If you are new to the world of online casino video slots look no further than this article – as we will provide you with some handy slot machine tips and advice which even some experienced players may not know!
Since the early days of the fruit machine, video slots have always ranked among the most popular casino games. The reason why is clear to see! Video slots – or slot machines as they are also called – are easy to understand. Playing a video slot, whether it’s in a land-based casino or online casino, is considered to be much more simple than let’s say playing blackjack.
Then there is of course the sheer excitement of playing. One of the biggest casino thrills is waiting to see if the last wheel on a video slot will indeed give you that winning combination you seek, which is much akin to watching the little ball spin in a roulette wheel.
Visually video slots are for sure among the most attractive games too at an online casino. Compared to other casino games, software developers have a free hand to decide how they want to design the game. Video slots come in a wide variety of themes, all having slightly different bonus games, different ways of operating and different rules.
And then there are the prizes you can win. Some of the biggest casino prizes can be won at video slots. Yes, you can win some big money too playing blackjack, craps, roulette or baccarat. But that means you have to bet big before you can win big. With video slots, even a bet as low as a few cents might win you the big jackpot of several millions!
Random Number Generator
Before we give you some tips and advice on how to play video slots, it is vital that you understand two abbreviations which are often used in the online casino world. These are RNG (Random Number Generator) and RTP (Return to Player).
First of all, RNG is a piece of software (to be precise, some code) which determines the random outcome of every spin on the video slot. It is vital that the outcome of a spin is completely random and not pre-determined, as only this way you can be assured that the game you are playing is fair and honest and has not been tampered with. You can compare it with throwing a dice. On your first throw, there is a precisely on out of six chance that it will hit number four. Let’s say the outcome of the first throw is indeed number four. What is the chance that on your second turn the dice will again hit four? Yeap, it’s again 1 out of 6!
This is how slots work too. Any previous spin has no effect on the spins to follow. Every spin must be seen as independent.
Return to Player
Another key term which you must know is RTP, or Return to Player. This is a percentage which denominates your theoretical chances of winning as shown in the estimated return upon your bet. To put it like this, if an RTP of a video slot is 97%, that means that for every 100 euro which is waged by gamblers, on average 97 euro is returned to gamblers in winning pay-outs, while the casino takes 3 euro profit.
As you might guess, there is not a single video slot with an RTP higher than 100% – as that would mean that the casino would make a loss on the game. If that would be the case, we would all be millionaires and every casino in the world would be bankrupt right now! You will be hard pressed to even find video slots with a Return to Player rate of 99% – as a 1% profit on a video slot might not be enough for an online casino to cover the costs of buying the actual game from the software developer and running it on their platform!
Remember that the Return to Player rate denotes a long-term prospect. It is a theoretical percentage calculated by running millions of simulations of spins, so you can’t really translate it directly to short-term projections if you play on a video slot. Remember, it is called “gambling” for a reason and on a short term, everything is possible. You can win, lose or play even. You must see RTP as a (very) long term projection.
Video slot tips and advice
So what about the tips and advice which was promised? Well, now you know the basics behind video slots we can provide you with some tips! Do read all of them as they will hopefully be of great help improving your results. Just remember that like every other casino game it is not possible to win money on a long-term basis when playing video slots as you cannot overcome the house edge.
Therefore, play responsibly. Make a budget before you play and stick to it – never spend more money at an online casino than you planned. Never try to earn back losses by betting more. If you have a win you are satisfied with, call it quits and cherish the moment instead of playing on and perhaps losing it all again.
1. Try out a video slot for free
There are two reasons why you want to try out a video slot for free. Most online casinos offer both a full version of the video slot where you can bet for money, and a free test version which uses fake money or just credits.
The first reason is simple: it helps you understand the workings of the video slot and all the rules. After you have played a few hundred spins, chances are that you will have unlocked the bonus games as well by then, giving you an advantage as you know what will await you if you start playing for money.
