Ultimate Guide To Online Slots

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Ultimate Guide To Online Slots

Slots tend to be the most well-liked games among online casino audiences. These virtual analogues to real-life gambling, like their mechanical precursors that once conquered the world of gambling, are now deemed to be the leading option for the majority of casino fans. In this online slots guide, we are going to cover all the vital aspects of the slots, touching on such topics as how online slots work, how to play slots online, where to play online slots, how to win at video slots, while also helping you to acquaint yourself with the world-famous online one-armed bandits.

What is a Slot?

Online Slot is a virtual version of the one-handed bandits, the casino game that beckons millions of players to the fray year in, year out. While playing slots, your aim is to get a certain number of matching symbols which will award you a corresponding amount of coins. The coins will then be exchanged for real money. There are also free online slots (aka demo versions of online slots) which allow you to play for virtual money and help you understand how to win at online slots.

Brief History of Online Slots

  • 1891 – New Yorkers Pitt and Sittman introduced the first mechanical slot machine. The slot borrowed the theme of poker: it had five reels, with fifty playing cards falling on them. It wasn’t designed to pay out winnings, so the winners had to content themselves with drinks and cigars given by the bars where the machine could be found.
  • Between 1891 and 1895 – Charles Fey created the Liberty Bell slot machine that had three reels and five symbols represented by spades, diamonds, hearts, horseshoes, and Liberty Bell. The slot boasted an automatic payout mechanism, and it was able to give the winners up to fifty cents. Now, the machine is gathering dust in the Nevada State Museum.
  • 1907 – Herbert Mills introduced the Operator Bell, a slot machine which pioneered the use of multiple reels. It has 3 rows and 3 reels, and it only gave out non-monetary prizes (cash prizes were not allowed at that time). However, some researchers suggest that in reality, the gum was not a prize; it was given to a player regardless of the game’s outcome. In fact, it actually played the role of the item purchased, while the winners received a monetary reward.
  • 1963 – Bally developed the first electromechanical machine, which was called Money Honey. The slot had three electromechanical reels and three rows, and it was capable of automatically paying out up to 500 coins.
  • 1976 marks the appearance of the first video slots machine. The Las-Vegas based company Fortune Coin Co developed a machine that used the 19-inch Sony Trinitron display. It didn’t take long for the video slot to rise to fame, with the first production units featuring in the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel.
  • 1994 – The first online software powered by Microgaming emerged.
  • 1994 – The first licensed online casino was opened. It was called ‘Gaming Club.’
  • 1996 – WMS Industries, Inc. released a video slot called ‘Reel ‘Em In.’ The hallmark that helped the game become worldwide popular was a “second screen” bonus round, which provided the players with additional winnings.
  • Since 1996, slots have been steadily developing, and they now offer you some enchanting features, along with breathtaking bonus rounds!

Key Aspects of Slots

Among all casino games, slots tend to be the most diverse game of chance, offering the players remarkable themes, a different number of reels/rows, intriguing bonus rounds, and many other things that are worth having a go at! Obviously, it is better to figure out all the necessary information about these features to get how to play slots online.

Reels and Rows

It goes without saying that Pitt and Sittman paved the way for the development of slots. However, we can bet even they could have hardly imagined that all these modern one-handed bandits would be so entertaining, and that people would ransack their brains about online slot machine strategy which would help them to understand how to win at online slots. Indeed, how complicated they can be at times! Reels and rows are the basic structure of any slot, while the number predetermines the fun online slots players can have. Unlike the first slot machine, which had only 3 reels, the up-to-date analogues boast numerous rows and reels. Sometimes online slots turn into something of an arcade game, with rows and reels spinning, or chaotically scattered, etc.

Slot With 5 Reels and 3 Rows

Slot with 5 reels and 3 rows

The most widespread and prominent slot machines feature 5 reels and 3 rows. But you can also come across games with additional reels and rows on the sides, at the top and bottom.


So, we’ve now reached the most interesting part of this online slots guide! The bit which helps understand how to win at slots.

