Introduction to Online Slots
Slots are the most popular casino game, online or land-based, and there are thousands of them to choose from in different categories.
In the world of casino games, slots hold a very special place. They are the most popular game overall by volume, and you’ll find more slots than all other games combined in virtually any online or land-based casino. An important feature of these games is that they are extremely easy to learn to play, but there’s still a lot to know if you want to have the best experience possible. We want to provide you with a complete introduction to these games and what you can do to get the most out of your experience as a whole.
Where to Play Online Slots
Choosing a site to play online slots really comes down to two groups of things. The first group of things has to do with game selection. Different sites have games from different software providers, some of which have a particular style to them. Games from Net Entertainment, for example, have extremely good presentations with strong graphics and soundtracks, but they take a little while to load, particularly on new connections. On the other hand, you could have titles from a company like Microgaming that offer a lot of different games to choose from with faster load times and a lower visual quality.
The second group of things you should consider when finding the best online slot sites for you is what their bonuses and promotions are like. There are more bonus offers than any other type of game when playing online slots for real money, and this even goes for players who want to play mobile slots exclusively. The bottom line is that there’s a lot of what amounts to free money out there, and you need to make sure you maximize your value from these deals since they’re basically paying you for playing games that you would have been playing regardless.
Slot Games by Software
- BetSoft Slots
- Endorphina Slots
- Micrograming Slots
- Netent Slots
- NYX Gaming Slots
- Playtech Slots
- Realtime Gaming Slots
- Rival Gaming Slots
- Saucify Slots
The Basic Makeup of a Slot
There are a number of different types, styles and categories of slots. However, no matter what kind of slot you’re playing with, there are certain basic elements:
- A vertical and horizontal grid of symbols
- Matching sets of symbols along certain lines give payouts
- You can adjust your bet size per available winning line (known as a payline)
- Certain bonus symbols allow you to activate special features
With that having been said, there are essentially two types of slots: classic and video. While they have the basic components that are listed above, the actual gameplay of each can be like night and day.
An Overview of Classic Slots
Classic slots are generally games with three reels, and they’re based on the themes and concepts behind the original, mechanical, land-based slots that made up most of what we had in the genre several decades ago. They have a limited amount of screen real estate, and they usually only have one or three horizontal rows of symbols available.
The key advantage to this type of game is that it’s very straightforward and doesn’t bother the player with any kind of bells and whistles. While video slots can make it difficult to keep up with everything that’s going on, classic slots typically only have one, three or five paylines, making it very simple to know what’s happening in the game at every moment.
Video Slots in Contrast
On the other hand, video slots almost always have five reels (though you can find some with four reels or six or more) and at least three rows of symbols. This provides a lot more screen real estate, which brings along with it an added level of flexibility. This flexibility translates directly into a wider range of bonus features and more opportunities for a lot of paylines, meaning players have more ways to win on each spin than in classic slots.
One downside that can come from this is that video slots have a lot more going on, and it can be confusing at first to get a feel for everything that a game offers. This won’t keep anyone from enjoying the game necessarily, but for players who want to know every aspect of how they can win before they start, it can come across as cumbersome. With that having been said, even with games that have the highest level of complexity of any video slot, you can learn all of the ins and outs of the title within the length of a single session in most cases.
The Actual Playing of an Online Slot
As for how to actually play an online slot, this is a basic rundown of how gameplay works and what players can expect:
- Choose a game based on what you’re looking for in terms of game format, features, pay structure, etc.
- Start by examining the controls available to you. This is critical (but often skipped) so that you know what your exact options are for manipulating your bet size and any side bets.
- Decide on a bet size that works for you based on your bankroll management guidelines and the volatility of the game (see below). The higher the volatility, the more conservative you should be with your bet size.
- Play the game normally with your spins for however long you’d like. Re-evaluate your bankroll management strategy after any big win or long losing streak.
- Optional: Take note in a spreadsheet or other method of your win or loss, your bet size and the game you were playing if you’re interested in tracking your results.
Outside of these few things, playing these games is actually very simple and straightforward.
Progressive Jackpot Games
While progressive jackpots are not limited to online slots, they are responsible for some of the most popular games out there in the genre. The basic idea behind a progressive jackpot is that the casino will set a starting amount called a seed value as the size of the jackpot to begin with. From every wager on the game after that, a portion is added straight to the jackpot. This causes it to get larger and larger until it’s eventually won.
The end result is that these jackpots can get well up into the millions of dollars. In fact, the largest online casino jackpots in history have come from progressive jackpot games like Microgaming’s Mega Moolah and Net Entertainment’s Mega Fortune, which hold the top few spots for the largest recorded jackpots in the industry.
Volatility and RTP
There are two stats that players should know about the slots that they’re playing, and while they’re related in certain ways, they are commonly confused.
The first is RTP, which stands for “return to player.” This is a percentage that represents the average payout rate of the game itself. For example, a game with an 98 percent RTP would pay you back $98, on average, for every $100 that you wager. The higher the RTP, the better your chances of being a winner in the long run.
The second important stat is volatility, and this is a measure that tells us how bad the swings will be in a game. A high volatility means large swings and more swings than average, and a low volatility means fewer swings that are smaller on average.
While each of these things will impact your bankroll management strategy, most of your adjustment will come from the volatility. The bottom line is that when there is a higher volatility, you’ll want to try to play with a smaller bet size and longer sessions. Along similar lines, a low-volatility game is best played with a larger bet size and shorter sessions, though you have a lot more flexibility with other methods with games that fall under this particular play style.
The thing about slots is that there are literally thousands of them available combined between the online and land-based worlds, and many of the land-based games have online versions. Because there are so many of this particular type of casino game, it’s easy to get lost in all of the possibilities. The easiest way to overcome this is to simply jump right in and see what you like, even if you start with play money games at first. Once you get a bit of experience, you’ll be able to try new things and get a better feel for what you like and don’t like.Menu