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Slots / Slot Machines

how to play slots

How to Play Slots/Jackpot Slots

You might think that playing slots is as straightforward. Surely you just open a game, slap down a bet and hope for the best? At first glance, you’re right. However, there is more to slots than you might imagine. If you want to become a more seasoned slot player, there is plenty to learn.

Join Betting in India as we explore the ins and outs of betting on slots. If you’re new to online slots and want a crash course in gameplay, we’re here to help. Here is everything you need to know about playing slots and jackpot slots online.

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Classic vs Pub vs Video vs Mobile. What’s the Difference?

Not all slot machines are alike. In fact, we believe that you can break down slot games into four main types. Some may disagree, but we recommend that you get a good handle on these games. They include:

  • Classic Slots: Also known as fruit machines or one-armed bandits, they get their name because they are now “old”. Classic slots typically feature fruit symbols, lack a theme or features, and often feature just three reels. On those reels may be five, three lines or as few as a single payline.
  • Pub Fruities: While like classic slots and fruit machines, pub fruities are marginally different. They are designed to mimic the pub slots of the 80s and 90s. They often feature a trail-based bonus and come with nudge features.
  • Video Slots: Video slots are usually themed and form most slots you can find online. They are frequently played over five reels, come with special features woven in and offer a wealth of lines. They may be progressive or non-progressive.
  • Mobile Slots: Mobile slots can be any of the games defined above. However, they have been optimised to be mobile-friendly. This means that the wagering menus and buttons are designed to facilitate finger-and-thumb gameplay. It also means they are not resource hungry and are guaranteed to run on modern phones and tablets.
 

By and large, online casinos will carry most of the games listed above under one roof. They may be compartmentalised into different genres, but most will be there. New casino & betting sites offer all these versions.

Non-Progressive vs Progressive Jackpot Slots Explained

Video slots (although sometimes other games, too) may be non-progressive or progressive. This refers to the jackpot carried by the game and how it is formed and won. If you want to win millions of dollars playing slots, you need to know the difference, such as…

  • Non-Progressive Jackpot: A game with a fixed jackpot. It is always worth the same figure, a fixed figure based on the amount you wager. This prize is available all the time, and when one player wins it, another can also win it seconds later.
  • Progressive Jackpot: Progressives get their name because they are uncapped and rise in value with each new bet. They are networked, meaning that the same prize may appear at several casinos. Once one player wins it, the prize is gone forever. It drops back to its lowest base value before rising once more with new bets. Because they are uncapped, progressive jackpots can be worth millions of dollars.
 

How Do Online Slots Work?

An online slot is typically composed of three key ingredients – reels, paylines and symbols. Before we explain how they work, let us explain what each of them does.

  1. Reels: These contain the symbols. There are at least three, but maybe as many as six or so. They spin on each turn, ensuring a random selection of symbols appear each time they are spun.
  2. Paylines: Paylines are invisible lines that run across the reels. Symbols “land” on these lines. Symbols not on a payline won’t count towards a win. Sometimes, games do away with paylines in favour of Cluster Pays or MegaWays games. These don’t require payline combinations of symbols. Instead, you merely need to group together symbols (on adjacent reels) to win. Most video slots have between 15 and 243 lines or ways to win. However, some MegaWays games give you the equivalent of 100,000+ ways to win.
  3. Symbols: Slots usually have at least six or seven symbols, sometimes up to fifteen of them. Each has its own cash value. You need to line up identical ones across the paylines to win.
 

A slot first required you to place a bet using the buttons on the screen. You may be able to adjust the paylines, or they may be fixed. After betting, the reels spin, and RNGs (random number generators) ensure a random combo appears. You’ll typically need to land three identical symbols on a line (from left to right) to win. The more symbols a combo features, the bigger the prize. Check SlotPlanet (it’s all in the name) for many classic and modern videoslots.

Of course, some games also allow you to win from right to left. Other games merely require identical symbols to appear on adjacent reels (243 ways to win and more). You can see all information by clicking a slot’s paytable.

starburst slot machine

Starburst (NetEnt) is a well-known online slot machine

 

Special Slot Symbols Explained

While classic slots often have no special symbols, most video slots come with an abundance of them. Most video slots have at least wilds and scatters, but some come with additional goodies. These seldom pay out prizes (unlike standard symbols). However, they do serve other purposes. You can find out more about these below.

