A Guide to Online Slots and Jackpot Games

The History of Online Slot Games
Why are Online Slots so Popular?
Different Types of Online Slots
Which are the Biggest Online Slot Developers?
How Do Online Slot Games Work?
Online Slot Game Strategies
Biggest Winners of Online Slot Prizes

Online slots are the most popular casino games to play online. This is thanks to the fact that they are so easy to understand and each one has their own unique design and gameplay. This is why new slot machines are always popping up, and best slot machines to play are always changing.

The production value of the best slots to play tends to be remarkable, with powerful visuals and performance you’d expect to see in a high-end video game rather than an online slot. Their easy-to-play design makes them the ideal choice for new players, who are looking to quick thrills. The issue is that due to their wide range, there is a lot to know.

In this guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at online slots, the different types available, how they work, and a few helpful strategies to get you started too. This should give you some help in understanding how to win at slot machines.

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The History of Online Slot Games

Slot Symbols 375 pixelsBefore we can look at today’s online slot games, we need to go back and explore the evolution of the original machines – right from the very first. This innovative design surfaced in 1885, when Charles Fey built the world’s first slot game in San Francisco, California. He was experienced with mechanics, which enabled him to construct an internal system based on levers and reels. This game was called the Liberty Bell, and included three spinning reels decorated with playing cards (the name came from an image of a cracked Liberty Bell placed on every reel). You needed to pull on the lever fixed to the machine’s side in order to trigger the game’s mechanisms. This simple interaction started the reels’ motion: as we all know, these would continue to spin and spin, eventually coming to a stop – and, hopefully, creating a winning combination.

Three Liberty Bells in a row would earn a modest jackpot of 50 cents, but despite having such a low payout (by today’s standards, at least) the Liberty Bell game was a huge hit. However the success wouldn’t come across all of America, as a number of states banned slot machines as of 1902. Still, Charley Fey and his competitors did the smartest thing they could to circumvent their creations being outlawed: they replaced the images of playing cards with pictures of candy and fruit instead, establishing a somewhat more innocuous visual-scheme. A winning combination would earn the player a piece of candy, bubble gum, or something else (aside from money). This helped to continue the growth of the slot machine, and allowed players to enjoy the excitement of the spinning reels and the element of chance yet without the prospect of winning money. The term ‘fruit machine’ grew out of this time, and is still used widely today.

Slot machines were entirely mechanical for a long period, but electromechanical models started to hit the scene in the 1960s. These ran on electricity, but the lever-operation remained – for the time being. In 1976, the first video slot machine was developed by Fortune Company (based in Las Vegas, and later acquired by IGT, a well-known company in the world of gaming). This was a huge hit in Las Vegas, and helped to kick-start the popularity of video slots. By 1996, the video slot was changing even further, with a screen dedicated to bonus rounds appearing on a game called ‘Reel ‘Em’. When the bonus round was triggered, it opened up on a different screen displayed over the main one, offering extra payouts (and breaking up the game’s flow slightly, to keep things fresh).

Their evolution continued in the 1980s, with the arrival of the first electric machines. These ran on microprocessors, accommodating large bets and (as a result) bigger prizes. This helped them get more and more popular, as the incentive to play went beyond simple fun and held the possibility of achieving a big win. Random Number Generators (RNGs) were another major change in the slot machine’s growth. This enabled the lever-mechanism to be removed from the device, as they could now be operated with the touch of a button instead. The RNG transformed the way in which slot machines could be made and played, and is a key part of how online slot games operate, recreating the chance-based play of the traditional one-armed bandit.

Of course, as the Internet continued to become more mainstream and accessible in the home, online gambling was inevitable. Microgaming Software Systems Ltd, one of today’s most well-known, well-respected software developers for online gaming, claim to have launched the first virtual casino in 1994. Others soon joined the movement, seeing the potential for growth. The first run of online casinos, launched in the mid-90s, featured only blackjack, roulette, and other staples, but slots soon made it onto the roster too. Given how big online slots are now, it’s surprising that they weren’t the first games added to online casinos – but the software was nowhere near as high-quality as it is now. The earliest online slot games looked and played much like the classic ones found at brick-and-mortar casinos, with familiar themes and gameplay. You’d find fruits, bells, numbers, and other traditional symbols on reels, with three reels. This has changed entirely now, with games running across more varied lines and featuring diverse symbols.

Why are Online Slots so Popular?

