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Written by: , Head of Content October 17, 2021 at 2:18PM
Last Updated: April 4, 2024 at 5:19PM ()
Read Time: 15 min.

How to Play Slots. Tips on Winning and Strategies

In addition to being super exciting and versatile, it’s beginner-friendly content. Anyone with zero experience can enjoy them and won’t stress out learning how everything works. Gaming sites don’t hesitate to integrate more titles and build up thrilling slot libraries. Typically it’s a demo session that teaches newcomers how to play slots. But here we get into every detail.

Slots Explained

Load any random title in test mode. What you’ll most probably see can be broken down into a few components: reels, icons, and lines. A bunch of control buttons is positioned outside the layout. Each time reels stop a different set of icons lands. Similar icons must land on an active line left to right to award a payoff. Most titles also have two special icons such as wilds (substitute for other symbols) and scatters (pay regardless of their position).

how to play slots

The type described is a traditional one but many more less conventional choices are on the market. Studios come up with all sorts of ideas. In some extreme cases they remove traditional reels and instead offer spiral patterns, gravity mechanic, etc. They experiment with shapes and engines to give slots a fresh look and feel. But apart from some wildest concepts, title usually remain easily recognizable.

Grid slots comprise a large share of the overall library. They are different, but look pretty much similar to traditional but the engines don’t have similarities. Similar icons must form a cluster (a bunch of symbols connected horizontally/vertically) to award a payoff. To highlight the difference, animation will often show symbols falling into position instead of spinning. 

As a tribute to the mechanical slots era, studios keep the animation of spinning reels. But it’s just the visual representation of a very quick process of RNG in action. It’s part of the show that delivers entertainment. If not wrapped in nice visuals, it wouldn’t be so exciting.  

Key Slot Elements

Developers use only several building blocks if we don’t consider the technical part of the content creation. The reels are recognizable part, that’s why studios rarely dare to experiment with them. These are vertical strips with a range of symbols. Most titles have 5-6 of them, but there are more options and the number can grow without limits. Just look at InfinityReels, for example.

slot reels

Paylines. There are usually multiple lines. A single line is a characteristic of a classic title when similar symbols must form a straight line right in the middle. Non classic titles usually have 10+ lines and they can be a straight line, zigzag, have a V shape, etc.

slot paylines

Generally combinations pay left to right. But titles can also pay both ways, and in even more rare cases from any position

pay left to right slots

win both ways slots

Bet size controls are typically below the reel set. Use them to change a wager size.

setting a bet size slots

Spin button is the final control that will set reels into motion.

basics of online slots

Paytable explains all the details of a title. For any info go directly to this file.

slots paytable


Regular symbols. The set of images that appear within the layout award bigger or smaller prizes for combinations. In fruit machines you’ll often see 7s, bells, bars, fruits, etc. Many games use playing card values 10-A and multiple themed images.

slot symbols

Scatters don’t follow the standard rules. What counts is the quantity and position is disregarded. If regular combination starts from leftmost/rightmost reel and is uninterrupted, scatters can land anywhere and still award wins. Scatter pays engine is another level of fun as all icons are scatters.

casino slots scatters

Bonus Symbols trigger features and boosters that give players better chances of landing payoffs.

online slots bonus symbols

Wilds are another popular component. Their job is to substitute for any regular icon to increase the payout rate. So, essentially, the wild is all regular symbols, whichever player needs at that time.

wild symbols in slots

Expanding Wilds mean a single symbol will turn into multiple to cover the entire reel. This helps land more wins.

expanding wilds in slots

Stacked Wilds are a series of wild icons coming one after another to boost the odds of landing a win.

stacked wilds slots

Walking Wilds remain on the reels during multiple spins. They move in the same direction with every spin until they disappear.

walking wilds slots

Colossal Symbols are bigger than regular. Starting from 2×2, they can grow to cover the entire reel setup. This is a popular option and some engines, such as GigaBlox, celebrate the idea of colossal icons.

colossal slot symbols

How to Play Slots

It’s extremely easy to get first experience. Playing slots technically requires a single click. Reels come into action and gradually stop. If any wins are hit, they are added and a game is ready for another spin. The same button must be pushed again to start a new round. For every spin, punters pay the amount they set.

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Free slots are the starting point that precede real money gaming. It gives the confidence to make the very first steps having zero experience. But before it’s time to transition to cash bets, it’s recommended to learn the basics and realize the dangers of problem gambling. A more serious approach is required to enjoy cash mode.

It’s stress free for newcomers to approach online slots. No pressure is put on punters as no one is watching and waiting impatiently. They can take as much time as they like before making their first spin. And it’s convenient to have access 24/7 from any device.

