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How to Play Slots Online

oliver jackson
Written By Oliver Jackson 5 min read

Slot machines are easy to play and offer the potential for exciting wins. In our guide, you’ll learn all about how to play slots, how they work, their odds and how to increase your chances of winning.

Understanding Slot Machines

Online slots can be incredibly simple or very complex, depending on the slot type or game.

If you want to learn how to play slots effectively, understanding the basics of a slot machine is the first step.

Let’s have a look at the essential features of a slot below.


Probably the first thing you’ll notice when opening a slot game on your computer are vertical columns filled with various symbols. These are called “Reels.”

They will start spinning when you press the “spin” button to initiate the game, creating the symbol combinations that ultimately determine your wins or losses in the game.


Paylines are patterns across the reels on which winning combinations of symbols must appear for you to win.

They can vary depending on the game or slot type, ranging from a single straight line in classic slots to zigzagging patterns in video slots.

You can adjust the number of active paylines in many slot games, affecting your bet size and winning potential.


Symbols on the reels represent different elements of the game's theme. In a jungle-themed slot, these could be symbols like wild animals and tribal artifacts.

Their main function, however, is to form winning combinations when aligned on the reels, leading to various payouts and often triggering bonus features.

Some of the most common types of symbols are:

  • Standard Symbols: These include basic symbols like numbers, letters, or traditional icons (e.g., fruits and playing cards).
  • Multipliers Symbols: Some symbols, like "x2" or "x3," represent the multiplier when part of a winning combination. If your win includes one of these symbols, your prize is multiplied accordingly.
  • Wild Symbols: These are special symbols (e.g., stars or logos), which substitute other symbols to create winning combinations.
  • Scatter Symbols: Typically depicted by unique symbols, they trigger bonus features or free spins when a certain number appears.
  • Bonus Symbols: These activate specific bonus rounds or mini-games within the slot when they appear in certain combinations or quantities.
  • High-Value Symbols: Themed symbols, often related to the slot's theme, offer higher payouts when forming winning combinations.

Features and Bonus Rounds

Many online slot games include bonus features or rounds that offer additional opportunities to win.

Bonus rounds can include free spins, pick-and-win games, or other interactive elements.

These features often have unique rules and can be triggered by specific symbol combinations or scatters.

The Paytable

The paytable in a slot provides key information about potential payouts and game features, such as symbol values, bonus features, and payline patterns.

Often, it will also outline the rules of the game and specify the game’s expected payout percentage (RTP). In other words, the paytable tells you all you need to know about a slot.

You can typically find the paytable of a slot game by clicking on an "i" or "Paytable" icon within the game’s interface.

Playing Online Slots Step-by-step Guide

If you're a novice and you want to know how to get started with playing a slot game, follow our step-by-step guide below.

  1. Browse through the selection of slot games available at your chosen casino and choose your slot.

    Depending on your preferences you can consider factors like theme, bet limits, and bonus features when making your selection.

  2. Take a look at the paytable to understand the game's mechanics and potential rewards.

  3. Select how much you want to bet per spin (bet size) and with how many paylines you want to play. This typically involves selecting the coin value and the number of paylines you want to activate. 

    The more you bet, the more you can win, or lose.

    With the “max bet” button you can select all paylines.

    Most slots have an area called bet or coin value or bet/spin with buttons where you can raise or lower your bet.

  4. Hit the "Spin" button to start the game. Watch the reels spin and hope for winning combinations to appear on the paylines.

Types of Slots

There are thousands of online slot games available, each boasting unique themes, rules, and levels of complexity.

However, almost all slots are divided into the below main categories.

Classic Slots

These online slot games are based on traditional slot machines with three reels and a single payline.

Classic slots often feature simple, nostalgic symbols like fruits and sevens.

Video Slots

Video slots have more reels, often five or more, compared to the three found in classic slots. They also often have multiple paylines, in any direction across the reels. More reels and paylines mean more opportunities for winning combinations.

