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How to Play Slots

Posted by Glenn Baird on Apr 13, 2021

This article was written by Glenn Baird.

Online casinos are seriously big business and there is nothing more popular in the lobby of your average online casino than video slots.

Whilst our interaction with these games is essentially no more than the click of a button there is still plenty worth knowing about online slots before choosing your game of choice.


In this guide you will learn everything there is to know about online slots, so that if or when you come to part with your hard-earned cash you can make informed decisions about what online slot has the most to offer you.

This guide will provide information on the following:

  1. A brief history of slot machines
  2. How online slots work
  3. Symbols and features
  4. Other Important Information
  5. How to play slots
  6. Conclusion
  7. Frequently asked questions

A Brief History of Slot Machines

Pokies, puggies, fruities, whatever you want to call them, slot machines have their own unique place in the hearts of gamblers all over the world.

The sounds: bells, burrs and beeps form the backdrop to any casinos and what would those mechanics be without the cascade of coins on top of plastic, on top of more coins?

Slot machines have always been a fundamental of the casino floor and now, with the wonders of modern technology their bells and whistles offer infinite online possibilities in what has now become one of the big draws in online gambling.

These one-armed-bandits first dropped sometime between 1891 and 1893 when the first slot machines were built. Frank Smith of The Ideal Toy Company released a 5 drum poker based game featuring all 52 cards that was quickly followed bySittman and Pitt of Brooklyn, New York who built their gambling machine, containing 5 drums and 50 different cards (raising the house edge) and with that the prototypes for the slot machine were born.

The spinning reel, combinations of playing cards and a slot to insert nickels would have made this early gambling machine instantly recognisable to any 21st century time-traveller. Instead of cascading coins, these early slot machines would award prizes, such as free beer or cigars, depending on what the proprietor decided the payouts would be.

However, the machines struggled to catch on because there were far too many winning combinations, making it difficult for the owners of the machines to know how to distribute wins effectively and fairly. The machines were based on poker, which as I am sure you know, has millions of possible winning combinations.

A simpler machine was needed and at some point between 1898 and 1905 the Liberty Bell slot machine was devised. The machine was stripped down to 3 reels, each with five symbols: horseshoes, diamonds, spades, hearts and a Liberty Bell; the bell that gave the machine its name.

Another big evolution in the machine’s design was the automatic payout, which meant that they could be placed in bars, bowling alleys, brothels and barber shops with no interaction from the proprietor other than collecting their share at the end of the day.

In states where gambling was not legal, machines were devised to dispense bubble gum and other bite sized morsels, but whether it was cash or candy being won, the slot machine was born and not a whole lot more would change for decades.

In 1963 the first fully electronic slot machine was built and in 1976 the first video slot was devised. As you might expect that machine took centre stage in the home of gambling, specifically in the lobby of the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. Its success meant that within a few years video slots could be found all over the world.

Then in 1996 we reach the last major moment in the evolution of the slot machine. Intercasino became the first online casino and with it came a series of slots that would pave the way for what has grown into one of the biggest and most profitable online gambling products.

Since then slots have developed in terms of design, game play and ways to win; to the extent that at times it can be difficult to distinguish video slots from video games.

We provide a far more detailed account of the evolution of slot games in our article The History of Slots.

How do Online Slots Work?

If you want to browse through online slots with confidence then you need to know how they work. If you can wrap your head around that then you can make informed choices about the games that are worth playing and those that need to be avoided.

On the surface a slot can often appear quite simple: you click a button, reels spin, reels stop spinning and symbols are revealed. If the symbols match, you win. Simple as that, right? Well, yes and no.

Part of the beauty of an online slot is the simplicity. There is no way to apply strategy and as such everyone faces the same levels of random chance as everyone else. What is not simple is how this randomness is generated.

Random Number Generators (RNG)

Enter the random number generator. A common piece of software utilised by every online slot game ensures the outcome of every spin is random. These pieces of code are subjected to vigorous testing, mandated by the various regulatory authorities, by Testing Labsa to ensure that they deliver fair results to players. We discuss this topic in our article Are Online Slots Rigged?

A common misunderstanding of online slots is that after a period of time without a significant win they must be “due a payout”. This is not the case. You are as likely to win following a previous win as you are following a loss. This is called the Gambler's Fallacy and have been responsible for many players losing far more than they should have chasing a win.

