Of all the many kind of online games that you can play for money, video slots are surely the simplest to understand and the most fun to play. There are no complex rules to understand. This is simple, fast and thrilling play on fixed odds games. Unlike table games like Blackjack, Baccarat or Poker, you do not need to study strategy guides and charts to enjoy playing slots. However, by understanding some key points about how these products are put together, you can ensure more enjoyment and more chances of winning cash when you spin those reels.
Here are some of the most pertinent features to look out for.
Return to Player (RTP)
The first thing you’ll need to check out is a game’s Return to Player (RTP) which refers to how much money it will pay out as a percentage of all the money wagered on it. The average RTP of a slot is 96%, though in some cases it may be as low as 88% or as high as 99%. A 96% RTP means that for every £100 wagered on the slot, £99 will be paid out in wins. So, always look for slot games with a higher RTP. A good example is Mega Joker by NetEnt (99% RTP).
Alongside RTP, variance is the most important aspect of a slot game that will affect your experience. Variance refers to how far from the advertised RTP a game will drift during your session. A low variance game will not normally vary much from the RTP, giving a fairly even distribution of wins with regular, small payouts. In contrast, a high variance game will vary dramatically from the advertised RTP, with long spells where the Return drop drastically, before short sharp spells of much higher value payouts. This uneven distribution of wins makes for a risky gambling experience with long odds of wins, but the potential to hit much higher payouts than those in low variance games.
Whether you enjoy high or low variance games will depend on your attitude to risk and your budget. If you are risk averse then we recommend playing low variance games. If you love risk then high variance slots will be more up your street.
Alongside variance and RTP, you should always look at the payout potential of a video slot before you play it. This will be published on the information screen accessible from within the game and shows you what the maximum amount you can win on one single spin is. For non-progressive jackpot games the top prize will be expressed as a multiple of your stake, and can be anywhere from 500x right up to 150,000x on some recent games. Keep in mind that the odds of hitting a jackpot payout on a slot with a 150,000x top payout are much longer than those of hitting a jackpot on a game with a 500x top payout.
Theme and Game Features
Risk, win potential and odds are aspect of a slot game related to your winning experience. But finding a game you like isn’t just about these factors. You should also check out slots with different themes and a variety of features.
The theme of a game refers to the story behind it which dictates the graphics and soundtrack you will experience when you load it up. Typical themes are Ancient Egypt, Sports, Music, Sci Fi and Steam Punk. But in truth, anything can provide the backdrop to a slot game and browsing a long list of titles is worth it to one that captures your eye. Slot developers spend a lot of money on the graphics and animation of their games and the best have stunning and compelling artwork to improve your enjoyment of the product.
Finally, we recommend that you learn a bit more about game features which are also built to enhance the thrill of spinning the reels. Features are additional gameplay events that can lead to more wins and alternative narratives in a slot. For example, free spins are a regular feature of the best video slot. They are usually triggered by landing 3 or more special icons on the reels simultaneously. When your free spins play out no money is deducted from your balance and you can watch your wins stack up ‘hands free’!
Other cool features that regularly appear in online slots are Wild symbols that substitute for all others to create winning lines, Stacked Symbols, which are icons that always land in vertical stacks to increase your odds of completing paylines, and Mystery Symbols which are special ‘?’ icons that land in groups on the reels before all simultaneously changing into one identical icon from the paytable, in doing so improving the chances of scoring wins.
These are all generic features used by all game developers. There are also some trademarked features that you will find exclusively on games by particular developers. For example, Australia’s Big Time Gaming have created a Megaways™ engine in which each reel randomly re-configures to a different height on each spin to create more paylines, and Sweden’s No Limit City have created games with an awesome xNudge feature in which stacks of symbols auto-nudge into position to fill an entire visible reel when they land. With each nudge, a win multiplier to be applied to any wins from that spin increases by 1x. This seriously enhances your chances of scoring bigger payouts at that point in the game.
So there you have it – these are just some of the important aspects of video slots that you must look out for if you want to get the most from these exciting online games. Good luck, have fun, and if you do play, always gamble responsibly!