How to Play Slots Online – Ultimate Guide for Dummies

How to play Slot Machines? Guide for beginners

I have written this online slots guide especially for those new to the world of online slot machines. Here you will find all the most necessary and basic information regarding playing slots online. However, even if you are not a beginner and already know how to play slots online – do not be too lazy and read this article to the end because you will definitely learn something new and interesting about this casino game.

Slots are the most popular and demanded game in any online casino! This is a casino game where luck decides a lot, but you cannot do without understanding the principle of the game. In addition to the rules, you also need to understand the types of online slots as there is a huge variety of them, and you will definitely find your own!

General Rules

Like in any other casino game, the main guarantee of success is your luck and a solid understanding of the rules and mechanics of the game. To begin with, I suggest getting clear with such a concept as a payline. A payline is a line on the reels of the slot that forms winning combinations. In classic slot machines of the last century, a payline was a line that combined three identical symbols in the center of the reels. With the advent of online slots and their transformation, paylines changed as well. Now you can find not just one (single) payline, but several (multi) at once. Besides, they are not horizontal only, but they can be vertical, diagonal, and even zigzag.

Single and multi paylines slots

First, you need to decide how many paylines you want to use. As I said before, there can be not one, and not two, but dozens, and even hundreds of them.

The idea of the game is to collect three or more symbols (depending on the type of slot) on one payline. The winnings depend on the value of the symbols and the size of your bet. Sounds easy, right? Let’s figure it out further!

Basic Game Concepts

Slots Reels

The reels are spinning columns on which the game symbols are depicted. You spin the reels and as soon as they stop you will see if you win or lose.

In online slots, the number of reels can vary from three to nine. For example, classic online slots based on traditional slot machines have 3 reels. The most popular online casino slots are five-reel slots.

5 reel slot

Slots Paylines

A payline is a string or combination of symbols that form a payout pattern in a slot machine. When one of the required combinations of symbols appears on the payline, you win. These lines are sometimes referred to as bet lines or pay lines.

Traditional classic slot machines have only one horizontal payline that combines 3 winning symbols (usually sevens or fruits). However, modern online slots have several paylines at the same time, and sometimes dozens or even hundreds. The paylines, in addition to being multiple, can be horizontal, including verticaldiagonal, and even zigzag.

Before the reels start spinning, you have to activate any of the offered paylines by simply placing a bet on it. Your payout per spin will depend on the number of paylines you have activated and how much you bet on them.

Paylines image


The paytable is the key to understanding a particular slot, so be sure to read it before playing. From the paytable, you can understand what your winnings will be, and if you get one or another combination of symbols. However, please note that your winnings will also depend on the size of the bet you place. If you do not read the paytable, you will not understand what kind of winnings you can expect or if a jackpot can be won here.

Game symbols

Understanding the game symbols is just as important as understanding the paytable. Let’s take a look at the main types of game symbols and their meanings.

  1. Wild symbols

The Wild symbol can replace any missing symbol on the reel for a winning combination. It works like this: if, for example, 4 identical symbols and 1 Wild symbol fell on the line, it will replace the missing symbol you need, and thus you will get a winning combination of 5 symbols. By the way, the more Wild symbols appear on the reel, the more your additional reward will be.

Wild symbols image

  1. Expanding Wild symbols

These symbols work in much the same way as Wild symbols. However, there is still a difference. Appearing on the reel, these symbols can replace all other symbols, thus creating incredibly winning combinations.

Expanding wild symbols image

  1. Stacked Wild symbols

These symbols are very similar to the Expanding Wilds symbols. The difference is in the fact that on the reel they do not fall out one by one, but immediately in a group (they are located on the reel in several cells in a row).

Stacked wild symbols image

  1. Scatter symbols

These symbols can be met far more less often than others. Their role is to activate additional bonus rounds. None of the Wild symbols can replace the Scatter symbol.

Scatter symbols image

Bonus Rounds

If there are several Scatter symbols or a certain combination of symbols (depending on the slot) on the reel, a bonus round (free spins round) or a bonus game is triggered, in which you can open several cells behind which prizes are hidden.

Bonus image

Return To Player Rate (RTP)

Return To Player Rate is a key indicator for a player when choosing an online slot. RTP indicates how much players can get back from their bets. The higher the RTP is, the higher the chance of winning. For example, if the RTP of the slot is 95%, this means that in a certain period of the game, you will return $ 9.5 out of $ 10 wagered.

TOP 5 Highest RTP Slots 2021

Ugga BuggaPlaytech99,07%
Mega JokerNetEnt99%
Jackpot 6000NetEnt98.9%
1429 Uncharted SeasThunderkick98.6%


Multipliers are quite popular symbols, but not every slot has it. They can multiply your winnings by 2, 10, and sometimes hundreds of times from its original value. Sometimes such symbols appear in the standard game mode, but sometimes they appear only in bonus rounds and games. Besides, sometimes Wild and Scatter symbols can also act as a multiplier, further increasing the winnings. The rules by which the multipliers increase the winnings are different for all slots. Therefore, when starting the game, be sure to read the paytable.

Multipliers image


Autoplay is a function implying an automatic spin of the slot reels for a certain number of times, set by the player beforehand. In most online slots, autoplay allows you to set a time and financial limit, as well as the number of spins. Thus, the player just observes the process.

Volatility parameter of online slot machines

Volatility is a parameter that determines the frequency/winnings ratio. Please, avoid confusing the said concept with RTP.

What should you choose? Which slot will be right for you: high volatility or low volatility slot? Let’s figure it out. Low volatility slots are ideal for beginners. They are characterized by more frequent wins, however, the winnings that exceed a player’s bet are very rare.

If you are already an experienced gambler, choose slots with high volatility. Those slots tend to have less frequent payouts, but the payouts will be more sizable than in slots with low volatility.

