How to Play Slots | How to Play Slot Machines

Responsible Gambling: If you or someone you know is struggling with gambling addiction, learn about your options.

Learn More

How to Play Slots | How to Play Slot Machines

Want to learn how to play slots? Playing slots is one of the most common forms of gambling in casinos and online because it’s the easiest. Most slots have a very low learning curve, so gamblers can pick up the nuances of that game in just a few spins.

So, whether you’re looking to play a slot machine in Vegas or Atlantic City or just want to gamble a little at a New Jersey online casino, this guide to playing slots will get you up to speed on the basics of playing slots online or playing a slot machine in person.

How to play slots

Best Overall New Jersey Casinos for Online Slots

If you need an online casino to practice playing slots, consider playing at some of the best online casinos in New Jersey.

Promotions
rating

Rating

ABV 100

ABV

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

Type of bonus

Type

Bonus code

Code

Max bonus

Max

Wagering

Wag.

Extra bonus

Extra

Min deposit

Min

Expiry time

Exp.

Free bonus

Free

A free bonus is given on registration and needs no deposit. For more info about the free bonus, read the casino review

Launch date

Launch

Overall rating

Rating

Full review

Rev.

#1 out of 24 NJ casinos

$98.36

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

100% match + $25 free

$25 FREEPLAY® received from this promotion is available at BetMGM Casino only and cannot be used on Jackpot Slots, Poker, or Sports

Not required

$300

5x

$10

14 days

Players has fourteen (14) days following qualifying deposit to complete FREEPLAY® wagering requirements on FREEPLAY®

25

August 2017

#1 out of 31 NJ casinos

Harrah’s

Collect Bonus

#2 out of 24 NJ casinos

$100.19

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

100% match

Get $10 free to start playing your favourite casino games including slots, blackjack, roulette and more

Not required

$300

5x

$10

7 days

10

November 2013

#17 out of 31 NJ casinos

#3 out of 24 NJ casinos

$91.51

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

100% match + $10 free

Not required

$1000

5x

$10

7 days

Players have 7 days to satisfy the Wagering Requirements from the day the bonus funds are awarded

10

November 2013

#2 out of 31 NJ casinos

#4 out of 24 NJ casinos

$93.46

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

100% match + $20 free

Casino online, no jackpot slots, no sports, no poker, no bingo

Not Required

$1000

15x

$10

30 days

$20 Bonus Dollars will be available on Borgata Casino account for three (3) days after completion of new account registration

20

November 2013

#5 out of 31 NJ casinos

#5 out of 24 NJ casinos

$70.15

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

100% match + $10 free

UBCASINO500

$500

25x

$10

30 days

10

July 2019

#3 out of 31 NJ casinos

SugarHouse

Collect Bonus

#6 out of 24 NJ casinos

$99.50

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

100% match

250MATCH

$250

1x

$10

30 days

September 2016

#4 out of 31 NJ casinos

Golden Nugget

Collect Bonus

#7 out of 24 NJ casinos

$81.59

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

100% Match + 200 Free Spins

100% Match bonus + 200 Free Spins on 88 Fortunes Megaways

Not required

$1000

20x

$30

30 days

100% Match bonus – Players are eligible for this welcome offer once within 30 days of a successful first deposit.

December 2013

#27 out of 31 NJ casinos

#8 out of 24 NJ casinos

$62.07

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

100% match + $25 free

100% Match 1st Deposit Bonus and $25 No Deposit Bonus

Not Required

$500

20x

$10

15 days

25

July 2017

#23 out of 31 NJ casinos

#9 out of 24 NJ casinos

$66.76

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

100% match

CASINO500

$500

20x

$10

30 days

October 2019

#16 out of 31 NJ casinos

#10 out of 24 NJ casinos

$65.46

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

120% match

Not required

$500

30x

$20

First deposit only of $20 minimum

60 days

Bonus must be wagered 30 times within 60 days from granting

November 2013

#22 out of 31 NJ casinos

Mohegan Sun

Collect Bonus

#11 out of 24 NJ casinos

$54.55

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

100% match

To be eligible, you must be a MoheganSunCasino.com account holder with no prior deposits

