Slot machines are the most popular games in both online and brick 'n mortar casinos. Part of their appeal is the opportunity for large winnings, especially online slots that offer a progressive jackpot. Another part of their appeal is the simplicity of play. Aside from getting to know the symbols and pay table pertaining to each game, playing a slot machine does not demand overt concentration and skill. Coupled with the entertainment factor, it's no surprise why online slots are such a hit with bettors. More fun than any table game, the online slot machines of today truly offer an interactive experience, which in the online gambling world, can vary between software developer and online casino.
Online Slots General Information and Odds:
Both video slots and 3-reel slots can be played at online casinos. The differences between the two are that video slots generally offer more of everything. They have more paylines (45 or more on some machines, as opposed to a single line), offer more coins per line, and generally come with five reels as opposed to three reels. Naturally, this equates to larger bets and the potential of spending more money. No wonder online casinos have so many video slots in their repertoire, right?
While there is no measurable variable to say whether a particular video slot has a better payout than a particular 3-reel slot, it's a fact that video slots have the potential to suck a bankroll dry much quicker than a traditional 3-reel slot. On the other hand, video slots generally have larger payouts. Another difference between the two is that video slots have more "bells and whistles", i.e., wild symbols, multipliers, free spins and bonus rounds. As such, players are always advised to become familiar with the payout table of a slot machine, as well as all of the special features before playing with real money. Casino software has been known to malfunction and withhold the proper payout. Becoming familiar with all of the possible winning combinations and payout patterns, therefore, is highly advised when first playing an online slot.
Game Setup and Playing Mode:
Immediately below is a screen grab of RTG software's Achilles video slot. Note the large number of paylines (20 total), corresponding to the two vertical rows of numbers located next to the first and last reels. The betting interface from slot to slot will vary to a certain degree, but the functions are always the same. The player chooses the denomination coin (if it is not fixed), the number of paylines and the number of coins to wager on each payline. At the precise moment the Spin button is clicked, the RNG of the software selects a pattern of numbers corresponding to the final reel positions. A Balance, Bet Amount and Win box will always be present. Navigational controls include cashier and main casino lobby access.
In the following screen shot, note the pink line running diagonally up and down from corner to corner on the reels. This is a winning payline. For this particular example, Line 5 is the winner. Note the color of the payline corresponds to the line number in the lower left corner. If multiple paylines were wagered and multiple wins encountered, each payline will continuing flashing in succession until the spin button is clicked again. Players are advised to pay attention to the reels closely - as nothing being perfect - casino software can malfunction. A screen shot of the final results is if excellent evidence if a dispute were to arise.
The following screen shot is of a classic three-reel slot (RTG's Real Series). Note the simplicity of the interface as well as the similarity in functions compared to the online video slots above. Being only a 5 payline machine, the symbol combinations are easier to keep up with. In the particular example below, Line 3 paid out 6 coins. Looking at the pay table, the winning line was composed of three butterflies, with the peace signs serving as a matching wild.
Game Objective and Rules:
Without trying to sound redundant, the objective of slots is simply to spin the reels and hope to win. Specifically, this amounts to the reels lining up to form certain symbol combinations corresponding to a pay table. As mentioned, there are various elements introduced to help spice things up, like wild symbols, free spin features and bonus rounds. With the addition of second screen bonus rounds (which amount to guessing on the part of the player), players need only to spin the reels.
Some common rules and features applicable to video slots include the following:
- Scatter Symbol - this is a symbol that will pay anywhere it lands.
- Wild Symbol - Also sometimes a scatter, wild's will become the symbol necessary to make a winning combination.
- Multiplier - A symbol that if landing in sync with a winning payline(s) will multiply the normal payout for the win.
- Free Spins Bonus Feature - A series of consecutive/automatic spins awarded as a bonus (often with multiplied winnings on the free spins).
- Second Screen Bonus Round - An interactive bonus round involving an action on the player's end. This could amount to selecting one card out of five facedown hold cards - the bonus payout based on the denomination of the drawn card. Second screen bonuses also up the entertainment factor of slots. Depending on the software platform, some online video slots bonus rounds amount to an unfolding storyline and adventure.
It is also worth noting that progressive jackpot slots come with a stipulation that if the player does not wager on all of the paylines, the maximum jackpot will not be paid. Keep that in mind when going after a progressive slot machine.