Beginner’s Guide to Online Slots

Beginner guide to online slots.

Introduction to Online Slots

Hey there! If you’ve just come here, I assume you are a fan of casino games. Allow me to be your online slots guide. In some ways, online slots are copies of the classic slot machines in regular casinos, but according to my opinion, they have more interesting features. They’re colorful and come packed with exciting themes, ranging from ancient Egypt to futuristic space adventures, which you will read about next in my guide to online slots below.

If you ask me why online slots are so popular. Well, for starters, they’re incredibly easy to play, as you understand. You can spin the reels and get a winning combination with just a button click. There’s no need to learn complex rules like online poker or strategies – it’s all about luck and enjoyment. Moreover. this simplicity makes casino slot games appealing to both novice and seasoned gamblers alike.

Let’s go further and talk about online slots that offer chances to win big. For this reason, many games come with progressive jackpots that can reach life-changing amounts. Additionally, game providers are always improving, providing new game mechanics that keep your gaming experience interesting and profitable. At the same time, online casinos offer bonus features and other promotions to engage more players.

In fact, online slots have become the most popular section of online casinos for gamblers. According to recent reports, they account for about 70% of an online casino’s revenue. This statistic highlights just how beloved these games are. As players, we like the thrill of the spin, the variety of games, and the potential for massive payouts.

So, whether you’re here to kill some time, chase a big win, or just enjoy the themes and storylines, these casino games offer something for everyone. Ready to spin? Let’s go!

How Online Slots Work

I also want to explain how online slots work in this slot guide because understanding it is important for any beginner. At first glance, the reels and amount of symbols might seem too much, but once you get the hang of the basics, it’s all straightforward.

Random Number Generator (RNG)

The Random Number Generator is a part of every online slot machine. The RNG guarantees that every spin is random and independent of previous spins. So, when you hit the spin button, you can be sure the RNG picks the number corresponding to a combination of symbols on the reels, but it will be a unique number that doesn’t repeat the previous.

Players like RNG because it guarantees the fairness of all spins. I like that fact because the combinations are random, and casinos cannot predict or manipulate the results. Considering these facts, we can be sure every player has an equal chance of winning. I can confidently say that randomness keeps the game exciting and trustworthy among all players who continue to play and win.

Symbols and Reels

Most online slots have three to five reels, each with various symbols. So, when you spin the reels, you’re asking the RNG to stop at a set of numbers, which translates into symbols on your screen. These symbols range from traditional fruits and bells to more intricate icons themed around the game’s storyline.

As you know, the goal is to line up matching symbols across the paylines, and the more matching symbols you get, the bigger the payout you win. At the same time, different symbols have different values, and some games also include special symbols like wilds and scatters, which can trigger bonus features or free spins.

Importance of Paylines

Paylines are the lines or ways with winning combinations and payouts awarded based on them. The old mechanical slots typically had just one pay line. Unlike old slots, modern real money slots, however, can have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of paylines, zigzagging across the reels in various ways.

Before starting to spin, you can usually choose how many paylines you want to bet on, from 1 to 25 and more. This is the reason to understand paylines, the player determines his chances of winning. More paylines mean a higher chance of getting a winning combination but also a higher total bet. Nevertheless, I like slots because of flexibility; some offer fixed paylines, while others allow you to adjust the number.

Let’s sum it up: online slots work on the principles of randomness and luck. In terms of fair game, exist RNG. Symbols and reels provide the visual effects, while paylines determine the chances of winning. Reading these words, I’m sure you already have a basic understanding and we can talk about slot rules.

Basic Rules of Online Slots

Time to talk about the basic rules that govern these games. Below, I describe the process of placing bets, setting the number of paylines, getting payouts, and spinning.

Placing a Bet

The first step in playing online slots is to make your bet. Here’s how you do it:

  • Selecting Bet Size: Before spinning online slots, you can use plus and minus buttons or a slider to adjust your bet size. Moreover, you can choose the coin value, the number of coins per line, and the number of paylines you wish to activate. At the same time, players can play slots with fixed paylines where you only adjust the total bet amount.
  • Setting Bet Limits: One reason online slots are popular is their range of bet limits. The minimum bet can be as low as a few cents, making it accessible for beginners. At the same time, high rollers can set maximum bets reaching hundreds of dollars per spin.
  • Confirming bet: After setting your bet amount, click the spin button and launch reels.