  • Wild Symbols: These substitute for all symbols save for other special icons. They work like a joker in a typical deck of cards, replacing themselves with what you need to win.
  • Scatter Symbols: Scatters get their name because, unlike standard paying icons, they count anywhere. Most offer prizes, but some even trigger bonus rounds when three or more appear.
  • Bonus Symbols: Bonus symbols only trigger special features. Unlike scatters, you will be required to land two or three on specific reels to activate said features.
  • Scatter Wilds: These take on the role of both scatters and wilds in one. Commonly found in “book slots”, they cut down the number of symbols appearing in a game.
  • Mystery Symbols: Mystery symbols can all take the shape of one symbol when they appear. This makes them different from wilds, which can take the shape of any symbol.
  • Jackpot Symbols: Jackpot symbols do as their name suggests. They can pay out the top prize if they cover a payline.
 

It is also worth noting that some symbols can appear stacked, overlaying, sticky or as expanding symbols. Stacked icons involve several symbols next to one another on the reels. Overlaying symbols can lie on top of one another. Sticky symbols remain in place for a short while (perhaps, several spins). Expanding symbols cover entire reels.

Slot Modifiers Boost Your Chances of Landing Wins

While spinning the reels of a slot, some special features or modifiers may come into play. These can alter a basic spin in several ways. Some slots offer a wealth of these, and some don’t. Here is a brief take on what the most common ones can provide.

  • Multipliers: These boost what you can win by either a fixed or random figure.
  • Collapsing/Tumbling/Cascading Reels: It may go by several names, but this feature can see winning symbols removed from the reels. New ones drop down to replace those, giving you several chances to win in succession with the same stake.
  • Rolling Reels: Developed by Microgaming, these work much like cascading reels. However, they also give you a multiplier when you chain together successive wins/cascades.
  • Blocker/Expanding Reels: Sometimes, there may be “junk” symbols, known as “blockers,” on the reels. You can destroy these by winning, and once removed; they can unlock new rows of symbols. These are known as expanding reels.
  • Cloning/Synched Reels: Some video slots feature cloned symbols or reels. When they appear, they will copy themselves to another reel. Similarly, synched reels will see a series of reels sync up and display the same symbols.
  • Colossal Symbols/Reels: Finally, mega, giant, or colossal symbols can appear. These can see giant symbols at least 2×2 in size appear. Sometimes, they can reach sizes of 4×4. The bigger they are, the more likely you are to land a win.
 

How Do Slot Bonus Rounds Work?

Slots also come with bonus rounds. These usually take place on a second screen, away from the base game. They are typically triggered either at random, via scatters or bonus symbols. Again, each slot will have its own goodies, but below, you’ll find some examples of common bonus rounds.

  • Free Spin Bonus: This bonus gives you several spins for free, with the chance to win real money. In some slots, you can “retrigger” the round or add more free spins to your counter. When you run out of gratis spins, you’ll return to the base game. Some free spin bonuses may be come with added features, such as multipliers.
  • Re-Spin Bonus: Similar to free spins, re-spins give you a handful of free games, often with a special feature. They may be triggered in the base game and don’t always involve a second screen bonus.
  • Click and Win Bonus: A simple bonus round that involves choosing from several items or symbols on the screen to win an instant slot cash prize. Progressive jackpots may be won in this way.
  • Instant Win Feature: Another simple feature, this one allows you to perform a specific task to win a cash prize or free spins. The instant win round will often be thematic, with its action based on the game’s theme. For instance, a penalty shoot-out in a football slot, or a shoot-out in a Wild West game.
  • Trail Bonus: Here, you’ll move around a trail (like a board game), pocketing prizes until you run out of moves. These are commonly found in pub fruit machines.
  • Wheel of Fortune: Give a wheel of fortune a spin to pocket a cash prize or free spins. In some cases, progressive jackpots can be won via these features.
 

A Word on Buying Bonuses

Modern slots may give you the option of “buying” a bonus. While popular, this isn’t always worth it. In some games, you’re buying the bonus round outright, and in others, you’re merely buying a “chance” to trigger it. Buying bonuses will always prove costly, even if the potential to land winnings makes them appealing.

