How To Play Slots Games - Your Expert Guide For 2024

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How To Play Slots – Your Expert Guide For 2023

Are you looking for a complete guide to playing slots? If you’re a novice player or if you want to learn a bit more about slots, we got you covered in both cases.

In this guide we’ll show you our expert knowledge about slots and present it to you in form of easy to read points. In the end, you’ll know more about slots than you thought there is to know – even if you’ve played them before!
These are the four key things you’ll find on this page:

How To Play Slots – The Basics

We’ll start from the beginning, just in case you’re an absolute novice. Slots are a gambling game of chance, where reels spin and have symbols on them. When the reels stop, the combination of visible symbols will either be one that is supposed to pay out a win, or not. This is universal to all slots regardless of who made them and how innovative gameplay they may have. It’s always symbols on reels and winning combinations. One spin of the reels is called, of course, a spin, and you pay a certain amount to be able to make the spin.

All slot games will be set up to pay less than what you put into them over the long run. Usually this value is around 95%, which means the slot game will pay out 95% of all money that goes into it in form of wagers. If you played any game for long enough, you’d see that this value is more or less correct. This is also universal to all slots.
Almost all slots will have some sort of thing to look forward to, which is the reason you’re playing. It can be a really big win that comes from the paytable alone, a free spins feature, some other bonus feature, some in-game small jackpot or a huge progressive jackpot.

In essence, you play a slot game because you’re hoping to trigger one of those features often enough during your short playing session so you walk away as a winner.

Slot Game Features

While every slot game is unique, most of them seem to follow the same guidelines and they seem to have similar features. This is because familiarity is a huge thing in gambling, as people would refuse to wager money on a game that doesn’t feel familiar.

That’s why you’ll most often see five reels in slots. There are games with three reels, six reels, and there are other more innovative setups, but five reels is the golden standard. There will be three or four rows, for a total of 15 or 20 symbols respectively.

There will be symbols that appear on the reels, and you’ll have to land three-of-a-kind at least to win something. Some other setups pay when same symbols are grouped together.

A slot game can have paylines the symbols must be present on in order for you to win, or it can have a 243 ways to win mechanic, or Megaways mechanic, or some cluster pays mechanic.

In almost all cases, a slot machine will have scatters of some sort that trigger one or more bonus rounds. This is the goal of almost every single online slot out there. Land the scatters, enter the free spins game or/and a bonus round, and win a lot of money there.

A lot of slots use Wilds or Expanding Wilds that fill the entire reel to generate larger wins and excitement. Win multipliers are also very popular. So, it’s possible that a slot game will have Expanding Wilds with win multipliers in the free spins feature.

Slots that we call innovative are those that stray from these proven methods to engage the player. Anything that doesn’t fall in line with this usual setup is deemed innovative, and it’s also a signal that you should definitely try that game out.

Progressive Jackpots

Progressive jackpot slots are probably the oldest type of slot machines and they were used to draw players to casinos. The chance to win a life-changing jackpot by betting a quarter is something that appeals to every gambler and, more importantly, every mainstream player with disposable income.

The principle is the same in land-based slot machines and in online slots. The progressive jackpot gets bigger and bigger as the slot machine gathers more bets, it’s always a small percentage such as 0.5% of each bet, and with time this can grow to millions of dollars. Then, one lucky player will spin the reels and win!

In case of land-based slot machines, the jackpot is tied to a specific machine, and you can see its jackpot displayed above the machine.

In case of online slots, the jackpots can theoretically grow much larger as there are dozens or hundreds of people playing the slot on the same day. The jackpots accumulate faster and will probably get triggered more often than the jackpot at some Vegas slot.

There are jackpot trackers online that tell you how often does some online slot pay its progressive jackpot. Once a year is a good indicator that the slot game is legit, because there are also some progressive jackpots that have never been won.