In other words, there is no pattern that you can learn and as long as you are playing at reputable site then you should have as much of a chance to win or lose as anyone else playing the same slot.

The Basics: Reels, Paylines and Rows

Even the most complex slot machine will use reels, paylines and rows to some extent. They may not always be as obvious as those on a basic slot machine, but close inspection should always reveal some version of those basic slot fundamentals.


Reels are, quite simply, the bits of the slot that spin. They are normally vertical, and sit like columns spinning a series of symbols that you will find the values for in the paytable. Slots normally contain between 3-5 reels, however, this can vary dramatically and there is no limit to how many you can expect to find.


Rows line up in the opposite direction to the reels. This means that if your reels are vertical (and they almost always are) then your rows will be horizonal. Slots are often described through the configuration of their reels and rows. An example, one that is very common, would be 5x3. This should tell you that the slot you are playing uses 5 reels, across 3 rows. Essentially, this should give you insight into how big and complex the slot is. A 5x3 slot is most likely a traditional one that is easy to understand. However, something less common, like a 10x6 slot is more unusual and as such, may deviate from other aspects of slot design that are considered more traditional.

Paylines, Winways, Megaways and Clusters


Paylines are predetermined lines that are established across the reels and rows, determining the required positioning of winning symbols. Paylines usually run from left to right, and usually you need to land a minimum of three matching symbols across those paylines to trigger a win. The matching symbols should begin at the left-hand-side of the reels and run to, at least the third reel, without a break in the line. There doesn’t appear to be any limit on the number of paylines a slot can have, but any more than 100 and any less than 5 is unusual.

Some paylines will run from right to left, and some will run in both directions. Even more unusual are vertical paylines, that can run from top to bottom, bottom to top or in extremely rare cases, both top to bottom and bottom to top.


Winways are a variation on the payline, in that they are a way to win, but that way is not fixed. They are actually easier to recognise because winways usually require you to land a minimum of 3 matching symbols across 3 or more reels, starting from the left and running to the right with no breaks in the combination (you call these adjacent reels). A standard 5x3 slot using winways will have 243 different possible winning combinations.

243 Ways to Win

To elaborate on the ways to win slots I will focus on 243 ways to win. With a 5x3 slot there are three visible symbols on each reel and each of these three symbols can be combined with a single symbol on every other reel. If the slot had only three reels, the number of possible visible combinations would have been equal to 9 as you multiple the number of visible symbols together: 3x3. Most slots have 5 reels, which means you need to multiply 3 to the power of 5, which gets you 243. If you have 6 reels all with 4 visible symbols then you multiply 4 to the power of 6 to get 4096 different ways to win.


Megaways are a variation on Winways. The theory is the same, in that you usually need to land 3 or more matching symbols across adjacent reels, starting from the left of the reels. The difference, and it is quite a big difference, is that the number of symbols in a reel can change on every spin. And they don’t just change on all reels all at once. Each and every reel can vary from 1, up to 7 symbols per reel, normally over 6 reels. It doesn’t happen very often but if you manage to reveal the maximum number of megaways then you will have an incredible 117,649 (7 to the power of 6) different ways to win.


Clusters are combinations of adjacent symbols, touching vertically, horizontally and in some instances diagonally too. The number of symbols required to form a cluster will vary, but in most instances it will be at least 5 or more symbols in order to create a cluster. Clusters don’t run from left to right or right to left, and can instead be formed anywhere on the reels. The symbols tend to be simple gems or fruits and the grid that they land on will contain many more symbols spaces than a standard slot.

Cascades and Rolling Reels

In some instances (most commonly in Megaways slots) wins can be followed by cascades or rolling reels. If this does happen then the symbols that formed the win will disappear from the reels before 1 of 2 things happens. Most commonly, the symbols that are already on the reels will drop down into the positions left by the now vacant winning symbols, before new symbols drop down and fill in the spaces from the top. You will now be given another chance to win, essentially a free spin. This is known as a cascade because that drop down feature can continue limitlessly as long as you continue to land new winning combinations.

A variation on this is when winning symbols disappear and new symbols take their place, without the remaining symbols changing their position. This is much less common than what has been described above but would still count as a cascade or a rolling reel.

