Slots machines are the most popular casino games in the world, weather you are playing them online or offline. They usually generate anywhere between 60 to 80% of a gambling establishment’s revenue, and while the basic idea is the same, the games have had some major developments and enhancements over the years. It’s hard to believe they were once considered side attractions, used to entertain the wives and girlfriends of the men sitting at the serious game tables in 1960s Las Vegas.
As Slots games have developed, different types and different features have evolved. Within different categories, you’ll find simpler and more complex games too, so there is always plenty to meet you at whatever level you feel like playing at. The simplest online Slots game that you’ll find today is a Classic Slot, which is based on the original machines and usually features only 3 reels, simple vintage icons and minimal special features. By contrast, Video Slots feature detailed themes with graphics, audio, special features and bonus rounds that all tie back to the main idea. While all online and most offline Slots are technically Video Slots, which display animated reels rather than spinning physical ones, the name is reserved for the games with animations and intricate detail.
Slots are an absolute essential for any casino session, and are so popular that many online casino bonuses are specifically built around them. You’re sure to love them and incorporate them into your online adventures, so it’s a good idea to get to know a little about them now. We’ve put together a guide to help you do just that, starting with the simplest features that apply to both Classic and Video Slots, and then moving onto the special extras.
The positions on each reel that must be occupied by a specific symbol in order to trigger a win are called paylines. For example, if a specified symbol is in the middle position on all 3 reels of a game, it will usually award a prize.
Paytables detail how much you’ll get for each winning combination when it lines up along an activated payline. They’re usually featured on the main game screen of Classic Slots, though you’ll need to check for them on another screen in the case of Video Slots.
As you might have guessed, coins are the units that you can use to bet on a Slots game. You can usually bet between 1 and 10 on each payline that you wish to activate for the spin, and the coins are generally available in a range of sizes. Depending on the game, this can create a very wide betting range, meaning there are Slots games for every budget.
Both Classic and Video Slots can feature a Progressive Jackpot, which is independent of the normal game. You play as usual, but the Jackpot may be triggered at any time. This huge payout is created by taking a portion of every single bet on the Progressive network and putting them in a central pot. When it’s won, the Jackpot is reset to a minimum amount.
Progressive Jackpots are seen in land-based casinos too, and may link a group of Slots machines together in a single casino, a collection of casinos or even an entire state. As you can imagine, however, online Progressive networks are much bigger and their Jackpots are too. They can be triggered at random, or when specific symbol patterns appear. Once they’ve been activated, you might be given the Jackpot immediately or might have to complete some tasks in a side game before you get it.
Online Slots games often feature an Expert or Advanced mode, allowing you to change settings like spinning speed and coin size. You can usually also activate the AutoPlay feature here, which keeps the reels turning independently when you’re very busy and need to take care of other things while you spin to win.
The most common special feature in Video Slots, and usually the only one you’ll see in a Classic Slots game, are Wilds. They can stand in for any other regular reel icon and help to complete a winning payline. Special variations include Expanding Wilds and Stacked Wilds that stretch across the entire reel to create even more payout possibilities, and Sticky Wilds that stay in the same position as the reels spin, while the other positions are taken up by new symbols.
Scatter and Bonus Symbols
Scatter Symbols get their name from the fact that they can occur anywhere on the reels; rather than needing to be in a certain position on an activated payline, they can be scattered anywhere on the screen. As long as a set minimal amount is seen, usually 3 but sometimes 2, a Bonus Round of Free Spins or simply a reward will be triggered.
Bonus Symbols also trigger Bonus Games, but in this case they need to line up on a payline. The Bonus games can involve skills or be as simple as pointing and clicking on objects to reveal cash prizes. Many Free Spins and other Bonus Rounds will also apply random, set or growing Multipliers to whatever you win, increasing your takings even more.