If you’ve ever been on a casino site, you probably know what a slot game is. For newbies to the world of online gaming though, the slots landscape can be pretty daunting. If you know nothing about symbols, game mechanics or wagering requirements, trying to jump straight into playing might be a little overwhelming.
Don’t worry though, as RTP have got you covered! We’ve made this handy guide with all the information you need to have the best slots experience possible. So, without further ado, let’s have a look at just how a slot works.
A Brief History
For anyone who wasn’t around before the internet age, slot games have been around for decades, just not in the form you might be familiar with. Originally, people played these games on physical contraptions known as fruit machines. These were far more basic in design and scope than their virtual decedents, with the vast majority featuring no more than three reels and one payline.
There were no flashy graphics, special features or bonus rounds. The closest mechanics that came close were the ‘Nudge’ and ‘Hold’ buttons which allowed you to manipulate the reels to a degree.
Nowadays, online machines can be split into two categories; ‘Classic’ and ‘Video’ slots. The former is very sparse in terms of gameplay and features, closely following their physical predecessors. Because of this, they only have three reels and feature standardised fruit machine symbols.
Video Slots, on the other hand, are much more varied and feature an increased number of paylines, usually 243. They also boast more bonuses and things like progressive jackpots. If you’re looking for all the bells and whistles, this is the type to go for. However, if you fancy a more streamlined, old school experience, then classics slots might be more up your street.
Reels, Symbols and Paylines; Oh My!
Symbols are the single most important thing when it comes to slots, since without them, you wouldn’t be able to win any money. They can look like literally anything depending on what the game is about; a pirate-themed slot might feature ships, parrots and cannons for example. They will all relate to the game’s focus in some way.
Symbols also have a value attached to them and are usually split into high-value symbols, which will appear as unique designs, or low-value ones which typically take the form of the playing cards 9, 10, J, Q, K and A. You can get special symbols too such as scatters, which trigger the bonus features, and wilds, which will substitute for other symbols to potentially form new winning combinations.
Slots are played on what is known as reels, and the number of these can differ depending on the game you are playing. The number of reels in a game affects how many symbols will appear on the screen and can also influence the number of paylines as well, though this isn’t always the case.
Paylines are the combinations of symbols in a game that will result in a win.
The amount of paylines is different for each slot, so too the symbol combinations you must land to trigger them. Developers have done some pretty interesting things with this slot mechanic over the years, even going as far as allowing the player to pick how many they have at the start of the game. As always, it comes to personal preference when deciding the type of payline slot you want to play.
When it comes to slots, one thing can have more of an impact on the gameplay than anything else; bonuses. There is an endless number of features to be found across the hundreds of slots available. However, there are a few which have essentially become staples of the genre and are included in basically every game.
Without a doubt, the most common bonus is the free spin round. This bonus does exactly what it says on the tin; you will receive an allocation of spins when you meet certain criteria, such as landing three of a specific symbol for example. In some slots, you will be able to re-trigger this round, potentially leading to an unlimited number of free spins, though this is very unlikely. It’s not hard to see why this bonus is so popular amongst player and developer alike; it’s a simple, effective way to make the slot more engaging as well as offering something new to the player.
Modifiers are another bonus you’ll likely see in online casinos, though there is a wider selection of benefits they can bestow than with free spins. The effects they can have include; increasing the number of reels, supersizing certain symbols so they take up multiple positions and turning symbols into other ones to create a new win. While the triggering criteria for these features might be a little difficult to land, if you do, the rewards can be immense.
Play them at an Online Casino!
So, now that you know the basics, you might be asking where you can play these games? Well, the best and safest way to play slots online is by using an authenticated online casino.
If you’re a newbie and struggling to find one that tickles your fancy, don’t worry, as RTP have a load of information and reviews you can use to make the right choice.