Total Bet

This is one of, if not, the most important numbers in the entire slot. This is how much money you lose every time you press the spin button without that spin resulting in a win. Total bet should not be confused with coin value as more often than not the coin value needs to be multiplied by the number of paylines, as it is assumed that you are placing a separate bet on each of those paylines. Whilst this can be quite confusing all that really matters is the total bet as this will tell you what you are risking every time you press that spin button. A far more detailed explanation of this is provided in our article Online Slots Payouts Explained.


The paytable tells you everything you need to know about the slot you are playing. It will tell you what symbols there are and the value they each have. It explains what symbols have special features and what symbols trigger special features. Those special features will also be explained, including bonuses, jackpots and wild symbols. All slots should have a paytable but not all of them will contain extensive information. Often, the sign of a quality slot developer can be seen through the paytable and ease through which you can understand the information they are trying to impart.

Symbols and Features

For some, the most exciting aspects of any modern slot are the symbols and the features. This is where the slot designer gets to show off their imagination and it is ultimately what separates the good from the bad in the world of slots.

In this section you will learn about Wilds, Scatters and Bonus symbols. I will also look at the bonuses themselves, jackpots, nudges, multipliers and mystery symbols. We will check out gamble features, colossal symbols, expanding symbols and everything else in-between.

Low-Paying Symbols

Low-paying symbols are exactly what they sound like. They don’t pay much but you do see them a lot and more often than not you will find very little attempt to have them stand out from the low-paying symbols on other slots.

Low-paying symbols are normally royal suit symbols: A, K, Q, J, 10 and 9. They can also come in the form of letters and ultimately are as unremarkable as the payouts they award.

High-Paying Symbols

Obviously High-paying symbols are worth more than their low-paying counterparts. They are often more elaborate and tend to evoke the theme of the slot.

High-paying symbols are often characters or places that fit with the overall theme of the slot.

Wild Symbols

Regular/Standard Wilds

A slot without a wild symbol is rare. Wilds are such a common sight in a slot that to describe them as a feature feels almost too generous.

Wilds substitute for existing symbols, meaning they allow you to form combinations when you do not have the required number of a certain symbol to do so.

They do not normally have a value, because they take on the value of the symbol that they are substituting for, but in some instances, slots will attach a value to their wilds on the off chance that you manage to land a winning combination of purely wild symbols.

Stacked Wilds

These wilds do everything that a standard wild does but with the added advantage of coming stacked. This means that the wilds come in stacks that are the same size as the maximum number of symbols that can land on the reels. However, they may not always land fully stacked. You only get the bottom or top 1 or 2 symbols in the stack landing, at which point you need to hope that your slot also comes with a nudge feature.

Expanding Wilds

Expanding Wilds land on the reels as a single symbol, before transforming to fill all the symbol spaces on that reel. Essentially, expanding wilds are like an upgraded version of stacked wilds.

Sticky Wilds

Sticky wilds land on the reels and then they stick around for additional spins. This normally comes in the form of a respin, which will often retrigger when another sticky wild winds its way onto the reels. They are also a common sight in bonus features and free spins.

Wandering Wilds

Wandering wilds can come with all sorts of different names, often given to help fit the theme of the slot. They are also more commonly found in bonus features and free spins. Wandering wilds stay on the reels once they have landed but will move to a different symbol position on a subsequent spin, meaning you have more chances to end up with multiple wilds on the reels at once. There will be a limit to how long a wandering wild remains on the reels, which is why they normally come as part of a bonus or a free spins feature.

Scatter Symbols

Scatter symbols are special because they get to ignore paylines and winways. Scatters will payout when you land the required amount of symbols anywhere on the reels.

Along with this, the symbols needed to trigger a bonus feature or a free spins feature are also often called scatters. Again, they are normally able to land anywhere on the reels and as long as you have the required number you will trigger that feature. In some instances you can do both: trigger a feature and receive a payout.

Expanding Symbols

Not all expanding symbols are wild but the concept is the same. Expanding symbols will land on a reel and then expand to fill that reel when they do so.

Colossal Symbols

Colossal symbols come in different shapes and sizes but the basic principle of a colossal symbol is that it will be bigger than a standard symbol. Often, they come as 2x2, 3x3 or 4x4, and it is important to note that even though they are large symbols, the spaces that they take up on the reels are considered to be filled with matching single space symbols. In other words, a 2x2 colossal symbol is the equivalent to 4 single symbols.