Second, by testing video slots for free you can determine which game you actually like playing. You don’t want to spend some money on a video slot only to realise after 10 or 20 spins that you actually don’t like the game. It’s lost time, it’s lost money. Use the test versions of video slots to your advantage!
2. Read the pay table and the game rules
Many gamblers start playing on a video slot right away and don’t bother reading the fine print. While that may be fine when playing the free test version of a video slot as you will probably learn all while playing, it is not a smart decision if you start waging money right away!
The pay table will not only tell you what the higher symbols are on a video slot and which the lower-paying symbols are, but will also explain all the bonus features in the game. Especially this is vital information, as it is important to know how you can unlock these features and bonus games as most often this is where the big money can be won.
3. Stick to the same bet
Although this is tip is not valid for every single video slot, it certainly counts for a good 20 to 30% of modern video slots. Sometimes, bonus features are connected in a way to your bet. For example, you might need to collect 40 special symbols during play to unlock a free spins bonus game.
Some video slots might reset the numbers if you change your bet. Let’s say that you bet 2 euro per spin and you collected 30 special symbols. If you change your bet now to 4 euro per spin, it could mean that you will lose the 30 symbols won if you keep on playing with a 4 euro bet, as those symbols are connected to play at a 2 euro bet per spin! You would thus have to earn the symbols all over again if you keep playing at the higher 4 euro bet per spin.
Although this certainly is not the case with every video slot, there are players who found themselves with a nasty surprise by quickly raising their bet while they are on the verge of unlocking one of the bonus features. Therefore, we again point at tip #2: always read the game rules! If there is a rule like this, it will be clearly explained on the game rules page of a video slot.
4. Study the betting options
Some video slot games are straightforward. You just set your bet at a certain level, and start playing. However, sometimes it is a bit more complicated than this. There are modern-day video slots where besides the bet per spin you also have the option to put down some side-bets!
If that is the case, make sure that you study the game rules and pay table to learn everything behind it. Perhaps even try to find an online review about the slot machine! It can for example be the case that only players who also put down a side-bet will be eligible for the big jackpot. And you really don’t want to hit the winning combination for the big jackpot only to see that you just have won a minor prize only because you didn’t activate the side bet.
5. Study RTP numbers
If you play at a reliable online casino which uses games from renowned software developers, you can easily find back the RTP percentage of the game. Most often this is published at the ‘game rules’ or ‘information’ page in the main menu of the video slot. There are two reasons why you want to know the RTP.
First of all, it allows you to compare different video slots with each other. Sure, as we just explained to you before, RTP numbers denote the long term, and not the short term. Therefore there is not that much of a difference really if you play an hour at a video slot with an RTP of 97.2% or a video slot with a 97.3%. It’s a minor difference anyway, and on a short term play (for example playing an hour at an online casino) it would mean even less.
But that’s completely different when the percentage of video slot A might be 98% and the one of video slot B might be 93 percent. That is a big difference, and you are almost always better of playing on video slot A! That said, there can still be reasons why you might still want to play at video slot B. If video slot A has relatively low pay-outs and video slot B has a mega jackpot, it’s fair enough to decide to play at video slot B if your goal is to have a shot at the jackpot. But if your goal is getting the best possible average result during play, you are probably better of playing on video slot A.
Besides differences in RTP between games, there can also be an in-game RTP difference. Some video slots with different betting options might detail in their game rules what the RTP is for each and every bet. Needless to say that is vital information to know and you should surely act on it by playing on a bet level with the highest possible RTP – if you can afford this with your gambling budget of course.
6. Play on a maximum number of pay lines
Many modern video slots have the possibility to adjust not only the bet size, but also the amount of lines you play at. A game might for example have 20 pay lines on which you can get a winning combination. Often, you can adjust this by bringing it back all the way to 1: the classical horizontal pay line right through the middle.
