Slots: Symbols and tips

30-second Summary

  • Slots are the most popular genre of online casino games.
  • Over the years, they have evolved to feature stunning graphics, animations and sound effects.
  • The main attraction of slots remains entertainment.
  • Game mechanics and payouts are constantly evolving.
  • Slot developers are in fierce competition with each other to develop the best online slots.
  • There are several slot secrets only known to a lucky few.
  • Rankings of the best slot game are continually changing with new releases every month.
  • Online casinos know that featuring best payout slots is a good way to attract new players.
  • There are a variety of slots, including video and classic.

The world of online video slots is broad and far-reaching. This game genre has been a major contributor to the rise of online casinos and continues to be the most popular form of casino game to this day. There are thousands of titles available online, and new releases are announced every month. Every developer strives to create a game which becomes the best online slot. To do this, no expense is spared, resulting in visually-stunning and entertaining creations.

Video slots are based on luck and randomness. A casino's and slot creator's reputation depends on this fact. Although you cannot change the odds of winning in a particular slot, there are slot secrets to help you improve your overall performance. This guide will cover topics, including the best payout slots and how to play slots for fun.

The variety of video slots available means that you can find slots featuring any theme imaginable. Whilst some features classic, almost dated graphics, others provide constant animations and 3D effects. Slot symbols are equally varied, playing an important role in matching the overall theme and providing the game's payouts. This guide will help you understand slot symbols and what their payouts mean.

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The Popularity of Online Slots

Video slots make up around 70% of all online casino games today. Whilst there are numerous reasons for this popularity, their simplicity and variety are two important factors. Unlike card games, slots are solely based on luck and require no skill whatsoever. In fact, you can learn how to play in seconds, although learning how to win at slots can take longer.

With millions of slot players around the world, slot wins have increased dramatically in recent years. Higher payout ratios featured in slots means that it is more common for standard symbol payouts to reach 1,000x your wager. An increasing number of the best online slots even offer up to 10,000x your bet or more.

The audiovisual effects featured in modern video slots is another important reason behind their popularity. Most slots are designed with a particular theme, such as pharaohs, Leprechauns or pirates, and this theme is present throughout the game. Some game developers go further by including a special themed minigame within the slot, further enhancing the immersive experience of the game.

New technologies and more powerful computers have helped pack slots with innovative features and bonuses. Far from the days of the one-armed bandits, video slots today feature cluster pays, Megaways, and cascading symbols, amongst many other surprises. As a result, even slots which share the same theme are oftentimes different in one way or another, such as payouts, list of symbols or reel structure.

How to Play Video Slots

Playing online video slots is fast and easy, involving only a few steps. Although some games might feature additional steps, you will be able to play most slots by following this process:

  1. Pick your slot from the casino's list
  2. Set the bet per line or total bet per spin
  3. Click on the spin button to spin the reels once or the Autospin function to automatically spin them a set number of times

That's it! Playing video slots couldn't be easier.

You will need to get acquainted with some more information. First of all, it is important that you understand that slots are powered by Random Number Generators (RNGs). This computer decides the result of each spin and is not influenced by the results of previous spins. Independent test labs audit game RNGs to ensure that they are truly fair. Only games which successfully pass these audits are allowed to feature on regulated online casinos.

Slot RTP

Each slot is tested by the developer or a third party for hundreds of thousands of spins. Through this process, the slot's Return to Player (RTP) percentage is calculated. This figure represents the average payout which can be expected from a particular game. A slot featuring an RTP of 97% should, in theory, payout 0.97 for every 1.00 wagered. In reality, the slot's payouts can vary dramatically. This means that playing the best RTP slots does not guarantee that you'll win more often than games with lower percentages.

Slot Symbols, Bonuses, and Payouts

A feature shared by all video slots is that payouts are determined by a combination of symbols. Classic fruit machines featured a single pay line with three reels and one row. In order to win, players needed to land the same symbol across this pay line. Slots have since grown and feature more pay lines, but the ultimate goal remains the same.

Before you start playing a slot you should have a look at the payout table. Commonly located within the game's options, this table presents you with all the symbols, payouts, and bonus features of that particular slot. Spend a couple of minutes to familiarise yourself with the standard game symbols as well as the bonus symbols.

Most online slots feature a set of low-value and another set of high-value paying symbols. Low-value symbols are normally represented by the high card symbols, such as A, J, Q, and K, although some of the best slot games feature symbols which are directly related to the main theme. High-value symbols usually match the main theme, and, as their name suggests, provide the highest payouts in the game.

The best online slots normally feature one or more wild symbols which, amongst other powers, have the ability to replace any standard symbol on the reels. You will likely also come across scatter symbols which can trigger a bonus feature, such as free spins, or start a minigame full of prizes and surprises.

If you're looking to play slots for fun, look out for paytables which feature special side quests, such as collecting golden keys or filling up power bars. By fulfilling these challenges, you can unlock special bonuses or entire new reels, increasing the number of ways to win. In some cases, you can also unlock special multipliers which increase the standard payouts, providing even greater thrills and entertainment.

