Whether you are an avid casino player or you have just opened an account at a virtual casino, you may have several questions about playing slots. While being inspired by old-school slot machines, RNG-based virtual slots incorporate different elements that deserve special attention.
Even if you are simply playing a few spins for fun, it is worth learning about the specifics of virtual slots and how to play them the right way. Depending on your preferences, you may find some slots more attractive than others. Learning about paytables, potential return, and other slot features will help you to fully enjoy your spinning adventures online.
While slots are luck-based games, it is also worth knowing which ones will give you better chances for fruitful outcomes. Setting up the right bankroll will also play a major role in your online slot play. Even if you think you know everything about slots, we recommend checking the information we provide as you can always learn something new that will help you improve your virtual slot betting.
Things to Know When Playing Slots
At its core, playing a video or classic slot is not rocket science but there are some things that inexperienced players often miss checking before wagering their real money. Before you proceed to make your wagers, it is always a great idea to see the game’s payouts, RTP, special features, and symbols.
Knowing all elements that comprise a slot will help you determine whether this gaming option is the right one for you and your pre-set budget. Do not be fooled by the game's design as, in the long run, other factors are much more important.
Checking the Paylines of the Slot
Before you decide to play a game, you are advised to check the paytable of the slot and the paylines that will award payouts. Not all slots have the same way of awarding a payout, with different variations having a different number of paylines.
- Wins paying from left to right – a payline is a winning combination of identical symbols on adjacent reels that awards a payout when the same symbols land on the respective line. Some paylines pay exclusively for winnings from left to right. This means that the player will enjoy a payout only if the winning combination is formed from the very first reel on the left and continues to the next adjacent reels on the right.
- Wins paying both sides – there are some slots that award payouts for combinations formed on both sides. This means that the player will be paid for a winning line that starts either from the leftmost or the rightmost reel.
Paylines vs Wats to Win
While some slots have paylines that award payouts, others have numerous ways to win, with winning combinations being formed in a different manner.
Traditional 3-reel slots have a single payline in the middle of the slot, awarding a win whenever three identical symbols land on that line. With 5-reel slots, there are more lines that can grant a payout when three or more identical symbols are matched. Slots with multiple payline may have 20, 30, or even 50 different lines that pay out for different winning formations across the grid of the slot.
As gaming developers always look for different ways to present a more attractive gameplay, plenty of slots started offering 243 ways to win, 1024 ways to win, or even more. This means that instead of the typical horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines, these slots have numerous other winning patterns that can grant a win. Instead of granting payouts for combinations on a payline, however, slots with ways to win award payouts for simply matching identical symbols on adjacent reels.
Checking the Paytable of the Slot
As mentioned above, not all slots have the same number of paylines and offer the same way of landing a win. In addition to checking the lines that will ensure a winning combination, you should also take a look at the paytable of the slot.
The paytable will express the different types of symbols that are used in the game, their value, and the minimum number of identical symbols that will grant a payout. When you are playing 5-reel slots, typically, you will receive a payout for matching at least three identical symbols on a payline or adjacent reels. There are, however, slots that have higher-paying symbols that can award a win even for a combination of only two identical symbols.
When you are checking the paytable of a slot, you should pay attention to the way the payouts are expressed. Many slots will note that payouts express the bet per line win. This means that whenever you make a bet on a slot, it is evenly distributed on every payline of the game. Some slots will even allow you to choose the number of paylines to bet on. Whenever three or more identical symbols are matched on an active payline (the line you have placed a bet on), the payout you see on the paytable shows how many times your bet per line will be multiplied.
You can also come across paytables that express the payouts in the number of coins you can receive for a winning combination. No matter the way payouts are expressed on the paytable it is easy to determine your potential win by landing a winning pattern. Before you start playing the slot, you are advised to check the paytable to know which combinations will assure fruitful outcomes.
When you open the paytable of a slot, you will see all symbols that are incorporated in the game. Typically, the symbols of a slot are divided into low-range and high-paying icons. This means that certain combinations will offer smaller wins than others.
A common theme for many slot variations is to use playing card symbols for the low-value icons. Most often, these symbols range between 9 and Ace, with all of them offering similar payouts or the face cards (J, Q, K, and A) offering slightly higher payouts.
For the high-paying symbols, most slots use icons that are related to the theme of the game. Not only can high-paying icons bring you bigger wins but they can often award a payout even for a combination of only two identical symbols.
In addition to the regular paying symbols, many slots also incorporate special symbols like Scatters and Wilds. Such icons typically have specific functions that can help players stack up bigger wins.
These symbols usually have the function to replace other symbols in the game. This way, when a Wild lands on the reels, it can complete paylines that would not otherwise reward a payout. Some slots may feature different types of Wilds that can add to the function of the special symbol.
You may come across expanding Wilds that can cover entire reels and lead to more winning combinations. Another type of Wilds includes the sticky ones that can stay in their positions for several rounds of spins. This way, they can also help land multiple wins and enjoy more fruitful results.
These symbols are typically the icons that can trigger the special features of a slot. Usually, a certain number of Scatters must land on the reels of the slot to activate a bonus feature. One game can incorporate different types of Scatters that can trigger a specific feature.
As mentioned above, Scatters are typically symbols that can trigger the special features of a slot. Depending on the slot variation, there might be different bonus features that can be triggered randomly and bring the player better wins. Before you start playing a slot, you might want to check the types of special features you can trigger as you spin the reels.
One of the most common bonus features that can be triggered while playing slots is receiving free spins. This type of feature will allow you to play several rounds of spins without betting any of your money. The number of free spins might be set or it may depend on the number of Scatters that have triggered the feature.
Free spin rounds often may incorporate extra features like sticky or expanding Wilds, multipliers, or other special symbols. Some slots will allow you to retrigger the Free Spins feature by landing the Scatter a certain number of times. There are, however, slots that do not allow retriggering of this type of special feature.