Mystery Symbols

Mystery symbols will all (pretty much) work in the same way. When they land they are face down. This means the value of the mystery symbol is not revealed until all the reels have stopped spinning. Once this happens they will all flip over to reveal an identical symbol. Mystery symbols can sometimes come with additional features: Sometimes they are classed as Scatters, sometimes they come with multipliers and sometimes they can trigger bonus features.

Expanding Reels

It is not just the symbols that can expand. The reels themselves can also expand. If this does happen then the number of symbols on each reel will increase. In some instances this will also increase the number of winways or paylines.

Free Spins Feature

Whilst free spins are not guaranteed in every slot they are one of the most common types of bonus feature. In fact, they are so common that they need to be looked at separately to standard bonus features.

There are a number of ways that free spins can trigger but the most common way is by landing 3 free spins symbols anywhere on the reels. Unlike scatters that trigger a bonus feature you will not normally be given any immediate reward (other than the free spins) but there are occasions where they do pay out.

The number of free spins you can be awarded will vary from slot to slot. Some will award the same number of spins regardless of the number of triggering symbols that you land, whilst others will award more spins if you land more triggering symbols.

Free spins can sometimes be retriggered when you land the correct number of free spins symbols during the feature. If free spins symbols are not available during the feature then you can normally assume that the free spins cannot be retriggered though the paytable will ordinarily provide further information about this.

Free spins will often come with additional features built-in, like different types of wild symbols. Ultimately a good free spins feature is one that comes with plenty of spins that can be retriggered.

Bonus Features

Bonus features can come in all different forms, many of which cannot be described without detailing specific examples. Nowadays bonuses can play out like levels on a computer game, with increasing payouts following advancements through those levels.

Pick ‘n’ Click Bonuses

The most common type of bonus is the Pick ‘n’ Click bonus. With these you will be presented with a number of symbols that have been turned over. Each symbol will have a monetary value and once you reveal 2 matching symbols you will be awarded their value.

Bonus Wheel

With the Bonus Wheel you spin a wheel and whatever it lands on will be what you are awarded. Bonus wheels can allow you to win monetary amounts or progress through levels, depending on how they have been designed.

As I have said above, bonus features are becoming more complex and engaging, meaning that it is difficult to describe them in terms other than them being games within a slot where you are more likely to walk away with a prize.


Multipliers are exactly what they sound like, but the way that they trigger can vary. You can be given a multiplier as part of a combination of symbols, as part of the accumulation of collected symbols, as part of a bonus feature or in ways that I have not thought to mention here. Essentially if a multiplier is active then your win will be multiplied by whatever the value of the multiplier is.

Nudge feature

This is one of the original slot features, one that you were likely to find on an old fruit machine in a pub or a bar. Essentially if this feature is active then you nudge a reel up or down a symbol position in an attempt to land a symbols combination that you would otherwise have missed out on.

Gamble feature

The Gamble feature is very common with certain operators, many of whom will offer this following every single win. The Gamble option allows you to gamble your win, in an attempt to increase its value. You will do this via a separate game, which will normally be either a heads or tails game or a version of “Play Your Cards Right” where you have to guess if the soon to be revealed card will be high or lower than the existing one. In most instances you can continue to game, as long as you continue to win.

The down side? If you do not guess correctly you will lose all of your original win. Let’s be clear, this is precisely why the gamble function exists. The operator is hoping that you will throw your win away. They are hoping that a gambling instinct will kick in and you will keep hitting that gamble button until you eventually lose.

This is why you need to weigh up the pros and cons of a gamble very carefully. Any more than 1 gamble is unlikely to be worth it and remember that when you play the “Play Your Cards Right” gamble you are not playing a 50/50 gamble like you are with the toss of a coin. The dealer’s card is hugely important as is the fact that you can always reveal a card of the same value, which will see you lose your win.

Our advice is to take any win you can get and go easy on gamble options.


Jackpots are one of the main reasons that people plat slots. They are essentially 1 large payout that exist outside of the base game. Normally there are different amounts that can be won with the top prize being the least likely that you can win and as such the one we all want the most.

Jackpots can be difficult to trigger in the first place but if you can manage to do so they will often be the difference needed to walk away in profit.

