The essential guide to getting started with slot games

Online slot games are more popular than ever. Log on to social media or your web browser and you will find yourself faced with myriad options. From movie tie-ins to classic fruit machine themes, the choice can often be overwhelming.

The basics of slot games

The first step when playing a slot game is to find a provider that is right for your needs. Check the ones that have a range of games on offer and provide great bonuses. As a beginner, don’t be swayed by the more fancy titles either. You need a wide selection but ones that are easier to learn are more important at this point. Once you have found your destination for online casino fun you can make a deposit and begin to try the slot games on offer.

At the core of any slot game are its reels and rows. The player feeds their money into a machine and this is turned into credits, which can be used to spin the reels. Depending on the game, the amount of reels may vary. A classic machine will have three. Once the player has decided how many credits to wager, the play button is hit and the reels will begin to spin.

When they stop, the symbols that are visible on the reels determine if the player wins or not. These symbols vary from game to game. In some instances, you may need to land symbols in a certain order or next to each other. Sometimes the appearance of a solitary symbol can mean a win. Check the game’s own rules and instructions to see what symbols payout.

In some instances, symbols will be present that do not pay anything but instead trigger special actions. These can include providing respins, allowing a player into bonus rounds or even acting as wild symbols that substitute for other types of symbol.

Understanding slot game terminology

When reading the instructions and information that come with slot games, there is a lot of terminology and information that can be hard to understand. Once you have played an easier game and progressed to more complex titles, you will soon need to refer to these to get the best from the titles. Some of the more important terms are listed below.


Return to player (RTP) is a percentage sum that legally has to be provided with every slot game. It is an indicator of how much money is returned to a player if they play the game over a long period. In essence, this is a figure that can tell you how likely you are to win a game. The higher the RTP then the more you can expect to win.

Imagine you bet $100 over a week on a game with an RTP of 96%. You can expect to get $96 back in winnings. Keep in mind this is an average. You may play for a short time and win big, or play for a time and win nothing at all.

Cascading and expanding reels

Some games will have a special feature known as cascading or expanding reels. The former is a feature that will see your winning symbols vanish from play. The reels then tumble down, often providing a new winning combination. Expanding reels are similar but add reels and more lines, allowing you more ways to win as the game progresses.

Jackpots and progressive jackpots

These are the highest winning totals possible in a game. Progressive jackpots add to this total by taking a small amount from each bet wagered, increasing the total as it goes. This can result in extremely high winning amounts.


A payline is a number that tells you how many ways there are to win. More complex games will have increased numbers of paylines.

Scatter and wild symbols

Scatter symbols do not usually pay out but instead allow access to special features, such as bonus games and free spins. Wild symbols can be substituted for any other symbol in the game, increasing the chance of a win.

Types of slot game

There is a whole host of slot games available starting with easier ones, increasing in complexity. Some have innovative systems such as Megaways. These games have reels that add as you play, creating huge amounts of ways to win.  Many of them will even have progressive jackpots, linking games across the globe for huge totals.

Live slots are also a new type of game you may wish to try. They often have licenses from game shows like Deal or No Deal or even board games like Hasbro’s Monopoly. When you access the bonus round, you are sent to view a live host in a studio who will guide you through the special game and help you win more money. Of course, you don’t have to use these and can enjoy simple slot games if you wish.