When you play a slot machine, one of the first things that you look at is the slot machine’s features. Those casino real money features make the gameplay more exciting, more interactive and more satisfying.
50 years ago, slot machines had basic reels, symbols and paylines but today you can find any of dozens of features including wild symbols, scatters, slots with dual screens, up to six reels and dozens of paylines, pay ways, and rolling, stacked, cascading and other types of symbols.
There are also many different types of win features, bonus rounds, free spin rounds and other elements that give you more opportunities to create more winning combinations and walk away with more wins.
If you’ve never played a video slot before, these elements may seem intimidating but once you understand the different features, you’ll find that choosing your machine is almost as fun as the actual gameplay. So hang in there because the more you play, the more quickly you’ll learn which features you prefer.
Below you’ll find a guide to understanding the intricacies of slots gaming.
How to Play
At its core, slots is an easy game to play. You can play any of the slots games at the online casino for free but to play for real money prizes, you place your bet and press “Spin.” The reels start spinning. When they stop, you can assess the outcome of the spin.
The goal is to create completed combinations of three or more symbols which trigger winning payouts. The higher the symbol’s payout value, the higher your winning payout.
You should be aware of the RNG, the Random Number Generator, which is built into the machine and assures that each and every spin of the machine will deliver random results.
That way, you know that the results are fair. Also, check a machine’s payout percentage (Return to Player, known as RTP) which is an average of the percentage of wagers that the game delivers to gamers in winning payouts.
Most of today’s machines have between a 95% - 97% RTP – obviously, the higher the RTP, the higher your chances of scoring wins.
Finally, a machine’s volatility determines the hit rate and payouts – if a machine has a high volatility, there are fewer wins but the payouts are higher. A low volatility indicates more wins but lower payouts. A medium volatility slot is one where the rate of winning combinations and the payouts are set to a medium level.
That’s the main part of a slot game. Now comes the features! Slot machine features add an extra element of entertainment so you can expand your gaming adventure so that it includes more than simply matching symbols.
Now that you know the basics, you can learn more about a slot machine’s features. Some features that you may want to keep an eye out for when you’re choosing your slot include:
Most slot machines, including three-reel slots, five-reel slot machines and six-reel slots, feature wild features.
Some Wilds are game logos or an image from the slot machine’s plot while others are simply one of the game’s main symbols. Wilds are used as symbol substitutions.
When a Wild appears on the screen it can substitute for any other symbol to complete a combination. Wilds don’t always substitute for all of the game’s symbols – they often don’t substitute for Bonus symbols, scatters or other special symbols.
There are also different types of Wilds including Sticky Wilds, Rolling Wilds, Expanding Wilds and other types of Wilds that add an extra element of surprise and suspense to the game.
Multipliers are always a welcome feature because they multiply your win. Sometimes the multipliers are applied to wins that occur with the inclusion of a Wild symbol, sometimes for free spins win or wins that happen in conjunction with other elements.
Multipliers can involve anything from multiplying a win 2x to 25x or more! Obviously, it’s advantageous to find a game with a large multiplier so do your research before you start playing!
Scatter symbols are another type of symbol that you find in most slots games. Scatter combinations trigger both scatter combination payouts and, often, bonus rounds, mini-games or free spins.
Sometimes you need just two scatters to trigger the special feature while at other times, three is the minimum – of course, if your spin results in more than the minimum, the benefits of the special rounds increase.
In general, you don’t have to land your scatters on a specific payline – rather, multiple scatters, occurring anywhere on the reels, will unlock the special features.
Jackpot prizes, including progressive jackpots, are featured in many of today’s slot machines. To win a jackpot, you need to hit the jackpot trigger – sometimes random symbols, other times, the jackpot symbol.
Jackpot prizes vary from tens of dollars to hundreds or even thousands of dollars. If the game is a progressive jackpot game, the jackpot grows and grows progressively until some lucky player, somewhere in the world, hits the jackpot trigger and wins the prize.
Then the prize resets to a minimum level and starts to grow again.
Increasing numbers of slot machines feature multiple jackpots so every player has the opportunity to win a Grand Jackpot, a Maxi Jackpot and a Mini Jackpot – and sometimes more.
Traditional slot machines have multiple paylines across the reels. Winning combinations must occur on the same payline in order to pay out on wins. Some machines today have Pay Ways where winning combinations payout if regardless of where they fall on the “Pay Ways”.
Sometimes these machines are called 243 Ways to Win machines because there are 243 Ways to Win on every spin.
If a slot machine has a free spins round it gives the player a specified number of free spins where they can spin the reels for free and collect real payouts on those free spins. Sometimes the free spins retrigger meaning that the free spins start over again.<
There are many other types of features including cascading reels, exploding symbols, rolling wilds and more. If you take a few minutes to research your slot machine before you start to play you can increase your win rate and enjoy a more rewarding slots experience.