The amount you can win in any jackpot is normally related to the size of your bet. In other words, the more you risk on your standard spin, the more likely you are to win big in a jackpot.

However, as alluring as a jackpot may seem, you must never factor a jackpot win into your spending. If you win then see it as the bonus that it is but do not raise your bet beyond your means just to land a bigger jackpot that may never see the light of day.

Fixed Jackpots

These Jackpots never change in value, except when you change the amount that you are spending on each spin. The value of the jackpot will relate to the amount you spend. Obviously, the more you are willing to risk on your spin the larger the Jackpot you can win.

Progressive Jackpots

Progressive Jackpots see the value of the Jackpot increase as more people spend money playing the slot. The value of the Jackpot can be huge, making progressive jackpots a huge draw for many slots players.

One thing to be aware of is that slots containing progressive jackpots will often come with a low RTP when these ultra rare wins are excluded from the results. This means that you are less likely to win with each of your spins than with other slots, with the payoff being the chance to land that huge jackpot. We discuss slot RTPs in more detail in our article Online Slot RTPs Explained.

Local Progressive Jackpots

With Local Jackpots the size of the Jackpot will increase as more people pay to spin that game. The Jackpot will only be increased via the amounts spent at a single casino or small group of casinos. In other words the amounts added to the jackpot you are playing at will only be contributed to by others playing at that casino.

Network Progressive Jackpots

Network Jackpots will see that value of the Jackpot increase through bets placed by anyone playing that slot via any Networking casinos, quite often anyone playing the game full stop (a software provider Network Progressive Jackpot). These can be casinos that are affiliated or operate via the same owners. It is playing this type of jackpot game that you will see the really big potential prizes.

Other Important Information


With AutoPlay you set how many spins you want to play and at what limit. The feature is not available in all jurisdictions but can be used as a way for someone to control how much they spend.

Critics of AutoPlay will point out that the spins happen very quickly and that you can become detached from the spending process. They would argue that bets should be placed one at a time with the result from each assessed before you choose to place another.

Pay to Play

Some slots will offer a pay to play option on their bonuses and free spins. Essentially, instead of waiting to trigger a bonus through a combination of symbols you pay to play instead. For this to be beneficial you need to win more then you spend playing that feature.

In some jurisdictions, like the UK, pay to play options are not available as they are considered a danger to problem gamblers.

If you choose a slot with a pay to play option then remember to stick to your budget and accept that your playing time is likely to be greatly reduced given the significant levels of variance that you will be experiencing. If you can accept that then skipping the boring bits and heading straight for the bonus feature might be prefer experience.

It also worth shopping around to find a pay to play bonus that isn’t too expensive. Some are so expensive that they are never worth the outlay.

Return to Player (RTP)

The RTP is, as far as we at ThePOGG are concerned, the most important thing you can learn about the slot you are about to play. RTP stands for Return to Player and is always a percentage. The higher that percentage the more advantageous it is.

Essentially, whenever you play a slot you have to concede that you are more likely to lose than you are to win. This is because the casino always plays with an advantage and the RTP will tell you the extent of that advantage.

An RTP of 97% means that the house holds a 3% advantage over the player. A 99% RTP means that the house only holds a 1% advantage over the player. What you need to know is that this advantage is worked out through millions of simulated spins, the theory being that the huge swings in variance you are likely to experience over a few spins will level out over millions, giving you an insight what advantage the house holds when that variance levels out.

Here at ThePOGG we have established that a 96% RTP is the least you should expect and that any less than this makes a slot poor value for money.

You should find the RTP in the paytable of any slot that you play. If you cannot find it then stay well clear. In certain jurisdictions, like the UK, the RTP must be published.


Volatility is a measure of how often you will see a slot pay out and how large you can expect those pay outs to be. A slot with a low volatility should pay out small amounts fairly regularly. A slot with a high volatility should pay out a large amount, but not very often and, as I am sure you can work out, a slot with a medium volatility falls somewhere in the middle.

Over all players - or millions of spins - volatility doesn’t change much about the financial results players will receive, but it does change the experience. One thing to note is that a high volatility slot is likely to see your account dimmish more quickly that a low volatility slot. This means that your experience may be over more quickly when playing a high volatility slot.