Paylines and Payouts

Here I want to discuss paylines with payouts and how understanding them can help you win:

  • Paylines: As I mentioned earlier, paylines are the lines that determine winning combinations. They can run horizontally, vertically, diagonally, and many other patterns across the reels, depending on slot features.
  • Payouts: Each slot has a paytable with the value of each symbol and the payouts for combinations. Typically, the more identical symbols you land on an active payline, the higher the payout. Special symbols like wilds and scatters often have unique payout rules or trigger slot bonus features.

Spinning the Reels

Now, that you know how to place a bet on a slot and understand paylines with payouts, let’s spin the reels:

  • Spin Button: If you have played at least one slot machine, this is usually the most prominent button on the game interface. Clicking it will set the reels in motion.
  • Watch the Reels Spin: The RNG determines the spin’s outcome as the reels spin. Eventually, the reels stop, revealing a combination of symbols.
  • Winning Combinations: According to the paytable, casino slots automatically check the symbols on the active paylines to determine if you’ve won. The corresponding payout will appear on your account if you hit a winning combination.

I hope now you know more about the rules of playing slot machines. And our next stop in the guide is terminology.

Key Terminology in Online Slots

I know that stepping into online slots can feel like learning a new language for beginners. But don’t worry—I have described the main key terms about online gambling you need to know.


Reels are the vertical columns that spin when you hit the play or spin button. You will notice that most online slots have three to five reels, though some can have even more. Besides, each reel is filled with various symbols, and your goal is to line up matching symbols on these reels to win.


Paylines are the lines that determine where the matching symbols need to land for you to win. As I mentioned before, in basic rules, paylines can be straight or in any other form. At the same time, classic slots mainly offer fixed paylines (1-25), while others let you choose up to 1000, giving you control over strategy and game process. Remember, the more paylines you play, the higher your chances of winning are.


Symbols are the images on the reels that you want to match to win. There are standard symbols and special symbols, and they are all defined in paytable:

  • Wild Symbols substitute for any other symbol (except scatters or bonus symbols). Wilds create more winning combinations and, by this, increase the amount of money on your balance.
  • Scatter Symbols trigger features like free spins or bonus rounds. You typically need to land several scatters somewhere on the reels to activate the bonus round.

Bonus Rounds

It’s not casino bonuses, these bonus rounds are special features within the game that offer additional ways to win. Usually, they can be triggered by landing specific combinations of symbols, like scatters. Some of my friends often keep spinning until they win bonus rounds- from free spins to interactive mini-games – and often come with big rewards. As an additional fact, you may try to find some modern casino games that have a “Bonus Buy” feature that allows you to pay and start a bonus round immediately.


Multipliers do exactly what their name suggests: they multiply your winnings by a certain amount. For example, your payout is tripled if you hit a 3x multiplier, and your bet multipliers can reach x20000. These can appear during regular gameplay or in bonus rounds, depending on slot mechanics.

RTP (Return to Player)

RTP stands for Return to Player, or in other words, the percentage of all wagered money a slot is expected to pay back to players over time. For instance, if a slot has an RTP of 96%, it means that, theoretically, for every $100 wagered, $96 will be paid out in winnings. At the same time, you should know that returns include all players. Remember also that this is an average over the long term, and there is no guarantee for each session. That’s why I recommend to be prepare for long game sessions if you want to win.


Volatility, also known as variance, refers to the slot’s risk level and shows how much player can expect to win or lose. High-volatility slots offer larger but less frequent payouts, a nice choice for players who like max bets and have big bankrolls. Low-volatility slots pay out smaller amounts more frequently, which is ideal for players who prefer minimizing risk. Medium-volatility slots strike a balance between the two.

We finished the section about the main terminology in online slots, and you’re better prepared to play online slots even for money. Anyway, whether you’re trying to win jackpots or enjoying the fun themes, these key terms will enhance your gaming experience.

Types of Online Slots

We’ve reached the section about online slot variety. I’ll describe the most popular types of slots, each with a unique gaming experience: classic, video, progressive, and 3D.