The reason why playing on all possible pay lines is better than at just one line is that you often increase the chances of unlocking bonus games and features. If you get a valuable symbol like the wild, you will also be able to get the most out of it as it might give you a win on multiple lines at once instead of just one single win.
Of course, playing on all the lines probably means having to place a higher bet. But remember that you can often configure your bet! Let’s say that a video slot has 5 pay lines. Most often it is better to activate all 5 pay lines and place 1 euro on each line (coin size of 1 euro) than playing on just 1 line at the time and doing 5 such spins. In both cases you have spent 5 euro, but probably your chances will be better if you play at more pay lines! Remember that if 5 euro for a spin is too much for you, you can always lower your bet. You might be also to bet 20 cents on each pay line, still totalling your old 1 euro bet size. Although pay-outs will be a bit lower, you will have a much higher chance of winning!
7. Watch out for progressive jackpot games
We know they are eye-catching, those progressive jackpot games where you can win millions of euro with a single spin! The chances that you are the lucky winner are very low, but just imagine.. If that is your main goal of gambling – just having a shot at the big jackpot – then go for it! Millions of people play the lottery and have equally bad odds to overcome. You will probably not win the big prize, but who knows! It’s all about the gambling and excitement!
But if you however also hope to make some decent money on regular spins while gambling on such a progressive mega jackpot slot, you must be careful. Often, the RTP rates on such jackpot slots are much lower than regular video slots. After all, all that jackpot money has to come from somewhere! So while the best normal combination on a jackpot video slot might for example only pay out 500x your bet, a similar combination on a non-jackpot video slot might give you prizes as high as 2.000x your bet!
Just remember that a mega jackpot might not tell the entire picture. It is also wise to look at the other (lower) pay-outs of a jackpot slot and compare those with a normal video slot. You might be surprised how much better a normal video slot often is!
8. Check free spins promotions
Many online casinos have free spins promo offers. It is common for online casino to give a welcome bonus to newly registered players, which often comes in the form of a monetary bonus or a free spins bonus. A lot of casinos also show their appreciation to their current crop of players by rewarding them with weekly offers such as reload bonuses when you top up your online casino account, cashback bonuses, and of course more free spins bonuses.
Needless to say, this might be an excellent opportunity to earn some free spins or to increase your bankroll, allowing you to gamble more. Do however note that there are terms and conditions attached to such bonus offers and you are well advised to carefully read them. For example, some games might be excluded from bonus offers and you always have to clear the wagering requirements of a bonus before you can cash it out.
On our website, we have an overview of reliable and reputable online casinos which currently have some appealing bonus campaigns.
9. Join a casino VIP programme
Like casino bonuses, you can get a lot of value out of casino VIP programmes. It’s always wise to play at an online casino which offers such a program. It’s always free to sign up for the VIP or loyalty programme of an online casino, and you earn points and benefits for every euro or dollar you bet! Why wouldn’t you get some benefits in return for all the time you spend gambling?
10. Play slow
Casinos like when you play on video slots as fast as possible. There are ways how you can accelerate the game speed of a video slot. Of course, after you press the spin button you can immediately press on it again, stopping the rolls straight away before their normal spin cycle ends. Many video slots also have a ‘quick spin’ or ‘turbo spin’ function which makes the wheels of a slot spin faster. In a certain time span, you can thus make more spins on a video slot than you would normally be able to!
Although this doesn’t influence your chances of winning, it does have another consequence. Remember what we wrote about RTP. In the long run, you cannot make a profit on video slots as the casino always has a house edge. The casino thus wants you to play as many spins as possible on a video slot as it means you are more likely to lose some money. If you play fast, you might not realise how much money you are losing. Therefore it is better to play slow, as you will have a much better overview on how the game and your balance is developing!
With these tips you can hopefully improve your skills on a video slot when playing at an online casino! Curious what the best online casinos are for video slots? Check out our list of our favourite online casinos!