Online Slot Machines

This is where the fun begins; online slots are low stake and high jinks! The name of the game when it comes to slot machine play is variety. The bigger the variety of slots games at online casinos, the more choice you'll be offered. You wouldn't want to go to a real casino and find only one or two slot machines and online gambling should be no different. A site with a few obligatory choices gives you the opportunity to play but it certainly isn't what playing in a casino is all about.

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The slot machines located in today's live casinos, particularly the video versions, put a premium on interaction and entertainment. You should expect the same at any online casino.

 Traditional bricks and mortar slots

Every offline (not online) slot machine's computer program houses a unique digital signature. In the real world if a casino's machines are not linked to a central monitoring system, the only way to check the integrity of a machine is to physically open it up and examine the computer chip. Central monitoring of slots makes it possible to check the machine's integrity at any time, such as when it is turned on, when a jackpot is won, or randomly as a fail-safe testing system. Although online slot games are not legally obliged to have such systems in place the vast majority of quality online casinos do. Most online slot game outcomes are governed by a random number generator in order to ensure absolute fairness.

 Different types of online slots

Online slot machines come in all shapes and sizes; from 3 reel games designed to be as close to their offline counterparts as possible to five reel multi line games and fully animated interactive video slots. The selection is there and the choice is yours. If you do find a site you like be sure to make a thorough analysis of the games. Is payback percentage posted? If not you may be playing a machine with payoff expectations far below what you may find in a live casino. Are the graphics appealing, the animation entertaining and the sound effects good? If not, move on.

 Choosing the right slot machine

A preferable online site will have a variety of games that includes individual machines as well as progressives where the pay-out kitty builds and builds to a huge jackpot often shared between a number of sites. This way the jackpot can rise to hundreds of thousands of pounds. As with play in any casino if you choose a progressive, don't play with less than maximum coin. Otherwise you stand no chance of hitting the jackpot and you may as well play a regular slot. Be aware of the pay tables just as you would in any casino. Are the payoffs proportional to the number of coins played or will you incur a major jackpot penalty for less than maximum coins played? Some online casinos feature an icon to check the size of the various progressive jackpots that are available.

One caution sign for online casino players is to be sure to check that the denomination you desire to play is in fact the denomination you are playing.

The same pitfalls that wait for slot machine players in bricks and mortar casinos exist in online casinos. The price that you pay for playing casino games (the dreaded house edge) can hit you particularly hard at slots primarily because of the speed at which you can play. Slow down and take your time.

 Did you Know?

The old term for slot machines, "one armed bandits," so named because the reels were activated by the slots handle on the side of the machine, is no longer appropriate. For one, most players don't even use the handles anymore especially with online slots ;-)

 Coin Denominations on Slots

As an online slots player you have various choices on how much you want to risk on every spin of the reels. A single online slot machine will come in a variety of coin/credit denominations with larger coin amounts available at online casinos attracting high rollers and smaller coin amounts attracting 'leisure' players.

 Playing Online Slots

The easiest way to play the online slots is by inserting a virtual note directly into the machine and playing off the credits. Most machines will normally accept 50p £1, £5, £20, £50 and even £100 for those high rollers out there!

As soon as you put in your note they get converted directly into credits on the machine and allow you to play carefree as long as you still have credits available. When there are three paylines on a machine, they will generally be lined up as three horizontals, one in the middle, and one each above and below that middle line. Usually, it takes one coin for each payline to be activated. So for example, on a three payline slot machine, you'll need to play all three coins to activate all three paylines, one coin for each line. If you only put in one coin on a three payline machine, it will probably count only for the middle payline. If you hit a winning combination on the bottom line for example, with only one coin played, it won't be a winner, since a coin for that line wasn't inserted. You would have had to insert three coins.

Machines with five pay lines generally add two diagonal pay lines so you have five directions that can win. Again, you will typically need the full five coins for all these pay lines to be active. Over the past two years online slots have started to mimic offline slots with multi-line and multi-reel slots becoming more and more popular, but the basic principle of how to play stays the same.

 House Edge on Online Slot Machines

Online slots are the only game offered in the casino where you can't figure accurately out the house edge. The payback percentage could be 90%, 93%, 99%, 96%, or any other percentage, but you would have no way of knowing this as a player. As a general rule the percentages are not posted anywhere nor is the frequency or occurrence of any one symbol made available. However, some online casinos now post their percentage payouts but very few casinos actually break it down into game style or type.

So how do you figure out the casino's edge on a particular slot machine? The simple answer is you don't.

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