Some providers deliberately cut down on in-game features to charge you extra for this mode. Like insurance in blackjack or side-bets in other games, we don’t really recommend buy-a-bonus options in slots.

How to Land Jackpot Prizes in Progressive Slots

Progressive jackpot cash prizes can be won in several ways. Some jackpot slots require you to land jackpot icons on a specific payline. This is tough, and it is easier if you can land them on any payline. Progressive jackpot prizes may be awarded randomly at some games. While in other games, you can win them via bonus rounds – such as wheels of fortune.

In some slots, you may find multiple jackpot prizes available. Some will only be available to players who wager specific stakes. Others are more flexible and open to everybody, irrespective of their bet’s value. These rules change from slot to slot, so it is worth exploring your options.

mega moolah jackpot slot

Mega Moolah is the most popular jackpot slot



 

RTP and Variance/Volatility Explained

It is well worth learning about variance/volatility and RTP. This is where slots become that bit less random than you think they are. By understanding RTP and volatility, you can ensure that you play a slot that is suited to your needs. Here’s what you need to know and why learning about them is important before betting online:

  • RTP: House edge is the amount of each bet the casino keeps. RTP is the amount it puts back for everyone to win (over all time). The higher the RTP rate, the fairer and better the slot is. We wouldn’t play anything with an RTP of less than the industry standard 95%. Most slots offer 96% RTP rates. Some even go as high as 98%, which is terrific.
  • Volatility/Variance: Volatility is also known as variance or risk. Highly volatile games don’t pay out often. However, this is countered by the fact that they do pay out considerable sums when they cough up the goods. Low variance games pay regularly. But this is often by the fact that the wins are often small. Players on small budgets are well-suited to playing low variance games, as they can build up their balance slowly. Players with stacks of cash may prefer highly volatile games. They have a balance well-suited to sustain losing streaks until they get that next big win. Of course, some games are medium variance on the volatility scale.
 

It is up to you to decide which game you choose to play in terms of RTP and variance. However, recommend you stick to what we’ve said above, to begin with.

Before you start spinning (and hopefully winning), be sure to check out this brief FAQ guide for more information.

FAQs – Your Questions About Online Slots Answered

Do I have to wager the maximum stake to win a progressive jackpot?

Not always. In some jackpot slots, this will be the criteria required for a big win. In other games, this just isn’t the case. Some players have won mega-jackpots with stakes costing ₹ 20.

What is a nudge?

A nudge is a feature commonly found in fruit machines, specifically pub fruities. It allows you to hold one or more reels and nudge the symbols down on the other. This is ideal if you’re a symbol away from landing a win.

What are classic slots?

Essentially, any game that features fruit and three reels can be called a classic slot. They are games that are considerably more primitive than modern slots. They have a lot in common with the original Liberty Bell.

Are online slots rigged?

They shouldn’t be. Online slots are run by RNGs (random number generators). These guarantee a random set of symbols on each spin. Casinos can adjust RTP, and while dropping it below 95% isn’t cheating, it is frowned at.

Can I cheat an online slot?

No. Online slots use RNGs, as mentioned. It is impossible for you to predict what will pop up on the next spin. Even the online casinos shouldn’t know what symbols are going to roll up next.

Why should I bother to play free slot machines online?

Playing free slots gives you a chance to learn about the game before you wager real money on it. This is advantageous, as it allows you to practice different wagers and strategies and to learn about the features. We strongly recommend playing any slot machine as a free demo before you decide to bet money on it.

David Leary

All articles and reviews on BettinginIndia.online are written by David. Living and working in Bangalore for almost 12 years now and in love with this country! I am originally from the UK. I am playing casino games for over 15 years. At first i was mainly playing slots and later also got in to sports betting, mainly football and formula 1. My favourite slots are Raging Rhino (WMS) and Book of Dead (Play'n GO). Roulette and Blackjack are my favourite table games. Occasionally i like to play Jackpot Slots. Many posts have already been written by me on various betting and casino websites at home and abroad. I am a real football fan, watching a lot of Premier League and La Liga matches.View Author posts