How to Play Slots

Leticia "Letty" Santos
Written byLeticia "Letty" SantosWriter

When slots first appeared on the marker they took the world by storm. When the first Liberty Bell slot hit the shops it became incredibly popular, even though the prizes were paid out in candy and other trinkets from the local store. But when slots were adopted by casinos they attracted a massive number of players each day. There’s just something luring and fun into playing a slot game, waiting for the big payout to land. Slots have come a long way from the first one armed bandits which dominated the casino floors. Today online casinos have a massive offer of video slots, which can easily match the number of games at the biggest land based casinos. So, how to play slot machines at a casino?

How to play slots?

The biggest reason why slots are so popular across casinos is because they are simple games. You can start playing slots right away even if you’ve never seen a slot machine before in your life. In general, the only options you have is to set your bet size and hit the spin button. The reels will begin to spin and symbols will land on the screen which may or may not form a win. That’s pretty much it. So, you can see why most players prefer to play slots, rather than learn all of the rules which table games, like Blackjack or Roulette, require. But, top online slots offer a few more options that you can use in order to make your gameplay more enjoyable.

Betting options

The betting options in most slots are pretty much the same. But depending on the software provider that produces the games one slot can have different betting options from another. Let’s see what they are:

Coin Denomination

The coin denomination serves to determine the size of the total bet. Each spin can come with a coin denomination of 0.01, 0.02, 0.05, 0.10, 0.50, 1 and more. So if the minimum bet is 0.20 per spin raising the coin denomination to 0.02, 0.05 will bring the total bet size to 0.40, 1 and so on. The higher the coin denomination is the higher the bet size is.

Number of Coins or Bet Level

The number of coins or bet level option basically says how many coins you want to bet per spin. Usually it starts from 1 and goes up to 10 or more. So if the minimum bet is 0.20 setting the coin number to 2, 3 or more will result in a bet of 0.40, 0.60 and so on.

Pay lines

The number of pay lines can be adjusted in a number of slots, which have a pay lines system in place. On some slots however the number of pay lines is fixed and can’t be altered in any way. The math here is simple. Play with all pay lines active in order to increase your chances in winning.

Auto Play option

The Auto Play option is godsend for long gaming sessions. Just click on the Auto Play button and a window will appear where you can set to play anywhere from 10 to 1,000 auto spins. This feature comes in handy when you want to keep an exact count on how many spins you put into a game.

Gamble Option

The gamble option in slots was first made popular by video poker machines. The concept is pretty much the same. When you hit the gamble button after a win you will need to guess the color of the next card in order to double your payout. This feature comes in handy for smaller payouts, which you can afford to risk losing, in order to get a bigger win.

Game play options

Pretty much all modern video slots also offer the player a number of game play options. These options have nothing to do with the bets and the payouts, they serve to deliver a game play according to the players’ preferences. Some of the most common game play options are:

Game Speed

The game speed option determines how fast the reels’ spin and how fast the payouts are calculated. Usually most slots come with 2 or 3 speeds, but some slots also have a turbo feature available. With this option activated it takes less than a second for a spin to land, so you can go through a massive number of spins in a short time.


The volume option allows the user to increase or decrease the game sound.

Sound on/off

The sound option allows you to play the game with or without sound. Most players prefer to play slots with the sound on, in order to enjoy in the full slots experience.

Visual Quality/Graphics

This option is usually available on modern slots, which have strong visual details. By using lower settings, you basically reduce the visual details, resulting in a smoother game play. This option comes in handy if you’re playing from a weaker phone or PC.

Pay table

Clicking on the pay table button will reveal the game symbols along with the payouts and the bonus features.

Help Screen

The help screen in the slot is similar to the pay table. The only difference is that here you can find information about the slot, like the RTP value, the variance and the bonus rules.

Slot symbols

When playing slots, you have surely noticed the large number of symbols that land on the reels. You have also surely noticed that some symbols have lower payouts than others, while some trigger a bonus round. This is because the game symbols are divided in several categories and each one has its own function and payouts. Let’s take a look at what they are.

Low payout symbols

Low payout symbols are just what it says they are. These symbols form the lowest payouts on the reels and at the same time they land most frequently on the screen. Usually in most slots the low payout symbols are the card symbols, ranging from 9 to A.

