How To Play Slots Online

Posted by Cliff Spiller . Last updated:

The online slot machine gaming experience is not that much different than your typical slot session at a brick-and-mortar, land-based casino. However, because you’re not simply pumping pennies, quarters, or bucks into a physical machine, experienced slot players may need to learn how to play slots at online casinos.

Our how-to guide tutorial walks you through the process from signing up to learning the different features and terminology and how new users can take advantage of free plays.

Step-by-Step Beginners Guide: How to Play Slots Online

The process before you start playing your first slot games is very simple. We’ll review the actions required to boot up your next slot games session below.

After you decide on an online casino, the first thing you’ll do is create a new account. This should take you no more than five minutes to complete.

  1. Provide your name, email address, phone number, and, in some cases, mailing address. This information is used for casino deposits and withdrawals.
  2. Create a unique and secure username and password, while some sites also require you to create a four-digit passcode.
  3. After that’s completed, you’ll likely receive a link via email to verify your account.
  4. Once that’s complete, your mobile casino experience may begin.

Pick A Game

Choosing which slot games to play is the best part of the process, right? There are typically three types of slot games at every online casino, which are 3-reel, 5-reel and progressive jackpots. Keep an eye out for games featuring unique themes that pique your interest such as Bovada’s “Day at the Derby” which embraces horse racing or “As the Reels Turn” for those who enjoy a soap opera or primetime drama. You’ll notice that in recent years the graphics quality of each of these games and video poker has improved as the slot game aesthetics is very important to the user and casino operator.

You’ll also want to note the slots’ paytables as this information is critical in knowing how much to risk to maximize return on each spin of the reel or reels. Also, keep tabs of RTP, or Return-To-Player percentage. Online casinos often highlight this amount via percentage as in how often it occurs. In short, the higher the RTP, the “looser” the machine and better for the player.

Decide How Much to Bet

Be sure to pay attention to each slot’s minimum and maximum bets. If you’re a new player, try to avoid jumping into a slot game where the minimum is $5 or more because you want to increase the number of pulls while you learn the game. An expensive minimum bet can wipe out a bankroll in short order. Some maximum bets are required to cash in on slot bonuses and promotions. For example, a max bet may be required if you want to earn the return featured on the top line of the paytable. This is a balance of strategy and sound judgment to know when to bet the “Min” and “Max” amounts on any given pull.

Spin the Reels

Online casino games like slots are powered by random number generator (RNG) software. When you spin the reels, the outcome is truly random based on this algorithm-powered software. Before jumping into a game, be sure to verify that your online casino’s RNG software is licensed and regulated by third-party authorities. These licenses confirm that the software is legit and the outcomes are truly random. This provides you peace of mind that you are playing at a safe online casino.

Understanding Slot Machine Features

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Standard Symbols

Your standard symbols in online slots are usually fruit symbols, such as cherries, oranges and others. You’ll also see card icons, usually face cards, but also Tens and Aces as well. This is quite standard across the board, but these symbols can be used to mean something else.

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Scatter Symbols

This feature does not have to follow paylines, but has been known to unlock free spins casino bonuses and free games. If scatter symbols appear on the screen, you can also win unique bonuses or be on your way to unlocking progressive jackpots.

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Sticky Symbols

Sticky symbols can lead players to even bigger wins, as they can stay on the reel for many spins, instead of disappearing after one. They are especially good with free spins as they can generate even more of those, which means more chances to win without spending money.

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Stacked Symbols

Stacked symbols are when symbols are literally stacked on top of each other, which means they can take up more room on the reels, therefore generating more ways to win. Stacked symbols can also vastly increase your payouts.

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Autospin (Autoplay)

By turning on autospin, you can squeeze in more games in a short amount of time. Before selecting this feature, be sure to note how much you’re betting because the slot machine won’t stop until you tell it to and the bet amount will be the same each time.

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Wild Symbols

If you’ve ever played online card games where the Joker or a certain card was “Wild”, the same rule applies here, too. When this feature is activated during a slot game, a pre-qualified symbol, like a Cherry or Diamond, along with a payline reel could help you match those five sevens or the like.

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These symbols and reel combinations multiply your winnings by two, five, or even 10 times the original amount.

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Bonus Rounds

Also known as bonus games, these typically pop up via a scatter symbol and can be a slot game within the slot game or be free spins, an exclusive video slot experience to help you maximize your winnings.

Can You Play Online Slots for Free?

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Yes, many online casinos offer free play or tutorial slot game options. Sometimes these free slot games are made available before creating a new account or making a first deposit. This is a great option for new slot players or those who want to learn a new game. As video slot machines become more intensive, sometimes the learning curve requires a few more reps before playing slots for real money.

These tutorial slot machines are definitely worth 30 minutes of your time. A quick slot session teaches players the winning reel combinations and how much you can bet on each spin. These free versions do not pay real money in most instances. However, it’s easy to switch between playing for free and playing for real money at online casinos.

Slot Player Tournaments - How Do They Work?

Despite the randomness of video slot machines, tournaments have become very popular in recent years. Like most gaming tournaments, you pay an entry fee to join, and then try to gain the most points, dollars, or credits as you rise up the leaderboard. Some tournaments even feature different heats like a track meet where if you win one, you survive and advance to the next round.

Because each tournament has a set amount of entrants who have prepaid entry fees, the prize amount if you win one of these tournaments can be big money, or, at times, the online casino games may offer the winner a unique prize, like a vacation or gift package.

Online Slots vs. Land-Based Slots

Pros of Online Slots

  • Game Variety: Online casinos have hundreds of slot titles apiece in an easy to find order. These include the widest variety of game features, jackpot sizes, and themes.
  • No Waiting: Land-based casinos have waits for the most popular slot machines. Online slots never make you wait.
  • Casino Bonuses: The second you make a deposit, you'll receive welcome bonuses. Even better, slots always count 100% towards the wagering requirement.
  • High RTP: Because of the competition for players and the ease of shopping, the return to player percentages often are higher for online slots.
  • Mobile Slots: Mobile casino apps and browser-based games feature most or all of the online slots offered by the desktop casino.

Pros of Land-Based Slots

  • Graphic Quality: Land-based slots on big consoles have great graphics and sounds, though the graphic quality for online slots is based on your computer screen or monitor.
  • Slots Club: Land-based slot machines unlock comps and rewards if you join the Slots Club.
  • Safety: In land-based casinos, you collect your money in-house. Online casinos use 128-bit and 256-bit encryption, assuring world-class safety and security for your bankroll.

Tips on How To Beat Online Slots

Slots do not require strategy but players can improve their gaming experience if they follow a few slot tips. Keep in mind the following ideas anytime you play online slots.

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Bet the Max Paylines

Most slots have a boosted jackpot when you play the max paylines. If it’s too expensive, lower the coin denomination but always bet the max lines.

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Check Slot Rules

Click on the information button and read the game rules before playing. Some online slots have a minimum bet amount to activate bonus games and jackpots.

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Avoid The Autoplay

Online slots have an autoplay feature but this speeds up the game, so you face the house edge more often. Slow down, hit “Spin” manually, and savor the game.

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Practice on Free Slots

Practice the rules and game controls on the Practice Mode or free-play mode. Don’t waste money learning the rules.

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No Strategy Required

Remember always that slots have no strategy. It’s a game of chance. Slots are entertainment, so relax and enjoy the game.

How to Play Slots Online FAQ

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