Beginners Guide to Online Slots

A Complete Beginner's Guide to Slot Machines. Our experts how slot machines work, what they are, the odds, how to play them and the pros & cons.

Beginners Guide

One of the best things about the existence of the internet is access to information. Gone are the days when you had to find an expert on any given topic to learn about whatever you wanted.

Regarding Casinos, you don’t have to find a telephone number to call or a physical building to visit, only to ask a few questions about a game in mind or of interest to you. This is great news for beginners who want to know about slot machines, as we delve into all there is to know about them in this article.

What Are Slot Machines and How Do They Work?

Slot machines carry random number generators which produce thousands of numbers per second. Each of these numbers connects to a different sequence of symbols. The outcome of a win or a loss depends on the random number generated the instant you activate a play. If it correlates with a pay line, you win. If it misses, you get the chance to try again.

Slot machines are the most played casino game because they are easy. They require players to insert an acceptable amount and watch the reels as they spin. It also helps to know what happens when you pull the lever and what combinations to look out for. In other words, it helps to know when you’ve won.

Slot machines, also known as fruit machines, tend to have 3 or more reels, which all come with a number of symbols. Land-based slots typically have 20 or more symbols per reel, whereas the digital ones powered by technology have increased amounts with millions of combinations. You know you’ve won if the combination of symbols pays out. This is called a pay line. Different games will have different combination requirements, which trigger a pay line.

Payouts and winning odds

Each machine is set with its payout and odds of winning. Whether you win or lose is also determined by the pay lines, you choose to play and the number of credits you bet. If a machine requires small change for a bet, then the payout might be small yet frequent. Machines that ask for more money may pay bigger payouts but not regularly, making the odds higher.

For example, in a game like I Heart Triple Diamond, which costs pennies, the odds of winning are 1 in 12, which is low compared to a top prize paying game where the odds are 1 in 649, 400. Regardless of the machine you pick to play, the odds are always set to favour the house. This means that gradually, you’re more likely to walk away with less money than when you started.

On average, slot machines have a house advantage of 8%, which means that the standard return to player rate is at 92%. Even though machines can be prearranged to pay out at higher or lower rates.

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There may be several differences between the two, but the principle remains the same. Whether you win or lose depends on the randomly generated number activating the order of symbols triggers a payline to payout. The differences are stipulated in the table below.

Online Slots vs Land-based Slot Machines

Online Slot Machines Land-based Slot Machines
Are not restricted to space and time Require travel and have opening and closing hours
Credits can be transferred straight from a bank account into an online gaming wallet Physical machines need coins
Can be enjoyed privately Are set in public spaces, sometimes with masses of people in the same environment
You choose the atmosphere around your environment Are often loud and filled with bright shimmering lights
You have can have access to any of the available games There might be waiting time if the machine you want to play is occupied
There’s always a lot to choose from If you’re playing from a bar, there may only be a couple of machines to choose from. Casinos have plenty of machines to choose from, but the point made above may factor in
Players can choose their own price point, stakes, maximum bets, and paylines Don’t make it as easy to set budget limits
Free demo play for almost all the games You cannot ask to play any of the land-based games for free before placing a bet

The payout rates and odds on both are similar. Even if you find a loose machine on land, where payouts are around 90-95%, the difference from the online machines is only around 4-8% because online machine payouts are generally around 99%. Players must understand that the RTP rate is determined over a number of games and not the number of times the game is played.

Free Slot Machines for Beginners

More than having the option of playing for free on online platforms, the amount of games you can choose from is large. You can play hundreds of free slots without downloading or registering on any gambling site. With game developers such as Playtech, Pragmatic Play and IGT, whose main objective is to cultivate games that punters will enjoy, you can expect the games’ quality to be the same calibre as the charging games.

The massive selection of free slots online flaunts some of the best graphics and animation for 3 and 5-reel slots. The top software makers producing the free games ensure quality themes and eye-catching bonuses. One of the conveniences of playing free slot games is getting familiar with them easily. The no registration required means you can get started sooner than later.