ROI - Expected to be high

Today, there are hundreds upon hundreds of slots available, catering to all tastes. Whether you prefer the classic, more traditional look, or want something with all the bells and whistles on an awesome video slot, there are hundreds to choose from. All with varying designs and formats.

Quick, Easy and Fun

Anyone looking for a quick, exciting betting experience can play a few spins of any slot game within just a few minutes. You can potentially win big prizes in a short time, but if not, you’ve still enjoyed a straightforward thrill. You can play online slots at your leisure today too, by accessing them by taking out your smartphone or tablet. You no longer need to sit at your computer, which is a significant benefit to the industry. Online slot games’ fast pace and simplicity make them ideal for playing on the move too: at the touch of a button, you can start the reels spinning and watch fun animations until your symbols come up. There’s no skill or prior experience required either and even complete novices can just dive into online slots.

Familiar

This accessibility is helped by the presence of licensed games which take their designs from pop-culture. Thus you can try the likes of Game of Thrones, Planet of the Apes, Jumanji, Pirates of the Caribbean, Superman, Batman, Jurassic World, and similar pop-culture favourites, and this can help ease you into online gaming in a fun, exciting and relatable way. Not only this, but without a doubt, you would have been this somewhere, even if you have never been to a casino and also likely, had a go, so the formula is familiar. They are appealing to everyone, even those who aren’t massive fans of gambling for this reason.

Variety

The sheer amount of slot games available across dozens of new online casinos keeps your experience fresh, too. You can go from one to another, exploring varying paylines and operators, experimenting with different options to find those you like best. Not to mention the countless different themes and designs.

Free Play

Many online casinos also offer the chance to play for free before you commit real money as your stake. This makes it incredibly easy to find a game you like, as you can try as many as you want without having to worry about losing money. As such, before you even start playing for cash, you will know your way around the slot that you like already and be able to avoid slots you weren’t a fan of without having to sacrifice any of your money.

Online Slot machines Real Money No Deposit, Cash Bonus, Free Spin and Loads More Deals

On top of all this, bonuses and loyalty schemes are integral to online slot games. Slot games get by far the lion’s share of the bonuses. The most common of which is a welcome bonus. Major online casinos offer welcome bonuses for first-time players. These can include free slots win real money no deposit required bonus deal, which are the best deals you can get. These allow you to sign up at a casino, get yourself some free spins or free cash to use on the slots and the best thing is, you can win real money while you at it.

They also provided generous price-matches if you choose to make a deposit, giving you double your money, so you can spend more time exploring the site and it slot games without having to spend more of your own money. Other welcome bonuses might give you a number of free spins to spend on a specific slot game, while long-time members can benefit from other offers, such as cashback on certain days of the week.

These can all help to make your money go further and potentially boost your chances of winning. If you are looking how to beat slot machines, this is sure fire way to get things off to a great start. However, always watch out for wagering requirements.

Different Types of Online Slots

As you play online slot games, you’ll notice there are different types available, offering slight variations on the core gameplay. As such, whether you are looking how to win at penny slots or big jackpots, you need to know these are, how they differ from the standard game and, most importantly, how to win on slot machines of different formats.

Standard Slots

3 Reels –

These are modelled on the traditional slot machine and are the simplest type available. They are the easiest to understand, and might be the best option if you’re a complete newcomer. You’ll face a virtual machine with three columns and three rows; each of the latter features a symbol. The middle row on the reels is referred to as the payline, and your aim is to match symbols on this to win a prize. Your winnings will vary based on the combination of symbols you achieve, as per the slot game’s paytable. It’s that simple, and there are plenty of 3-reel titles out there.

5 reel jackpot slot - mega fortune dreams5 Reels

Slot games with five reels are slightly more complex than their three-reel counterparts. These feature varying numbers of paylines (up to 100), as well as more winning combinations. You’ll have a greater chance of claiming a win on 5-reel games, and because of the extra reels & paylines, paytables tend to be more comprehensive.

5-reel slot games introduce additional elements, like scatter and wild symbols. Though you may find these on 3-reel slot games too, they’re more common in those with five. The wild symbol substitutes any other symbol (except for the scatter or other bonus ones), helping to complete a winning payline without having all of the matching symbols required. Scatter symbols play a key role in unlocking bonus features (such as extra rounds) in slot games, provided you get the right number during a spin. Scatter and wild symbols have the power to transform the direction of a game and give you a better chance of winning prizes. Being aware of these features and how they work is not only a crucial element of how to win at slots but how to win big at slots!

