Basics: What Are Slot Machines & How to Play Them
Slot are simple gambling machines. They either win or lose you money depending on what symbols appear on the games spinning reels.
To begin a round of slots you need to choose how much you are betting. Most machines also allow you to choose how many pay lines you are going to play. After choosing your bet and an amount of lines, you spin the wheels. You win or lose depending on which symbols land on the pay lines you chose to play.
You can always check the winning combinations beforehand by looking at the game’s pay table.
This is essentially how all slot machines work. Sometimes the games, especially the newest ones, are packed with special features like bonus games, 3D-graphics, and jackpots, but the but the basics are always the same: put your money in and take a chance.
The pay table shows all the winning combinations, pay lines and special symbols of the game. Winning combinations are usually only paid if they start at the leftmost reel and continue to the right without gaps. Although, there are games where the lines go from left-to-right and from right-to-left at the same time.
Common Special Symbols
- Joker/Wild – Replaces any other symbol except a scatter, free spin or another special symbol
- Scatter – Multiplies your winnings, starts a bonus game or gives you a big win. Usually, you need from two to five scatters to start the feature
- Free spins – Win free spins instead of money. Sometimes the free spins are given with a wager multiplier e.g. all the winnings are three times more valuable than your normal bet
When looking at slot games pay tables, pay attention to how big the largest (non-jackpot) win of the game is. Games with smaller maximum wins pay out winnings more often (often but small) and games with big wins pay more rarely (big wins but rarely). Which one you prefer is up to you, there is no difference in which one is “better” to play.
Bonus Games in Video Slots
Modern video slot games often feature bonus games. They are different kinds of mini-games, which usually pay out the highest winnings of the game.
Bonus games are triggered with a correct set of symbols (e.g. scatter-symbols) on a pay line. The bonus levels are often something completely different from the normal game. For example, a bonus game may ask you to choose between several symbols, which then reveal random extra-winnings.
Another example would be Secret of The Stones which is a typical regular modern online slots game. With the right combination of symbols, you get to play the bonus game, which looks nothing like a slot machine.
In the bonus game, you get to choose “magic stones”, which hand out different kinds of bonuses including free spins which pay you better than normal spins.
Progressives of Millions of Canadian Dollars
When you play a game that has a progressive jackpot, a small portion of all players’ bets are added to the jackpot. The jackpot grows and grows until one lucky player wins it.
Progressive jackpots often grow to millions of dollars. They grow to such huge numbers because the game is played at hundreds of online casinos by thousands of players. With these huge player numbers small portions of all those bets grow jackpots – and your potential winnings – to millions of dollars.
The biggest online jackpots are paid by Mega Moolah and Mega Fortune slot machines, both of which have paid out jackpots of up to several millions of dollars. Here’s an example of a lucky slot spin that won over 20 million CAD with a wager of less than $0.5.
Out of the two, Mega Fortune is the current champ with a massive 25 million (CAD) jackpot, which was won by a lucky player in January 2013.
We would recommend JackpotCity or BGO when chasing the those skyrocketing million-dollar jackpots. Both casinos have a good reputation on fast payouts and have an extensive selection of jackpot slots.
Questions And Answers
Q&A: Playing Online
Can I play real-money slots on iPhone/iPad and other mobile devices?
Not a problem. All the latest online slot games are compatible with all mobile devices (iPhones, iPads, Android phones, and tablets, etc.)
Mobile devices, especially tablets like iPads, are pretty much made for playing slots: you can sit back and relax wherever you are, be it your couch, a bus stop or the beach, and spin a few rounds.
For the longest time, there was a real mobile slots drought. Old games were built with Flash technology, which isn’t compatible with some of the phones and tablets. Since then, game manufacturers have poured in millions of dollars and working hours to developing HTML5 (a technology that works on all computers, phones, and tablets) games and now you can enjoy first class slots action on your mobile device.
Real money slots are available on your tablet through different online casinos. You don’t (and can’t) download the games from an app store like iTunes or Google Play. Instead, you play them through your web browser at the casino’s website.
For the best mobile slots we recommend playing at Leo Vegas Casino, the self-proclaimed “king of mobile”.
Can I play real-money slots with PayPal deposits?