How to Play Slots

The first thing to take on board before playing any slot is that you should not expect to win. Never assume you are going to win or count on the returns you want to see as a result of playing an online slot. The truth is, you are more likely to lose than win. The RTP, which we have mentioned above should tell you this. You are always playing at a disadvantage and the longer you play, the more likely it is that your disadvantage will be realised.

This does not mean you won’t win but it needs to be your frame of mind when choosing to play online slots. Instead of a way to make money online, slots should be viewed as a form of entertainment that you pay for. If you happen to make some money doing so then you should view that as a fantastic bonus.

This means that the more entertaining a slot the better we will score it in our reviews. Additionally, a high RTP is also something we encourage you to look out for because even though you are likely to lose money in the long term, you shouldn’t lose as much, meaning you can play your chosen slot for longer.

When playing an online slot you need to have a budget. Decide how much you want to spend playing slots and once your money has gone, walk away. Another factor to consider is the time you spend playing slots. Along with a budget, set aside an amount of time you want to spend playing and, again, walk away when that time is up.

You don’t want to play for too long because you are more likely to lose track of what you are spending. Setting limits on time and money are hugely important if you want to play slots as a form of entertainment.

The last thing to consider is when to walk away if you are winning. Setting a win limit can be dangerous as you may find yourself playing beyond your loss limit to try and reach it and doing exactly what we said you should never do, which is assuming you are going to win before you start playing. This is why we feel that time restrictions are the best way forward.

In a nutshell we recommend you play with a time-limit and a loss limit. You walk away from the computer when you hit the loss limit, regardless of time and if you never hit that loss limit you walk away when your time is up.

These measures will allow you to remain in control of your gambling. If you cannot stick to them then the only option is to walk away completely. Setting restrictions for yourself is a fundamental of gambling responsibly.

Are There Any Slot Machine Strategies That Work?

No. We cannot make it any more simple or straightforward than that. There is a massive amount of harmful content online posted by cynical parties who benefit from players engaging with ‘strategies’ to win more playing slots (and other forms of gambling), but the basic facts are that nothing you can do will influence the outcome of any spin of a slot machine. Past results give no useful information about what will happen next/soon. Convincing yourself that skill could influence the outcome of a slot game is a fool’s enterprise.

If you want to make money from gambling the best thing you can do is fold it, and put it back in your wallet.

The Best Casinos To Play Slots Online

The truth is that there is not single ‘best’ casino to play any gambling game at. Broadly speaking, the games themselves are the same at most gambling operators. It would be unusual for a well positioned gambling operator will have all the most popular games and biggest new releases.

The real difference between gambling operators are not the games, but rather the service you will receive. First and foremost we would strongly encourage players to look for a well-licensed operator. A Curacao gambling license should be taken as a strong warning to avoid. For the rest, we would advise you read our article, How to Choose an Online Casino.

What to do if you are having a bad streak playing slot machines

Stop playing!!!

Losing is not a positive experience and can easily unsettle you emotionally. You should only gamble when you are feeling calm and positive. Gambling in any other state can easily lead to you losing control and gambling more than you should. When that happens you can quickly find yourself in trouble.

There is no magic wand to wave that will change a bad streak. Realistically, gambling games are designed to give the house an advantage. So if you play on, you are more likely to continue losing than you are to start winnings. Take a break and come back some other time when you’re not feeling the weight of your previous losses.

Slot machine tips for beginners

i) Have fun. If it’s not fun, stop.

ii) Keep your bets low. Slots machines are high variance. Rare big wins are balanced out by long periods of losses. Don’t be tempted to increase your bet beyond what you can afford. If you’re betting more than 0.50/spin, you’re betting a lot.

iii) Choose how much you are willing to risk (lose) before you start playing. Don’t go beyond it!

iv) Choose a slot game with a high RTP. If every player did this, players would keep more of their money.

Can you beat the odds when playing slots?

If the question is ‘can you win while playing slots?’, then yes you can win if you get lucky. Every winner ‘beats the odds’, because the odds were against them to begin with.

If the question is really ‘how can I make it more likely that I’ll win?’, realistically, you can’t. Anyone who tells you that you can is lying to you for their own gain, or simply ignorant and propagating their own misinformation.

You can make it likely you will lose less while playing online slots games by choosing games that have a high RTP.

