Whether you know them as slot machines, fruit machines, or one-armed bandits, slots have always been a fun and exciting way to spend some time (and hopefully win some cash).
When the burgeoning internet brought us the first iteration of the online casino back in 1995, online slots quickly became one of the most popular ways to play, and hundreds of casino sites have been developed with many different types of online slot games, all waiting for players like you to come and get involved.
Slots are popular because they are not about skill int eh same way that poker or blackjack is winning is down to the random number generator and chance. This makes them an excellent starting point for someone who is just getting into playing casino games online – but it is important to remember that not all online slot games are the same, and as technology develops so do the mechanics and the design of these push-button games.
If you want to know more about the different types of online slots that are available, then have a look at the descriptions below.
This is the classic layout that you’ll no doubt recall when you think of slot machines.
There are three horizontal rows and three vertical columns, with a variety of colourful symbols that spin when you press the button.
Usually across the middle of the screen is the payline, and when certain symbols align there, you will win.
Perfect for beginners, 3-reel slots are the simplest and most straightforward of all the mechanics, although they can have added extras (see below).
As the name suggests, these slots are bigger – five columns instead of three. They are often more elaborate in terms of design and are more likely to have additional software or graphic elements that both enhance gameplay and the opportunity for wins.
These slots are also more likely to have more paylines too, sometimes up to 100 – which means that stakes can be a bit more complicated. A 10p stake on a single payline 3-reel slot will cost 10p a spin, but it’ll cost £5 a spin if you use all 50 paylines on a 5-reel.
Feature slots can have different numbers of reels, but what sets them apart is the addition of bonus games.
These are additional chances to win money or extra spins, and they are usually triggered by special symbols (such as scatter or wild symbols).
Feature slots might also have additional mechanics like cascading or expanding reels, and they can make a game much more exciting (but also more complicated).
As a result of graphic design software and animation capabilities growing and extending, the design of online slot games get better too.
Thanks to these developments, you can now play games with interactive characters, beautiful backgrounds and landscapes, and even cut scenes that you might expect to find on the latest console video game release.
These make the online slots experience even more exciting in most cases, especially when they have themes like movies and TV shows.
Your favourite movie or game franchise is probably available as a fun online slot game – and in fact, some of the earliest slots were based around characters and symbols from Tomb Raider, for example.
Themed slots can go into a lot of detail, featuring video and audio from the original sources as well as instantly recognisable items Everything from game shows like Wheel of Fortune to movie like Fast and Furious, as well as countless video games.
Other slots are themed too, although they might not be licensed film or game characters – you’ll find slots built around the pyramids of Egypt, in the leprechaun-filled fields of Ireland, or out on the lake for the anglers.
Progressive slots are all about hitting huge jackpots, and they can come in a couple of different forms. Sometimes these are standalone jackpots on a specific game, where a portion of all players spend accumulates progressively into the jackpot until some lucky player wins it.
Other progressive slots are linked through their software, which means that multiple payers around the world are contributing to it – and this can lead to some lifechanging wins.
The largest progressive jackpot win entered the Guinness World Records back in 2015 when one lucky player walked away with a cool £13.2 million after playing the Microgaming title Mega Moolah.
Times are changing and the mechanics that govern the way slots are played are changing too – with some new ways of playing introduced by some of the biggest names in the game. These include:
- Crazy Tooth Studios – WiNCREASE: Inflate a balloon while you play, collect the cash before it pops.
- Yggdrasil – Splitz – mystery symbol splits into anywhere between 3-9 matching symbols to make a win more likely.
- NetEnt – INFINIREELS – starts off as a 3-reel, but more can be added up to infinity if symbols align.
- Big Time Gaming – Megaways – the Megaways mechanic offers increased ways to win, multipliers, and cascading reels – as well as hundreds of thousands of paylines.
Choosing the right slot game can be a challenging task due to the vast range of options available. To select a slot game that is right for you, there are a few factors to consider. Firstly, decide what type of slot game you want to play, such as classic, video, or progressive slots. Then, think about your level of experience and skill. If you’re new to slots, consider starting with a game that has simple rules and low betting limits. Next, determine your budget and look for slot games with betting options that fit your bankroll. Finally, read reviews and ask for recommendations from experienced slot players to find games that are entertaining and fair. By considering these factors, you can choose a slot game that you’ll enjoy playing and increase your chances of winning.