The proven strategy to win the progressive jackpot is to be consistent. The more spins you make on the slot machine in question, the larger your chances to win the jackpot. It’s always the consistent player that wins the jackpot. Rarely it’s like in the movies, put your last quarter in and win the jackpot. People who win jackpots are those that make it their business to dedicate 2-3 hours every evening into playing the slot game with the jackpot.

So, if you want to have a shot, choose a progressive jackpot slot that really pays, then decide how often will you be playing the game, e.g. 1000 spins every day, and stick with the strategy. It might just pay off.

How To Play Megaways Slots

Australian software studio Big Time Gaming came up with a concept of variable number of paylines in 2016, and called it Megaways. This is essentially the same game mechanic as the well-known 243 ways to win, where there are no paylines, and as long as symbols are on adjacent reels, it’s a win. On a board that has 5 reels and 3 rows, it just so turns out that there are 243 ways for a winning combination to be formed.

Megaways does the exact same thing as 243 ways to win, with an important difference. The board is no longer 5×3, though it can still be that, but randomly a reel can have from 2 up to 7 symbols. This, of course, significantly increases the number of possible ways to win.

If you’re playing a game with 6 reels, and up to 7 symbols can be on each reel, then the maximum number of ways to win is 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 = 117,649. And that’s the number you’ll so often see mentioned in Megaways games.
Big Time Gaming is licencing Megaways to other slot developers so you can see this exciting game mechanic in slots not developed by BTG.

So how do you play a Megaways slot game? Well, these slots have a bit higher variance and are a lot more exciting to play. Look at the paytable and the RTP, and if you’re happy with the best possible wins you can get, then play that slot game. With Megaways, it’s all about that top win. If it’s a good one, then the Megaways game is worth playing.
Megaways slots have become so popular that they’re practically a separate genre that spans across multiple developers. A lot of players are specifically looking for Megaways slots. There’s a good reason. Do try these slots out!

How To Play Online Slots

Real money online slots are very easy to play – you simply find an online casino that has the game you want and accepts you as a player, you make a deposit, and then you launch the game in your browser on any desktop or mobile device, and you start clicking the Spin button.

An important thing to note here is to be careful with the Max Bet button if there is one, and to generally be careful with clicking the Spin button unless you’re 100% sure your bet size is appropriate.

Of course, you’ll want to play at some offshore online casino that accepts USA players that recommends. That takes out the guesswork, we did the heavy lifting for you. Simply choose a casino you like.

After that, make a deposit, and it’s likely you’ll be using crypto. Even if you’re not very experienced with crypto, do make an effort to learn how to use it. It is by far the most convenient way to deposit and withdraw money online.
Finally, when you’re sitting there with a funded online casino account, the question is – which slot should you play?
The lobby will generally always show the most popular slots, based on how many other players are playing them. This is universal across all casinos. So, if you simply want to trust other players, click one of the most popular titles. There are probably good reasons why these slots are popular.

If you’re uncertain or want to make your own choices, you’ll have to play slots for real money or in demo mode and see how do slots by different providers (Betsoft, Realtime Gaming, Rival…) play and feel, and what are the best slots by each developer.

We can always recommend the same approach – try the game out in demo mode, give it a thousand spins or so, and if you like how the game plays, play it for real money.

It’s best if you do this at an online casino we recommend, and an online casino that is giving you a nice welcome bonus or some free spins, because then your chances to win increase.

How To Play Slots In Vegas

Playing slots in Las Vegas, or any land-based casino for that matter, and playing slots online are two totally different experiences.

When in Vegas, have fun. Choose any of the slot machines you like, preferably ones with a huge jackpot or some other prize, and start putting coins in the machine.

Usually you’ll find yourself a nice little spot, one that feels just right, and will be playing the slot machine that you somehow like the most. This will go on for several hours, just don’t forget to sometimes have a change of scenery, walk away to play a different slot, go have a drink or something to eat, and generally – have fun.