Start with a Game Plan

When gambling, players experience an entire spectrum of emotions and can easily lose track of time. It’s essential to know when to stop, and this moment should be determined before placing the first bet. Think of what games you’ll enjoy, and how much money and time will be spent.

Betting strategy is also important. Will you place the same bet size all the time or change it depending on the circumstances? The safest way is to never increase the bet size, but this might seem challenging as many gamblers tend to wager more when they lose to compensate for the losses. Remember to play responsibly and know that a variety of tools is available if gambling spins out of your control.

You might set a goal that makes it a challenge to define some boundaries. If, for instance, the goal of your session is to trigger a bonus, but when the mission will be achieved is unclear. To complete the challenge the number of spins will vary a lot. But even in this case, any mission must be abandoned when the limits have been reached.

Set a Budget in Advance and Stick to It

If too careless, you’ll quickly lose control, which is main danger of gambling. So, always plan the cost of a single session and do not divert from the plan. You can even place different bet sizes if you manage to stay within budget.

Punters can control the pace of their gambling when playing slot machines. Slowing down is equivalent to lowering the cost and stay within budget. Don’t rush it, wait before reels stop themselves, or stop them manually by clicking a button. To speed things up, there are options such as Turbo Mode and Autoplay.

Know That Every Win Is Totally Random

Being an educated gambler means accepting the fact that outcomes are random. That’s what RNG, tested and certified by labs, ensures. The goal of the software is to produce results that do not fall into easily recognizable patterns. Each round is an independent event and one can’t affect the outcomes of others.

What about strategies? They can answer the question of how to play slots and win, you may argue. That’s right, legit strategies do exist, but they abuse errors to rack up payouts and tip RTP in their favor. Errors are uncommon and it’s prohibited to benefit from them. It’s more effective to simply pick risk level to your taste.

Know the Reason You Play

Having fun is the sole purpose of gaming, and it’s never about earning money. Yes, moments of good luck allow to rake up more wins than losses. But the longer you gamble, the more it becomes obvious that operators end up winning the long term game. The reason how to play slots for beginners guide exists is to boost the fun and minimize negative effects.

First Steps

It doesn’t have to be a long testing session or learning stage. Whenever you feel ready to play slot machines, place a wager and see if you are lucky. The Spin button is usually at the right bottom side of the screen. Not a fan of clicking every time to send reels into motion? Try Autoplay.

Types of Slots

Slots make up the biggest category of casino content, and there’s never lack of options. Thousands of titles suit a wide range of tastes and there’s a long line of games for any occasion or mood waiting to be picked. Start from uncomplicated to see how to play slot machines and transition to more entertaining, feature-rich choices. Being uncomplicated, they provide a great platform for quickly picking the basics and effortlessly jumping to more complicated choices.

Video slots offer plenty of choices and a lot of different gameplays. There are literally thousands of variations and the selection keeps growing at an increasing rate. Jackpots, Megaways, and feature buy are the stars of the vertical, but as time progresses, the landscape changes.

For recreational punters, striking visuals that create an authentic environment are important. But great math shoots titles to stardom. And volatility gives away the most useful information. It ranges from low to high, and currently, extremely high risk content is on the rise. Slots rules window should contain volatility info.

Volatility is something you’ll hear a lot. The simple definition would be that it’s the risk level. Slots are more predictable in the way they award payouts when risk is low. Generally, these are smaller payoffs landing at a higher rate. High-risk content keeps everyone on the edge of their sits as anything can happen at any moment, from a series of exciting payoffs to a streak of losses. Bigger max wins are typically available compared to low-volatility titles.

Unconventional Solutions

Slots vertical is arguably the most dynamically evolving type of casino content. And sure enough, we occasionally witness the introduction of unconventional products. It can be innovative features but sometimes it’s a whole new product created, and in some cases, it won’t be possible to intuitively figure out how to play slots.

Slingo, for instance, is a cross between slots and bingo. A bit of testing or rules reading is required. Live slots don’t need any introduction if you have at least minimum experience playing slots.

Bonus Rounds

Entering a bonus game is usually a highlight of the session, because that’s when games unleash all their powers. Rarely do studios miss the opportunity to spice gameplay up with thrilling things. When tired of action packed titles, switch to classic fruit machines.

It usually takes time to trigger a feature as a combination you are after doesn’t show up frequently. Wonder how to play slot bonus rounds without waiting for too long? There’s a solution. For an average price of 50-100x, bonus buy games offer a shortcut to the most appealing part, which can be one of those listed below:

  • Pick and click bonus type offers a few objects with prizes hidden behind them.
  • Free spins. The average 10-25 spins are awarded to lucky punters, as they don’t pay for them. Usually, during free rounds, other features such as multipliers and extra wilds get automatically activated.
  • Respins are when certain symbols remain while others spin. These are typically used along with other bonus features, but can as well be a highlight of a game.

