Online slots are one of the most popular forms of gaming in the world – a fact that’s pretty obvious as soon as you load up any online casino and check out their game selection. There are thousands of different online slot games out there and it can be really hard to know where to start. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, why not check out our top online slots casinos below?
How to play online slots
To get started you’ll need to create a user account and sign in to either the instant Flash casino from your web browser, or the casino client – which is the software you downloaded to your desktop.
Next you’ll need to choose a game. Slots games will be listed either under the tab ‘Slots’ from the site’s main menu, or ‘Slot Machines’ (pokies to all you New Zealand players!). Click on the name of the game you want.
Tip: If you’re just getting started, you can play free slots in ‘Fun mode’ for a little practice.
From there, game play is simple:
- Select the amount you want to bet (usually with a’ +/-‘ button)
- Select the number of lines you want to bet on (the number of lines you choose will increase your chances of winning, but will also require you to pay more per line, for the spin)
- Choose ‘Max bet’ (or a similarly labelled button) if you want to play all lines and the highest bet level (to go for the maximum jackpot)
- Click ‘Spin’ and see what happens!
Special Online Slots Features
The following online slots terms are helpful to know, in terms of choosing and playing a game.
Wildcard (or simply Wild): A defined symbol that can substitute for other symbols so that you have a greater chance of winning. Bonus and scatter symbols are usually excluded from substitution. Wildcards can be limited to specific reels, with details explained in the game’s paytable.
Multiplier: A symbol that multiplies a win by a certain amount, usually 1-5X.
Bonus game: Multiple bonus symbols together on an active payline will often activate a bonus game. Bonus symbols are designated in the game’s paytable.
Scatter: Two or more symbols can trigger wins even when they’re not on an active payline. They can also activate free spins and multipliers.
DIFFERENT VARIETIES OF ONLINE SLOTS
There are hundreds of varieties of slots online, from the traditional three reel variations right through to advanced video slots with extensive bonus rounds or progressive jackpots. Here are some of the different types of machines you can play online and how they work:
Three reel online slots
Three reels refer to having three spinning reels across the slots, each with a number of symbols that, when aligned, denote either a winning or a losing combination. These are the simplest, most classic slot games.
Five reel online slots
Five reel slots have five spinning reels allowing for far more combinations of symbols and hence bigger jackpots. One of the main differences between 3-reel and 5-reel slots has to do with winning combinations. If there are 10 symbols on each reel, a three-reel slot machine is limited to 1,000 variations, whereas a five-reel machine can produce 100,000 unique combinations. This allows five reel machines to pay out far bigger sums, as there can be a 1 in 100,000 chance of any combination being hit.
If you’re looking for a really big payout, progressive slots are the way to go. That’s because each progressive jackpot game pools its jackpot from an entire casino network, with a portion of each bet being added to the jackpot until someone wins it.
In other words, all of the people playing a particular progressive game are linked via the game’s software across different casinos – so there may be thousands of players adding to the progressive jackpot every few seconds.
For example, if you play the fun Beach Life progressive slot – which is a Playtech game – all Playtech casinos that offer that game will be contributing to its jackpot, each time a wager is made on Beach Life.
Similarly, Microgaming progressive slots like King Cashalot and the hugely popular Mega Moolah offer jackpots, which regularly surpass $2M.
Video slots (called video pokies in New Zealand) are the latest thing. Essentially they are 5 reel slots featuring incredible graphics, animation, themes, and sound effects that make for exciting play.
Video slots also pay some of the biggest jackpots, including “second screen” bonuses. Video slots range from 40-paylines to 5-payline games.
Slots Playing Tips
At the end of the day slots are 100% a game of chance. But by employing the following slots tips you should get more bang for your buck, and a more enjoyable playing experience.
Start by playing free online slots: This is a good way to get the hang of a game before you start making real money wagers.
Bet the maximum if you want the jackpot: Remember, you’ll only win the jackpot if you’re willing to bet the maximum amount!
Check the game’s payout percentage: If you’re serious about winning, check to see the casino’s payout table. Online casinos usually have their slot percentages listed either by the percentage of payout or percentage hold.
Know the game’s payout behaviour: Is it a game that pays out often, but with small amounts? Or is it a game that pays out big, but infrequently? Knowing the games behaviour, a.k.a. volatility will help you choose the right game for you. High volatility slots have big jackpots, but don’t payout often. Low volatility slots pay out often, but with smaller amounts.
House Edge and Rake
Reputable casinos pay out somewhere on average between 90% and 95% of all money wagered, meaning that the most the casino can take overall is around 10c from each dollar wagered. The remainder is distributed amongst the players via various payouts and jackpots. This amount of commission is comparable to other online casino games, making slots an excellent option for any forays into online gaming.