MOHEGAN

$1000

30x

$10

30 days

July 2015

#6 out of 31 NJ casinos

#12 out of 24 NJ casinos

$54.55

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

100% match

1KFREE

$1000

30x

$10

30 days

February 2015

#14 out of 31 NJ casinos

Tropicana

Collect Bonus

#13 out of 24 NJ casinos

$48.65

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

Cashback

When you make your first deposit of not less than $10 in cash and place a first wager are eligible to receive either one of the following: (1) if their Net Loss exceeds 90% of their First Deposit at any time within seven (7) calendar days after placing the First Deposit and First Wager, the value of their First Deposit, up to a maximum of $100 in cash, or (2) if their Net Loss does not exceed 90% of their First Deposit after the conclusion of the seven (7) calendar days after placing the First Deposit and First Wager, the value of their Net Loss, up to a maximum of $100 in cash.

Not required

$100

1x

$10

A withdrawal of any kind from your account at any time prior to or during the 7 Day Period will automatically disqualify you from the Promotion.

7 days

November 2013

#18 out of 31 NJ casinos

#14 out of 24 NJ casinos

$48.65

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

Cashback

When you make your first deposit of not less than $10 in cash and place a first wager are eligible to receive either one of the following: (1) if their Net Loss exceeds 90% of their First Deposit at any time within seven (7) calendar days after placing the First Deposit and First Wager, the value of their First Deposit, up to a maximum of $100 in cash, or (2) if their Net Loss does not exceed 90% of their First Deposit after the conclusion of the seven (7) calendar days after placing the First Deposit and First Wager, the value of their Net Loss, up to a maximum of $100 in cash

Not required

$100

1x

$10

A withdrawal of any kind from your account at any time prior to or during the 7 Day Period will automatically disqualify you from the Promotion.

7 days

January 2014

#15 out of 31 NJ casinos

#15 out of 24 NJ casinos

$47.53

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

Cashback

Place your first wager on any one of Sponsor’s Casino offerings in order to trigger a 24 hour period beginning upon placing that first wager to place additional wagers, after which Sponsor will refund 100% of your net losses from such wagers incurred during such 24 hour period (the “Risk Free Period”), up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) in Casino Site Credit (“Promotion Bonus”)

Not required

$200

1x

$10

1 day

November 2013

#24 out of 31 NJ casinos

Hard Rock

Collect Bonus

#16 out of 24 NJ casinos

$44.57

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

100% match

When you make a first-time deposit, you will receive matching bonus funds in an amount equal to 100% of your first deposit, up to a maximum of $1,000

Not required

$1000

40x

$20

14 days

July 2018

#25 out of 31 NJ casinos

#17 out of 24 NJ casinos

$44.57

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

100% match

Make a qualifying deposit of $10 or more and claim the offer within 30 days of registering your account to qualify for a 100% matched amount in Bet Credits, up to a maximum of $500

Not required

$500

40x

$10

30 days

Your largest deposit/transfer (minimum $10) to Casino in the seven days prior to claiming the offer will qualify for a 100% matched bonus, up to a maximum of $1,000. This is your ‘qualifying deposit/transfer’.

August 2019

#28 out of 31 NJ casinos

Ocean Resort

Collect Bonus

#18 out of 24 NJ casinos

$29.76

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

100% match + $25 + 50 FS

Not required

$500

60x

$50

7 days

July 2018

#19 out of 31 NJ casinos

William Hill

Collect Bonus

#19 out of 24 NJ casinos

$24.33

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

Cashback

100% Cashback on your first deposit up to $50

Not Required

$50

2x

$10

5 days

September 2018

#31 out of 31 NJ casinos

PokerStars

Collect Bonus

#20 out of 24 NJ casinos

$20.86

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

100% match

Deposit $25 or more with the code ‘WELCOME1’ and you’ll get a 100% match deposit bonus up to $500. Claim a second match deposit bonus up to $500 & a Slots bonus . Next up, you’ll get a 100% match deposit bonus up to $500. On top of that, you’ll get a Mystery Chest containing a Slots bonus worth up to $500 that you can use to play any Slots. Just make a deposit of $25 or more with the code ‘WELCOME2’. Finally, make your third deposit of $25 or more using the code ‘WELCOME3’ to get another 100% match deposit bonus up to $500. Also, you’ll get another chance to open a Chest with another Slots bonus worth up to $500