TOP 5 Low Volatility Slots 2021

Thunderstruck IIMicrogaming
GemixPlay’n GO
Bonus BearsPlaytech
Dazzle MeNetEnt

TOP 5 High Volatility Slots 2021

BonanzaBig Time Gaming
Book of DeadPlay’n GO
Cazino ZeppelinYggdrasil
Gonzos QuestMegaways
Danger High VoltageBig Time Gaming

Key conclusions

  • Before you start playing a slot – first carefully study its paylines.
  • Also don’t forget about the paytable. Paytable and paylines are the keys to understanding the principles of playing a particular slot.
  • Watch if Wild symbols appear on the screen. Bear in mind that they may replace any other symbol for a winning combination.
  • Choose a slot based on its volatility. Bear in mind that low volatility slots will give you frequent but small wins, while high volatility slots will give you less frequent but bigger wins.

Types of Online Slot Machines

Online casinos offer many types of slot machines. I suggest you take the most popular and understand their specifics.

Classic Slot Machines

Classic Slots are slot machines with three reels. Their design is similar to traditional slot machines in offline casinos.

Classic slot image

Video Slots

Usually, this type of online slots has 5 reels. Their specifics is the animation that appears at the moment of a winning combination.

Video slot image

3D Slots

This type of slot machines is very similar to video slots, but the graphics are three-dimensional. Thanks to the unique graphics, the player can plunge into the process and feel the whole atmosphere of the game.

3d slot image

Those slots usually have several reels and paylines, as well as an interesting plot and famous characters.

Progressive Slot Machines

The specifics of this type of slots is a jackpot, which gets bigger after each bet placed by the players. The jackpot total goes up until one of the players wins it. After the jackpot is won, it will go down to zero and start growing again.

Some progressive jackpot slots are standalone, that is, they increase only from the bets made on the specific slot machine, other progressive slots are linked within the online casino, and there are also slots that are linked in all online casinos where that slot is hosted.

Progressive slot image

How to Play Slot Machines Online: Step by Step Instructions For Beginners

Slots are the most demanded and popular game in any online casino. This is not surprising, because any slot is simple and easy to understand. You don’t need a strategy or a long learning curve here – you can start playing right away.

Even if you are a beginner and have never played slots – just follow the step-by-step guide that I have compiled for you and you will see that this is the easiest game that can bring you impressive winnings, if you are lucky enough.

Step 1. First, define your budget and stick to it. This is very important because slots are a very interesting game and therefore it is very easy to lose track of money and time. Then, decide on the slot you want to play, while paying attention to its volatility and RTP (I already mentioned this above).

After starting the game, the reels of your slot machine and the slot control buttons will appear on the screen, as well as your bankroll in the corner of the screen.

Step 2. Be sure to carefully study the game symbols and the paytable in the game.

Explore the info section and take a look at the in-game paytable. This way, you will understand how much each symbol is worth and what winning combinations you can expect to win.

Step 3. Now decide how many paylines you want to play. If you want to select all paylines, click the “maximum bet” button.

Step 4. To start spinning the reels, press the “spin” button. If you win, it will be displayed on the screen, and you will be asked to play the game “at-risk”, which will give you a chance to win a bigger prize in the bonus game.

Step 5. You can spin the reels as many times as you like, or simply select the “autoplay” mode. However, do not forget to keep an eye on your bankroll, and, as I said above, be sure to set your budget before you start playing, and stay within it.

What is the best strategy for learning to play slot machines?

By far the best way to learn how to play slots is by playing the demo version. There are a huge number of sites on which you can understand the principle of the game and practice. Therefore, do not rush to immediately place real bets, but first, get used to the slot controls.

Almost all existing categories of slots can be found in demo mode. Therefore, choose exactly the type of slot machine that suits you the most.

The development of mobile technologies and the Internet has given players another advantage – now you can play almost anywhere and any time convenient for you if you have a portable gadget. It would be stupid not to use this possibility, wouldn’t it?

How to beat Slot Machines: 3 Useful Tips

Slot machines have undergone significant changes, after being moved from conventional casinos to virtual ones. Having gone through a significant transformation, slots now have a huge number of paylines, reels, and a variety of symbols. Also, modern online slot machines are lavish with jackpots, bonus rounds, and game varieties.

Even though the success of playing slots depends largely on luck, there are still several things that can help increase your chances for success.

I have prepared 3 golden rules for you that apply to slot games:

  • Tip 1. Place your bets on as many paylines as possible. If you do not have a large budget, reduce the amount of the bet, but do not reduce the number of paylines you bet on.
  • Tip 2. Be sure to carefully study the rules of the game in which you are going to play. For example, some jackpots or bonuses require a minimum bet to win. Therefore, be sure to carefully read the rules of the game before starting it so as not to lose sight of these important points.
  • Tip 3. Use special functions.

Most modern online slot machines offer special features to players. This, for example, can be a quick game or autoplay. The said features will help you speed up your gambling process.

Worst player mistakes when playing slot machines

I have highlighted the following common mistakes newcomers make and that directly affect the success of your game:

  • Not to pay attention to the RTP of the slot when choosing a game. You can read what RTP is and how this indicator affects the probability of your winning in the same article above.
  • Inefficient use of your finances. Manage your bankroll wisely to stay in the game longer and increase your chances of winning.
  • Try not to place maximum bets all the time. Perhaps, many slot experts will disagree with me, but I believe that making the maximum bets is the surest way to lose your bankroll quickly.
  • The most obvious mistake, in my opinion, is the blind pursuit of victory until complete defeat. Believe me, if you are in a bad mood – leave the game for later. After all, luck is a fancy bird, and in order to catch it by the tail, you need to try.

Last Updated: Jul 18, 2022

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