Different Types of Slots and Bets

There are several slot secrets on bets and payouts which only certain players know of. When choosing which slots to play you should keep an eye out for the denomination. Dollar slots, for example, have a higher payback percentage than nickel or penny slots. The flip side is that playing dollar slots requires a bigger bankroll than smaller denomination alternatives. You will find different denomination possibilities across most types of slots.

Classic Slots

Based on the original fruit machines, classic slots have seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years. Unlike most modern slots, they only feature a single row with three reels.

While the allowed bet values vary depending on the game, there is only one pay line in the classic slots, so players do not have the option to disable or enable bets separately.

Video Slots

Video slots make up the greatest percentage of online slots today. Normally featuring five reels and three or four rows, these slots are sometimes capable to transform during the game. Pay lines in video slots vary considerably, with some featuring 10 whilst others offering 25 or more. Megaways slots are a brand of video slots which offer up to 117,649 different ways to win. Most video slots will allow you to bet on select pay lines only, giving you access to all entertaining features at a lower price.

Progressive Jackpot Bets

Progressive jackpot slots are video slots which also include a growing jackpot prize. Players flock to progressive jackpots due to their potential for big slot wins. In fact, prize pools can easily top six, seven, or even eight-figures. These games commonly include a selection of special symbols and decent payouts, so even if you do not win the mega prize you are still in with a chance to take home smaller wins.

Choosing the Best Slot Games for You

There is no hard and fast rule to determine which slot games are best for you. With thousands of games already available, and more being added every month, choosing slots is only getting more complex. Fortunately, online casinos are making it easier for you by providing filter or search options. By using these useful tools you will be able to see games that match your preferences, including bankroll and special features.

If you are new to playing slots, you should start by playing a few of the titles featured in the popular or hot sections of the casino. These games feature a varied range of themes, special bonuses, payouts, and odds. Before playing with real money you will have the option to play slots for free, giving you an opportunity to familiarise yourself with the symbols and features.

Amongst the slot secrets kept by top players is diversification. Since slots are random, there is no such thing as a hot or cold slot. However, many players believe that in order to increase your chances of slot wins you should play different slots instead of sticking to just one. Whilst there is no scientific data to back this theory, there is certainly an opportunity for increased entertainment if you play different games featuring distinct themes, game mechanics, and potential prizes.

You should pick slots that match your bankroll and allow you to play a minimum of 10 to 20 spins per game. Some popular slot players recommend a higher number, but once again, there is no guarantee of results irrespective of the number of spins.

Slot Do's and Don'ts

To improve your odds of slot wins you should try and do the following:

  1. Opt into casino bonuses - Take advantage of casino welcome bonuses and ongoing promotions to grow your bankroll and receive free spins. Apart from giving you the opportunity to try some of the best online slots, these bonuses are a great way to play slots for fun whilst being in the chance to win real money.
  2. Choose the best game developers - If you're looking for the best entertainment value you cannot go wrong by playing slots developed by top creator, known for designing games featuring impressive visuals, immersive sound effects, and exciting gameplay.
  3. Check our game RTP and variance - Although best online slots payout percentages are no guarantee of success, it is a good idea to try games with an RTP of 95% or higher. You should also check the game's variance, which gives an indication of payout frequencies and values. Slots with a low variance tend to payout more often but with smaller value prizes. High variance slots have a tendency to pay out less frequent, higher-value prizes.
  4. Set a budget and stick to it - The best way to play slots for free, even with real money, is to decide on a budget you can easily afford and stick to it. When you're playing slots you are essentially paying for entertainment, so you should not expect a prize or payout. Always remember to gamble responsibly.

The Fun of the Reels

Playing online slots is indeed a fun and entertaining activity. The industry, which has humble beginnings, has been completely transformed into a multi-billion dollar operation. A growing number of game creators are entering into this lucrative market and, together with their established competitors, are pushing the boundaries of this popular online casino game genre.

Whilst there are many slot secrets you could learn, including theories on how to win at slots, you must remember that slots are random. RTP, variance, and other statistics are only there to provide theoretical guidance. In reality, every spin is unique, and this is an important feature of slots. After all, if there was any guarantee in slot games, there would be no thrill in playing.

Winning money when playing video slots should remain a bonus of having fun. By reading the advice on this guide you will hopefully have learnt how to choose the best online slots for you. There is no single best slot game, so you should take full advantage of the hundreds of titles available at the online casino. Trying new slots can introduce you to new payout mechanisms and themes, keeping your slot experiences fresh and exciting.

Key takeaways

  • Online slots are the most popular casino game due to their simplicity and potential payouts.
  • Slots are completely based on luck, with statistics, such as RTP and variance offering no guarantee of results.
  • There are thousands of different slots available worldwide, covering any theme and symbol set imaginable.
  • Each slot has its own specific payouts, symbols list, bonus features, and rules, which can all be viewed from the respective paytable.
  • There is no single best online slot so you must decide which slots to play based on your bankroll, favourite themes, and preferred bonuses.

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Slots Symbols and Tips FAQs


In certain cases, the RTP of a slot can vary from one casino to another. Only the game creators can change a game’s payout percentage, and you can see the relevant figure on the paytable.


Free spins are a popular bonus which you can trigger during a slot game by landing a certain number of wild or other symbols. You can also get free spins as part of a casino promotion or welcome offer.


Online slots are played around the world throughout the day. No particular day or time will affect your chances of winning.