Tips For New Slot Players

Let’s go over some tips for new slot players. These come from countless hours of playing experience so it would be wise to implement them right from the start:

  1. Don’t chase losses. If the loss started hurting, walk away
  2. Play with your disposable income and money you can afford to lose. Wins aren’t guaranteed in gambling
  3. Check the RTP and variability of the slot
  4. Check the paytable of the slot
  5. Play innovative and fun slots. Have fun. Otherwise, what’s the point?
  6. Play the slot game you want in demo mode. But not for too long, otherwise you’re missing out on real wins
  7. Learn to claim the free spins offers and welcome deposit bonuses. There’s a skill involved in meeting playthrough conditions
  8. Play at reputable online casinos, such as the ones we recommend on
  9. Play slots by top providers. Such as Betsoft or Realtime Gaming. These are some of the best in the world
  10. Learn a lot about as many slots as possible. Soon you should have a list of favorites.

How Online Slots Pay Out

All online slots are independently audited for fairness. Meaning, they are totally random and always behave in the same way, they aren’t rigged. You can be certain of that.

The most popular metric that tells you how does an online slot pay out is theoretical return to player (RTP). This is a number that tells you what the house edge is, similar to blackjack and some other games. If the house edge is 0.5%, then the RTP is 99.5%. In case of online slots, RTP is usually between 95% and 97%.

There are many more important things to consider. First and foremost, the variance. Some slots keep paying small wins to keep you happy but never pay that mega win, while some other slots feel tight but then all of a sudden you get a life-changing mega win or a progressive jackpot. Players usually prefer the latter. High variance is a telltale sign that the slot has a mega win to pay.

There are all kinds of slots. With some, the bonus feature gets triggered often and it’s a rewarding one, while with some others it seems as if you’re waiting for the free spins feature forever but when it comes you don’t win money from it. Do play the slots in demo mode to know what exact slot you want to play for real money.

Free vs Real Money Slots

Most online slots are available to play for real money or in demo mode. These are always the same game. It’s not that demo game pays better to get you to deposit money. It’s the same game but you’re playing it with real money or with play money.

The one exception are the progressive jackpots. They can never get triggered with play money, of course.
Some players prefer playing slots in demo mode until they’re absolutely sure they want to play some slot. This is equally wrong as never playing the game in demo mode and therefore not knowing what it’s like.
If you’re playing some online slot in demo mode, it might just so happen that you win big in the free spins game. Wouldn’t you rather have had real money invested in the game?

Pros of Demo Play

Cons of Demo Play

Pros of Real Money Play

Cons of Real Money Play

How To Play Slots – FAQs

Are slots games actually random?

Yes. All online slots are entirely random and not rigged in any way, which can not be said with certainty about slot machines in land casinos. Online slots are independently audited for fairness and true randomness.

How can I win more at slots?

You can win more at slots by choosing the right slots and being careful with your betting strategy. Some slots are better than the others, and you should play those slots that have a better RTP and higher top wins, perhaps even jackpots. Win more by walking away when you’re ahead, lose less by walking away when you’re just a little bit in the red and don’t chase losses.

What are progressive jackpots?

Progressive jackpots are a feature of many online slots. Since a lot of players are playing the same game, every bet made contributes to the progressive jackpot amount, and then one lucky player wins it randomly. A lot of players choose to put their disposable income into progressive jackpot slots same way people do with lottery. It’s the persistent player that wins it.

How do I choose a good slots game?

A foolproof way to choose a good slots game is to look at the most popular slots in the casino lobby, choose one that has a good RTP and that is designed by a top-notch slot developer such as Betsoft or RTG. Avoid the obscure titles by obscure developers, casino proprietary slots, slots that are too old, and slots with RTP under 95%.

Drake Achilles

Drake Achilles

Drake Achilles is a college student from Canada. He has been in the business in one way or another from the majority of his life. He brings knowledge and experience to the Play Slots 4 Real Money website.


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