Slots Guide: How to Play, History, Facts, Stats and Odds
Introduction to Online Slots
Playing online slots is really easy, great fun and, if you get lucky, potentially hugely profitable too. If you don’t know where to start and have never used an online or mobile casino (or an offline one for that matter) or you’ve never played a slot of any description, we’ve got everything you need to know to get started with playing and enjoying slots. Let’s start right at the very, very beginning then shall we…
Slots: What’s in a Name?
Well, first things first, if you aren’t even sure what we mean by a slot, you should note that they the same thing goes by many, many different names all over the world. In the UK “fruit machines” are generally found in pubs (though sometimes called “puggies” in Scotland), whilst in Australia “pokies” are found in pubs, bars… just about everywhere in fact.
“Slot machines” are what they are called in Vegas (and the US generally) and this is usually shortened to just “slots”, which is the most commonly used online name. The slang term “one-armed bandit” is also common in the UK, harking back to early machines that had a side lever that initiated the machines’ spins but, call it what you will, slots are a major part of a casino’s offering, be that online or in the “real” world.
Slots are essentially a particular type of casino game that involves (usually) between three and five spinning wheels. Players win by matching symbols on relevant paylines, and whilst early slots had just one payline, running horizontally through the middle of the reels, modern slots can have up to 100 or more, offering the player multiple chances to win.
How to Play Online Slots
Playing online slots really is very, very simple and whether you play on your desktop, a mobile or your tablet, you should soon be able to master playing these fun games. The first step is open an account with a reputable online casino and luckily for you we’ve made that very easy by only featuring the very best of the best here at MobileCasinoHub.com.
All the sites we detail here are ones we use regularly ourselves, most are huge household names and all can be trusted 100% in terms of financial and data security and the fairness of their games. They also all offer great games utilising the best software companies in the world and offer both new and existing customers brilliant casino bonuses, promotions and freebies.
Well, that wasn’t meant to be a sales pitch we promise!
Anyway, assuming you have an online account with a casino, accessing their range of slots should be easy. Most of the sites listed here offer demo/free play options, meaning you can even play the slots without risking your own cash. This gives you the chance to get to grips with the basics whilst playing in a “just for fun” mode, although some of our featured casinos also offer no deposit bonuses which give you the best of both worlds – amazingly you can play for free but also win real cash if your luck is in! That might sound too good to be true but believe us – it isn’t!
So once you’ve decided on a particular slot to play you may be faced with a choice on how much you want to bet on each spin. The total amount you bet on each spin can be affected by a number of things, namely the number of win lines you want to bet on, the amount of coins you want to stake on each line and, sometimes, the value of each coin.
This may sound complex but many slots will clearly show you what your total stake is and until you press “spin” or the equivalent you won’t actually start the game (note that some slots have a “Bet Maximum” option that could bet the maximum amount and also spin the reels, whilst auto spin is another way in which you might start the game without actually hitting spin/play).
Once you’ve decided how much to stake on each spin simply press play (may be called “spin” or “go” or similar) and away you go – you have entered the fun and fantastic world of online slots! That was easy, wasn’t it?
Slots Gameplay and Choices
As well as deciding what to bet per spin, there are a few other options and decisions to make along the way but as with all things slots-related, it is all very easy and straightforward.
One such option is whether or not to use auto spin. Some slots will allow you to enter anything from five to 100 auto spins, or even to keep spinning until a certain eventuality, such as a big win or a bonus round “hits”. This is a good option if you intend to play a lot and don’t want to have to click each time you want to spin the reels. It’s also good if you are using the slots to clear a bonus as you can set a certain number of auto spins and actually leave the browser – or even the room – and pass your time doing something else.
Other options that older slots lovers may expect, such as nudges (moving the reels down one step at a time after an initial spin) or holds (holding one or more reel whilst spinning others) are generally absent from online slots, although some retro versions may still have these. On a modern slot, however, your only real other actions will be to play the bonus games or rounds that may come up if you get lucky and enter one of the game’s extra features.
If this is the case, well done, because you’re almost certainly in for a bumper payout. In terms of what to do, as ever in the world of slots, things are easy and, usually, self-explanatory. It may simply be a case of waiting and watching as free spins unfold or you may have to choose between a number of options. In the latter instance it’s purely down to luck; for example if there are three prizes there is no skill or method behind which to pick – just select one and hope it’s the best!
One option that slot machine traditionalists will recognise is the possibility of gambling wins. Many of the latest slots do not offer this but a fair number still do and the decision is yours: there are no real tips or strategies and no times when it is best to gamble or not to gamble. Whether you win or lose is down to chance and what decision you make should only really depend on whether you are either happy to take your win or you want to try and win even more!
Slots Odds, Strategy and House Edge
As said, playing slots is a fun way to spend some time and, hopefully, win a little money if you get lucky. That is the key phrase though, because slots are a game of pure chance, with no skill and no strategy. Rarely, if at all, do your decisions directly affect the outcome of the game and when they do it is just luck if that happens to be in a good way or not.
