There are thousands of online slots available to play at casinos. You can select from 1c games with a single fixed payline to the latest 3D bonus slots with 1,000 ways to win.
Whatever you pick, it's important to know what you're doing before you fire up that laptop. Just gambling away on any old game will soon see your bankroll decimated. So pick your games carefully, try titles out for free, and maximise your profits with a casino bonus. A little slots strategy goes a long way.
How Online Slots Work
Online slots are programmed using RNGs (Random Number Generators) that oversee where the reels fall. RNGs should be tested independently (check the casino for any certificates) so you can trust that they're fair.
Bets are made by selecting the coin level (or hitting the maximum bet button) and deciding on what each coin is worth. It's also worth having a stop-loss or stop-win limit. This is good for your bankroll and ensures you don't let your gambling get out of hand.
Getting The Most From Your Slots Gambling
Online slots gambling is about having fun as well as making money. If you get bored or fed up with a game you might end up wasting money needlessly. Pick volatile games with a low bankroll, meanwhile, and you'll end up running out of cash before you hit a winner. Here are some sensible tips to make your slots experience a little better.
1 - Get Your Bankroll Management Right
Slots play is about speculating to accumulate. You have to face the fact that you will be a loser for long stretches. Even if you're winning, you might only be making back a portion of your wins (this is what makes online slots gambling so addictive).
Always have enough cash in reserve to manage the downswings. There's no point playing a game with 50 fixed paylines at $1 a coin - $50 a spin - if you only have $200 in your bank. After four spins you could be bust. That's particularly true if the slot has some kind of progressive meter that fills up on consecutive winning spins. Leave too little in reserve and you won't have enough spins to trigger a bonus.
Factor in enough cash for about 100 spins. So, with a bankroll of $100 that's $1 a spin. That gives you enough to access some juicy jackpots without going bust. And if you're playing at a casino that allows multiple slots to be played at once, you'll definitely need some bankroll left behind.
2 - Pick The Right Coin Level
If possible, bet at the highest coin level you can afford. The biggest jackpots can be paid out because players are gambling the highest coin values. A machine that allows 1c maximum bets will pay out less than one allowing 25c max. bets, and so on.
If you're playing a progressive jackpot, make sure you can afford the maximum stake each spin. Progressives often won't be available to anyone not betting the biggest stakes per spin.
One extra tip: Always bet ALL paylines in a game. Some slots will let you select your own paylines, but this is a false economy. By covering all bases you can come out a bigger winner.
3 - Check the RTPs First
Every online slots has an RTP (Return to Player percentage), the average, long-term payouts made to players. Obviously, the higher the RTP, the better it is for players. RTPs are routinely tested by casino auditors and can vary hugely.
It's common to find a range of RTPs on a typical casino of 88 to 98 percent. Those 10 percentage points can make a massive difference to your bankroll if you target the wrong slots. Most slots paytables list the RTP, or you'll find them on the casino's audit certificate.
As well as RTPs, the slot's 'volatility' should be examined too. Low-volatility slots pay out little and often, while high-volatility slots pay out bigger - but rarer - jackpots. Choosing a volatile slot is about personal choice: if your bankroll can handle the swings it's worth a shot. If you're happy with plenty of nice little wins, go for the low-volatility games.
Of course, it's hard to know how volatile a slot is until you play it. But a scan of the paytable and the various jackpots will give you an indication of how often winning symbols hit.
4 - Find Slots With Built-In Betting Strategies
There's no real betting strategy in terms of how you should gamble with your money. Because each spin is independent from the last it's not always advisable to double your stakes in the event of a loss (like the Martingale system in roulette or blackjack).
However, some slots let players activate in-built betting systems. ELK Studios' Poltava slot has three systems you can select:
Optimizer: This betting system sets a percentage of the total balance on each spin. The percentage will increase or decrease depending on the balance.
Leveller: The Leveller raises the bet after five consecutive losing spins. After five more losing spins, the bet is increased another two levels. After a win, the bet is reset to its original level.
Booster: This works a little like a Martingale system. After a loss, the bet is raised by one level. This keeps happening for four more bet levels at which point the bet remains. It will reset after a win.
5 - Try A System Out...Or Not
There's no real "system" for playing slots, other than sticking to games you enjoy and that promise better long-term payouts.
However, land-based casino players often use what's called the 'Zig Zag method'. The Zig Zag system involves moving from "hot" to "cold" areas of the casino where the better machines are located. Players look out for machines that haven't paid out in a while, then 'zig zag' over the floor to sit down and scoop a jackpot.
There's just one problem, of course: there is no "hot" and "cold" with machines: they are governed by Random Number Generators and can pay out at any time. While it's true that some slot machines are better for returns over the long term, there's no way of knowing when a jackpot is about to drop.