Slots are the most popular games at online casinos. You can, therefore, find them at all casinos, but the number of slots you’ll find will vary widely. An average online casino will have about 800 slots, but the big casinos can have more than 3000 different slots to choose from. Video slots are the most common, but you can always find classic slots as well. Another popular category is, of course, slots with progressive jackpots, and these are the games where with one lucky spin, you can win millions of euros!
If you haven’t tried slots before, we here at GoodLuckMate will give you all the information you’ll need in our Slots Guide. Not only will you find out how to play slots, but you’ll also learn how you can maximize your chances of winning!
Slots at online casinos
The two main types of slots you’ll find are video slots and classic slots, but most online casinos also offer other automated games within the slots category. These are typically table games, bingo or even scratch cards. While these games are not slots in the traditional sense, they're often grouped with slots since all of them are operated using a random number generator, and this is also what determines the results of each game round in slots.
Let’s have a look at the different slot types and what distinguishes each of them:
The features that usually define a classic slot machine are that it has three wheels, a retro design, and about 5 pay lines. Fruits, jokers, 7s and BARs are the most common symbols you’ll see. In addition, the slot itself is quite simple, and it either won’t have bonus features at all or it may have only a few. But while all of these features are found on older classic slots, these days, game providers are also making updated versions of the classics. You may find slots with more wheels and ones with more modern designs and symbols, but the bonus features will normally be limited to either a gamble feature, where you can double or quadruple your winnings, or a supermeter that allows you to gamble your winnings for the chance to win more.
The pay lines
With three wheels showing three symbols each, the pay lines in a classic slot usually run horizontally and diagonally. To win, you need to have three of the same symbol in a line. In classic slots, having a wild symbol is relatively uncommon, although you’ll see this in more modern versions. Quite a few classic online slots also let you choose the number of pay lines you want to bet on. The standard number of pay lines is five, but you can choose to bet on one, two, three or four lines, depending on the settings on the slot. On modern versions of classic slots, it’s normal to have nine pay lines or more since the slots usually have five reels.
The gamble feature is usually a 50/50 game. When you win from a pay line, you get to choose whether you want to collect your winnings or use them to gamble longer. If you choose to gamble, you get to pick either heads or tails on a coin flip, or you can choose either red or black from cards drawn from a deck. If you pick the right one, you’ll double your winnings, but if you pick the wrong one, you’ll lose your winnings. If you win, you can gamble for the chance to double your money again. Usually, you can do this until you click collect to have your winnings added to the balance in the game or until you lose. Some games do, however, have a limit on the number of times you can use this feature in the same game round.
If the gamble feature uses cards, you might also be able to choose a suite of cards instead of just the card color. If this is the case, you’ll be playing a 25/75 game. The potential winnings will be greater, but the chances of winning are, of course, lower.
In many ways, the supermeter feature is similar to the gamble feature, since you can only enter it by gambling on the winnings from a pay line. The difference is that your win is added to the supermeter, and you can then spin the wheels again with the chance of hitting a bigger win. Some classic slots use the same wheels for this, while others have a separate set of wheels that are only used for the supermeter. The bet per spin will be higher — it’s usually at least double what you’d normally bet — but the potential wins are also greater. You can win more with a “normal” win from the pay lines, but there may be other added features, such as scatter wins or something like that. The more you bet, the more you can win.
Once you've entered the supermeter, you can, at any time, choose to collect your winnings and go back to the game’s normal mode, and if you end up losing everything you have in the supermeter, the feature will automatically close. If you do win, some games will let you play in the supermeter mode indefinitely while other games limit the amount you can have in the meter. Once you hit this ceiling, your supermeter balance is transferred to the balance you have in the game itself.
The best classic slots
Classic slots are, first and foremost, popular among players who have played on physical versions of these games in the real world. Many of the exact same games can now be found online, complete with the same pay tables, symbols and features. These three games are among the most popular classic slots at online casinos:
NetEnt has brought new life to the old-time slot Jackpot 6000. In this game, you’ll find a typical classic slot with both a gamble feature and a super meter. The maximum win is 6000 coins, and you can get this by either lining up three jokers or by triggering a random win by getting two jokers in the supermeter.
