Slot machines have been around for years, and even if you've never played one yourself, you've probably seen them in pubs, bars and bingo halls. Although they may seem simple, learning some of the basics of how to play slots can help you better understand how to win the jackpot.
Previously known as fruit machines and one-armed bandits, they've often been plonked in the corner and catch attention with their bells, music and illumination. (Just don't mix them up with the karaoke machine!)
You might even have glanced at the screen while walking past and noticed a confusing combination of symbols and buttons. The good news is that you don't need to be some kind of genius to get the hang of playing slots despite their initial appearance.
Although you’ll still find slot games in casinos, bars and other venues, they’re also available online now. And this has caused them to surge in popularity because it’s provided players with the chance to try them out in their own time.
You can play online slots on a phone, tablet or laptop; you just need a good internet connection and a device that doesn’t freeze or crash. There’s nothing worse than being able to hit a winner and not being able to complete your turn!
Highly entertaining but with the advantage of giving you the chance to pocket some cash prizes - what could be better? We're taking a closer look at how to play online slots with a step-by-step guide for total beginners.
When the game loads, the first thing you'll notice is a game board that is organised into rows and columns and filled with different symbols. The columns will spin on each turn; these are known as the reels.
How to play slot machines is remarkably simple: you just aim to line up matching symbols, usually from the left to the right. The symbols must land in a particular order to win; this pattern is known as a payline. Some slots have just a small number of paylines - eg/5-10 - while others have tens of thousands.
More commonly, slots are based on "ways to win" rather than traditional paylines. This means you only need a matching symbol on an adjacent reel, moving from left to right, and don't need to worry about landing in a certain pattern.
You can find out how many paylines there are, or whether it's a ways to win slot, by checking out the paytable. This is usually found by clicking on an information button. The paytable also has details of each of the symbols and their value, plus any bonus features that apply.
Just in case you're panicking about remembering thousands of different combinations - don't. The game will automatically check whether there's a winning line, so although it's helpful to know what paylines are in play, it doesn't matter if you don't!
The regular symbols are typically split up into low and high "pays", and it's usually easier to land the lower value symbols while you're playing. Whatever slot you're playing, the fundamental goal will be the same: to land matching symbols to create a winning combination.
However, every slot has its own unique bonuses and features. Some slots have many of these; others have just a few, while a handful of slots don't have any extra features at all. If you prefer a simpler, less complicated game, you might like to play a slot machine with fewer or no bonus features. Conversely, if you love the excitement of play, which is constantly changing, a slot with more bonuses might be your preference.
No matter how long you've been playing slots, you'll need to check the paytable before you start a new game. This is because you won't know what bonus features are active or new features you haven't seen before. Although the onscreen instructions usually make it self-explanatory, there are some more complex features, so it's helpful to know what they are in advance.
In addition to the regular symbols, you’ll also often find these:
Studios are constantly creating new types of bonus features and symbols, and this is one of the things that makes playing slots so exciting. You never know what might be included in the next release - no matter how long you’ve been playing, there will always be something new!
Now you know how to play slots; before you dive right in, the last thing you should be aware of is your budget. Every time you spin the reels, it costs money - and it's up to you whether you want to wager a small or high amount.
As the prizes are awarded as a multiple of your stake, the more you wager, the higher your win could be. Of course, the more you wager, the more you could lose, so you’ll need to balance the risk/reward potential up carefully!
Before you play, make sure you have a budget in mind and when you reach your limit, stop playing. If you still want to enjoy playing slots, we've got lots of free demo games where you can indulge yourself without spending any more.