While playing slots online, each combination of matching symbols you get on the grid is called a payline. Simply speaking, all your winnings are achieved due to paylines, which are depicted on the sides of a slot or in the paytable.

Number of Paylines

Number of paylines

There are online slots that enable you to select the number of paylines you want to play with. In this case, they are called Bet lines. By altering the number of bet lines, your bet either increases or decreases.

Unlike the first slot machines, which had only one payline, contemporary online one-handed bandits feature a literally unlimited number of ways to win. You can stumble upon slots with 10, 25, 243, and even over 1,000 lines to bet!

Some novice gamblers may think that the more paylines the slot has, the more chances they have to win the game. But this is actually very far from true! Let’s find out why.

Return to Player

Thanks to RTP, online slots are always profitable for the house; regardless of the number of paylines, reels, rows, or whatever.

The Return to Player Percentage is the ratio of the total amount of payouts to the betting amount within a specified period and within a certain casino network. In plain language, it’s the percentage of money the players are expected to get back.

In online slots, RTP usually ranges between 80 and 99 percent. The higher the percentage is, the more the money player gets back; while by contrast, the lower the percentage is, the larger the profit the casino receives. For example, if a slot has an RTP of 96%, a player is expected to get an average return of 96% of the deposited funds, and the casino will eke out a 4%.

RTP is one of the more fuzzy aspects of slot games, as there is no particular time frame during which it is expected to pay out to the house. The RTP of a certain online slot at a certain casino is linked with the same machines at other gambling venues, meaning that at one casino the Return to Player can exceed 100%, while at another casino, it can be lower than the fixed amount.

Loose and Tight Slots

With time, punters have come up with slang words pertaining to one-armed bandits. There are loose and tight slots, the meaning of which is as follows:

  • Loose slots are machines featuring an RTP of 97% and higher;
  • Tight slots are widely regarded as machines with an RTP of 90% and lower;

However, the terms “loose” and “tight” slots can be interpreted in another way. A lot of the more “maniacal” players regard “loose slot machines” as profitable ones, i.e. machines that constantly pay out winnings. They seek such slots and stick to them, playing only those games. Tight slots, in turn, are machines that don’t appear to be lucrative. This one of the main aspects on which the players base their online slot machine strategy.

Variance (Volatility)

Before selecting a slot game to play, you should find out what Variance (Volatility) means, as it determines your gambling experience and even chances to win.

Putting aside the dictionary definition (it’s too complicated and… mind-blowing!), Variance determines the frequency and the amount of the winnings. There are three types of Variance:

  • Low Variance. Slots with Low Variance are designed to provide the players with a long gaming process; small winnings occur fairly often, while big wins tend to be a long time coming.
  • Medium Variance creates a nice balance between Low and High Variances. Players who choose such slots will have a slightly higher chance of getting a big win, although small and average wins will still occur often.
  • High Variance. Players who choose High Variance slots will get big but infrequent wins. Slots with such volatility should be chosen by players seeking fast and huge wins, although the risk factor should also be taken into account.

Random Number Generator

In our online slot machine guide we should mention that the Random Number Generator (RNG) ensures that every spin you make has a random outcome; i.e., all slot symbols that appear on the grid are generated randomly. The

RNG acts as a security guard between a casino and a player, making sure to provide the latter with an absolutely fair gaming process.

How to Play Slots

Slot is a game based on pure luck, meaning there are no rules to follow if you want to become a successful player. However, it’s still necessary to know the main symbols, so you can get a basic understanding of how a slot works, and our online slots guide is here to help to get the general picture.

Scatters. Scatters activate bonus rounds. In most slots, they also act as the most valuable symbols in the game.

Wilds. Wilds substitute for all other symbols except Scatters in order to create a winning combination on a certain payline.

These are the symbols that can be found virtually in any slot game. In order to discover what is Wild or Scatter in the chosen slot, you need to go to the settings section.


Winnings in slots are represented by coins which are subsequently exchanged for money. In addition to the paylines, some online slots allow you to select the value for each coin, e.g. $0.01, $0.1, $1.

