How to Play Slots

SlotsIn every casino, the slot machine reigns as the most popular game of them all, beating out even blackjack and roulette. Something about the spinning reels that always seem oh-so-close to producing a winning payout, and the endless variety of slot machines make them appeal to a wide spectrum of casino enthusiasts.

Learning how to play slots is fairly simple, which is another reason they are so popular. After just a few seconds, almost anyone can jump right in and play. On this page, we’ll provide a brief overview of how to play slots, an explanation of the different types of slot machines and, finally, we will show you the best online casinos for slots.

How to Play a Slot Machine

The concept of the slot machine is incredibly simple. All you do is find a slot machine that looks fun, put your money in, and push the button. The reels will spin and then slowly come to a rest. If the symbols on those reels line up to produce a winning combination, you win the number of credits shown on the slot’s pay table.

With slot machines, the payouts are not fixed dollar amounts. Instead, they are based on the size of the betting denomination. For example, if you are wagering $0.10 per spin, a 100 credit win is worth $10.00. If you are wagering $1.00 per spin, a 100 credit win is worth $100.00. Jackpots are an exception - we’ll cover those soon.

Slot Pay Tables

Every slot machine has a pay table that lists the winning combinations of symbols and their corresponding prizes. Slot machines have more than one winning combination, so the pay table is used to explain all the winning combinations. The combinations that result in the largest payouts are the rarest, and the combinations that offer smaller payouts are much more common.

Slot Machine Jackpots

Jackpots are large payouts that are usually listed as a fixed dollar amount. When a player hits the right combination of symbols, that player instantly wins the jackpot listed on the slot machine. Some jackpots are listed in credits, but for the most part, jackpots are listed in fixed dollar format (i.e. $10,000 vs. 10,000 credits).

Progressive Jackpots

Progressive jackpots are the biggest jackpots of them all. A progressive jackpot works by collecting a small percentage of every bet placed at a slot machine, and adding that money to a central prize pool. The jackpot continues to grow in this manner until one player wins the entire thing. Many progressive jackpot slot machines reach several million dollars before being triggered.

To make the jackpots even bigger, some slot machines are linked together on a network and they all contribute to the same jackpot. These tend to be the biggest because they collect bets from dozens or even hundreds of slot machines. Many progressive jackpots are even linked together across different casinos.

Multi-Line Slot Machines

The traditional image of the slot machines is that of the classic 3-reel slot machine with a large handle on the side. Those slot machines still have their place in the gambling world, but multi-line slot machines have become more popular in recent years.

Multi-line slot machines have several reels and more than one pay line. A pay line is an imaginary line that is drawn across the reels. When the right symbols come to a rest on any pay line, the slot machine offers the corresponding payout. For example, a 5-reel machine might have five horizontal pay lines plus several diagonal pay lines.

Multi-line machines require you to wager additional credits to play multiple pay lines. If you want to just play a single pay line, you insert a single coin. If you want to play multiple lines, you insert an additional coin for each line.

Video Slots

Video slots are probably the most popular slot machines of them all. Instead of using mechanical reels, video slot machines are digital. Video slots often have bright, colorful graphics, and some even have storylines complete with animated cut-scenes.

Most video slots also incorporate some sort of bonus game that can be activated by hitting the right symbols. When a play activates a bonus game, the video slot machine temporarily displays a totally separate video game. One slot machine, for example, might display several treasure chests and give you the opportunity to pick one. If you pick the right chest, you’ll get some sort of additional prize.

How Slot Machines Work

In the old days, slot machines were purely mechanical. The reels were weighted so that certain symbols were more likely to appear than others. The symbols that offered the biggest payouts were weighted so that they appeared only once in a great while.

Technology has changed, however, and today’s slot machines are based on random number generators (RNGs). An RNG is a computer device that creates a completely random number every time a player pushes the button to spin the reels. The result of the random number is used to determine which symbols appear.

Slot machines still use spinning reels for effect, but the outcome of the reels is determined as soon as you push the button. This might sound a little odd but RNGs are actually more random than old fashioned weighted slots. Today’s slot machines are perfectly random.

Online Slots

Online slot machines mimic live slot machines in every way. There are traditional three-reel slot machines, video slots, and progressive jackpot slot machines. Online slots are activated after you choose how much to wager per spin and then push the button to spin the reels. A random number generator determines the outcome and you get paid if you land the lucky symbols.

The cool thing about online slot machines is that they normally offer higher payouts than their live counterparts. Online casinos have almost zero overhead compared to live casinos, so they can afford higher payouts on their slots. Online casinos don’t have to pay people to clean the machines, repair them when they break down, etc.

Before you run off to get started with online slot machines, there is one tip we would like to leave with you: always bet the maximum number of credits. By betting the maximum number of credits, you qualify for the special, higher payouts and jackpots. You can always lower the betting denomination to make betting the maximum number of credits affordable.

Best Online Casinos for Slots

If you like what you are hearing, and would like to practice slots online for free, check out the flash game below. This slots game was provided by, who happens to be the best online slots casino.

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