WELCOME1

$500

80x

$25

28 days

To claim the second welcome bonus you must make this deposit within 14 days of your first qualifying deposit

March 2016

#29 out of 31 NJ casinos

BetAmerica

Collect Bonus

#21 out of 24 NJ casinos

$16.69

This is the most important number! Casino bonuses are hard to understand. We have done the math and calculated how much money you get extra on a $100 deposit, after bonus terms and wagering. We call it Actual Bonus Value (ABV 100) to make it easy for you to compare. The higher number, the more generous bonus.

25% match

Register an account and enter code PLAY500 when making a deposit. Player will be awarded a 25% Deposit Match up to a max of $500 up to a max casino bonus of $500.

PLAY500

$500

20x

$10

7 days

Players will have 7 days to complete the rollover requirements before the bonus expires

February 2019

#26 out of 31 NJ casinos

#22 out of 24 NJ casinos

N/A

N/A

For detailed explanation of wagering requirements, see Pala full review. Link below.

$10

November 2014

#20 out of 31 NJ casinos

#23 out of 24 NJ casinos

N/A

N/A

-2x

$10

N/A days

November 2013

#21 out of 31 NJ casinos

DraftKings

Collect Bonus

#24 out of 24 NJ casinos

N/A

N/A

For detailed explanation of wagering requirements, see DraftKings full review. Link below.

$10

N/A days

July 2018

#30 out of 31 NJ casinos

Beginners Guide to Playing Slots

Ready to learn the basics of playing slots?

This slot playing guide provides a high-level overview of slots and how to play them. If you’re a beginner to playing slots, this guide will give you the tools needed to feel confident in playing slots online or at a land-based casino. While there are some subtle differences between online slots and live slots, understanding both versions of slots will provide a primer for playing either.

The topics we cover in this slot playing guide include:

What Are the Odds of Wining at Slots?

Understanding your odds while gambling is one of the first and most important considerations before ever making a wager. This is also true when playing slots. Each slot machine and online slot has its own unique odds known as return-to-player (RTP). Return-to-player simply refers to the odds of a slot returning a wager (or more) back to the player. If you play a slot game with 95% RTP, it means that slot will pay you back at least your wager on 95% of your spins. Another way to look at it is that for every $100 you wager on that slot, you will average $95 back — you will lose $5.

Every slot will have an average loss as its return-to-player or its odds because the casino (aka house) always has the edge. This condition is critical to understand because it means that the average slot player is expected to lose — and while these averages do include players who win big and make a profit, the majority of slot players will end up close to the RTP because it’s based on a total average for that slot which includes hundreds of thousands of computations.

The odds of winning at slots or the RTP will vary for each slot game, but the industry average for land-based casino slot machines is 86% while the average online slot RTP is 96%.

Why are land-based casino odds worse than online slots?

Most online slots have an RTP between 90-98% but slot machines in physical casinos can see RTPs ranging between 75-94%. Why is there such a large difference between physical slot machine odds and online slots? The answer is often, but not always, related to volatility or frequency which simply means the size and timeframe of each win. Land-based casinos prefer slots with larger payouts because it creates a more exciting experience for slot players as well as the energy of the casino as a whole. So, they’ll often be slots with lower RTP but more volatility and less frequency.

These more volatile slots are often known as progressive slots and they can reach payouts approaching $1 million in some cases. With an RTP of 75%, you’re less likely to win every time you spin, but if you do win — it’s often much larger than what you wagered.

However, online slots are less concerned with the big swings of large jackpots and would rather keep the player engaged and betting for a longer period of time. This means that the online casino is willing to pay you back more often, but in smaller increments with the hope that you will continue playing longer. The longer that you play that slot, the more likely the house is to win its edge — even if it’s only 2-10% of your bets.

