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How to Play Slots

How to Play Slots

Table of Contents

Quick Intro to Slots

Slot machine games go by many different names, including fruit slots, pub fruity slots, classic slots, video slots, progressive slots, pokies, and others. In essence, these games consist of spinning reels, symbols, paylines, and random outcomes. They began as intricately-crafted mechanical devices with the Liberty Bell slot machine, and became super sophisticated with digital slots featuring 3D animation, and mesmerising Vegas-esque action.

From the days of one arm bandits to online slots, these wildly-entertaining attractions have captivated hordes of players for decades. Slot machine games are the bread-and-butter of casino operations worldwide. Slots are easy to play. No complicated tactics or strategies are needed. This guide on how to play slots will introduce you to the basic features, functions, and faux pas of playing slots games online, or in person.

Different Slot Denominations

Casual players and high rollers are guaranteed to find the perfect slot machine game to play. When you’re learning how to play slots, it’s always a good idea to begin with low denomination slot machine games such as penny slots. The name is a little deceiving, since penny slots don’t really cost a penny to play. These attractive slot machine games feature a required minimum number of paylines, often between 100 – 300 lines per spin. Do the math, that’s around £1 – £3 for every spin. Nonetheless, players still love penny slot games.

Video slots and progressive jackpot slots require substantially more per spin. You can raise the stakes with your coin value, and bet multiple credits per payline. Typical video slots feature anywhere from 20 paylines all the way up to 1024+ paylines, depending on the game. Effective bankroll management is really important when you are playing high denomination slots with plenty of paylines.

With classic slots, payout lines are typically straight lines, with the centre line as the moneymaker. In video slots payout lines take on many different combinations, with crisscross patterns, zigzag shapes, Vs and inverted Vs, and others. Video slots take things a step further with scatter pays which will award payouts to players whenever combinations of scatters land anywhere on the reels. They don’t even have to be on the same payline for winnings to accrue. When you’re learning how to play online slots, it’s really important to consider the unique payout combinations too.

Classic Slots, Video Slots, or Progressive Slots?

It’s easy to tell what type of slot machine game you’re playing. There are 3 broad categories of slots, including classic slots, video slots, and progressive slots.

  • Classic Slots – classic slots typically feature fruit symbols such as grapes, oranges, cherries, watermelons, plums, horseshoes, bars, bells, and red 7s. These traditional slot games usually have a centre line payout structure, and usually have 3 reels in play. While it’s uncommon for classic slots to have bonus features, some do.  These games are simple to play, and usually have between 1 – 8 paylines maximum. There aren’t any fancy graphics and animation, but the payouts on classic slots are bigger when lady luck smiles your way.
  • Video Slots – video slots do away with a centre payline. These slot machine games are all about multi-reel entertainment with video functionality, bonus rounds, wild symbols, scatter symbols, multipliers, free spins, gamble features, autoplay functionality, pick me bonuses, and much more. Today’s video slots games are affordable at £0.01 per coin + with maximum coin values of £5.The number of coins you wager per bet line, and the number of lines you play determines the total cost. When you’re learning how to play slots, it is strongly advised that you play maximum coin value on maximum lines. All of this must be done within your budget. Never gamble more than you can afford to lose – that’s the art of responsible gaming.
  • Progressive Slots – progressive jackpot slots have a jackpot that gets progressively bigger.  These games take a small percentage of every bet that is placed, and add it to the progressive jackpot prize pool. The only way you can win the total progressive jackpot is by betting maximum coins on maximum lines. It works similarly with jackpot slots; the only difference is that progressive jackpot slots are continually getting bigger.

Slots Etiquette at Casinos

They say that ‘Manners maketh man’ or woman! Slots etiquette at casinos is fairly easy to understand, and while it won’t help you to win more slots games it certainly won’t hurt your chances. Etiquette describes the manner in which you conduct yourself while playing slots. Naturally, you don’t want to annoy other players seated beside you, that’s just not how to play slots.

The way you comport yourself should be socially acceptable, and within the framework of the casino. Of course, you don’t want to be sitting at a slot machine that you’re not playing at – that’s just rude. If you are going to take a break, take your personal belongings with you. And if you’re taking an extended break between slot sessions, don’t sit at a machine and prevent other players from using it. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about slots etiquette at online casinos.

Online Slots or Land-Based Slots?

Does it make a difference whether you play online slots or land-based slots? The actual games may be identical, but there are differences in the RTPs that you should bear in mind. Online slots games are typically associated with much higher RTPs because the costs associated with online casinos are much lower. Land-based casinos cannot afford to be as generous with their RTPs, because they have many fixed costs to take care of. Think of property, machinery, equipment, maintenance, personnel, daily operations et cetera. For this reason, it is recommended that players learn how to play online slots.

Intro to Wild & Scatter Symbols

It’s impossible to know how to play slot machines without a rudimentary understanding of wild and scatter symbols. At the most basic level, a wild symbol substitutes for other symbols, except for bonus symbols and scatter symbols to form winning combinations. Wilds perform the same function in online slots and land-based slots games. Now, there are different types of wild symbols to consider including expanding wilds, sticky wilds, and stacked wilds.

Scatter symbols are associated with rewards. Sometimes, combinations of scatter symbols reward players with Free Spins. Sometimes scatter symbols reward players with payouts. It really depends on the specific slot machine game. However, you won’t know how to play slots without a thorough understanding of scatter symbols. Scatter symbols are usually associated with 5 reel slot machine games a.k.a. video slots and jackpot slots.

Autoplay Functionality or Not?

As a slots player, you no doubt know all about Autoplay functionality, sometimes called Autospin functionality. It’s self-explanatory, but there is something that most slots players don’t know about autoplay functionality, and it’s really important. As somebody learning how to play online slots, this tip will serve you well in your pursuit of bigger prizes. Many video slots present players with a Gamble Feature.

This unique feature allows you to gamble your winnings, in the hopes of scoring even bigger wins. If you choose Autoplay functionality, you will forfeit the Gamble Feature because no accommodation is made for this. Autoplay functionality allows you to select the number of spins, based upon a set bet level. You can disable this function at any time by simply clicking the stop button. Autoplay can also be stopped when certain conditions have been met such as loss limits, or win amounts.

Slots Bankroll Management

The crux of any casino strategy is sound bankroll management. Without a bankroll management strategy in place, it is impossible to learn how to play slots. It’s imperative to formulate a budget for all of your slots sessions. Consider the minimum bets per spin by calculating the bet per coin, the number of coins per line, and the number of lines per spin. More than that, the following advice will really help you when playing online slot machine games:

  • Never chase your losses
  • Never borrow money to gamble with
  • Never gamble with money that you cannot afford to lose
  • Always set loss limits and stick to them
  • Always take advantage of no deposit bonuses and match deposit bonuses
  • Always adjust your specific slot games to your bankroll, and not the other way around
  • Always take your time when playing slots – don’t rush to burn through your bankroll

The aforementioned advice will serve you well whenever you play slots online, or at a land-based casino.



This guide on how to play slots is designed to introduce you to the basics of these popular casino games. Whether you playing land-based slots a.k.a. physical slot machines, or online slots, these rules hold true. Always pick the online slot machine game or the physical slot machine game with the highest RTP. Always set a budget and stick to it when playing slots online.

If you’re unsure of how a slot machine game works, play in demo mode before you play for real. Remember to take advantage of no deposit bonuses, match deposit bonuses, and free spins offers. Forget the myths and stick to the facts – slots are governed by RNGs and all results are completely random. There is no correlation between spins. Equipped with your newfound knowledge on how to play online slots, you can confidently make your play.