Progressive Jackpot Slots –

The games have the potential to be more lucrative than standard slot games. In the latter, you’ll be playing to win a set jackpot exclusive to that title, but in jackpot games, your potential prize comes from a pool built from players’ money. Every time you or another player makes a bet, the pool gets a little bit bigger, meaning the more people take part, the greater your result could be.

Once the jackpot is paid out, the pool will restart and a new progressive game begins. These are dependent on the number of people playing in order to build generous prizes, and it’s vital to remember that your luck can vary. There are different types of progressive jackpot slots: standalone; in-house; network; and multiple.

Standalone Jackpot Slots –

They revolve around a single game which isn’t linked to other slot games at all, and their jackpot is calculated via the percentages of bets placed by all of the game’s players. The prize pool grows and grows with every single wager that’s made, and it resets once the money has been paid out.

In-House Jackpots –

They are progressive slots which are linked together in a single online casino or group of websites, all owned by the same casino operator. You can typically expect bigger payouts with in-house progressive jackpots, due to the additional games and players contributing to the prize pool.

A Network Jackpot Slot Games –

Covers a whole network of linked online casinos, all of which utilise the same platform. These make for the largest progressive jackpot prizes, due to having thousands upon thousands of wagers being made over a number of online casinos.

Multiple Jackpot Slots –

They enable players the chance to scoop one of three progressive jackpot prizes. As you get more and more experienced playing online slots, it’s definitely worth your while to explore the different types available. You will become more familiar with the pace and payouts, which makes moving on to slightly more complex games (with wilds and scatters) easier.

Jackpots who are more up for going in for long-haul gameplay, as significant payouts can take a lot longer to achieve. Mastering the art of how to tell if a slot machine is ready to pay is a hard earnt skill, but is the best way to get success at jackpot slots.

Which are the Biggest Online Slot Developers?

There are numerous developers, both big and small, behind popular online slot games. However, here are a few on the more commonly found ones.

NetEnt

This Swedish company is known for its high-quality games, many of which are based on licensed properties (such as movies and television series). Many online casinos offering slot games feature titles by NetEnt, and since they launched in 1996, they’ve continued to grow and grow. NetEnt is the team behind such beloved online slots as Gonzo’s Quest, and Starburst.

Microgaming

Microgaming specialises in a wide range of areas, including video poker and blackjack. They produce games which can be downloaded to computers or played in-browser using Flash software. They produce progressive jackpot games too (which have paid more than £450m to lucky players down the years), Microgaming has created more than 900 games, including their Mega Moolah slot, one of the most popular slots available online.

Play’N GO

Since 2004, their company has continued to grow and grow. Play N’Go are focused on innovative mobile-focused development, with their brand being one of the first to really focus on mobile-based games before this platform exploded. Many of their games can be played in HTML5 or Flash for in-browser convenience.

These are just three of the biggest companies behind online slots, but other high-profile, prolific firms include BetSoft, Evolution Gaming, NextGen Gaming, and several others. You’ll tend to see slots created by these brands at dozens of online casinos, including the most popular sites.

How Do Online Slot Games Work?

Lot of random numbers

We have already touched on Random Number Generators (RNG), but let’s go into greater detail about how they work. An RNG always creates a random, varying run of numbers whenever you tap the button to spin the reels. This is in place at every online casino, so they can determine the different slot games’ results according to the algorithm. This helps to reinforce the total randomness of one game’s outcome compared to the one before and after it. While you might try to keep playing in the hopes that a certain set of combinations is due to appear again if only you spin a few more times, games have no bearing on those around them. The RNG is oblivious to whether you’ve achieved a massive win at any point so far, nor is it aware how long you’ve been playing the same game in the hopes of winning. As such, this is why trying to learn how to win on slot machines every time is impossible.

No slot games are programmed to produce pre-determined outcomes or to cheat you out of a win. When playing slot games at a reputable online casino, you can rest assured that each spin of the reels is isolated from the rest. Random Number Generators undergo strict testing and re-testing before they’re integrated into the software powering online casinos. They have to be safe and invulnerable to manipulation, for both your own safety and the casinos.