The Main Steps of the Gameplay

Even though the gameplay of slots is as simple as pie, it still deserves attention. Let’s dot the i’s and cross the t’s and try to explain how to play slots online:

  1. Explore the structure, symbols, and bonus rounds of the chosen slot.
  2. Place the bet you can actually afford (remember to take into account the variance of the chosen slot.)
  3. Don’t forget that the number of paylines influences the size of your bet.
  4. Spin the slot.


If you are tired of spinning a slot by constantly clicking your mouse, you can enable the Autoplay mode. This allows you to have a chosen number of spins, without requiring your direct participation.

Online Slot Bonuses & Features

Free Spins

When it comes to Free Spins, it’s the most widespread bonus (feature) round which provides the players with a predetermined number of free games. For some players, Free Spins are the reason to decide where to play online slotsThe Free Spins feature is generally triggered when you receive several Scatter symbols (usually three) on the grid; and can be retriggered, provided that additional Scatters land on the reels. Free Spins are always played at the rate relevant to your bet which led to this bonus.

In our online slots guide we would like to note that sometimes Free Spins are represented as a bonus given by the casino upon registration, first deposit, or on any other occasion. In this case, they don’t act as a feature, and they are subject to wagering requirements. It is necessary to take into account for those who want to know how to win at slots.

Gamble Feature

Many players who are looking for even more excitement choose the Gamble Feature. The outcome of this bonus game is fully based on luck, while the game itself allows you to double or even quadruple your win. There are two types of Gamble Feature:

  1. You have a deck of 4 cards of different colors and suits. Your objective is to guess the color of the card that will be drawn (the feature doubles your win in case of the correct conjecture).
  2. You have a deck of 4 cards of different colors and suits. Your objective is to guess the color and the suit of the card that will be drawn (the feature quadruples your win in case of the correct conjecture).

Generally, the feature can be played up to 5 times, meaning that in case of right conjectures, you can multiply your initial win by 32 times or 1024 times (note that the chance of guessing it right five times in a row is 1/32 and 1/1024 respectively), so relying only on this feature is not the best online slot machine strategy.


As the name suggests, Multipliers (aka Win Multipliers) are aimed at increasing your winnings. Some online slot games feature them in the base mode, while others can offer the game modifier during the bonus round.

Multipliers in regular mode

Multipliers in the Regular Mode

When being part of the base mode, multipliers that appear on the reels in a winning combination are rather lucrative; as the winnings you get with the help of wilds are significantly higher those without wilds. Wilds usually assume the role of multipliers in the regular mode; but you can also come across some spontaneous bonuses that multiply your ongoing spin or multiplied paylines, to name but two!

Multiplier During Free Spins

In their pursuit of more and more unique features to add to their games, many software developers have created slots with Multipliers in the Free Spins bonus rounds. Such online machines offer their players the chance either to choose the number of Free Spins with the corresponding Multiplier (e.g. 5 Free Spins with 8x Multipliers, 7 Free Spins with 5x Multipliers, 10 Free Spins with 3x Multipliers, etc.) or to select a scale where winnings are accumulated, and once a certain level is reached, the multiplier is increased by one.

Wild Features

Stacked Wilds

Stacked Wilds appear on top of each other, covering up to the whole reel.

Sticky Wilds

Sticky Wilds are usually part of a bonus round; and in particular, of Free Spins. Every Wild symbol that lands on the grid holds either until the second spin, or the end of the bonus game.

Expanding Wilds

Every single wild that lands on the grid expands and covers the whole reel, providing the players with a higher chance of getting a win. Expanding wilds appear in both the base and bonus modes.

Expanding Wild

Board Game Feature

In most cases, the Board Game feature offers you the chance to collect bet multipliers after every dice throw or wheel spin. The feature, for the most part, has some traps scattered throughout the game; and if you step on them, the bonus round ends.

Spontaneous Features

Spontaneous features represent a diverse range of events, all of which are triggered out of the blue. Some online slots provide their players with a chance to have one or several spins with a certain game modifier: such as Wilds, Multipliers, etc.