How to Pick the Right Slot Based on Odds

Each player has their own slot strategy and choosing a slot game that aligns with your approach is important. If you want the best chances of winning big, you will need to be willing to risk losing more frequently and may want to play a slot with worse odds or a lower RTP (i.e. 90% for an online slot) and more volatility. These slots have lower odds of winning, but increased odds of winning more money when you do hit.

If you’re more risk averse and want to find a slot game that offers you more frequent wins — even if it’s less money per win — then you should look for a slot with higher RTP such as Blood Suckers with a 98% RTP. High RTP slots are the perfect way to meet wagering requirements for bonuses because they do offer a more predictable return.

For example, if you’re trying to satisfy a 20x playthrough requirement on a first deposit bonus that’s a 100% match of your $500 deposit, you need to wager a total of $10,000 before you can withdraw any of that bonus. If you play a slot with a 98% RTP, that means you should expect to lose 2% of the total wager ($10,000) which would be $200. If you played it out using this strategy, you would average $300 left after wagering $10,000. This is a much more predictable way to make sure you walk away with something from that first deposit bonus instead of risking it all on other games with lower odds.

Slot Parts and Components

The traditional slot machine has had massive upgrades since it was invented in 1895, but many of the original components still influence the parts found on today’s slot machine and even the completely digital slots you play at online casinos. Understanding the components of a slot game is important because you will need to know how these parts interact with each other to create the slot gaming experience.

Slot Machine Parts

Let’s start by covering some of the main parts of a traditional, land-based slot machine.

  • Slot Candle (Tower Light): If you play a slot machine at a physical casino, you’ll often see some sort of light fixture atop the machine. This piece of the slot machine is called the candle or the tower light, and there are many uses for it — mostly to communicate to casino staff about that specific machine. For example, if you hit the help or service button on the slot machine, the top portion of the light will often turn white and stay white until someone has helped you. If a single light or several lights are blinking, it could mean that the machine is currently being worked on by a technician, that the machine is out of service, that the slot is getting low on TITO paper, or even that the machine has just hit a jackpot. The color of the lower half of the slot candle often indicates the minimum bet allowed at that machine as specified below.
    • White = $0.01 (penny slots)
    • Red = $0.05
    • Yellow = $0.25
    • Gold or Orange = $0.50
    • Blue = $1
  • Slot Pay Table: The slot pay table is the list of possible payouts from that slot based on the possible symbol combinations on the slot’s reels. A slot machine’s pay table explicitly outlines what you are paid if your spin lands on one of the winning combinations. Slot machines and online slots will both have pay tables to outline that slot’s odds.
  • Reels: The slot’s reels are the wheels covered in symbols that spin once the round has started. The reels control the result of the game and the sequence of the symbols in the paylines following the stoppage of the reels indicates whether you win or lose that round.
  • Player Club Card Reader: If you’re a rewards member at a land-based casino, then you will want to scan your player card prior to playing on a slot machine. The card reader tracks your playing so you can receive credits and rewards points while playing that slot.
  • Assistance Button: You’ll also find a “help” or “assistance” button on a physical slot machine which you can press if you are having issues or want a specific question answered from a casino representative. These buttons can also be used to collect change as needed. If you press the assistance button, you will notice the slot candle light up until you have received help.
  • Bill/Ticket Validator: Most modern slot machines will allow you to insert bills or tickets to receive playing credits for the slot machine. You can use these credits to spin the wheels and play that slot. Some machines will have limits for bill denominations, and other machines may only have coin slots instead of bill/ticket validators.
  • Slot Handle (Arm or Lever): The traditional slot machine will typically have a handle also known as the arm or lever, which is used to start the round. Once you pull the slot handle, you have started the round and the reels will begin to spin.
  • Spin Button: While many modern slot machines will still have slot handles (arms), they are many slot machines that are more digital and may have the arm as display-only. These slot machines will have a button that says “spin,” which serves the same purpose as the slot handle, without the theatrics of pulling the lever. If you press the spin button, you will initiate the reels and signal to the machine the start of the next round.
  • Cash/Credit Button: Most traditional slot machines will have a button labeled “cash” or “credit” which can be pressed to close out your gambling at that slot machine. If you press this button, you will cash out all remaining credits — typically in the form of a ticket which can either be converted to cash at the casino cage or used at other casino games that have the ticket validator.
  • Max Bet Button: Most land-based slot machines will have a button for betting the maximum allowed at that machine. This button will be appropriately labeled “Max Bet” and if you press it, the machine will being a round using the maximum bet amount.
  • Minimum Bet Button: The minimum bet button triggers a round using the lowest amount that slot machine allows. The button the slot may be labeled as “Min Bet,” “Bet One,” or something else describing the smallest bet.
  • Coin Tray: If you’re playing a traditional coin slot machine, you’ll notice a coin tray at the bottom, and if you haven’t noticed it while playing — that’s not a good sign, because the coin tray is where the winning coins are dispensed on the slot machine. If you spin and win, you’ll be delighted when you cash out the winnings via the coin tray.

