A Beginner’s Guide to Slot Machines

Are you new to online slots, or do you find that you’re smashing through cash worryingly fast? Check out our comprehensive beginner's guide for a better understanding of slot types, how to play, bankroll management, and more.

On this page you'll learn about:
  • The basics of a slot machine
  • How to pick the right slot for you
  • Tips to maximize your payouts

How to Play Slots Online

Playing slot machines online is easy. To play, all you need to do is insert the appropriate number of coins (virtual coins for online slots, of course), hit the spin button, and wait for the result. After a spin, you can win some money, go to a bonus round if it’s a bonus machine, or not win anything for that spin. You can use more coins and play again.

Sounds simple, right? Well playing that way can lead to mindless, automatic play where you can lose a lot of cash quickly. If you’re new to online slots or find that you’re going through cash quickly, this beginner’s guide to slots will explain how to play online for the best possible results.

Slot Machine Basics for Beginners

Want to learn the basics? Here are the key things you need to know about slot machines before you play, either in a casino or online.

Reels

Every slot machine is composed of a series of reels. The number of reels is always odd, with machines having three, five, seven, or even nine reels. Each reel has various icons or symbols on it. You win money if, after the reels spin, they stop and align in a manner that results in winning combination on one or more paylines.

Paylines

The payline of a slot machine is composed of rows going across the reels from left to right. Paylines may be comprised of symbols that are all in the same row, or they may be in rows that fluctuate across the reels. Machines have from one to more than 50 paylines.

Symbols

The symbols on a slot machine, which in essence align to make a winning combination of images across a payline, are in some way related to the theme of the machine. As an example, a machine with an adventure movie theme will include characters and other images from that movie, while one that is based on a sport will include images associated with the particular sport’s theme.

Some symbols have specified properties and include free spin, scatter, wild, and bonus symbols. Often machines will offer a certain number of free spins if two or three of the designated free spin symbols appear on one turn. Wild symbols are used to complete paylines, as they can become any other symbol that’s associated with the payout table.

Bonus symbols will usually send you into the bonus round and scatters may work in various ways. Scatters often influence the start of bonus rounds or your ability to win free spins.

Payout table

Before playing any slot machine, read the associated payout table that tells you what combination of symbols will result in you going to the bonus round, hitting a winning combination, or capturing free spins. It will also inform you of how much you will win on a given turn depending on the combination of symbols and how much you bet.

How to Choose a Slot Machine

A major aspect of playing online slots is learning various machines and deciding which ones you want to play. When choosing the slots you’d like to play, take some time to try out different slot machines for free in demo mode.

Online casinos usually allow members to play free on selected machines. There are also slot websites that can give you access to free play online slots without needing to sign up or download any apps or software, like playing slot games in our free slots arcade.

There are many things to consider when choosing online slots.

Here are some important questions to ask:

  • Do you like the look and feel of the machine?
  • Is it exciting to play?
  • Does playing the maximum bet meet your budget?
  • Is there a bonus round where you can expand winnings? (This is recommended)
  • How many reels and paylines do you personally want on an online slot?
  • What’s the maximum jackpot versus the max bet? Is it a good value?
  • Are there numerous medium payouts? (This is preferred)

There are other factors to consider once you narrow down your choices. When you find a machine or machines you enjoy, it’s time for the next step. There’s still a little more work to do before you start to play slot machines online for real money.

How to Play Slots and Win

While we all play slots because we want to win, an important aspect to remember is they’re totally unpredictable. Random number generators (RNGs) determine what symbols will come up and in which order govern slot machines, so when you put in your tokens, you never know what will happen next.

If you want to better your chances by expanding your slots knowledge, take a look at our handy guide on how to win at slots.

Beginner Tips for Playing Slots Online

Here are six top tips designed to make sure you have a good experience playing slots online:

  1. Stay focused on the moment.
  2. Track how much money you are spending and winning/losing.
  3. Stop playing when you’ve lost what you’ve come to spend.
  4. Stop playing if you’ve won a substantial amount of cash.
  5. If you play the double-up game in the bonus, remember that you can lose all bonus winnings.
  6. Play for fun and not to win the month’s rent or car payment.

Preparation is key to playing slot machines online. Knowing a machine before you start pumping cash into it will help you understand any choices you may have, especially as far as the bonus round and double up features are concerned. Be sure to stick to your budget, stay focused, play at your own rate, and have fun!

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