Random Jackpot

There are some online slots that feature random jackpots. As a rule, such jackpots are fairly small and don’t require any combination of symbols on the reels to be triggered (they are just launched spontaneously).

Random jackpot

Avalanche Feature (Cascading)

Avalanche feature (aka Cascading feature) is a unique game modifier that provides players with the chance to win several times in a row using only one spin. After every reel turnover, the symbols that took part in a winning combination disappear, and the new ones land on the grid, giving the player one more opportunity to receive a win. Some slots combine the Avalanche feature with multipliers, increasing every subsequent win several times over.

Online Slot Themes

Online Slot Themes

Every prospective gambler should have already noticed by now that you can find slot machines devoted to pretty much any theme that comes to the creator’s mind! It is almost impossible to classify all the slot themes. However, we can at least highlight a number of such themes here:

  • Action Slots
  • Asian Slots
  • Adventure Slots
  • Christmas Slots
  • Egyptian Slots
  • Easter Slots
  • Fruit Slots
  • Gem Slots
  • Gold Slots
  • Jungle Slots
  • Halloween Slots
  • Mafia Slots
  • Marvel Slots
  • Magic Slots
  • Mayan Slots
  • Mystery Slots
  • Sports Slots
  • Summer Slots
  • Wild West Slots
  • Vegas Slots

The world of online gambling offers an enormous diversity of online slot machines, so you are always able to pick something new to suit your needs.

Jackpot Slots: Progressive vs Fixed (Non-Progressive)

So far, the world of online gambling has seen the rise of both progressive jackpot slots and fixed jackpot slots. Both types are immensely popular with players; and we can’t deny there’s a reason for that! Jackpot slots provide the punters with a chance to win it fast and huge. Who could possibly refuse such an opportunity?

A progressive jackpot is a jackpot which increases every time the player places a bet. Progressive jackpot slots are based on the money players wager, meaning that a small amount of a bet is always added to the jackpot’s slot value. Once that one lucky person hits the jackpot, the slot resets, and then it seeds the jackpot’s value at a certain amount. Fixed jackpots slots, in turn, offer the players a fixed jackpot.

Mobile Slots

Online software developers are continually keeping up with technological advances, offering online slot machines that are compatible with mobile devices. However, you can still come across some slots that are unavailable on your smartphone or tablet. Based on the aforementioned, you’d better find out if the chosen slot can be played on mobile devices before you start spinning it.

How to Win on Slot Machines: Strategies and Hints

Whether you’re an experienced or a novice slot player, it must have struck you at least once in your life that there is a guide or strategy which answers a question of how to win at video slots. Indeed, the slots do look extremely rewarding sometimes, and all a punter wants to do is to prolong this feast of big wins. But is it actually possible? Is there a possibility of getting an advantage over slots?

The short answer is no. Slots are called games of chance for a purpose, as the outcome of every spin is fully based on your luck, or to be precise, on the RNG. Nevertheless, there are several tips which will help you play wisely.

Bet Wisely – Know When It’s Time to Stop

There is hardly any game of chance that consumes your time more than the slots. You can spend hours playing online one-handed bandits, hunting for huge wins or recouping losses. That’s how the slots work – they are so exciting that it’s almost impossible to stop playing! So, it’s essential to set the maximum amount of credits you can afford to lose and the amount of credits you expect to win. After reaching the limits, you should quit the game.

Get Your Bonuses

Online casinos offer players a vast variety of bonus options, making your gambling experience more fascinating; and sometimes even more lucrative to boot! Don’t forget to claim your welcome bonus, sign-up (no deposit) bonus, cashback, and other types of promotions. With the help of such online slot machine strategy, you’ll have a nice chance to understand how to win at slots or even get some additional winnings.

Where to Play Online Slots

Where to Play Online Slots

As practice shows, many novice players make a reckless choice of where to play online slots, in order to start playing as soon as possible. Such an approach to gambling may lead to disappointments and regrets, as there are numerous online casinos that aren’t simply suitable for you at all! In our online slot machine guide, we suggest you consider some aspects that you should take into account before starting playing any game of chance.