Medium payout symbols

The medium payout symbols are responsible for forming medium payouts on the reels. Depending on the slot theme they can come in many forms.

High payout symbols

The high payout symbols form the biggest payouts in the game, but unfortunately they land rarely on the reels. At the same time these are the symbols you want to see the most while you play the game.

Special symbols

The special symbols in the slot have extra functions attached and they are responsible for triggering the bonus features. The most common special symbols you can come across at online slots are:

Wild Symbol

The Wild symbol is also referred to as the Joker symbol by many players. This symbol will substitute for all other symbols in the slot, in most cases without the Special symbols. The Wild can contribute to forming more wins across the reels and bigger payouts. In many slots the Wild comes with extra functions attached, so it’s no wonder why you want to see as many Wilds on the screen as possible. In many slots landing 5 Wilds on a winning pay line is considered to be the top payout in the game.

Scatter Symbol

The Scatter symbol is a special symbol which is responsible for triggering the bonus round. In most slots you need to land 3 or more Scatters in order to trigger the feature, while landing another 3 or more awards a feature re-trigger. In some slots the Scatter has a hefty maximum payout attached, ranging in 500 times the total stake or even more.

Bonus Symbol

The Bonus symbol has a similar function as the Scatter symbol. But in most cases the Bonus symbol is responsible for triggering the cash pick and win feature, when more than one bonus round is available in the game. In some online slots, like Mega Fortune, the Bonus symbol triggers a mini game where you can win the jackpot.

Bonus features

The main reason why slots are so fun to play is the bonus features. The bonus rounds on many slots can produce massive payouts, so when a feature is triggered the adrenaline starts pumping. You always expect and hope that a big payout will land once you trigger the feature. When it does you can easily be overwhelmed by emotions, as you see the coins pouring on the screen. Here are some of the most popular bonus features you can come across at online slots.

Free spins bonus

The free spins bonus is the most common bonus feature found on most slots. Once the feature is triggered you are awarded with a number of free spins, which come at no cost. The free spins usually come with extra features attached, like a win multiplier, stacked symbols, rolling reels, etc, leading to bigger payouts.

Cash pick and win bonus

The cash pick and win bonus is usually the weaker feature in the game. This is an interactive bonus where the player clicks on certain items on the screen. They are revealed awarding cash prizes in return, which are summed up and added to your account.

Win multipliers

The win multiplier is a feature usually associated with the free spins bonus or the Wild symbol. If the free spins bonus has a x3 win multiplier attached it means that all payouts during the feature will be tripled in size. On the other hand, the Wild usually comes with a x2 multiplier attached, essentially doubling all payouts it contributes in. So, if a free spins bonus has a x3 multiplier attached, with a doubling Wild function, it means that all payouts during the bonus with a Wild symbol involved will have a x6 multiplier attached.

Sticky Wilds

The Sticky Wild feature is also common in many slots. With this feature active all Wilds which land during the free spins bonus will stay in position for the remainder of the feature. This way you can hit big payouts, thanks to the big number of Wilds on the screen. In some slots you can get 5 Wilds on a winning pay line, which is called a Wild Line, and in most cases this is the highest payout the slot can produce.

Wild Reels and Expanding Wild

The Wild Reels and Expanding Wild feature can produce massive payouts in many online slots. The Wild Reel is simply a reel full with Wilds, while the Expanding Wild feature will expand the Wild when it lands on a reel. On some games you have a chance to land 5 Wild reels, which again is the top payout the slot can produce.

Progressive jackpots

A Progressive Jackpot is a very attractive feature which is attached to a number of slots across the industry. Progressive jackpots are known to pay out millions of dollars in one lucky spin. The reason for this is that the top jackpot prize is pooled over an entire network of slots or casinos. This means that every bet made on the game at every casino which offers it, contributes to the top jackpot prize.

Strategies on how to play slots

As you already know slots are games of chance so it’s only up to lady luck whether you will win on a game or go bust. But every experienced player will tell you that there are some strategies you can use in order to increase your chances of winning on slots and eventually make a withdrawal at the casino. So let’s take a look at some best ways to play slots and win.

Pure luck

This is a strategy pretty much all newbie players use, based on pure luck. The trick here is to go with your gut. Browse the slots collection at the casino and see which game catches your eye. If you’re lucky enough the game can pay big and you can make a nice withdrawal.

Low variance, high RTP slots

This strategy involves doing some basic research in order to come up with a list of low variance, high RTP slots, with a decent pay table and bonus features. Why? Well low variance slots are known to produce frequent payouts that are smaller in size. So what’s the strategy here? Simple. Make a bigger deposit, claim a hefty bonus and play these games on higher bets of up to $5 per spin. This is the maximum allowed bet per spin at most casinos while playing with a bonus. If luck is on your side, you can play a big number of spins on these games and gradually increase your balance. Even if a game is not willing to pay you shouldn’t take a serious hit on your balance and you can make up for your losses on the next game. Eventually, you will clear the wager and have enough bankroll left for a nice withdrawal.

High variance slots

High-variance slots are known to be able to produce massive payouts. The only problem is that the payout may never come or it can come after 500 spins or more. So how to play slots with a high variance and win? Again you need to make a bigger deposit and claim a bonus. Consider the payouts you can get during base play and your total bankroll, making sure you have enough to cover about 500 spins. After that? Pray! If you manage to hit a good bonus round you can easily end up with a payout of several thousand times the total bet. After that immediately move on to low variance, high RTP slots with higher bets. This will allow you to clear the remaining wager, without losing a huge chunk of your balance.

As we mentioned earlier slots are games of chance, but it’s always a good idea to plan your gameplay and to try and predict how much you can win or lose on some game. By carefully planning your bankroll you can spread it out to try a bigger number of games and eventually hit a nice payout. If you manage to do that several times in a single session you are guaranteed to walk away with a hefty withdrawal.

Play free online slots

In order to learn what a certain slot is about it’s best to give it a try first in fun play. You can do this at all online casinos by creating an account and clicking on the demo or fun play mode. You will be able to try the games just like you would for real money, except for the fact that you won’t risk losing any real money of your own. You can do this at any of our recommended online casinos, just click on the link and create an account.

Play slots for real money

Once you’re confident enough you can move on and play slots for real money. The main question here is how to play slot machines with a real money deposit? Well, it’s quite simple. All you need to do is choose a casino from our site and click on the link. All of our casinos were tested in real play by our casino experts, so you can rest assured that they are reputable ones. Once you follow the link to the casino website you need to create an account by entering your personal details. Don’t worry, the casino will keep them safe and never abuse them. Afterwards you need to make a real money deposit and preferably claim a bonus. You can easily do this by clicking on the deposit button and choosing one of the many payment providers the casino has on offer. After the deposit is processed the funds will instantly appear on your casino account and you can start playing right away. You can choose from a big number of slots, divided in a number of categories. If luck is on your side, you can easily hit a nice payout and make your first withdrawal.

Play modes

Today online casinos offer several ways for you to access the casino and play the casino games. The play modes simply depend on what you are using to play at the casino, it being a mobile phone, a tablet, a personal computer, or a laptop. In that regard, you can play online slots in:

Instant play mode

Today most online casinos prefer to use instant play mode. The reason for this is that the player has easy access to the casino directly from his web browser. There’s no need to download any additional software, so in order to play the games all you need to do is visit the casino and create an account.

Download mode

Download mode was popular in the past, as it was the more stable platform. Even today some providers still use instant play mode, like Playtech and Realtime Gaming. With this mode you will need to download the casino software and install it on your computer. Afterwards, you only need to log into your account and you can play right away.

Mobile mode

The mobile casino platform is incredibly popular today, as many players prefer to play from their mobile devices. The casino games are designed with the HTML5 protocol, which allows a seamless game play and full compatibility with all mobile devices. This means that you can play from all mobile phones powered by Android or iOS, including tablets. A lot of casinos today also have their very own mobile casino apps, so you can easily download the app and take the casino with you on the go.


We hope that we were able to help you learn how to play slots online and to better understand the games. We know that the entire online gambling industry can be confusing at times, so we took the time to create guides like this one and help you get started. Now that you know how to play slots we recommend that you create an account at some of our recommended online casinos and put your skills to the test. Just remember, gambling is meant to be fun so keep a cool head and keep your expenses under control.

About the author
Leticia "Letty" Santos
Leticia "Letty" Santos

Letty Santos, a vibrant spirit from the heart of Manila, seamlessly merges her passion for Filipino culture with the exhilarating world of online casinos. Bringing a unique Filipino touch to every project, she's a gem in the casino localization realm.

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