Super Nudge 6000
NetEnt is also the game provider behind the online version of Super Nudge 6000. In this slot, the supermeter has the most to offer, and it’s here that real gamblers have the best chances of winning. In the super meter, you choose if you want to bet 2x, 4x or 6x your initial bet, and you’ll get 1, 2 or 3 nudges. By nudging the wheels after they stop, you can change an almost win to a win.
There are lots of jokers spinning around the wheels in Mega Joker from NetEnt, and these symbols don’t have a fixed prize. Every win from a line filled with jokers will trigger a random win, and you can bring the winnings with you to the supermeter. You can choose to wager 2x, 4x, 10x or 20x your initial bet in this bonus feature, depending on the size of win you're after. And that’s not all. Mega Joker also features a progressive jackpot!
At any given online casino, you'll find hundreds, if not thousands, of video slots. These are slots filled with bonus features, great graphics, and plenty of pay lines. A typical video slot has five reels, but a lot of the newer games have replaced spinning wheels with falling symbols. This feature allows a game to offer players multiple chances of winning in the same game round.
The standard setup is usually five wheels or columns that show three symbols each and have from 20 to 25 pay lines. But you may also find games with expanding wheels, a lot more symbols per wheel or column, and even games that have up to 7 or 8 columns or wheels. Basically, these games have evolved so much over the years that the standard is now very blurry because all of the game developers are striving to come up with new features that no other video slots have had before.
Regardless of the layout of the game itself, the thing that makes video slots exciting is all the bonus features. Almost all of these games have wild symbols, scatter symbols and some form of bonus round. Free Spins and Pick & Click games are the most common. Let's have a look at some of the features you might find in a video slot:
There are no real rules about the number of pay lines a video slot should have, although between 20 and 25 lines used to be the norm. These lines usually crisscross over the wheels, and you'll normally need to get three of the same symbols in a line to win. Most video slots only pay out if you get a winning combination starting from the left of the game, but some also have pay lines that start from the right, which allows you to win from both sides of the game. A few slots even let you win no matter which wheel the winning combination starts on, as long as you have at least three adjoining symbols on the pay line.
The pay lines are something that newer video slots are starting to move away from. In some of the modern slot machines, it’s enough for the symbols to land anywhere on adjacent wheels to create a win. With many symbols per wheel, this can give you hundreds of thousands of possible winning combinations. Winning with clusters of the same symbol is also possible. In short, only the game developer’s imagination determines how you can and can’t win when you’re playing a video slot.
There are no limits with respect to the kinds of bonus features you might find in a video slot, but these are some of the most common:
- Stacked symbols – The symbols on the wheels appear stacked, meaning you get more of the same symbol occurring at the same time, which can give you bigger wins with more winning combinations.
- Walking/falling symbols – The bonus symbols in a game, typically wild symbols, can be walking, falling, or moving around the wheels in other ways. This usually also happens in combination with re-spins.
- Expanding symbols – These are symbols that land in a certain position on a wheel and then expand to cover more than just that spot. Frequently, an expanding symbol will cover the entire wheel it lands on.
- Sticky symbols – If a symbol is sticky, this means it will stay in whatever position it lands in through your remaining free spins or re-spins. In quite a few video slots, all winning symbols will be sticky. When you get a re-spin that fails to build on the winning combination, this bonus feature will end.
- Re-spins – If you get re-spins, you’ll get extra spins for free. This usually happens along with another bonus feature, such as expanding or moving symbols. If the slot has falling symbols, you’ll get re-falls when the symbols you win with disappear and new symbols replace them, creating new chances to win.
- Multiplier – Multipliers give you bigger wins. They usually happen in combination with other bonus features, but they can also be something you get from a symbol like a wild. Getting a winning combination with this type of symbol will multiply your winnings by the number shown on the symbol. The most common multipliers are x2 or x3, but some video slots have multipliers of up to x30, or even more.
