Your Guide to Winning at Slots

What does it take to win when you roll the reels on a slot machine? Here, we’ll talk you through slot machine secrets, and how understanding these can make you a better player.

How Can You Win at Slots?

While there is no singular ‘magic trick’ that can result in a huge payout, a good start is understanding the way slots work. It’s also essential in helping you make smart gaming decisions, and ultimately getting the most out of your money.


Every slot machine has a paytable that explains winning combinations, how multipliers and bonus symbols work, and how to qualify for the big jackpot. Read a machine's paytable before playing it for real money and when you hit a winning combination refer to the table again, so you understand how you won and how much you won.

Pay attention to the paytable on the slot you are playing. It's easier to understand how you can win, and easier for you to pick the more lucrative slot.

Coins In/Coins Out

‘Coins in’ versus ‘coins out’ refers to a very important - and often misunderstood - fact about slot machine payout numbers. Payout tables list the number of units you may put into a machine, the coins in, and the number of units or coins you'll receive if you hit a winning combination, the coins out.

As an example, if a certain winning combination for slot machine offers 400 coins out for one coin in, 800 coins out for two coins in, and 1200 coins out for three coins in, how much cash you make depends on the size of coin you're using.

If you use a cent when you play and you bet the maximum of three coins and win, you'll get 1,200 cents or $12, but if you play the same number of coins but instead of cents use dollars, you'd win $1,200. The size of the unit used increases your risk, but it also increases your potential payout.

What are Random Number Generators?

A major slot machine element that influences how you win at slots is the ‘random number generator’ or ‘RNG’. For many players, the RNG is a slot machine secret they simply do not understand. Some basic knowledge about how RNGs work will certainly help you become a better player.

All slot machine outcomes are controlled by an RNG that is pre-set at the factory where the machine is made. RNGs are constantly running even when a slot machine is at rest; they don't just spring into action when you spin the reels.

What is Return to Player Percentage?

A major difference between land-based and online slots is the ‘return to player percentage’, which is usually called the return to player’ or ‘RTP’. Knowing about this percentage is an important factor in determining how to win at slots.

The RTP percentage is an important factor when it comes to choosing which slots you play. Would you rather play a machine with an RTP of 92% or 99%?

The answer is 99% because that machine is offering back to players $0.99 of every $1.00 bet. You can view individual slot game RTPs within our slot reviews.

Slot Payouts and Bonus Rounds

Payout rate (variance)

Knowing the payout rate is also important, as this will help you know what to expect from a certain machine. A slot machine that pays out often, that has a low variance, will usually offer players many small prizes.

On the other hand, a slot machine that is stingier with the number of times it pays out, which is said to have a high variance, will often offer up bigger prizes.

As far as winning at slots is concerned and extended playing time, low variance slows, those that offer more but smaller payouts will usually extend your playing time. Playing high variance machines, because they pay out less often, may reduce the amount of time you spend at a machine, but they offer more potential for a big payday.

Bonus round

Not all slot machines have bonus rounds, although these rounds are quite common with newer machines. A bonus round is triggered by a specific combination of symbols, often when three or more bonus symbols appear on the reels.

When this occurs, you'll be awarded with free spins and taken to a new screen where you'll use these spins. The number of spins you're rewarded with is determined by how many bonus symbols come up.

The more bonus icons you hit, the more free spins you'll receive. When you're in the bonus round prizes are usually multiplied by two or three times the normal amount. In some bonus rounds, you can earn even more free spins! To win at slots, play machines that offer bonus rounds as these can pay off in a major way.

Qualifying for progressive payouts

If you are going to play a progressive online slot machine, you'll want to know that the secret to winning the jackpot is to bet the maximum amount. Most progressive machines will not pay the full jackpot amount unless the player has wagered the max. If you cannot make the big bet, then you're probably better off playing a slot with lower stakes and a lower variance.

Money Management

The best way to win is to extend the amount of time you spend at the slot. Practice sound money management whenever you play.

The best way to increase our chances of winning is to extend the amount of time you spend at a slot machine. To increase your playing time practice sound bankroll management. First, choose a machine where you can play a minimum of 100 spins per session.

Also, it's best if you can play each spin at the maximum rate as this guarantees you a maximum payout if you do win. Finally, only play machines you can afford.

When it comes to winning at slots, you're better off playing a low variance machine that accepts a maximum of three coins and that offers you a large number of spins than a high variance slot that takes up to 50 coins and provides you with just a few spins. The longer you play, the better your chance is of winning.

Slot-specifics can be found at either your online casino or at the slot machine gaming company's website.

Playing at Great Online Slots Casinos

Knowing slot machine secrets and understanding the basics can certainly help you become a smarter player and can give you the knowledge that you need to know how you can win at slots.

To locate a great online slots casino that includes big bonuses, popular machines with high return to player percentages, and major progressives, please see our shortlist of the very best slots casinos.