Slots are simple, right?
Just spin those reels and win or lose. Nothing complicated about that, is there? Well think again, because we are here to show you that whilst playing online slots may not be rocket science, there are still steps that you can take to educate yourself, refine your tastes and your gameplay, and get more from your time spent wagering online.
In this guide we will lead you through the basics of choosing a slot game and a slot site to play at, and everything you can do to ensure you have an awesome time chasing down those big wins!
Let’s dive right in with some words on picking the right slot game for you.
It’s Decision Time …
So, you’ve signed up to a casino and your browsing the list of games. There are 1,000s to choose from in most cases with a huge variety of themes, styles, maths models and payouts. So, which is the right game for you?
One of your first considerations will be to make sure you play a game that looks good – what themes are you into? Ancient Greece? Sci Fi? Sports? Rock n Roll? Steam Punk? The list is almost endless. So be sure to play something that you engage with and that looks and sounds good. There are some stunning games out there right now utilising the very best new graphics and animations packages to enhance the player experience. In fact, you can read more about a lot of them in our game reviews.
And by the way, as well as choosing a game with a suitable theme for your tastes, we also recommend that you prioritise games by the best developers. There are 100s of those too, but some developers are streaks ahead of the competition. Amongst the best young gun slingers in town right now are No Limit City, Fantasma Games, Thunderkick, and of course, everyone’s favourite Megaways™ monsters, Big Time Gaming.
Note that at some sites you can filter the games list by providers and themes to help you. In particular, White Hat Gaming sites provide these features.
Now … choose well!
Once you have an idea of the theme of your slot, the most important aspect for any player, new or pro, is the maths model. Those new to video slots might not know this, but not all slots are built the same. There are incredibly complicated algorithms under the surface of all titles that are running the show and dictating how often and how much a game is paying out.
The key terms to understand here – and you can read more in our guides– are Return to Player (or RTP) and Variance (or Volatility). The former tells you how much a game will pay out on average as a percentage of all the money wagered on it. The average for a slot is 96% – meaning for every £100 wagered, £96 will be paid out in prizes. Variance, meanwhile, refers to how far a game will drift from this advertised payout rate. High variance games will shift wildly to periods of little of no payouts (low RTP), followed by short bursts of big wins (high RTP). Low variance games on the other hand, will by and large stick to their advertised pay rate, giving you an even distribution of wins.
So, what can we conclude from this?
If you are the kind of player who loves risky gambling, with long odds but the potential of huge wins, then we suggest you go for high variance slots. If you are looking for smaller wins, but the chance of longer game sessions where your balance stretches further, then we suggest you stick with the lower variance games.
And finally, of course, always check the stake range and top payouts. Stakes normally start at 10p per spin but can be 20p or more. Right now they are capped at £100 in most games, but this may change in 2022 with a new top stake of £2 expected to be introduced under new gambling laws in the UK. Jackpots vary wildly, from as little as 100x your stake to as much as 150,000x your stake.
High variance games usually have bigger jackpots too – so keep this all in mind when you come to choose your next slot.
Choose a Good Slot Site to Play At
It goes without saying that you want to make sure you play at a good slot site which is licensed, trustworthy and offers a good range of games with great value bonuses.
If you browse the lists of casinos on our site you’ll see that each operator has a different set-up and different strengths and weaknesses. Some of the best options are new slot sites which specialise in the teaming up with the very latest game suppliers and are often willing to go a little bit further in offering a high value match bonus to attract new customers. Above all though, only ever play at slot sites with a license from the UK Gambling Commission which ensures fairness, security and safety. They will also offer the full range of Responsible Gambling tools to help you to play responsibly.
Try Games in Free Play
We cover this off in our guide to slots free play – if you are new to a game there is no harm in playing a few spins for free to find out the lay of the land and get to know the symbols, features and payout scenarios. You can’t affect the outcome of a slot game because the odds are fixed, but knowing what is happening on the screen when those reels start spinning, lights start flashing and bells start ringing will go some way to helping you to enjoying the experience more.
Play On Good Device or Computer
Let’s just take a minute to be consider that the device or computer that you play on will impact your enjoyment of the slots you play. These games operate at the cutting edge of online technology and require a good operating system, screen size and resolution, and a fast broadband connection, if they are to look their best.
The good news is that most modern handheld devices, in particular of course iPhones and Androids like Samsung, are all more than capable of supporting the latest slots. So provided you aren’t still harbouring a Nokia 3310 in your pocket you should be fine!
Play Responsibly and Never Chase Your Losses
Finally, remember that playing slots online is supposed to be fun. Nothing more, or less. Of course, we’re all looking to come away at the end of a session with some money in our balance. But that is not always going to be the case. Casino operators are rich for a reason! So, on those days when the reels aren’t dropping for you and you can’t seem to catch a break, remember that it’s always better to take a break than to keep playing to try to get back what you lost.
With this in mind there are lots of ways to manage your gambling spend and time. Many are simple common sense, like setting a budget or playing with low stakes. But if you do feel things are getting on top of you, it’s always possible to reach out to a third party. You can find out more in our Responsible Gambling guide.