The most common type of bonus round you can trigger in a video slot is Free Spins. These are spins you get to play for free as a part of the game round that triggered the bonus, but spinning for free isn’t the only benefit you’ll generally get. Along with the free spins, you’ll often get other bonus features. These can be re-spins, expanding symbols, bigger symbols, sticky symbols, or basically any other possibility that exists in terms of bonus features. Quite often, you’ll also be playing with a multiplier activated, and this will enable you to get far bigger wins than you can in the game’s normal mode.
Another common bonus round feature is Pick & Click. You’ll get a set number of symbols, and by picking them, you get a prize. Sometimes you can keep picking symbols until you hit a “collect” or empty symbol, and at other times, you’ll have a set number of picks. These bonus games can also be something you get in combination with free spins, so you may be able to pick bonus features before you get to spin for free.
Bonus rounds can also appear as different games and features other than just free spins and pick and click games, but what’s almost always true is that these bonus games are the ones where you have the best chances of getting a big win in the slot. A fairly new type of bonus feature consists of being able to choose the volatility of the game, which means you can select whether you want to have a small chance at a big win or a bigger chance at a lot of smaller wins.
Wild and special symbols
In most video slots, the normal symbols are the ones you actually win with, meaning the ones you can see in the paytable, and a win connected to these depends on the number you get in a winning combination. In addition to these symbols, there are also special symbols. The most common of these is a wild symbol. Wilds are symbols that can replace other symbols in the game, which means you can get a win even if you don’t have the required number of normal symbols. This is why wilds are often considered the best symbols in a video slot.
Another special symbol you’ll often see is a scatter. This is a symbol that isn’t bound by any pay line, and it can give a win no matter where it’s placed. Scatters are normally also bonus symbols, and these symbols can trigger a bonus round, such as free spins. Usually, you’ll need three scatters to start a bonus round, but getting more scatters can also give you an extra boost, such as additional choices for a pick and click game or more free spins.
The best video slots
With hundreds of new video slots being released every year, there will naturally always be some turnover week by week in the top lists that show the most popular games. But, certain video slots are almost always in the top lists of the best online slots, year after year. These are player favorites, and they’re games that every new slot player should try. Here are some of the all-time favorites:
In Gonzo’s Quest from NetEnt, you’ll get to experience falling symbols, re-falls, multipliers and free falls. If you’re really lucky, you can win over and over again in the same game round with a multiplier that can get as high as x5 in the game’s normal mode and as high as x15 in the bonus round, which consists of free spins. With a multiplier of x15, a good combination can give you a win of tens of thousands of times your bet!
Another player-favorite from NetEnt is Starburst. The only bonus feature you’ll find is an expanding wild symbol that also triggers a re-spin, and if you’re lucky, you can cover the three middle wheels entirely with wilds. This feature gets even better because Starburst pays from both sides of the game, which doubles your chances of winning on each and every spin!
Book of Dead
Play’n GO’s most popular video slot is Book of Dead. In this game, you want to land three books because this will trigger free spins with a randomly selected special symbol. When this symbol lands on a wheel, it will expand to cover the entire wheel, and it will also be transformed into a scatter symbol. With a bit of luck, you can cover all the wheels with the same symbol and generate a massive win!
Memory isn’t something most slots are equipped with, but when they are, they're known as progressive games. This shouldn’t be confused with slots that have progressive jackpots, even though the concept is along the same lines. In most online slots, the game will restart from scratch in every game round, and what happened in the previous rounds won’t have any effect on what happens next. However, in progressive online slots, what happened before does have an effect on how the game proceeds.
Most often, the progressive part of a game means that you’ll have to collect something during several game rounds. It may be something you win by getting a certain symbol, triggering a bonus feature, or doing something else. The point is that there will be some kind of meter for you to fill, and once it’s full, you’ll trigger a bonus. This can consist of free spins, a bonus game with extra bonus features, or just a random extra prize. This kind of gamification in a slot is designed to trigger player loyalty, so one thing you can be sure of is that the prize you get will be good enough to entice you to keep playing until that meter is filled.
