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How To Play Online Slots

Slots have quickly become one of the most integral parts of online casinos. In fact, few casinos existing today do not feature some sort of slot based game. While many people consider them to be easy to play when compared to casino games like Blackjack and Poker, the hundreds of different game varieties can cause some confusion over how each slot game functions. Although types of slot games include 3 reel, 7 reel and progressives, the basic understanding of how to play generally remains the same.

Learn The Basics Of Online Slots

Slots Basics

How to play slot games can almost always be summed up in three easy steps:

  • Select the amount of money (or credits) that you wish to wager by clicking on the respective wager buttons on the screen.
  • Choose your paylines by clicking their buttons. Many games offer a "Bet Max" option where you can place the maximum allowable bet on each of the available paylines.
  • Click the spin or start button to set the reels spinning and wait for them to come to a halt.

Types Of Online Slots

When playing slot games, it is important that you understand the role that reel amounts play. The standard games that most people associate with slot machines are the three reel variety. These are the easiest to play as there are normally few betting options available to the player. For the most part, a single betting line is available for bets and the matching symbols on that line determine payouts. There are, however, other varieties:

5 reels: 5 reel slot games feature interfaces that include five columns and three rows of symbols. 5 reels are often more popular than their 3 reeled counterparts because of the increase in options for the player while still maintaining simplicity. Most themed games (movies, animals, popular destinations) are 5 reel slots.

7 reels: 7 reel slots are often complicated but offer the most options for the slot player. There is usually a large amount of paylines available with a wide selection of betting options. Be careful when using the "Bet Max" button on 7 line slots. Depending on the amount of paylines available, spins can cost hundreds of dollars if you are not careful.


Regardless of the amount of reels available on the slot game that you choose, one of your first options is the selection of paylines. These are the lines upon which you place individual bets. Most slot games have separate buttons for the paylines that you choose and the specific amounts that you wish to bet on each. The amount of paylines available depends entirely on the game that you are playing. While many games feature five to ten paylines, there are some games that feature up to 50 lines with a normal maximum bet of 25 cents per line.

To make a bet on a payline, you simply click the corresponding button. When making bets on the paylines, be sure that you know what you are betting. Some games will feature only a center line across the screen. When the reels come to a halt, that payline is paid based on the game's symbol matching system. Some symbols that machines commonly use include:

  • Cherries
  • Two Bars
  • Sevens
  • Single Bars
  • Three Bars

Slots Bonuses

Some special slot games offer even more betting options to the gambler. In addition to the "symbol match" paylines, certain symbols can trigger a free spin, scatter or bonus round when you can wager additional credits for a chance to greatly increase your winnings. While these games can sometimes get tricky or confusing, the basic functions remain the same as the original, simple 3 reel slots.

Free Spins: If a certain symbol (depending on the game) is on the screen when the reels stop spinning, you may be eligible to take an additional spin without having to place a bet. The wager applied is normally the same as the wager that won you the free spin. For example, if you win a free spin on a "Bet Max" wager, the free spin will apply the same amount.

Scatter: Scatter bonuses are becoming more common in theme slot games. Essentially, scatter symbols do not have to be on the same payline to pay out. In fact, most scatter symbols simply have to be present on the screen when the reels stop spinning to pay out. You do not need to place a wager on scatter bonuses. Some slot games have a set amount that will pay out for scatter symbols while others pay out based on the specific wager that you placed before the spin.

Bonus Round: A bonus round is normally an additional play session applied to spins where certain requirements are met. Most are the result of symbols matching on a payline. The bonus round may simply be another spin of one reel or could be an entirely different type of game. For example, some slot games feature a bonus round where the player can bet their winnings from a spin on whether a hidden card will be black or red. If they choose correctly, they can choose to take their winnings or continue playing. If they choose incorrectly, all winnings will be lost.

Further Reading

Here are some other great online resources to visit if you'd like to know more about slots machines.

More resources: