Want to play today’s best online slots but don’t know your wilds from your scatters, your progressives from your paylines? Fear not. We’re here to get you up to speed with the basic slot lingo, so you can join the millions of people now playing these snazzy gambling games on their smartphones.
The reels are the spinning columns where you see the slot’s symbols displayed. You set them in motion by clicking the spin button. Traditional fruit machines typically operate with 3 reels, whilst most modern video slots are built with 5 or 6. Though rare, some video slots even allow you to play on multiple sets of reels simultaneously – and more reel sets mean only one thing: more chances to win.
To be awarded a cash pay-out from a slot, you need to land a winning combination of symbols on an active payline. Being digitised, modern video slots can offer anything from 15 to 100 paylines, sometimes even more. These paylines can be found going vertically, horizontally or even zig-zagging across the reels. They may be fixed, or you may have the option to adjust the number of paylines active on each spin.
You’ve heard of playing wild card before. Wild symbols work in the same kind of way, substituting for other symbols on the reels to help you complete winning paylines. Occasionally, you’ll find a slot that doubles all pay-outs from winning combinations featuring a wild. Sometimes wilds can do other splendid things too, like expand or stack up on the reels to contribute to more than just one winning combo.
As a slot player you’ll quickly fall in love with scatters. Scatters do not have to appear on winning paylines to make incredible things happen. You get rewarded when these symbols appear scattered about anywhere on the reels. What’s more, landing multiple scatters from a single spin often triggers a cool bonus feature like a round of free spins.
What’s better than a winning pay-out? A pay-out that’s been multiplied, of course. Multipliers can be awarded to increase your cash prizes. You’ll find multipliers with the power to increase your win by x2 or even x100, depending on the slot you play.
Free spins, or free games, are just what they say on the tin: a chance to play a slot machine without risking your own cash. It’s usually a form of bonus feature, but sometimes free spins on a slot can be awarded as part of a promotional offer run by the online casino you’re playing at.
This is where you’ll find all the vital information you need to know about a specific slot. You can find out how much each winning combination will pay-out, as well as how to trigger the game’s bonus features and which symbols act as scatters and wilds.
A progressive is a jackpot fund that gets progressively bigger each time a player wagers on the game, because a percentage of each bet gets added to it. Progressives can be specific to a single slot or run across a series of slot games. Sometimes you must bet max to be in with a chance of winning the progressive jackpot, though the paytable will clarify the rules for the specific slot.
The return to player (RTP) is a percentage value that tells you how much, in theory, you can expect to get back from a slot. For example, place a hundred £1 bets on a slot with a 97% RTP over a given period, and you can expect to get back £97. It pays to research a slot’s RTP before you play. Modern video slots are typically programmed with a 92% – 98% RTP, but we’d avoid playing anything offering less the 95% if you’re hoping for regular pay-outs.