Types of Slot Machines
Most people think all slot machines are more or less the same, but this is simply not true. There are a variety of slot types, each with their own set of rules and terms. The most common types of slots are:
- 3-Reel Classic Slots – This type of slot is based on the original machines. Classic slots are easy to play and require players to simply match the symbols on the top, middle or bottom line.
- 5-Reel Slots – 5-reel slots are the next step up from the classic 3-reel versions. Not only are these games more visually attractive, but they also have increased payline possibilities.
- Progressive Slots – With progressive slot machines, the value of the jackpot gradually increases each time the game is not won. While the odds of winning are smaller, the rewards are greater.
- Mega Spin Slots – Mega spin slots allow players to engage in several games at once using the same screen.
- Multi-Payline Slots – Unlike classic slot machines that have just one payline, multi-payline slots give players multiple chances to win by providing up to 25 paylines or more.
- Multipliers – Multipliers are a type of slot that allow players to multiply their winnings by a predetermined figure. Players have the chance to increase their winnings by 100 times or more.
Paylines and Bet Levels
One of the most important elements of a slot machine is its paylines. A payline refers to the line of symbols that you must create to win. Some slot machines just have one or a few paylines, while others have dozens. Some slot games even allow you to activate the number of paylines you want up to the maximum allowed. This is known as adjustable paylines. If you’re unable to change the number of lines to bet on, you’re likely playing on a fixed machine.
When choosing the best slots, you’ll also want to consider the minimum and maximum bets allowed. The amount that you bet will typically correspond with how much you win. For example, if you make a small bet, you may win a small amount. However, if you make a larger bet, you are more likely to win a larger amount. When choosing your bet size, you’ll want to consider your budget and the length of gaming session you want to achieve.
Special Features on Slots
When playing slots, you’ll notice that many machines are equipped with special features that can help increase your profit. Some of the most common special features on slot machines include:
- Wilds – A wild symbol takes the place of another symbol to produce a winning combination. There are a variety of wilds, such as sticky wilds, extended wilds, exploding wilds, and wilds in configurations.
- Scatters – These slot symbols give wins even if they are not aligned on a payline. Scatters are often used to unlock bonus games or free spins.
- Cascading Reels – With cascading reels, symbols in a winning combination disappear and are replaced by other symbols.
- Bonus Games – Many types of slots contain bonus games. Most fall into one of three categories: Press Stop, Pick n Click, or Watch It Happen.
- Free Spins – In slots, free spins essentially function as free rounds.
Volatility and Return to Player
Before choosing a slot, consider its volatility and return to player. Volatility or variance tells you the risk involved in playing a certain game, whether low, medium, or high. If a slot machine has a low volatility, it means that the wins are more frequent but smaller. If a slot has a high volatility, wins are less common but they are more significant in size.
Return to player tells you the percentage of wagered money that is paid back to players on average over a period of time. A low RTP is 94% or lower, an average RTP is between 95% and 96%, and a high RTP is 97% or higher.
Best Slot Machine Providers
Slot machine providers are responsible for creating and manufacturing slot games for both online and land-based casinos around the world. Some offer games for both online and brick-and-mortar casinos, while others focus their efforts on one or the other. Some of the biggest slot machine providers in the business include Microgaming, BetDigital Gaming, Scientific Games, NYX Gaming, ELK Studios, Net Entertainment, Play’n GO, Yggdrasil Gaming, NextGen Gaming, Evolution Gaming, and IGT. Other notable providers include GiG Games, BetSoft Gaming, Aristocrat, WMS, Playtech, and Thunderkick.
Choosing the Best Slot Games
Choosing the best slots all comes down to budget and personal preference. However, there are some notable options out there. Gonzo’s Quest, Mega Fortune, Jumanji Slot, Space Wars, Pamplona, Pyramid Quest for Immortality, and Himalayas: Roof of the World are a few great picks. Of course, you can make the decision for yourself by sampling some slots at any of the top online casinos.