Classic Slots

Classic slots.

You could see classic slots in traditional casinos or movies, they typically have 3 reels and a limited number of paylines. Another characteristic is simple symbols – fruits, bars, and lucky sevens. So, as a result, these slots are perfect for beginners or those who appreciate nostalgia.

Video Slots

Video slots.

Video slots are the most common online slots in any online casino. In terms of reels, they usually have 5 reels and come with various paylines from 10 to 100+. Gamblers like video slots because of their themes, storylines, graphics, and many bonus features. I recommend Bonanza and Money Train if you ask me about popular examples.

Progressive Jackpot Slots

Progressive slots.

If you dream of a life-changing win like me, progressive jackpot slots are your go-to. These slots are connected to a single network; part of any bet goes toward the overall jackpot, which can sometimes reach the millions. The jackpot continues to increase until one player—it can be even you—hits the winning combination. Popular examples include Mega Moolah and Mega Fortune.

3D Slots

3D slots.

3D games are not the most popular type of slots, but they definitely take the gaming experience to the next level. With these slots, players can expect a three-dimensional effect, making the game even more stunning and engaging. To try 3D slots, find a Betsoft gaming provider that specializes in them.

I decided to explain the different types of online slots to help you find the perfect game that suits your style and preferences. If you’ve finished reading these slot reviews, it’s time to share tips for playing slot games.

Tips for Playing Online Slots

Slot guide tips.

Now that you know the rules, terminology, and types, I’d like to share tips for playing online slot machines with you. Practical tips can help you improve your chances of winning.

Start with Free Slots to Practice

A nice idea is to start playing free slots online before registering and depositing real money. 80% of online casinos offer demo versions of slot games, so don’t hesitate to try them. You may want to try free slots because of their advantages, such as allowing you to understand the mechanics and try strategies. Besides, I think it’s a great way to find your favorite games.

Set a Budget

Another tip for playing online slots – or any form of gambling from me is about budgeting. I recommend determining how much money you will spend before you start playing and don’t spend more. Controlling money on your casino account helps prevent overspending, so you will play only with money you can afford to lose. I also want to remind all players that gambling should be fun, not a source of financial stress.

Understand the Paytable

Open the information section of any slot game, and you will see a paytable with the value of each symbol and the payouts for combinations. Reviewing the paytable gives you an understanding of the valuable symbols and how the bonus features work. However, according to my experience, the paytable doesn’t give you a special edge but can help you make the right choice during bonus rounds.

Play Slots with Higher RTP

RTP typically ranges from 94% to 98%, which is often key in choosing which slots to play. Generally, the higher the RTP, the better your chances of winning; that’s why I advise looking for slots with an RTP of 96% or higher. On the one hand, you should know that it doesn’t guarantee a win; on the other, it means the game offers better payouts than lower RTP slots in the long term.

Summing up tips: start with free slots, set a budget, understand the paytable, and choose games with higher RTP. In any case, try to have fun and enjoy the spin!

Popular Questions from Gamblers

How do I know if an online slot is fair?

Random Number Generator (RNG) makes online slots fair, and all slots from reputable online casinos and game providers have one.

Can I play online slots for free?

Online casinos offer demo versions of slot games to play without depositing real money. You can even use gaming websites like to practice before playing with real money.

What are paylines and how do they work?

In short, paylines are the lines that determine winning combinations in a slot game. They can be in different patterns across the reels, and when symbols land on one of those active pay lines, you win. The number of paylines varies from one slot to another and can reach 1000+ lines. Besides, the ways to win can be regulated by the player.

Are there strategies to win at online slots?

Online slots are games of chance, so there is not much you can do by using strategies. At the same time, you can still choose slots with higher RTP, read the game’s paytable, and manage your bets wisely.

What is the best time to play online slots?

The best time to play online slots is when you want to. There is no specific best time to play online slots due to RNG. Nevertheless, remember to play responsibly, regardless of the time of day.


We’ve covered a lot of questions in these slot guides, and by now, you should have a solid understanding of online slots. For example, you know how they work, key terminology, different types of slots, and even several practical tips for playing.

Of course, there is much more information about some specific details, but this guide contains all you need as a beginner. I will update it from time to time, adding new information.

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