Video slots are known for their rich graphics, animations, and immersive themes. They often feature bonus rounds and special symbols like wilds and scatters that can trigger free spins or bonus games.


Megaways slots are a unique type with dynamic reels and changing paylines.

The number of symbols on each reel can vary, creating thousands of potential ways to win.

Progressive Slots / Jackpot Slots

Progressive slots offer the chance to win massive jackpots that grow with each bet placed.

A portion of each bet contributes to the jackpot pool until someone hits the jackpot.

Understanding Slot Odds

Now that we've introduced you to the basics of how to play slots, let's dive deeper into the mechanics behind your odds of winning.

Specifically, how are slot outcomes generated? Are they fair? And how do you measure your chances of winning?

We’ll explain below.


Slot machines use a Random Number Generator (RNG) to determine the outcome of each spin. This means that each spin is entirely random and not influenced by previous spins or any external factors.

An RNG in slot machines operates kind of like a digital coin flipper, generating thousands of random numbers every second. When you press the spin button, the RNG stops on a specific number, which corresponds to a particular combination of symbols on the slot's reels, determining the outcome of your spin.

Slot outcomes are purely based on luck and there's no way to predict or manipulate the results.


As with all luck-based casino games, it’s hard to accurately predict your chances of winning with slots.

However, each slot game has a return to player percentage (RTP), which represents the average payout of a slot machine. Specifically, this is the percentage of wagered money that players can expect to receive back over time.

For example, if a slot game has an RTP of 96%, it means that, on average, players can expect to get back $96 for every $100 wagered over time.

The RTP is calculated as an average outcome across thousands of spins.

How to Beat Online Slots – Tips

While slots are primarily games of chance, here are some tips to enhance your experience and potentially improve your chances of winning.

Additionally, you can check out our guide about how to win at slots.

  1. Play Within Your Budget: Set a budget for your slot playtime and stick to it. Don't chase losses or wager more than you can afford to lose.

  2. Read the paytable: Explore the rules and payout levels for each slot game to understand how it works and what to expect.

  3. Play slots in demo mode: Almost all online casinos offer the chance to play slots in demo mode. This is an excellent way to practice and understand the game's mechanics without spending any real money.

  4. Use Bonuses: Take advantage of casino bonuses and promotions to extend your playtime, but be aware of wagering requirements.

  5. Choose High RTP Games: Look for slot games with higher RTP percentages for better long-term returns.

  6. Play responsibly: Avoid obsessive gambling. Know when to walk away and take breaks if needed.

  7. Enjoy the Experience: Slot machines are meant to be fun, so focus on the entertainment value rather than just winning.


How do slots work? chevron-down-icon

Slots function by spinning reels, which can create winning symbol combinations along paylines. These outcomes are produced using a Random Number Generator (RNG), ensuring the games are random and fair.

How can I win at playing slots? chevron-down-icon

Winning at slots is primarily based on luck, as outcomes are determined by Random Number Generators. While there's no guaranteed strategy, managing your bankroll, choosing games with higher RTP, and understanding the rules of the game may help increase your chances of winning.

Are online slot outcomes random and fair? chevron-down-icon

Yes, slot games use Random Number Generators (RNGs) to ensure unpredictability in outcomes. Regulatory bodies also oversee games to guarantee fairness in regulated and licensed online casinos.

What are the main types of online slots available? chevron-down-icon

The main types of online slots include classic slots with simple gameplay and traditional symbols, such as fruits, bells or sevens, as well as video slots featuring engaging themes and bonus features, and progressive slots with jackpot prizes that grow as more players bet.

What are bonus features in online slots? chevron-down-icon

Bonus features in online slots are extra elements within the game that offer opportunities for increased winnings. These can include free spins, mini-games, multipliers, and special symbols like wilds and scatters, making gameplay more exciting and potentially rewarding.

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