There’s a lot confusion about this, but the truth is (now in 2018) that Canada-based players can’t use PayPal deposits at online casinos. If you’d rather not use Visa or Mastercard, there are no-bank-card-required deposit methods though, that get your money in instantly. These include Interac, eCheck and other Canada friendly banking methods.
It’s not really clear why PayPal doesn’t allow gaming deposits, as they do allow them in some countries like the UK. Canada is not on the all-ok list though, so no gaming deposits for us. While PayPal is not available, the quickest and safest deposit method by far is Interac.
Can I get a bonus for online slots?
Oh yeah you can! All internet casinos offer some sort of a welcome offer to new players. Usually, the welcome packages include free spins, a “deposit bonus” where they give you money on top of your deposit or both.
These bonuses might sound complicated, but in reality, it’s all quite straight-forward. For example, if you are feeling lucky and decide to deposit 50 dollars to a casino offering a 200% deposit bonus it means you’ll be playing with $150. You have you 50 bucks in and the casino gives you 100 dollars on top of your $50.
In many cases, the bonuses have something called a wagering requirement which varies between different casinos. It means that you need to wager a certain amount before the funds on your casino account become cashable. We highly recommend always checking the wagering requirement and comparing different offers from different casinos, so you’ll get more bang for your buck.
Are there any strategy or tactics tips for playing slot machines?
There is no real strategy for playing slots games. They are games of luck, which you play for fun, excitement, and relaxation. Despite the lack of real strategies, we have a couple of good tips for playing slots.
There’s only really one tip worth knowing about: Always play all paylines!
The correct betting strategy for all slots games is to always play all paylines. You get the best payout percentage from a slot machine if you play all pay lines. This is due to how the games are designed: slot machine manufacturers design the games so that playing fewer than the maximum pay lines lowers the payout percentage.
If you are playing a 100 pay line game with $1 per spin, bet $0.01 per pay line and play 100 pay lines. This is a smarter option than playing the other way around by betting $1 on a single pay line.
In certain games, you can also opt in for “better” spins: for example, you might need to check a box or click a button to get everything out of the game, be it more special symbols per reel or the possibility of a bonus game. We highly recommend opting in because bonus games usually yield the biggest wins.
Is there anything I can do to make it more likely I win a big jackpot?
With games featuring millions and millions of dollars in jackpots, it’s no wonder we often get asked if there anything you can do to improve your odds of winning. There actually is. Here’s what you do: bet the minimum on progressive jackpot games.
Find out the minimum bet eligible for winning the jackpot, and bet that. This is all there’s to it.
All progressive jackpot slots have some sort of a minimum bet, which is needed for a chance to win the jackpot. These minimum bets can vary wildly. Even in online games, the minimum bet can go from a few bucks to more than $10. Sometimes winning the jackpot isn’t directly tied to bet sizes, but instead you need to bet on all paylines.
The most lucrative betting strategy in these games is to find out what the minimum bet is and bet that. This strategy gives you the most spins and thus the biggest chance of winning the jackpot: if you have $10, 10 spins of $1 is better than playing 1 spin of $10.
So how do you find out? It’s a bit of effort. You basically need to access the game’s rules and see what’s listed as the minimum. Most Microgaming or Play’n Go slots don’t have very high minimums, but if you’re playing a Playtech game the minimum could be something like $10 per spin.
Playing with small stakes is especially important in this case, because jackpot slots are not loose. They are very “tight” (you win more rarely), because a big portion of your bets is added to the jackpots instead of returned to you in smaller wins.
What are the odds of winning at slots?
Slot games have a house edge of about 2% to 6%. In the long run this means that the casino will win for sure. So like with all casino games, you need to get lucky to win.
How much does a slot machine make for a casino?
You may have heard that slot machines are the most profitable games casinos have. This is true, but how much does one actually make per day? Nobody has ever calculated this in Canada, but a clever gambler delved into data provided by Las Vegas casinos (such as press releases, financial statements) and found out that an average slot machine makes $220 per day. Considering that a slot cabinet costs a few thousand that’s an amazing return on investment.
Can you buy a used slot machine?
Yes you can, prices start at about $500 and go up to $3000 – $5000. There are several reputable providers of used slot machines and video poker terminals in Canada. Check out/ GTA Slots and Hotslots.ca for a great selection of used machines.