How long the memory in a game lasts varies from game to game, but one full year from the last time you played a spin is fairly common. Some online slots have a shorter memory, and it can be as short as a couple of days.
Just keep in mind that progressive slots are often among the slots that casinos exclude from contributing towards wagering requirements. They can also simply disable these slots for players having bonus money on their accounts.
The best progressive slots
You can find quite some progressive slots at online casinos, but it’s rare for online casinos to mark these games so that they’re easy to recognize. This means you’ll just have to know which ones they are if you want to try them. However, these are the best progressive slots that you can find at most casinos online:
Vikings Go Berzerk
The goal in Vikings Go Berzerk, a game from Yggdrasil, is simply to make the Vikings go berzerk. You can accomplish this by collecting wins with the four different Viking symbols, each of which has its own meter. Once a meter is filled, you’ll trigger a bonus round with free spins where the raging Viking is transformed into a sticky wild symbol. With four Viking meters, you can trigger this bonus quite frequently – if you’re lucky.
Devil’s Delight is one of the very few progressive slots available from NetEnt. In this slot, the aim is to trigger a bonus round where you try to match the sinners with their sins. For every correct match, not only will you get a prize, but you’ll also fill your meter. Once full, the meter will trigger a special edition of free spins where only the seven deadly sins are spinning over the wheels. These have a high value, so the win you get could be massive.
In Kingmaker Megaways from Big Time Gaming, you’ll not only get to try a Megaways slot, you’ll also get to collect flags whenever you get one symbol with the same color on each of the five reels. The flags you collect will turn into multipliers that will be activated when you start the free spins bonus round. With some luck, you could end up with a multiplier of x50 or more!
Progressive jackpot slots
A slot with a progressive jackpot is a slot that has a pooled prize. All of the people playing one particular slot contribute to the same jackpot, and one player can win the big prize. You’ll never win a fixed prize from a progressive jackpot since the jackpot is always a different amount. A small percentage of each bet placed on the slot will be added to the jackpot, and this is how it grows. The jackpot keeps growing until one lucky player triggers it, and that player wins the whole pot.
Once the jackpot is triggered, it will start building again. When a percentage is taken from each player’s bet and added to the jackpot, a small percentage of this money is reserved for the next jackpot. This is why, even though someone may have just won it, the jackpot will never start at zero. This also means that the bigger the original jackpot is, the greater the amount the next jackpot will start building from. In addition, most slots with a progressive jackpot will have a minimum amount that the jackpot will never go under, and this could be as much as €1,000,000!
The biggest jackpot win for an online slot was €18,9 million. This life-changing win was triggered on the Mega Moolah slot from Microgaming. Mega Moolah is a global progressive slot, and this means that all of the players from around the world who play either this slot or the sister-slot Mega Moolah Isis are contributing to the same jackpot. There aren’t too many of these global progressive jackpots since progressive slots can also be local. If you want to win millions upon millions, the global progressive slots are always the ones you should choose.
How to win a progressive jackpot
You’ll have to be more than a little lucky to win a big global progressive jackpot because the chances of that happening are minuscule. However, someone has to win it, so it could be you. There are no surefire ways of ensuring that you’ll actually win a jackpot, but there are a few tricks that could help you. Here are two of the tricks you should keep in mind when betting on a progressive jackpot:
- Bet high – It’s not necessary to put the maximum bet on the slot to be able to win a jackpot, but a bigger bet is more likely to trigger the jackpot than a smaller one. A bigger bet contributes more to the jackpot, and that’s why your chances of winning will increase.
- Play at the right time – A jackpot will trigger at some point, and the bigger it gets, the better the chances are that it will be triggered soon. Choosing to play when the jackpot is bigger than normal is therefore always smart. However, the size that the jackpot can reach will depend on the slot, so you should make sure you know how big each jackpot usually gets before you start to play.
