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How To Play Slots

New to slots? Don't know your progressives from your payouts and your RNGs from your respins?

Online slots are one of the easiest games to play in a casino, and the potential payouts can be life-changing.

But it's worth having at least a basic knowledge of the ins and outs before you start loading up your casino account with real money.

Here we take through the basics of picking a game, reading the paytable, and spinning with confidence.

Choosing a Game

The first thing you'll need to do is choose a game you like. It's important to pick a game you'll be comfortable with playing solidly for a couple of hours. If you're bored with the theme or bonus features, you'll soon lose focus and start making silly bets.

If you can, choose a game that has the right volatility for you. Volatility means the frequency of hitting wins: a high-volatility slot may offer big jackpots but you'll be betting a lot to hit one; a low-volatility slot will offer regular small wins but not much else.

Bonus features are also a consideration: are you happy to play uncomplicated classic slots that have no free spins or instant cash wins, or are you a fiend for extra value and in-depth bonuses?

Spinning the Reels

Every video slot has a set of vertical reels packed with symbols. The number of symbols and reels can vary, but a standard 5-reel slot may contain 30-40 symbols per reel.

Once you've loaded up a slot, you'll set the size of the coin you're betting (e.g. £0.01 - £1.00) and the number of coins you're betting per line. Most slots let you choose how many paylines you play, too.

For example, you decide to play every payline in a 20-payline slot, with 5 coins bet at £0.50 per spin. Therefore, every spin would cost you 20 x 5 x 0.50 = £50 per spin.

The outcome of the reels is governed by an RNG (Random Number Generator) which dictates what symbols land where. RNGs are independently audited to ensure they're completely fair and random at all times.

Winning combinations are normally paid from left-to-right, meaning you'll have to line up winning symbols starting from the first reel. Some slots pay right-to-left too, while winners can be formed by using Wilds and Scatters (see below).

Reading the Paytable

Before you do anything, head to the Paytable. Here, you'll find the list of symbols available as well as bonus icons like Wilds (which substitute for other icons) and the Scatter Pay, which pays wherever it lands on the reels.

Wilds and Scatters

Wilds are substituting symbols which help form winning combinations. Usually they just substitute for regular symbols (i.e. not including bonus icons) but occasionally will replace ANY symbol. You'll often find Wilds come with multipliers attached, so if you hit a winning line containing a Wild your payout will be multiplied by 2 or 3.

Popular Bonus Features

1 - Free Spins

Hit three or more Scatter symbols on the reels and you can trigger Free Spins. Essentially, they're just a set number of free games, but often the bonus can be retriggered if you land another three Scatters during the round. Multipliers can sometimes apply to free spins wins.

2 - Instant Cash Win

Sometimes called a 'Click Bonus', an instant win feature requires you to select from three symbols on the reels. Behind each is a different cash prize.

3 - Pick Me Bonus

Three or more special bonus Scatters will trigger the Pick Me Bonus. Normally, you will be taken to a second screen displaying a selection of items; keep choosing items to reveal cash, free spins or multipliers until you hit the 'Collect' or 'Game Ends' icon.

4 - Prize Trail

Popular in Irish-themed online slots, a Prize Trail or Trail Bonus sees you travel a path towards an amazing jackpot prize. On the way you'll throw a dice to land on spots along the trail, picking up cash wins, free spins and multipliers.

5 - Skill Game

More common in modern slots (and new machines in Las Vegas) is the skill bonus game. This is where gambling goes out the window as you use your shooting / target practice / dexterity skills to kill bad guys, play a round of golf, or toss basketballs through a hoop. The better your aim, the more cash you win.

Other Common Slots Features

A lot of slots let you 'Gamble' your payout after a winning spin. If you select the 'Gamble' option you'll be putting your winnings on the line on the turn of a card - choose red or black to see if you 'double' or get nothing.

Most slots allow you to programme the game to Autospin. Set the game to spin up to 50 games at a time and free yourself up to play another game on the side!

Progressive Jackpots

Heard the one about the housewife from Scandinavia who took down a jackpot worth £7 million? It happens every month these days, but the beauty of British online casinos is that there are so many 'linked' jackpots that the big prizes can get really big.

Progressive jackpots are special bonus prizes made up with small percentages of bets placed on specific slots or groups of slots.

Because the same progressive slot can run across multiple casinos, you'll find the jackpots reaching eye-watering levels. We cover the largest progresive jackpot wins here.

Progressives are usually triggered when playing the maximum stake - so it's time to count the pennies - and by hitting a certain combination of symbols on the last payline or activating a bonus feature.

Find the Best Slots Casinos in the UK

Navigating the world of online casinos on the lookout for a top slot can be a labour-intensive experience.

With so many hundreds to choose from, it's hard to know where to start. But having a budget in mind and a theme and style to aim for, you can find the best games that are right for you. Be sure you select a safe place to play and read trusted online casino reviews.

With these vital how-to tips, you'll be attacking the best and biggest-paying slots on the web in no time.

Use our free to play games to try out a range of games today, then sign up to one of our recommended casino sites to give them a spin with real cash.

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