How to play Free Slots

step 1

Find Your Game

Load an online slot game and look for buttons like ‘spin’ or ‘max bet. Your play money bankroll should appear in the corner

Load an online slot game and look for buttons like ‘spin’ or ‘max bet. Your play money bankroll should appear in the corner

step 2

Read Game Instructions

Learn about the symbols of your chosen game from the paytable, which is in the game

Learn about the symbols of your chosen game from the paytable, which is in the game

step 3

Settle your Balance

Pick the amount you’d like to play with, and the number of pay lines, the ‘max bet’ button will provide all the options

Pick the amount you’d like to play with, and the number of pay lines, the ‘max bet’ button will provide all the options

step 4

Start Spinning & Playing

Spin the reels by touching or clicking on ‘spin’. Every time you hit the right combination, you will be able to see your winnings on display

Spin the reels by touching or clicking on ‘spin’. Every time you hit the right combination, you will be able to see your winnings on display

step 5

Watch your bankroll

Always keep your eyes on your bankroll. When it runs out, it’s game over (unless you reload more credits).

Always keep your eyes on your bankroll. When it runs out, it’s game over (unless you reload more credits).

Free Slot Games vs Real Money Games

Free games Real Money
Great for practising before betting real money, gaining knowledge on how to acquire various bonus features, and other hard-to-find mini-games A good approach to generous deposit bonuses and promotions
Offer a chance to try out play strategies without losing money Some games offer progressive jackpots, which often carry potential life-changing wins
Free entertainment without a sign-up requirement Can walk away with prizes worth real money
No money to be won Can either win or lose real money
You can unlock deposit free promotions, but they are often less rewarding than real money bonuses Games with higher payouts are harder to win

Another added benefit to playing free slots is that a lot of them are suitable for being played on mobile devices. It makes no difference if it’s an iPhone or an Android device because the developers create the games for mobile users. Punters can choose to download an app for free or access a mobile casino site from a browser.

Nothing in life is 100% good or bad. Adding on to the already mentioned factors above, let’s see what other advantages and disadvantages go with playing free slot machines.

Pros

  • The simple and intuitive rules make it easy to muster, and they require little to no skills;
  • There are a multitude of bonus features;
  • Flexible betting ranges;
  • Your data is kept safe and incognito.

Cons

  • RNG makes all the games unpredictable;
  • The unpredictability may either lead to frustration or addiction;
  • Contrary to most government regulatory concerns;
  • There are rogue casino sites to look out for.

FAQs

Players need to acquire no particular skill set to play slot machines. As long as you have money or credits that match the betting requirements on a game, you must press ‘spin’, and the machine will activate a play.

Slots with the highest return to player percentages have the best odds. While you’re not guaranteed a win every time you play one of these, they are proven to give the best odds. To find out the best RTP for online slots, you can search for the title in your browser and, hopefully, it appears in a review. Most of them do.

Some of the following titles can also be found on land casinos. They require no sign-ups, registrations or downloads: Wheel of Fortune, Quick Hits Slot, Cleopatra, Michael Jackson, Monopoly Slot, and Lobstermania 2 Slot. That’s naming a few.

The question is the same as asking if apples are better than oranges. Though one may be more convenient than the other, It all depends on personal preference.

They are easy to play and come with a plethora of options to choose from. They also feature slot tournaments, rewards and bonuses. There’s flexibility in betting on stakes; paying for a game is uncomplicated, and they tend to have higher payouts.

Chris Grand
Chris Grand

Chris GrandHead of Content

I am a knowledgeable and accomplished writer specialising in the iGaming and gambling fields. Leveraging my many years of extensive casino, slots and sports betting knowledge to deliver high-quality content, which I carry through to my audience keeping them updated with the latest industry trends, technology and games. My aim is to deliver honest and true content to the benefit of the reader.