Happy woman playing slots on a laptop

Online Slot Game Strategies

If you’re new to online slots, you may be hoping for a quick-fix solution that’ll help you win big prizes in a matter of minutes, but if you are looking for th answer to the question “how do you know when a slot machine will hit? Sadly, as we’ve already established, online slots operate on Random Number Generators that make manipulating their outcomes or finding shortcuts impossible. Instead, though, there are certain strategies you can try to enhance your gaming experience and get the most out of your time on any online slot game. Take a look at our slot machine tips

Focus on Having Fun First

Playing slot games should be fun. Hope for a win, but don’t let yourself become frustrated with every spin that fails to scoop a major prize. You should experiment with a number of different online slots too, rather than sticking with just one obsessively.

Make the Most of Bonuses

The majority of online casinos offer special welcome bonuses for first-timers. You might come to a website having never been on it before, and find yourself able to receive a helping of free spins or a discount on wagers.

It’s common to find casinos providing new members with a price match on first deposits, usually between 50% to 100%. Having double your first deposit to play with makes your first experience of a site more rewarding, as you can explore the variety of games and make extra bets without having to spend more than you would otherwise.

Online casinos might offer loyalty schemes or VIP clubs too. These enable long-term members to earn special rewards by achieving certain milestones, and in the long run, you may be able to get more out of playing slot games.

Manage Your Money Wisely

This should go without saying, but it’s too important to let pass by, you need to manage your money wisely when you start playing online slots. Whilst it’s tempting to throw as much money as you’ve got at a single game to give yourself as many chances to win as possible – don’t! Give yourself a budget before you get going on each game, to reduce the risk of over-spending. When you reach your limit, stop. After all, the RNG means if you don’t win today, you stand as much chance of winning tomorrow.

Play for Free Whenever You Can

A regular feature at many (but sadly not all) casinos is the ‘free play’ or ‘demo’ mode. This allows you to play online without having to spend any real money and gives you a sample of a specific game to see if you like it or not. This is ideal if you’re about to try a 5-reel game for the first time, or one with wild and scatter symbols.

With free play, you can make sure you’re comfortable with a game’s pace, theme, and jackpots before depositing any of your own money. This is available at mobile sites too, if you prefer to play on your smartphone or tablet rather than a desktop computer. Some online casinos offer deals exclusive to mobile devices, so it may pay to play on a smaller screen instead.

Another good way to practice is via slot apps. These allow you to download slots, then play them wherever you go and really get your head around how they work. Real money slots app are the next logical move once you think you are ready.

Biggest Winners of Online Slot Prizes

We all like to think we’re going to win a massive, life-changing prize when we start playing online slot games. With just one spin of a virtual slot machine, a lucky few have received huge amounts of money just from playing at the right site at the right time. If you are looking to know which slot machines pay the best, then you can find them below.

Mega Moolah

On the 6th of October 2015, one extremely fortunate man named Jon Heywood walked away from playing Microgaming’s popular Mega Moolah slot EUR 17,879, 645 richer. Mr Heywood, a British soldier, claimed he would use some of his winnings to pay for family medical bills, as well as a brand-new car. This was a truly life-altering sum of money, and to think it all came from playing an online slot game is remarkable.

Mega Fortune

NetEnt’s Mega Fortune is another popular game, and it helped one anonymous player achieve a staggering amount of money during one lucky session. On the 20th of January 2013, the recipient received EUR 17,861,800. He planned to invest in a new car and help his family out. NetEnt’s Mega Fortune made another lucky player far richer than they probably ever imagined in September 2011. A Norwegian man decided to play the slot game when he couldn’t sleep one night and ended up with a ridiculous EUR 11,736, 375.

Hall of Gods

NetEnt’s Hall of Gods is an epic online slot game based around ancient mythology, starring well-known gods. In November 2012, a Swedish player managed to receive a stunning EUR 7.6m with one lucky spin. She used her ample winnings to pay off debts and, as you might have guessed, buy a new car! What did all of these people have in common? They were ‘ordinary’ players just like you. When they sat down to play the game they ended up winning on, they had no idea they were just minutes from having no money concerns ever again (or, at least, for a long while depending on how sensible they were!).

Playing online slot games is a fun, exciting way to try your luck, and by following the strategies explored above, you may be able to enhance your gaming experience. With so many online casinos available, and hundreds upon hundreds of slot games, you should feel free to experiment and try to find titles you love to play, regardless of the potential winnings you might receive. We hope this guide has inspired you to try online slots – best of luck to you!

 

 

 

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