prize jackpot which can either come as one huge lump sum or can be broken into three or four jackpots. The round can trigger automatically through any level or stage of the game and for many games linked to this dazzling feature, you can win multi-millions from low wagering bets.

If you want to play online slots, then find the games containing as many of these features and you’re guaranteed more chance of landing something special.

Slot Software Features

Slots are built through programmed layering and but knowing the inner working of these slot machines you can better make informed decisions of what games to play and which type of machine games to avoid in the casino.

There are two primary functions of a slot machine which will determine how you win, regardless of how you play.

RTP: Random Number Generator is programming which allows for the slot machine to disperse winning totally randomly. Seen by many players as a favored option because of its ‘honest’ output and fair service.

RTP: Return to Play is a programming which works purely on the percentage of money that is put into the machine by all players. This means, for example, if 10 players played this machine and 9 where wagering higher values, that one player betting lower amounts could still come out more favorably from the game. Seen as the least ‘fair’ program by players but is commonly used by the progressive jackpot slots.

Now that you know of the random number generator, your choice of what you play, is greatly cut-down to these slots, if this is your preferred approach.

What do lines mean on slot machines?

Knowing all these facets of a game will greatly better the selection of games you play, knowing how to choose a slot machine based on the facts of its features and programming will save you money and help you recoup wins on a greater scale.

Pay lines are integral to the function of a game just as much as any other feature. They are an indicator of just how much real money can be paid out from a game. To help explain, we look at the Megaways™ feature. If you want to play slots on a bigger scale, then this is the option for you.

What is the Megaways™ Slot

The Megaways™ slot was developed by Big Time Gaming and now has been picked up by the biggest and best developers in the industry wishing to make their original titles available through this grander scale of gameplay.

The Megaways™ feature is a slot game played on a larger level. All ways pay, which means no matter where the symbols are on the colossal grid, you can land a winning return.

The grid of the game expands to hold more reels and more rows, this equates to the use of more symbols and more paylines!

Paylines in this feature climbs into the thousands and with the newer titles released in recent months, the incorporation of cascading symbols means that if you win, those original symbols are replaced by new ones without a spin. Thusly, a build of consecutive wins can accumulate from just one spin.

How many lines should I play on a slot machine?

Playing slots with a higher number of paylines are better for your odds. But this is all relative to the types of games you like to play.

For some players, playing slot machines are about the ease of the win, they know which games pay out more regularly than others, be it in smaller values. Other players like the games which pay out larger, yet the occurrences are less frequent. How you like to win real money will determine which type of slots you play and they may have an average of 20 pay lines, they may only have 1 pay line. But if you want a better chance, then the more the merrier.

Glossary of Terms: A list of words and terms used within any online slot machine and their meaning

There are hundreds of terms which come from the slot game, so we have highlighted those which are more common and more important in paying attention to. Here is your glossary relating to online slot machines.

Basic Slot: A single pay line game with a fixed jackpot.

Bet Max: This is an auto button that will play one spin at its maximum value.

Buy a Bonus: Special slots allow you to bypass the base game and head into the bonus rounds.

Coin Value: The betting wager placed on a spin.

Credits: Often used in demo machines, this refers to the ‘Coin’ term.

Double Symbol: Games which allow wins on two matching symbols, rather than the standard three, which is the more common number to land a minor win line.

Line Bet: Alternative use for Pay Line.

Nudge Slot: A feature of the game that allows the player to pick a reel in order to move (nudge) the symbols down relative to the number of nudges they are granted.

Payout: The amount which is paid for a specific symbol and its combination.

Pay Table: Found in the game details. The pay table highlights all the features of the game, the bonuses and the values of each symbol.

Re-spins: The activation of additional free spins.

Slot Volatility: The measurement of risk associated with the game. Low / Medium / High.

Slot Machine Summary: Our conclusion of the most played game in the online casino and why you should play it

As you can see, there are more to slot machine rules than you may have first anticipated. If you’re looking to play online slots in the future or just after reading this guide, remember that their any many ways to play and many machines which can be influenced by how you play them. Not all online slot games are the same, different developers will try to create something new and exciting. Games from IGT will play differently than those by Bally, whose games, in turn, will be different from those by NetEnt and they will be nothing like Microgaming slots and so on and so on.

Enjoy the experience and best of luck playing, no matter how you choose to play the slots.


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Article written by Tom, our slots' specialist!
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