  • Accepting Players from Your Country

First, you need to be sure that the chosen casino accepts players from your country. If a site that does not allow players from your jurisdiction has enabled you to register and play their games, then be prepared for the fact that upon claiming a withdrawal, the casino may refuse to pay out your winnings. If you have any doubts regarding this issue, just contact the customer support of the chosen casino.

  • A Clean Record

If you fold a piece of paper forty-two times, it will reach the Moon. And if you place all online casinos on top of each other, the formed pillar will be peeping out beyond the confines of the Solar System. The true meaning of this metaphor, of course, is that the number of online gambling venues is really huge! And among this overwhelming variety of choices, there are some casinos you need to avoid, whatever it takes!

Some online gambling venues won’t flinch from taking advantage of you by seizing your winnings or offering fake games. Make sure that the gambling venue you intend to play at is fair and reliable.

  • Easy Withdrawals

Before starting the game, evaluate the financial strength of the chosen casino and make sure it can pay out your winnings. Read the terms and conditions (T&Cs) carefully and find out all the nuances in advance.

  • A Wide Range of Popular Games

Ensure that the online gambling venue you decided to play features a decent number of games. Otherwise, you’ll soon get bored.

  • Fast and Efficient Support Service.

Knowing where to play online slots, you are able to make a good assessment of the support service; remember that it is vital for operators to work quickly and efficiently around the clock. Meanwhile, the more contact options a casino offers, the more reputable it should be.


What is RTP?

Return to Player is a theoretical percentage of a total amount of bets wagered that are returned to players.

What is House Edge?  

House Edge is the expected amount of money a casino gets from players.

What are Loose Slots?

The meaning of loose slot machines is directly linked to RTP. Loose slot machines are those one-handed bandits that pay out more frequently than others (RTP > 97%).

What Does All Ways Win Mean?

All Ways Win slots are those machines that feature all possible paylines a slot can have.

What are Tight Slots?

Tight slot machines are those slots whose Return to Player is low (RTP < 90%).

What are Vintage Slots?

Vintage slots (or classic slots) are machines that have 3 reels.

What does Volatility Mean in Slots?

The term Volatility (or Variance) is used to describe the frequency and amount of payouts.

Who Pays Progressive Jackpots?

Progressive jackpot winnings are paid by the software providers; while for all other wins, the casinos are responsible.

What are Scatters?

Scatter is a slot symbol that launches a bonus round.

What are Wilds?

Wild is a slot symbol that in most cases serves as a substitute for all other symbols except Scatters.

How to Beat Slots?

Slot machines are based on pure luck, meaning there are no strategies or hints at how to beat them.

Is There a Time of the Day When Slots are More Lucrative?

Some gamblers think that if they play at night or in the early morning, they have a better chance of winning. But this is no more than a mere myth that does not answer the question of how to win at video slotsWinning combinations are hit evenly, regardless of the time of the day or phase of the moon.


Related Posts

Read more

Top 10 Incredible Gambling Facts

Gambling has always been an exciting entertainment as an evening at a casino can become groundbreaking for a player. The fates are decided here, that is why it is no wonder that the casino phenomenon kindles interest and overgrows with rumors. Today, we want to present to you the most exciting gambling facts about which […]

Read More

Who Is The Best at Poker: Women vs. Men

From the beginning, poker has been considered a male-dominated game. Different stats show that 80-90% of all poker players are men, and when it comes to live events, the situation is even more daunting (only 3-4% of attendants are female). Why is this so? Let’s figure out the reasons for the gender imbalance and determine […]

Read More

Why Is It Better to Play Slots Using Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a huge trend nowadays, and no matter what bankers say it’s a pretty convenient online payment method. You need neither a card nor a bank account. You don’t pay fees, and your transactions are unlimited and instant. Hell, you don’t need anything except a stable Internet connection. You can turn your computer into […]

Read More

How to Succeed in Gambling

This question is as old as gambling itself. Players have been pondering it since ancient times. Tons of books have been written, theories developed and practices tested. On top of having fun and enjoying the experience, players have always wanted to succeed as well! And this is quite natural, as everybody who is starting off […]

Read More