If you haven’t been to a casino for a number of years or ever dabbled in online slots, then you might not have any idea what video slots are. Rather than physical reels that are controlled mechanically and rattle around behind a glass screen, it’s all digital.
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Video slots tend to be 5-reel machines, which makes them a bit more entertaining (not to mention lucrative!) than the old 3-reel machines. Many have 25 paylines and over 200 different winning combinations, bonus rounds and incredible animated graphics.
What’s So Good About Them?
Video slots are the most popular online casino games in the UK. Why? So many reasons. Chief among them is that they’re incredibly fun and cater to all audiences. Casinos only take on games from the most accomplished software developers so that their customers are immersed in a real game, not just spinning reels absent-mindedly.
The main advancement in recent years is the development of stories and gameplay within video slots. Gonzo’s Quest is a great example. You follow the protagonist en route to El Dorado through bonus rounds, and he’s actively reacting to your spins the rest of the time. Thunderstruck II is another example, with their “Great Hall of Spins” a major attraction to players.
How to Play?
Every game is a bit different, but they all follow the same rough style of play in that you spin reels and, depending on the symbols that come up, you win money, bonuses or nothing at all!
Paylines and Coins
The vast majority of video slots have 5 reels, meaning five different spinning columns and many more paylines than 3-reel slots. What’s a payline? A payline is the line across the reels on which symbols need to land for a winning combination. Most 5-slot machines have up to 25 paylines, so 25 different ways to win for every spin!
You play with coins, and can assign a value to every coin you bet (5p, 50p, £50 etc) – when you win, your profit comes back in generic coins as well. This way, if you bet big, you win big. If you bet small, you win small. However, remember your losses are similarly proportional.
If your coin value is 10p and you bet two coins on a single payline, your total bet is 20p. If you bet on 25 paylines and 5 coins (usually this is the maximum), then your total bet amount is 10p x 5 x 25, so £12.50.
To avoid accidentally spending above your budget (it’s easily done with paylines and coin values), try playing a free game before putting money into the real one – you can get comfortable with the betting and game mechanics before risking your cash.
Special Symbols: Multipliers, Scatters and Wilds
Scatters are unique to video slots and can do wonders for your profit. They can trigger bonus rounds like free spins, generate rewards and act as multipliers to double or triple your winnings for that spin.
Wild symbols become any other symbol required to make a bonus, making them extremely valuable. They also act as multipliers, and in some games you can earn a twenty five times bonus from wilds.
Multipliers also come as standalone symbols. Basically, the more of them you get, the better the multiplication on your winnings; however, if you get multipliers and no winning combinations, you still come away with nothing.
Special features and bonus rounds are probably the most eye-opening surprise for old-school 3-reelers: they’re absolute game changers. Literally. Free spins are the most popular and common reward. You’ll normally enter a bonus round with a different layout, where you spin 10, 15 or 20 times for free, often with a multiplier in play! You can win big here if your luck is in.
Pick to win bonuses offer you a choice. You’ll have to choose a symbol and click on it – behind it there will either be a big multiplier, a cash bonus or nothing at all. You’ll often get to click more than once, until you uncover the jackpot or a “game over”-type message. Pick and match bonuses are similar, but you’re trying to match identical symbols to win their usual payout.
Spin the wheel is a classic bonus, and is pure luck. You spin a wheel, usually with the possibility of winning a (or the) jackpot, a multiplier or similar. They’re tense and good fun since it’s completely out of your control!
What Are the Best Video Slot Games?
There are so many great video slot games out there that it’s hard to choose! However, there are certainly fan favourites that are almost unanimously loved. Gonzo’s Quest is one, and Mega Moolah is probably the most popular 5-reel game of all time, well-known for its monstrous progressive jackpot.
With the ability to use bonus rounds and leverage gaming graphics to create real stories and characters, some developers have ingeniously obtained the rights to pop culture characters like Marvel superheroes.
Iron Man, The Avengers and Tomb Raider are some of the most popular games out there today. When done right, there’s nothing better than playing with your favourite movie characters and winning big at the same time!
There is a place for 3-slot games in the world, but that space is growing smaller with the incredible advances of 5-reel video slots. In terms of making a profit, your odds are definitely improved with access to various bonus rounds, insane multipliers and access to a superior number of paylines. If you’re in it for the fun, minimum bets are often as low as 5p per spin, so you can play for hours off £1-2.
Video slots offer the most exciting and enjoyable online slots experience available today. With the infant emergence of virtual reality slots, the game could change again in a few years; for now though, visit top quality casinos like Ladbrokes, 32Red, Casumo and Betway for a safe, unforgettable betting experience.