Slots, also known as slot machines, fruit machines, puggies or pokies, are machines or virtual machines designed for online and land based casinos. They work in a quite simple way, a player inserts money in the machine or does the same thing virtually via an online casino, and then they play a round of the game. Random number generator decides if they player will win or not and how big the potential amount of prize is going to be. The round will be presented to player virtually to provide excitement and thrill for the player. After the round is finished, either the player wins something or loses the stake. Now is a turn for a new round or if the player wishes, he can cash out the potential winnings. There are various types of different slots, and they have characteristics. The purpose of this article is to tell everything about slots and their main features.

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Evolution of casino slots

The first ever classical slot, also called single handed bandit was made in California during the 1890s. Charles Fey is considered to be the person who invented the first modern casino gaming machine, which had three reels and the reels worked by pulling the handle, which was situated on the right side of the game. Nowadays most of the slot games are based on interactive video monitors so no physical reels or handles are needed. Most of the slot games are still played offline on land based casinos such as in Las Vegas or in Macao. Although, online casino business grows a lot and therefore the development of online slots is quite strong.

There are various of reasons for the success story of online slots and online casinos. The games are straightforward to use, modern, they provide extreme excitement, and they are usually available 24 hours every single day. Also, these games provide gigantic jackpots with millions of pounds to be won as the main prize. The games usually tend to have quite high payback percentages. Some slots, like Blood Suckers from the famous slot provider NetEnt, has even 98% theoretical payout. This means that if you stake 100 times £1 you will lose £2 on average. Most of the land based slots which you have most likely seen on the brick stores like Ladbrokes have way lover payouts (around 90%). Therefore, if you like to play slot games at all, we whole heartedly recommend playing online. There are also other factors that support our recommendation. Online slots are available 24/7, and you can play them with a personal computer, laptop, with a mobile device or with a tablet. Now you don’t need to make costly trips to casinos anymore to be able to play slots since you can play even from the backseat of a bus with your smartphone. The best part we haven’t even told yet, players usually get some bonuses, free spins or other perks to test out online slots.

The most popular slots in the UK

In this chapter, we will concentrate only on the online slot market. The most popular games tend to change a bit year after a year when we get new games but Starburst tends to be the most played game in the Europe, and it is also one of the most played online slots in the UK. The reason is quite simple, many online casinos give out free spins to Starburst, and the game’s features are as simple as they come. This doesn’t mean that the game would be bad, quite the opposite. To tops this off, the game has a low variance, which means that people tend to win a lot from the game but the winnings are quite small. This lures in players like a charm. Other favorite games are Book of Dead, Gonzo’s Quest, and Second Strike. When we look at the jackpot slot section, Mega Moolah, Mega Fortune, and Hall of Gods tend to be the most played games.

Different types of slots

Slots can be divided into different types. There are classical slots, which are usually played with 3 or 5 reels, video slots with 5 reels and fruit machines with 3 reels. Then we have v8ideo pokers, which are played with one poker hand or even up to 25 hands at the same time. Then we have jackpot slots, which are usually played with five reels and bonus features, which might trigger the jackpot. Pay lines differ from one to hundreds (e.g. 243 pay lines is quite usual), but usually, the number is around 10-20. Some games don’t even have any pay lines as the method of winning is determined in another way.

Slot strategies and how to maximize your winnings

There is no single winning strategy on playing slots. The house always takes the edge in the long run. Although, if you follow these three simple tips, you will maximize your winnings:

  1. Always use the maximum amount of pay lines. This will maximize your chance of high winnings, and this will also give you the best theoretical payback.
  2. Play slots with high payout percentages. We recommend playing for example Blood Suckers, which has the highest payout from any NetEnt game (98.0%). Jackpot slots are also good, but you should always choose the jackpot game which has the highest available jackpot prize at that moment.
  3. Play with high stakes. You can still have the same budget, but if you deposit £50 and play with £0.10 stakes, the chance of winning big is slim. You don’t need to make your budget bigger, but we would recommend playing with higher stakes with a shorter period. In this way, you will maximize your chances of winning big, and you won’t see your casino balance drying to zero slowly but steadily.

Try slots for free

You can play slot games for free by taking an advantage of the signup bonuses different online casinos offer. Usually, they will give you free spins or free playing money when you open the account. Free spins are free gaming rounds to a slot machine, and with the free money, you can play particular casino games with no risk involved. They say that there are no free lunches served, but this is just plain nonsense. After these free perks, you will get some deposit bonus, which will usually be given only for your first deposit but some casinos give it even to your first five deposit. The signup bonus is usually some match bonus, which means that the casino will match your first deposit with some percentage. Usually, the percentage varies between 100% – 200%. For example, with a 200% bonus, you would get £150 to play with if you have made a deposit of £50.

Jackpot slots

One of the biggest differences with traditional UK land based slot machines and online slots are the jackpot amounts. You can’t win over £10 000 000 by playing land based slots, but this is possible online. It is quite unbelievable to read all the winner stories about people who have won millions and changed their lives by winning jackpots from online slots, but that is truly possible. The biggest ever jackpot was won from Mega Moolah (£13,213,838), and it is also the Guinness World Record of online slot jackpots. Mega Fortune and Hall of the Gods are other famous online jackpot slots that have the jackpot amount always over £1 000 000.

Questions and answers

How is video poker different from regular slots?
In a video poker game, you usually play five card poker with a standard 52 cards playing card deck, but in slots, you have reels which are filled with symbols. When you get a winning combination of symbols, you get your stake back multiple times. Whereas in poker you need to build the best hand possible with five cards by changing the cards usually once. A royal flush is the best winning combination, and one pair jacks or higher is the lowest. These differ by a video poker since if you have deuces wild video poker with all deuces as jokers, the lowest winning combination is three of a kind.

What is a typical payback percentage in slots?
Slots are designed in a way that percentage of the stakes goes to the casino (i.e. house edge). Usually, the payback percentage is around 96%, but they differ a lot by the game provider e.g. NetEnt versus Microgaming. Video pokers have the highest payout, which is quite close to 100% if you play them optimally. The problem is that playing optimal strategy varies by game and it takes some true skill to master this craft. The highest payback in a slot is in Blood Suckers 98% by NetEnt, and the lowest is in Super Lucky Frog with only 93% payout.

How to fill bonus wagering requirements by playing slots?
Different casino bonuses have different wagering requirements. This means that you need to wager your money X amount if you have taken e.g. a first deposit bonus of 200%. Otherwise, the casino would be giving out free money since you could just deposit £50, have a balance of £150 and get £100 for free. These wagering requirements are usually 25-50 times of the bonus amount you got. Our expert tip is that you always wager your bonuses by playing slots since you will get a full wagering for your money if you play slot games. With table games, the wagering is usually 0-10% of the money you wager. You should also check out if there are other rules e.g. certain slots might not contribute 100% for the wagering since they have so high payout percentage. For example, Blood Suckers has a payback of 98%, so most of the casinos will give out only 70% or 50% wagering for the money you bet on this game. We recommend that you pick a game which has a high payout but still contributes 100% to the bonus wagering.