Slots Rules - How to Play Slots

Slots are by far the most popular kind of casino game which is why you’ll find more slots than other game type at most land, online or mobile casinos. At bigger online and land casinos, slots can number in the thousands and include a wide variety of variants such as classic slots, video slots, bonus slots and progressive slots.

The name comes from the coin slot on the original slot machines, also known as ‘fruit machines’ because of their symbols depicting various fruit, and ‘one arm bandits’ because of the machine’s single pull arm and propensity to ‘relieve’ players of their money. At online casinos they’re simply called slots or slot games.

In the late 1800s Charles Fey of San Francisco built the world’s first slot machine called the Liberty Bell (after one of its symbols), which had 3 reels (with 5 symbols on each) and one pay line. Three Liberty Bells across the pay line yielded the game’s biggest payout of 50c (10 nickels), which was a respectable sum back then.

So successful was the game that it spawned an entire slot machine industry that eventually moved from the United States to many other parts of the world. Today land and online slots turnover billions of pounds globally, and continue to be the casino gambling game of choice for new and seasoned gamblers alike.

On this page you’ll find everything you need to know about the types of slot games. We’ll also show you how to play slots optimally and improve your chances of winning larger amounts more consistently.

Slots Explained

In their simplest form, slots are coin / card or credit operated machines or virtual games with 3 or 5 reels that are populated with a variety of symbols, with one or more pay lines. The idea is that for a specified bet you get to spin the reels.

If the reels stop and the symbols under an active pay line (or lines) form a winning combination (as per the respective slot game pay table), you’ll be paid out according to your respective bet size and any games features that have been activated.

Slot come in a wide variety of themes and variations, complete with bold, bright and colourful displays, background music and sound effects, and in some cases, 3D style animations and storylines. The sky is the limit when it comes to online slot design which is why there are so many to choose from at top UK online slots casinos.

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Types of Slots

There are various kinds of slots, but the four most common are:

  • Classic Slots – Old school slots with 3 reels and 1 pay line.
  • Video Slots – Modern 5 reels slots with multiple pay lines.
  • Bonus Slots – Slots that have multiple bonus rounds or games.
  • Progressive Slots – Slots with an ever-growing jackpot linked via a network.
Slots have come a long way and the visual appeal and game features just keep on getting better all the time, as can be seen in this video from Netent.

How popular an online slot game turns out to be dependant on a host of factors like:

  • How attractive and engaging its theme, graphics and sounds are.
  • The range of coin or denomination sizes it accepts to suit any budget.
  • How many features it has such as Wilds, Stacked Wilds, Expanding Wilds, Sticky Wilds, Scatters, Free Spins, Bonus symbols and rounds, Multipliers and Gamble.
  • How often it pays out i.e. whether it’s ‘loose’ (pays out smaller amounts more often) or ‘tight’ (pays out bigger amounts less often).
  • How generous its payouts and/or progressive jackpots are.
  • How high its payout percentage (return to player) is.
  • Which firm developed it i.e. some online casino game developers are better than others.
  • Whether it’s browser-based (which means you can play it on any computer or smart mobile device), or solely downloadable, where it has to be installed and can only be played on certain platforms (like Windows-based computers, for instance).

Slot Payout Tables

Before you play any slot game, you should always check out its payout table first to see what its highest-paying combinations are.

In that way you can make an informed decision as to whether the coin size you’re prepared to play with is actually worth the potential payouts or not.

Also, by first looking through slot payout tables, you’ll know exactly what winning combinations to chase, which makes for greater excitement and enjoyment.

Slots Payout Percentages

Also known as return to player (RTP), a payout percentage is the overall average of how much of a pound wagered in a particular slot game is paid out as winnings.

For example, a video slot with a payout percentage or RTP of 87% means that over time 87p of every pound wagered or spent on the game is paid out as winnings, while the remaining 13p is retained by the casino.

To get the most out of every online slots session, you should only ever play slots with the highest payout percentages. While a slot game with a high RTP won’t guarantee you always log off with a pile of cash, it does means you’ll get ‘more bang for your gambling buck’ during winning streaks.

Here are ten slots with the highest RTP percentages and where you can play them:

Game RTP% Where to Play
Goblin’s Cave (Playtech) 99.1% Play at Casino.com read review
Nemo’s Voyage (WMS) 99% Play at William Hill Casino read review
Mega Joker (Netent) 98.9% Play at Energy Casino read review
Alaxe in Zombieland (MGS) 98.86% Play at Betway Casino read review
Monopoly (IGT) 98.14% Play at Kerching Casino read review
Good Girl Bad Girl (Betsoft) 97.8% Play at Videoslots Casino read review
Kings of Chicago (Netent) 97.8% Play at Hello Casino read review
Blood Suckers (Netent) 97.6% Play at Hello Casino read review
Devil’s Delight (Netent) 97.6% Play at Mr Green Casino read review
Retro Reel – Extreme Heat (MGS) 97.5% Play at Roxy Palace Casino read review