Online Slot Machines

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Online slot machines have become the most popular casino game not only because their ease of play, but because every time you add a coin and spin those reels there is a chance that you could win thousands and perhaps even a million!

As an online slots machine player your goal is pretty straight forward. You want the symbols on the slots reels to line up directly behind the pay line in one of the winning combinations listed on the machine (usually at the top). While any winning combination is obviously good, let's face it, what you really want is to hit the slots jackpot. Read on and we'll show you how to get the best out of your time playing online slots.

Playing the slot machine

Playing slots couldn't be easier. On every machine, you'll see a play button marked "PLAY MAX COINS," "PLAY THREE COINS," "PLAY FIVE CREDITS," or similar buttons. The buttons might also be marked as "PLAY MAX CREDITS," "BET MAX COINS" or "PLAY ALL CREDITS."

Pressing the play button will automatically spin the reels if you have credits available. And that's it! Once you have added credits into a slot machine all you need to play is one finger!

Experienced slots players love the play button for its ease of play and speed. Online slots fans will run through multiple plays faster than most. All that will hold you off from burning through you credits and getting to that jackpot faster is the speed of the casino software.

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.

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 ;-)

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.

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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.

Anatomy of a slot machine

Slot machines are comprised of various components. Let's take a look at them...

The symbols

Cherries, lemons, 7's, and liberty bells, have been basic slot machines symbols dating back more than 50 years. Online you are likely to encounter an amazing range of symbols, there are no limits!

The reels on the slots go round and round!

The symbols on a slots machine are printed on spining mechanisms called reels. Typical online slot machines contain three reels, though there are also four reel machines and novelty type slots with as many as eight or ten reels, these monster machines often referred to as Big Berthas. Most reels contain 20-24 steps or stops. Each step is a place where the reel can end up when it is spun. This step may contain a symbol, such as a cherry or lemon, or a blank, a step with no symbol, just a blank. Blank is bad, symbol is good!

The Pay Line

The most important part of any online slot machine is it's pay line. The window in front of a slot machine's reels is marked by one or more horizontal or diagonal lines, these are called pay lines. Basically this is the visual display that shows if you have scored a winning spin or not. Winning combinations must line up directly behind a pay line to be considered a winner.

The Payout Display

Apart from the pay line on a slot, the payout display is the most important display on the machine because it shows you what combinations are needed to have a winning spin and how much each of these winners will pay. On a straight slot machine, all winning amounts will be posted on the display itself. These are typically expressed in number of coins to be won as opposed to dollar amounts. (Now and then, some displays will give you a £ amount that can be won for a specific combination).

For example, a winning combination might show a payment of 50 coins or 100 coins.

On progressive jackpot machines, 'Progressives' might be indicated next to the payout for the big jackpot hand. The progressive jackpot total is usually posted above the slot machine and is continuously rising.

Buttons on Slots and what they mean

There are a few buttons that you will interact with at the machine. We'll take a brief look at them here.

Play Max Credits/Bet Max Coins

Pressing the PLAY MAX CREDITS button bets the maximum amount of coins allowed and automatically spins the reels. If the machine accepts five coins as a bet, pressing PLAY MAX CREDITS will deduct five coins from your credits. Similarly, if three coins were the maximum bet, then three coins would be played and that amount would be deducted.

This button may also read as BET MAX COINS or PLAY ALL CREDITS, or may have another similar designation which would amount to the same thing.

The PLAY MAX CREDITS button only activates the reels if you have credits available.

Play One Credit

You can also play one coin at a time by depressing the "PLAY ONE CREDIT" button. In this case, the reels will not spin until the handle is pulled or the SPIN REELS button is pressed.

You can also play two credits by pressing the "PLAY ONE CREDIT" button twice, or three coins by pressing it three times, or the maximum number of credits by pressing this button until the full allowance of coins is reached.

Credits Played or Coins Played

The Credits Played or Coins Played display shows how many coins are being wagered on the current spin. If three coins are played, the display would indicate the number "3" in the area provided.


The Credits indicator shows how many credits you have accumulated either through winning spins or through money entered into the machine. For example, placing a £20 note and playing it on 25p single line slot will give you eighty 25p credits into your account. The indicator in credits will display the number "80."

Playing the PLAY ONE CREDIT or PLAY MAX CREDITS button will automatically deduct one credit in the first case, or the max credit amount, whatever that might be on the particular machine being played, from your credits. Be careful when selecting the PLAY MAX CREDITS as it could wipe out your whole balance.

The Cash Out Button

You can use your credits by either playing them through until the total is down to 0 (which means you've lost them all!), or hitting the CASH OUT button, which will convert credit into actual coins and send them tumbling into the well below and into your virtual account.

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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