Contrary to what some people or guides may tell you, video slots are all about luck. Apart from pulling the lever or pressing the button to spin the reels, players can’t do much to influence the outcome of each spin.
In fact, the best thing you can do to increase your chances of winning is to pick a slot that suits you the best.
However, choosing a single slot or choosing the best slot websites to play is not always easy. Since they’re one of the most popular casino games, new video slots are springing up every day. Therefore, players can choose from thousands of them.
So, how exactly should you go about picking a video slot to play?
Well, first things first, you should learn how video slots work in general. Once you have the basics down, you will be able to narrow down the choice and find a slot that suits your playstyle and bankroll.
To help you get started, we will introduce you to a set of features each slot has, so let’s dig in.
Reels are perhaps the first thing you will notice when you check out a slot. They are vertical columns that have the slot’s symbols on them.
Whenever you press the button, the reels will spin. Once they stop spinning, you will either land a winning combination or not.
Reels are usually stacked next to each other, and most modern-day video slots have either four or five reels. The number of reels varies from one slot to another.
For example, vintage slots generally have three reels, while some advanced and more complex slots can have up to 10 reels or even two sets of reels.
When it comes to paylines, they are predetermined lines that decide whether you win or lose each time you spin the reels. As the name suggests, you win whenever you land a set of matching symbols on a payline.
Some slots can have 10 or 25 paylines, while others can have hundreds or even thousands of paylines.
We’ve already mentioned that video slots can have a different number of reels. To show you how paylines work, let’s imagine a slot that has five reels, and each of those reels can display three symbols at a time, such as NetEnt’s Starburst.
When it comes to Starburst, it has the following paylines:
As you can see, Starburst has 10 paylines, and each time you land a set of matching symbols on the specific positions from the image, you will win.
An important thing to note is that the number of paylines doesn’t necessarily translate to more ways to win. To offset a large number of paylines, providers will sometimes add more symbols to the game.
Granted, while you will have more ways to win in a slot that has a high number of paylines, landing the correct sequence will be significantly harder.
Additionally, you should remember that some slots calculate winnings from left to right while others have paylines that pay from either side, so make sure to consider that when choosing a video slot to play.
Symbols and Features
People check symbols and features first before deciding to play a slot. However, while most people will immediately focus on the slot’s features, you should first check out its symbols and, more importantly, their values.
Ideally, you should look for slots that have fewer symbols. As we mentioned earlier, the fewer symbols a slot has, the easier it will be to land a winning combination.
Additionally, you should make sure that each symbol has a high value and that there isn’t a huge discrepancy between their values.
For example, some video slots have a mathematical model that allows you to win a lot. That’s also known as slots volatility, which we will cover in this article as well. For now, let’s focus on the symbols.
Namely, even if you win a lot, you may end up losing money. If the slot has a lot of low-value symbols, you may end up spending a dollar per spin but winning only 90 cents.
In other words, even though you have a winning combination, the slot’s low-value symbols are causing you to lose money.
For that reason, you should look for a slot that has a good balance between the symbols’ values. Additionally, make sure that the slot includes wild and scatter symbols that can replace any other symbol on the reels, allowing you to win more.
As far as features go, the most common one is the free spins feature, so you should generally go for slots that include free spins.
However, the value of each free spins feature will vary from one slot to another based on the value of the symbols, the number of free spins you receive with each feature, the number of times you can trigger the feature, and whether you can retrigger the free spins feature.
RTP stands for return to player, and it shows how much money you’re expected to win for every $100 you spend. For example, if a slot has an RTP of 96%, you should, theoretically, win $96 for every $100 you bet.
However, one common misconception is that the slot’s RTP will directly influence the amount a player will win, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
Namely, RTP is how casinos make money in the long run, and it’s similar to the house edge that casinos use for other games. An important thing to remember is that RTP is only relevant after millions of spins.
In the short run, let’s say, after 10 or 100 spins, you may lose $100 or win a lot more than just $96 if you’re playing a slot with an RTP of 96%.
Therefore, you shouldn’t pay too much attention to RTP. Instead, focus more on other features we mentioned. However, you should also avoid video slots that have an extremely low RTP, which is why we recommend that you stick to slots that have an RTP of 94% or higher.
RTP varies from one slot to another, and you can easily check it by entering the slot’s paytable browsing through the pages.
However, in some cases, the providers allow online casinos to adjust the RTP to their preference, and the slot’s RTP can also vary from one casino to another.
For that reason, make sure to check out the slot’s RTP before playing, even if you think you remember it from your previous sessions.
Volatility is a combination of all the features we’ve mentioned so far and one of the most important things to consider when deciding on a slot.
Simply put, slot volatility determines how often you will win and how much you can win with each spin. Based on that, you can split slots into three different categories, such as low, medium, and high volatility slots.
Low volatility slots pay often and are an ideal choice for players who enjoy long gaming sessions. However, slots like these don’t have giant payouts, so it may take hours of play before you make a significant profit.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, high volatility slots are much riskier. In some cases, you may go for dozens of spins without a win.
However, once you win, you may land a massive payout that will compensate for all the previous spins and even net you a nice profit.
Of course, this is just a brief explanation of slot volatility. You can always check out other websites for an in-depth guide about slot volatility if you wish to know more about it.
Jackpots are similar to bonus features, and the amount you can win with each jackpot is displayed somewhere on the slot’s interface.
Some slots even have multiple jackpots, all of which can reward you with a different amount of money. Naturally, the more money you can win with a jackpot, the harder it will be to do so.
Generally speaking, progressive slots that include jackpots are slightly worse in every regard than traditional slots. In most cases, you have to bet a high amount to be eligible for a jackpot.
However, to compensate for that, these slots offer you a small chance to win millions with a single spin.
Usually, you should avoid playing progressive slots unless you’re feeling lucky and are specifically after the once-in-a-million chances to win big.
As you can see, there’s a lot to digest when it comes to learning how to play video slots. However, once you get familiar with one slot, you can apply the same principles to every other slot you play.
It’s very important to consider the slot volatility. As we’ve mentioned earlier, slots with low volatility may be more appealing to players with a smaller bankroll who enjoy playing slots.
However, if you’re a high roller looking for a quick payout, you should generally aim for high volatility slots.
Lastly, you shouldn’t be too worried about sticking to a single title, and you can always explore new options and new themes.
In fact, many online casinos will even allow you to play a demo slot, so make sure to use that option before you spend any money.