How to Play Slots

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Introduction to online slots

Online casino slot machines are the most popular of gambling games in both online casinos and traditional land-based casino venues. The basic structure of a slot game includes reels, rows and symbols laid out across them. Player places a bet, spins the reels and after they stop, player is left with a screen of symbol combinations and paylines, which determine and counts the winnings if there are any.

Online casino slot paylines

Online casinos provide slot games with traditional three-reel and modern five-reel versions or more. Up-to-date versions with multiple reels are a lot of fun since they provide more symbols and paylines. Traditionally in classic three-reel slot games there was only one payline in the center, but nowadays online casino slots ensure hundreds of winning paylines that comes in different shapes not only as straight lines, but also diagonal and zig-zag, horizontal and vertical winning lines with matching symbols.

You can still come across a lot of games that feature only on payline, or standard of 3, 5, 9 to 25 paylines, while nowadays online casino game developers focuses on creating multiple payline slot machines with 1024 winning combinations and even more. This is possible due to new slot game features, where every symbol can turn into scatter symbol and winning combination is counted even if it’s not in a meaning of line, just as long there are matching symbols together. First online casino game developer who came up with the feature was Microgaming, but now other providers have followed. Big Time Gaming announced random reel modifier system called MegaWays with their ultra-famous slot game Bonanza, that gained instant popularity across gambling community. Big Time Gaming doesn’t keep this under their hats – BGT is granting licences to other game providers to implement MegaWays system in slot games across industry.

Every slot is different with its winning ways, that’s why you should always look at the pay table provided in each game. You can always find it under some button in the main game screen, for example, button can be labeled “about game” or labeled as a question mark. Here you can see all descriptive information about your chosen online slot game – paylines, scatter symbols, wilds, bonus rounds, free spins etc.

If you haven’t played any slot game before, there can be a few terms that raises questions about the meaning and their utility in the game. In this online casino slots glossary you can come acquainted with the basic terms in the world of slots.


Action: Slot action means the total amount of bets or money spent by the gambler in a specific time period.


Bonus Feature: There are various bonus features in slot games, including free spins, wild cards or scatter pays and more. Bonuses appear as in-play bonus rounds and extend the game. Usually impressive wins in online casino slots happen while playing a bonus round.

Bonus Multiplier Slot Machines: Bonus multiplier means a larger jackpot offered when gamblers wager the maximum.


Cashback: a specific online casino bonus type, where players get the chance to receive a certain percentage back from money losses. It can be either real money or bonus money to continue play at the casino.

Coin Size: the amount of coins that can be wagered per line.


Fixed Jackpot: fixed amount of jackpot possible to win no matter how many players engage and how often they are playing the game. This is the contrary to progressive jackpot, which continues to grow until its won.

Fixed Value Slots: slot machines with fixed betting amount. This means the coin size cannot be changed.

Five liner: a slot machine with five paylines. Usually there are two diagonal and three horizontal lines.

Five-reel slot: slot machine with five reels. It’s a modern version slot game with more paylines than classic three-reel slot machines.

Free Spin: bonus feature on a slot machine that offers spins without betting players money. Can be a casino bonus or in-play bonus round.

Fruit Machine: historical slang name to slot machines, which refers to the first land-based casino machines with only fruit symbols on their reels.


Hit: another term for a winning spin.

Hit Frequency: a reference to how often a slot game offers a payout. If the number is lower, slot machine will payout more often. You should always keep in mind that slots are random and based on a pure luck, bet there are several strategies players try to increase their winnings.

High Volatility: High volatility game means a slot machine, that pays out less often, but when it does, it is usually a bigger win than on a low volatility slot machine. It can be both – non progressive game or progressive slot.

Hold Percentage: Hold percentage or Return to player (RTP) means an amount of money keeps or how much money you can expect to get back from a casino in a long run.


Jackpot: jackpot means the highest amount a slot machine can payout. It’s the biggest prize a player can get, while playing a certain slot game.


Linked Progressive Jackpot: a network of linked progressive slot machines with joint jackpot prize.

Low Volatility: low volatility online casino slot machine refers to how often a slot pays out – in a low volatility machines you can expect random wins more often, but high volatility game will pay out fewer times, but with possible bigger wins.


Multi-line: slot machine with more than one payline, which offers the opportunity for players to bet on multiple lines.

Multiplier: bonus feature in a slot game that multiplies the win from a bonus – it can be up to ten times.


One Armed Bandit: a slang used for slots. This name originates from classical land-based machines that are operated by pulling a long handle at the side with one hand.


Payback Percentage: also Hold percentage or Return to player (RTP). Payback percentage defines the amount of money a player can expect to receive back from a slot or other casino game in a longer period of time.

Payline: payline refers to a line in a slot game which connects matching symbols and by which the winning combination is determined. Majority of slots have multiple paylines, and they are activated only when there is a bet placed on a specific payline.

Payout: the amount of money received from a hit or winnings earned from a slot game.

Pay Table: each slot game has its specific pay table, which determines all winning combinations. You can find it in the main game screen, usually put under game rules or question mark button.

Progressive Slot Machines: slot machines with a jackpot that is growing from each game until it’s won. Usually there is a predetermined amount of money progressive jackpot resets to after the payout.


Reels: the reels of a slot machine are the rotating drums with the symbols on them. Player spins the reels, and after they stop, paylines counts the winning combinations from symbols across the reels. Usually you will come across three-reel, five-reel or seven-reel machines.

RNG or Random Number Generator: the random number generator is a computer program used in slots that generates the results of the symbols laid out on the screen after a spin.


Scatter symbol: scatter symbol is a certain symbol that activates winning combination no matter what other similar symbols are next to it. Often scatter symbols are used to trigger a bonus round.

Signature Slots: signature slots are unique casino slots with the main theme of a specific casino brand.

Second Screen Bonus: a screen that appears when the bonus round is triggered. Usually you can play additional parts of the slot game, for example, a wheel of fortune with free spins, multipliers and other possible bonuses to win.

Slot Tournament: a tournament where players compete for a special prize on specially programmed slot games. Usually, gamblers receive points during the game by which the winner is determined.

Symbols: symbols are one of the main parts of a slot game. Nowadays there can be endless variations of symbols in slot machines, since the software providers develop themed slots. The main aim of the slot game is to get matching symbols across the screen that are connected with paylines which determine the amount of winnings. Every symbol has a different value. Also there are additional symbols, like scatters or wilds that gives the opportunity to enter bonus rounds and other features.


Video Slots: slot machines without actual reels inside, but with a computer screen. The reels are powered by random number generator which determines the result of the spin.


Wager Management: a money management method used by gamblers to control their bankroll. Usually this means dividing gambling bankroll into smaller amounts and deciding forehand in how many game sessions to take part in.

Wild Symbol: a wild symbol is used with any symbols to create a winning combination. Usually there are certain rules tied with wild symbols, sometimes wild appear only on specific, pre-determined reels. You can always read the rules before starting to play.


Zig Zag: zig zag line means a payline that connects symbols in other ways than just a straight line across the screen. Zig zag lines refers to multi-line slots.

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