The only actions you can take that will improve your odds of winning while playing slots are:

i) Only play when you can get bonuses.

ii) Choose bonuses with friendly terms and conditions.

iii) Never continue playing after you have completed the wagering requirements.

iv) Wager the maximum the bonus terms will allow per spin while you are completing the wagering requirements.

However, if you follow the above advice you will quickly find that the casinos you play with will stop offering you bonuses, meaning that you cannot meet point i).

Online vs land-based slot strategies

We've no doubt you've already seen loads of sites online telling you all about the various "strategies" you can apply to slots games to help you win. They are all bullshit. There is no difference between online and offline slots - they function in exactly the same manner. There is nothing that you can do that will make any of these games more likely to payout. Everyone wants their to be some magic strategy to create winnings, but if there were some secret, gambling wouldn't be a business anymore. Word would quickly spread and casino after casino would quickly go bust. And while there are plenty of people happy to tell you about their magic strategy (or sell it to you), none of them work. Don't buy into this rubbish.


Slots are the most popular of all casino games. They are the easiest games to play but not always the easiest to understand. You get simple 3-reeled slots with pick and click bonuses and a few free spins, and then you get Megaways slots with over 100,000 different ways to win.

There are slots you can tell teams of people have spent months designing and then there are slots that are different versions of pre-existing ones. You get slots that come with celebrity endorsements, slots based on films, TV shows and bands. Every year, thousands of them are released, some will become classics but most will be instantly forgotten.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to slots is that there is no system you can play that will give you an edge. You are always playing at a disadvantage, which means that slots should be treated as a form of entertainment and not as a way to make money.

Manage your budget, manage your time and then you can enjoy playing slots responsibly

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you win playing slots? – The truth is that there is no system you can use or process you can apply to win whilst playing slots. All you can is press a button and hope for the best, knowing that you are playing at a disadvantage. Playing slots should be viewed as paid for entertainment and not a way to make money.

Are slots rigged? – If you are playing at a reputable, fully licenced casino then there is very little chance that the slot game you are playing is rigged. If you check out our list of recommend casinos then you will find safe places to play where there is very little chance that any games have been rigged. Avoid unlicenced and blacklisted casinos at all costs.

What is RTP? – RTP stands for Return to Player. Another way to think about it is House Edge. The House Edge is the advantage that the house holds over the player. A slot with an RTP of 97% means that the house holds a 3% advantage over the player. The higher the RTP the less you are expected to lose in the long run. Anything lower than 96% is not considered good value for money.

What is Volatility? – Volatility is how the size and frequency of slot pay-outs is measured. A high volatility slot will pay out a large amount infrequently and a low volatility slot will pay out a small amount regularly. Not all slots will specify the volatility because there is no requirement for them to do so.

What is a Progressive Jackpot? – A progressive jackpot is a jackpot with a value that increases as more people spend money on that slot, at a particular casino. When someone wins that jackpot the value will reset and the progressive process begins again. Progressive jackpots can pay out significant amounts but they are normally more difficult to trigger than standard jackpots.

What are Free Spins? – Free Spins are spins that you can win that do not cost you anything to play through. So, if you trigger 10 free spins, none of those spins will cost you anything.

What are Scatter Symbols? – Scatter symbols are symbols that do not need to land on paylines to reward wins. This means as long as you have the required number anywhere on the reels they will pay out. Also, they are often the symbols needed to trigger free spins or bonus features.

What are Wild Symbols? – Wild symbols take the form of any other symbol to allow you to make a winning combinations more easily. They rarely do this for scatters or symbols that trigger bonuses.

What are Bonuses? – Bonuses are games within he slot that allow you to win a cash prize in a different way to the base game.

What is a Payline? – Paylines are predetermined lines that are established across the reels and rows, determining the required positioning of winning symbols. Those lines will normally start from the left or the right side of the reels.

What is a Reel? – Reels are the parts of the slot that spin. They are normally vertical, and sit like columns spinning a series of symbols that you will find the values for in the paytable. Slots normally contain between 3-5 reels, however, this can vary dramatically and there is no limit to how many you can expect to find.

How old do you have to be to play slots online? – This varies from country to country. In most countries you need to be at least 18. But many others have higher age limits, going right up to 25. You need to familiarise yourself with the limits in your country before you play.

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