The key thing to remember, therefore, is not to think – ever – that you have got the slots beat or that you know a way to win. If you have won in the past, even if it happened several times using the same “technique” or “strategy”, this does not mean you have got the better of online slots – it just means you’ve been lucky! Remember this and never get carried away playing slots because it’s very easy to start betting with more than you should.
Because they are wholly dependent on luck, the only way you can improve your chances of success playing slots and actually making money from slots is by using online casino bonuses and by choosing a good slot in the first place.
You can read more about casino bonuses and welcome offers in that section of MobileCasinoHub.com but in terms of picking a good slot, as with many things gambling-related, there are two ways to look at things. If you’re playing for fun then you simply want a slot you enjoy, with nice graphics, good (or at least not annoying!) sounds and perhaps on a theme or in a style you like.
If you’re looking to try and make money then you need to look to the house edge of the different slots. Whilst the house (that is to say, the casino) will always have an advantage, on some slots it may be a lot higher than on others. Some casinos will clearly publish the house edge for a given slot in the information about that particular game, or they may list all payout percentages somewhere on the site. With others you may have to ask their customer service department for an answer. If neither of these options gives you any joy then it’s worth noting a general rule: the more complex the slot, the bigger the house edge.
Progressive slots, which are also known as jackpot slots, are slots that are interlinked across a network of casinos, usually according to what software company they are powered by. Because they are linked to other games and casinos they can offer up huge – and we really do mean huge – jackpots. Every spin on every linked game will contribute a small amount to one shared jackpot prize pool and when any linked slot hits that jackpot they will scoop the entire pool, which can run into the tens of millions of pounds! We’re talking £10,000,000 plus!!
The chance to grab life changing, lottery-style prizes for just a very small outlay is what makes these slots so appealing. In just a single spin you can become a millionaire and that excitement and thrill keeps people coming back to progressives. If you prefer regular small wins they may not be for you, as the house edge can be a little higher than on a standard version of the same slot, but for those going for glory nothing beats the big progressives.
Whilst some progressive slots will offer up the biggest prize to all players, others may only offer the full jackpot to players using the maximum stake amount per spin or perhaps those staking over a given total on each spin. Make sure you check the slot terms before getting involved as hitting the big one only to discover you aren’t eligible for it can be quite a blow to say the least!
Slots History, Stats and Facts
Slots began longer ago than, perhaps, you might imagine, with a Brooklyn firm reportedly creating the first ever slot machine way back at the end of the 19th century. The early machines looked a world apart from and played very differently to today’s amazing online video slots and were mechanical, rather than electronic. The first slots paid out manually, with, for example, prizes of a beer or a cigarette being paid by the bartender rather than automatically by the machine itself.
The first machines were poker based and because of the large number of possible winning hands and limited technology, automated payment wasn’t possible. However, in 1907 a simpler slot machine, using symbols rather than cards, was created and these machines became hugely popular in bars, bowling alleys, barber shops and even brothels.
Little changed for a long time until the 1960s when slots started using electronic mechanisms to spin the wheels, signalling the beginning of the end for the manual lever that gave slots the nickname one-armed bandits. These machines had automated payments up to a much higher level and in the 1970s another huge advancement came with the advent of the first “video” slot.
In 1976, using a modified Sony TV, a Las Vegas company created the first ever video slot, whereby the screen itself was electronic as opposed to the physical reels that had gone before. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that games then made the next major advancement, with the introduction of much more intricate gameplay involving bonus rounds on a separate screen and, of course, the advent of the internet and online slots.
Nowadays we have 3D and perhaps even 4D slots, as well as incredible graphics, detailed narratives and big film and comic tie-ins that make today’s slots look even more like films. What’s more, these wonders of online gambling are now available in your pocket, thanks to mobile slots, with almost all online casinos offering their best slots on all modern mobiles and tablets with very little loss in quality, either of graphics and sound nor gameplay and stability. We’ve certainly come a long way from the rickety machines in a backstreet bar offering up a free whisky!
Slots Stats and Facts
- House Edge – Slots have a higher house edge than many games but on some it’s still a very reasonable 1 or 2% That said, the highest allowed edge under Nevada law for anyone playing in Vegas is a whopping 75%!
- Biggest Win – The biggest win on a progressive jackpot slot is a scarcely believable €18m from just a 25c spin on the aptly named Mega Fortune slot!
- Early Slots – The first ever slots had three reels with 10 symbols on each. This limited the maximum payout because even the rarest outcome would have a 1 in 1000 chance of happening. Modern slots, using virtual reels have 256 or more options per reel, giving a possible 16m+ outcomes based on a three reel slot.
- Skill Stops – Skill stops were created in the 1920s to try and get round gambling law by giving the impression they were games of skill not chance.
- Casinos Love Slots – Slots account for a huge percentage of a casino’s profit, as well as helping UK bookies make a very good profit too. It is thought that 70% of an average US casino’s (bricks and mortar not online) income comes from slots alone.