The jackpot slot you choose is also important. The big global jackpots are, needless to say, not easy to win, simply because they don’t trigger that often. They can go for months before they finally pay out, which is also why they get so big. Your chances of winning the jackpot on a slot with a normally smaller jackpot may be higher. The game provider Red Tiger Gaming offers slots with a pooled jackpot, and this is guaranteed to pay out once a day! You won’t win millions, but you can still win a substantial amount.
The best progressive jackpot slots
Most, but not all, online casinos have slots with progressive jackpots. The average number of slots is usually around twenty, but some casinos have hundreds. Usually, the big casinos have the best selection, since they're the ones that can afford to pay out the winnings. However, the overall number of progressive slots is not the only thing you should look out for since the particular games a casino actually offers is even more important. These are some of the biggest and best progressive online jackpot slots:
Microgaming’s Mega Moolah jackpot game is triggered randomly, and when it’s triggered, you’re guaranteed to win one of the game’s four progressive jackpots, of which the Mega Jackpot is the biggest. The jackpot can easily reach more than 10 million euros, and it usually tops the lists of the biggest jackpots you can win at online casinos.
Mega Fortune Dreams
The Mega Fortune Dreams slot from NetEnt offers a jackpot that may not be far behind Mega Moolah’s prize. All three progressive jackpots are placed in a wheel of fortune, which you enter if you get three bonus symbols on one spin. If you manage to spin your way into the center of the wheel, you’ll trigger the Mega Jackpot.
Yggdrasil also has some big global jackpots, and one of the best is Joker Millions. In this jackpot game, the object is to fill the entire screen with joker symbols because you’ll need 15 of them to trigger the jackpot. This jackpot is not quite as big as the ones we just mentioned, but it has still reached close to 8 million euros before, so it could quite possibly grow that big again.
Return to player – RTP
Players usually want to know how much they can win from a slot, but unfortunately, there's no answer to this. You can win millions upon millions, but you could also end up winning nothing. Slots are completely random games, at least in terms of individual game rounds. However, in the long run, the amount you could win is not completely random. All slots, and other games of chance, have a calculation for something called Return To Player (RTP). This is what determines how much a slot should pay out, on average.
You can usually see what a slot’s RTP is in the game information. Between 95% and 98% is considered normal. This means that for every €100 you bet, the winnings should be about €97. This is just in theory, though. The RTP is calculated over thousands and thousands of game rounds and not per player. This is why you’ll sometimes get lucky and all the big wins will just be rolling in, while at other times, the same slot might give you nothing but losses. In short, for one player to win, someone else has to lose. The only thing that’s certain is that the slot, or the casino, always gets to keep between 2% and 5% of the bets, while the rest is paid out as winnings to random players.
Since the RTP is always lower than 100%, this means if you keep playing and playing, you'll lose in the end. You can, of course, be lucky and get quite a few big wins, but the trick is to withdraw your winnings at some point. If you keep betting your winnings over and over again, the slot will leave you empty-handed. Unless you win a jackpot, of course…
Random number generator – RNG
Another thing a lot of players wonder about is if online slots are fair – and yes, they are. All of the slots you’ll find at licensed online casinos use a Random Number Generator – RNG. These are computer programs that are designed to create random results. With these in place, no one at the casino can influence who’s winning or when, which is what makes the games fair for all players. That means your chances of winning are the same as they are for other players. A certified random number generator is provided by a third party, and it’s not possible for the casino to tamper with it.
The RNG also ensures that the chance of a win occurring is the same in every game round. For example, if you just finished a bonus round with free spins, the chances of the next spin triggering another round of free spins are just the same as they are a hundred spins later. In many ways, an RNG works like tossing a dice. For every toss, the chances of you getting six are the same, no matter what happened in the last toss.
Even though the games themselves are fair, you should always remember that they're fair in the sense that they work as intended. That being said, a slot machine is never designed to pay out all the bets it gets as winnings since the RTP is set to less than 100%. After all, the casino also has to make money somehow. In terms of slots, therefore, what fair means in the fair-gaming sense is that you're not at a disadvantage compared to other players. But, you will be at a disadvantage compared to the casino. This is why cashing out big wins is so important.