Everything You Need to Know to Start Playing Slot Games

The online slot games machines of today are a far cry from traditional mechanical three wheel slots of the last century, once known as fruit machines or one-armed bandit, and they remain the most popular form of casino gambling.

Slot symbols

Today’s slots offer more fun and entertainment than ever with a vast array of special features such as multiple reels and pay lines, special symbols, wild cards, scatters, multipliers, free spins, bonus games not to mention the increasingly complex and entertaining animations. And of course, all these features come an increase in the chances of winning big.

But where do you start?

The Basics

With so much variety and choice a newcomer you could be forgiven for feeling a bit out of your depth. Here are the basic things that you need to know before you start to play the slots.

3 Types of Slots

  • Classic slots – old-school three reel slots featuring fruit symbols.
  • Video slots – contemporary slots with intricate illustrations and cool animations that feature 5 reels or more.
  • Progressive slots – millionaire makers with jackpots that increase exponentially on every spin.

The Terminology

Pay Tables

Every slot game will display a pay table which sets out the list of payouts based on various winning combinations of symbols, and the number of coins bet.

Pay Lines

A pay line is a path along which symbols must align to trigger a win and the number of pay lines offered by a particular slot most important feature to check out before you play. The number of pay lines can range from one, like the old school variants, to hundreds which offer a seemingly endless number of winning combinations.

Why is it important to play all the pay lines? Playing all the pay lines increases your chances of hitting those combinations.


Depending on what slot games you are playing you can allocate a specific value or denomination to each coin. It may range from 0.01p to 100 or more.


The term comes from the old mechanical slots where the symbols were grouped on a reel which would spin vertically.

Spin Button

It does what it says on the button and sets the reels in motion.

Stop Button

This button is used to stop an autoplay session (see below). If a session is stopped in mid-spin, the current spin will run down before the session ends completely.

Bet Max Button

This button is a time saver. It automatically places the maximum bet and is only active between spins.

Bet One Button

It increases the bet size in increments until the maximum bet is reached when you may click it again to reset the counter to the lowest bet amount possible.

Symbols & Special symbols

These are the specific images used in each slot that needs to align to trigger a win.

All modern slot games tend to use special symbols that come in the form of wild cards. These are symbols that when they appear can replace another symbol required to make up a winning pay line. It, of course, enhances your chances of winning. Sticky Wilds are a variation of this and stay on the reels as you continue playing.


When a scatter symbol comes up on the reel, it will trigger the unlocking of specific bonus features and free spins.


A line bet is an amount on a single pay line, while the total bet is the total sum that is bet at a given moment.


For when it just becomes too much effort, autoplay, as the names suggest, allows players to set the slot to spin the reels for a certain specified number of times with just one click.

Special Features

Look out for extra features such as bonus rounds and free spins when choosing your slot. Game designers have got very creative with these extras offering ever more fun, entertainment and chances of winning. Go for the slot games that feature multipliers that provide the chance to double and triple your winnings or more.

Jackpots and Progressive Slots

Playing for the jackpots is what online slot games are all about. Check-out the pay table before you start to find out what the big win could be on a particular game.

The progressive slots, however, are the real millionaire makers. With jackpots increasing exponentially with every spin until some lucky punter finally hits the jackpot and wins a life-changing amount of money.

The biggest slot payout ever was over £13 million and went to 26-year-old Jon Heyward, a British soldier who became a multimillionaire overnight in 2015 by playing on Microgaming’s Mega Moolah. His initial stake was 25p.

Things to remember when playing the slots

  • Play in lower denominations to avoid busting your budget.
  • Play free games before playing for real money to get a feel for the particular slot game.
  • Look out for the promotions and take advantage of the free rolls and bonus game.
  • Know when to stop and don’t re-bet all your winnings if you want to protect your bankroll.

Also, check out our 9 Reasons Why You’ll Love Playing Slots Online.