Slots constitute almost three-quarters of online casino games and have moved on from the days of the one-armed bandit. Their popularity is largely due to the player not needing any complex skills in relation to strategy since slots are based entirely on luck, with the possibility of winning large amounts from limited stakes. Slots offer an immersive experience from sports, fantasy and other entertainment that means there is always something new to try. Here are some things you need to know about online slots to make the best of your experience:
Paylines are the series of winning combinations that criss-cross the slots reels. They are the jagged lines that are drawn across the reels of a slot and play a large role in how winning combinations are formed.
Single playlines are found in classic slots with three reels and three rows, with the payline consisting of just three matching symbols. However, there can be many more, depending on the number of reels and rows. For example, a modern 5-reel slot with four rows can have as many as 25, 30 or 50 paylines with a winning payline containing only two matching symbols, or two matching symbols plus Wilds or Scatters.
Most slots let you choose how many paylines you bet on each spin. Usually, you work with three buttons. You can select any or all paylines manually just by clicking on the numbers running up the side of the reels. You might select 2, 5, or 12 paylines to play with the bet size growing with each selection.
Paylines run from Reel 1 on the left, which connects to a symbol on Reel 2, Reel 3, and so on. Payouts are usually made by connecting at least two symbols, but all must connect with Reel 1 in some way. Check out the paytable for each slot, which will provide further information about symbols, jackpots and bonus features, listing every payline pattern in the game, and the game's Return to Player (RTP) percentage.
Scatter symbols or scatters enable bonus features to greatly enhance your gameplay experience and also your chances of winning big. Paytables for each game will tell you what the scatter symbols offer as prizes. They can lead to a bonus feature such as free spins or an interactive bonus game.
Scatter symbols do not need to line up to work. Scatters have big symbols and are often gold or shiny. Scatters are not as common on a three-reel play where the focus is on winning jackpots through combinations. The five-reel machines offer up a larger range of excitement, with varying combinations, different bet types and bonuses. This is why scatters are far more useful and relevant to five-reel machines. One of the big bonuses scatter symbols offer are free spins when scatters and other special symbols are excluded.
Paylines can be completed using Wild cards (or Wilds). Wild cards fill in "the gaps" in paylines by substituting other symbols on the reels, though they will not normally replace scatter symbols, free spin or other bonus symbols.
Wilds can be used with any symbols on the reels to create winning combinations since they substitute for all other symbols on the reels. If there are lots of Wilds on Reel 1, they could fill in many more winning lines. Some slots feature three 'stacked' Wilds on the first reel that offer even bigger wins. Some wild symbols even come with prizes on their own, acting as the highest-paying symbol in the game.
There is no way to control the appearance of wild symbols, as they appear randomly on the reels. However, you can check the game's paytable to find out exactly where the wilds appear and what they will and will not substitute for as this can vary significantly between games.
Most online slot games have at least one bonus type feature. The most common offer players the chance of free spins or the chance of a bonus game. Others offer multi-level bonus feature rounds, which are easy to understand and play slots but with a more entertaining play.