Some slots also incorporate a pick-a-prize type of bonus feature which can award extra payouts or can boost the wins the player has already swept. Depending on the way the game was designed, this type of feature may look different. This being said, in most cases, players have several options to choose from and reveal hidden prizes.
No matter the type of bonus game that you can trigger while playing slots, you can anticipate fun ways to increase your funds and stack bigger wins.
Setting Up Bet Size
Once you have checked the paylines, symbols, bonus features, and payouts, you are ready to start playing. Before you get to the spinning part, however, you will need to choose your betting amount. Although this might seem like a simple step, many underestimate the importance of choosing the right amount of bet to fit their budget in the long run.
You will be able to make the most of your slot play in the long run when you set the right bet amount. When you have a predetermined budget, make sure that you can play with it for as long as possible. Choose slots that allow lower betting limits, enabling you to play more rounds and have a great time.
If you are on a small budget, there are certain slots you should avoid. While slots with progressive jackpots may sound tempting, they tend to require much higher bets. Needless to say, if you have determined to play with a smaller amount, you will not last as many spins as you would playing a simple slot game with a much more reasonable betting range.
Once you choose a bet size you are comfortable with, you can start your spinning adventures and fully enjoy your slot play.
Other Things to Consider Before Playing Slots
It is easy to play slots, especially once you learn to check the right kind of information before wagering your real money. As mentioned above, you can have a great gaming experience when you compare the paytable, symbols, and special features of slots and pick the right type of slot for you. This being said, there are a few other factors that may help you pick the best slot option and improve your chances for fruitful outcomes.
When combining the knowledge of symbols, bonus features, and payouts with the elements we will cover below, you will be able to elevate your gaming experience. This will allow you to have a great time playing and enjoy better opportunities for slot winnings.
Hit Frequency in Slots
Most commonly, hit frequency is expressed in percentages and indicates what percentage of spins may end up awarding a win. The most basic example for a hit frequency is a slot with 1,000,000 possible outcomes and 200,000 of them being winning spins. This indicated a 20% hit frequency for the respective slot.
One thing that many rookie players overlook is the percentage of line wins in a slot game. While some slots incorporate various special symbols like stacked Wilds and extra features that can award generous multipliers, often such games have a low percentage of line wins in the base game. This means that although such games offer great opportunities for grand payouts, they do not offer that many chances for smaller wins.
Meanwhile, some slots feature fewer bonus games and special gameplays but tend to offer line wins more frequently. Such slots with a higher hit frequency percentage are definitely better options for players who prefer to land wins more often rather than waiting for one big win as their budget might be exhausted before that.
One thing to keep in mind is that hit frequency is not related to the RTP of a game. Even if you know the hit frequency percentage of a slot, you will not know what its RTP will be. A rule of thumb is that slots with a high hit frequency do not offer such high payouts and those with a lower payout tend to compensate with a higher hit frequency.
Most commonly, you may come across low-paying slots that offer more small wins that have replaced a certain percentage of the more generous payouts at the same hit frequency. It is also possible that game manufacturers can tweak the hit frequency to a slightly smaller percentage that can hardly be felt by most players.
Hit frequency can be linked to the volatility of a slot. Simply said, if a slot has a lower hit frequency and allows bigger wins less frequently, it indicates high volatility. The hit frequency percentage of a slot can be a great indicator of the volatility of a game. If a slot tends to award smaller payouts more frequently, it can be classified as a low-volatility slot with high hit frequency. Meanwhile, when a slot offers bigger payouts less frequently, it is a high-volatility slot with a low hit frequency.
Frequency is yet another factor that may play a major role in your choice of a slot game. Depending on your budget, you may prefer low-volatility slots to high-volatility ones. Games with high volatility indicate a high risk level, which is why it is always preferable to set up your budget and play slots that are suitable to your gaming experience.
1When to Play Low-Volatility Slots?
Low-volatility slots are more suitable for players who have a limited budget for playing. As such slots offer more frequent smaller payouts, players have better chances to stack some wins rather than waiting for bigger payouts and end up exhausting their balance. Even if bigger wins may sound more attractive, players with smaller bankrolls may quickly run out of funds before they have enjoyed even a single small win. If you are not willing to take some risks or you cannot afford to play for a longer time, low-volatility slots are more suitable for you.
2When to Play High-Volatility Slots?
High-volatility slots are more suitable for players who enjoy the riskier play. Slot variations with high volatility indicate much bigger payouts, however, small wins are less frequent. This means that it may take quite some time until players enjoy a payout. The higher payouts, however, may be enough to compensate for long losing streaks. This being said, in most cases, players who can afford to bet for a longer period enjoy the benefits of high-volatility slots. If you feel comfortable with losing a certain amount of your funds just to wait for the big win, then high-volatility slots are perfect for you.
When you are playing a slot, the presence of a progressive jackpot may also change the way you play. While the rules of progressive slots are similar to the regular ones, the way you bet might change. Just like high-volatility slots, variations that offer progressive jackpots are more suitable for risk lovers.
Progressive slots often require making the maximum bet to qualify for the massive prize. This means that players who have smaller budgets might quickly lose their money without having the chance to fully enjoy the slot and the other features it offers. Although progressive jackpots may be generous enough to compensate for longer losing streaks, such outcomes are less frequent and so are smaller payouts.
If you are set on playing progressive slots, it will be best to keep in mind several things that will allow you to enjoy your gaming experience.
- Set your budget before you start playing progressive slots
- Always make the maximum bet as it will qualify you for the progressive jackpot
- Playing games with the highest jackpot prize pools will boost your chances of more fruitful outcomes
- Stick to the fixed budget you have set for your slot play