How does a casino slot machine work?
The game draws random numbers, which are interpreted into the symbols you see on the game’s reels. One way to do this is to assign each electronic reel a certain number of symbols (let’s say 30). Then a random number (1-30) is drawn for each reel and after a bit of rolling animations the machine shows the symbol that matches with the random number.
In practice designing a slot machine is quite a task that takes a skilled mathematician to accomplish. The difficulty is that modern games have so many paylines (100, sometimes up to 1,000!) that figuring out what actually goes on with the game takes specific mathematics-based skills. Add features like bonus rounds, free spins and more and there is no human on the planet who can calculate exactly what’s going on – that’s why all new games are tested in a simulator with billions of spins before they are launched.
Q&A: Playing Online
What are Mega Moolah and Mega Fortune?
Mega Moolah and Mega Fortune are two biggest online jackpot slot games. They both have paid out winnings of over 20 million Canadian dollars.
The games are so similar in style that it’s an easy guess that NetEnt (Mega Fortune) was “inspired” by Microgaming’s older game (Mega Moolah).
Both game games are five reel slot machines with multiple growing jackpots. Both games pay the biggest wins through their bonus levels, which in both cases is a spin of wheel of fortune.
There is one major difference between the two games:
- Mega Fortune: bet size does NOT have an effect on your odds of winning the jackpot
- Mega Moolah: bet size affects your odds of winning the jackpot
So when you play Mega Fortune go ahead and bet the minimum ($0.01 per payline) knowing that you are not less likely to win big.
Mega Moolah is another story. It’s rules state that you’re more likely to win one of the jackpots by betting more. How much the odds are affected is not stated though and there have been winners who’ve bet very little (one player won $5 million with $0.25 spin), so I’ll leave it up to you to decide how much you want to wager.
However, for us Canadians Mega Fortune isn’t available. This is because NetEnt has licensing issues, leaving us with Microgaming as the go-to platform for multi-million jackpot slots.
Where can I play IGT’s slot games on the internet?
Unfortunately, nowhere. IGT‘s games are available at many online casinos, but Canadian players can’t play them. This is most likely because IGT’s games, like Cleopatra, are popular at land-based Canadian casinos. IGT protects those casinos’ business by preventing Canadians from playing the games online.
What happens if my internet connection cuts off in the middle of a spin?
The status of your internet connection doesn’t affect the result of the spin. If your connection cuts off, the spin is played at the casino’s servers normally and your wins or losses are added to your account.
If the spin you were playing would have resulted in something where you must make a choice (like a bonus game), the bonus game continues when you go back to the game. Therefore, there is no risk in playing with poor connection or experiencing a disconnection from the Internet.
What is the return of online slot machines?
Land-based casinos have slot machines that return on average 90-95%. Online slots beat this by returning on average 94-98%. For the best return you always (always!!) need to play with all paylines enabled.
Is there a strategy to winning in online slots?
Not really, slots are a game of luck. The best tip is to always play with all paylines (winlines as they’re sometimes called enabled), as the games are designed to have their highest return with full lines. So rather than bet a lot per line and play less than all lines, lower your coin size and play all lines.
The other thing you can do is to find out how much you need to bet to be able to win a progressive jackpot in a game that has one. Then bet exactly that much and not a cent more! Following this tips means that you have more chances of winning the big multi-million jackpot.
What are the loosest online slot machines?
There’s a lot of high paying machines, but these are our favourites:
- Goblin’s Cave (Playtech): 99%
- Break Da Bank (Microgaming): 98%
- Magicious (Thunderkick): 97.6%
- Big Bad Wolf (Quickspin): 97.4%
- Thunderstruck II (Microgaming): 96.6%
Both Magicious and Big Bad Wolf aren’t very well-known games, but they are excellent fun. Highly recommended! You’ll find both at Rizk Online Casino
What is the best site for playing real-money slots?
Although the more established casinos such as Party Casino and Casino.com have more market share, we feel that the best variety of slots can be found from Malta-licenced casinos. Currently I’d give a go to a brand new slots casino, Rizk.
Captain Rizk greets you with fast payouts, wager-free spins and generous welcome bonus. Get your minimum of 10 free spins and 100% bonus up to C$100 by clicking here.