Ante bet is another increasingly popular option. It’s common in Pragmatic Play slot machines but is available in other studios’ portfolios. The option is great for those who want to trigger features naturally, but don’t mind paying for extra chances. It’s not like paying a fair chunk of money for a guaranteed bonus. Instead, you’ll pay a bit of extra for every spin.

Suppose the average feature hit rate is 1 in 200 rounds, if the Ante bet doubles the odds, which is often the case, then the figure becomes 1 in 100. Still getting it activated isn’t a sure thing. Typically the cost would be somewhere around 25% of a total bet, and it doesn’t seem like a lot at first but can add up to a pretty significant sum over time. Tips for playing slots with the Ante bet enabled are to set a smaller bet to accommodate for extra cost.

Selecting a Bet

At the bottom of the screen, there are usually a few controls to select a bet size. Click – or + buttons to decrease or increase the number of credits. There’s often a Max Bet option available to bet the max allowed amount in a single click.

The cheapest to pay for a round is $0.10-0.20. But keep an eye on the min bet requirements to qualify for the jackpot as it can be higher than the minimum allowed amount. Selecting the min stake is how to play slot machines and win without spending too much.

Other betting opportunities in addition to regular bets may be available. Boosting the odds of hitting a bonus game can be possible for an extra pay.

Do’s & Don’ts

What you definitely should do is pick the games you enjoy. Forget about RTP, volatility, popularity, big brands. The only thing that matters is, if you enjoy the title or not. Myriads of titles pose a challenge, and that’s when the second recommendation comes in handy – test games. Free mode is available without any limits and it’s useful because to find your favorite titles you’ll sometimes have to test dozens of slots.

  • Stay within budget. This entertainment seems fun and harmless, but everyone willing to make a few spins may end up developing a problem gambling. Avoid following this path by developing and implementing a money management strategy. Decide on the time per session and the appropriate price for it. It’s possible to slow down the play or make it faster. Learn how to play slots responsibly if self-control doesn’t work.
  • Rewards should be accepted only when wagering is acceptable. So, before uploading any funds, check out available promos. Credits, even though not real money, buy more time for a fixed amount of funds.

Some drawbacks have been mentioned above. Don’t spend too much, don’t play games that don’t seem thrilling. Test slots before staking real cash, this tip will stop you from wasting money. Look through the paytable for slot machine rules then demo games.

Beware of fake software that will quickly drain your balance as it’s tweaked. And perhaps the main tip is to pick trusted gaming sites. Follow it to get a safe and fair environment guaranteed.

How to Play Slots and Win: Main Strategies

The key to success is in enjoying the experience because otherwise, that by itself is a failure. Grabbing payouts does add to the pleasure, but that shouldn’t be the purpose. No winning strategies work the magic. So, don’t pay too much attention to them.

To do something to really affect your success rate, pick the titles with the highest RTP. Today this recommendation is especially important since an increasing number of developers create multiple versions that have different RTPs. So, you definitely should avoid the version with unfavorable payback. The difference can be huge and sometimes as big as 10%.

Knowing how to play casino slots at minimum cost is by itself is a victory. And by opting for the free mode it’s possible to save money. Every time demo credits are preferred over real ones, it’s the victory. Or any other instance of cutting the gaming expenses is a win.

Dispersion is the slot characteristic not to ignore especially for those wondering how to win playing slots. First challenge is to determine your understanding of winning because it varies. When they play slot machines, some want frequent payouts to fully enjoy the experience. Others imagine huge payouts and are determined to withstand unlucky streaks.
Knowing what certain volatility levels translate to in terms of payouts, punters make smarter choices and have more fun. A few things give additional flavor:

  • Many titles have this extra feature to boost the win potential. Multipliers can take on a wide range of properties. But every time they show up, it’s a chance to land a big win.
  • Buy-feature. Bonus buy is an exciting option that offers a shortcut to the juiciest part of the game. If your budget allows buying features, it’s worth to consider it as buying your way into a bonus feature often gives a slightly higher RTP.
  • Jackpots. Being a lucky winner of a jackpot sometimes is a life-changing event. The chances are slim, but money accumulated in the pot can be worth taking the risk. Slots rules should explain jackpot contributions and their seed values.
It’s a simple process and players don’t have to do much. Load a game, set a bet size, and push a Spin button. Symbols should land on an active payline or form a cluster to collect payouts.
You can jump right into the action by playing free slots. This way you benefit by learning the basics without the risk of losing any money. It’s easy to learn how to play by practicing playing slots.
The standard minimum bet is around 0.10-0.20 USD/EUR or equivalent amount in other currencies. Depending on the speed with which you spin the reels and a bet size you choose, it will be more or less expensive. That’s the basics of how to play slot machines for beginners.