While each slot machine is different, almost all land-based slot games will have some or all of the slot components mentioned above. You’ll notice several other buttons and levers on slots, and those are often specific to that game. If you ever have questions about the components of a slot machine you want to play, find a floor assistant at the casino to answer your questions.

Before you every play the slot, make sure you understand how to play that unique slot, and that starts with knowing what all the components do.

Slot Symbols Explained

Understanding the components of a slot machine is important, but you also need to understand slot symbols and what they mean when playing slots. Even if you’ve never played slots before, you have probably seen some of the more popular slot symbols in movies, games, TV shows, or elsewhere. These are your traditional red cherry or lucky number 7.

However, modern slot machines and online slots are based on unique themes. Themed slot games will have symbols relevant to the theme of the slot game. For example, Starburst is one of the most popular online slots, and it uses gems and bright star symbols on its reels.

The pay table on the specific slot you’re playing is the best resource for learning the meaning of the slot symbols of that unique game, but generally — most slot games have symbols that can be categorized as:

  • Wild Symbols: 
  • Scatter Symbols
  • Multiplier Symbols
  • Sticky Symbols
  • Bonus Symbols

The wild symbol in slot play refers to a symbol that can act as any other symbol in the game. The wild symbol will transform into the best resulting symbol within a winning combination

When playing slots, the scatter symbol is one of the more desirable symbols to land because it will typically trigger the bonus round for that slot if the symbols fall in the necessary sequence.

While not on every slot machine, you may run into multiplier symbols from time-to-time while playing slots. A slot multiplier symbol can increase your winnings 2x or more depending on the slot.

A sticky symbol while playing slots will trigger a feature within the game that keeps that reel with the sticky symbol from spinning for future spins. This means you will only have the other reels spinning until the sticky symbol has hit its freeze limit. The length of time a sticky symbol will stay will depend on the gameplay of the specific slot you’re playing.

The bonus symbol for a slot machine is one of the most sought after slot symbols. If you hit this symbol, you can trigger the bonus round for the slot game — which can increase your chances of winning that slot.

Types of Slots

As you can tell, a lot of learning how to play slots requires understanding the slot and what’s actually happening when you spin the reels. Because this is a beginners guide to playing slots, we need to spend some time explaining the popular types of slots that you may come across while gambling. Unlike other casino games like roulette, blackjack, or poker that follow similar gameplay or structure regardless of the casino or game, slots can vary drastically from one slot to the next. Not just in the theme or symbols of the game, but in the odds, payout structure, and literal gameplay.

Three-Reel Slots (Classic Slots)

The classic slot — also known as the three-reel slot — is probably the most recognizable type of slot machine. These slot games are designed much like the original mechanical slots and only have three (3) reels. The classic slot is often the easiest for new slot players to pick-up because of the simplicity of the gameplay. Most payout when the player hits the same symbol across the middle line of all three (3) reels.

If you’re a fan of classic, three-reel slots and want to play online, you’re in luck — there are many popular three-reel slot games at online casinos.

 

The main difference between a classic, three-reel slot and other slot games is simply the number of reels. As you might imagine, the 3-reel slot has only 3 reels which are used to play the game.

These three reels will spin once the round starts and when they come to a stop, will display 9 total symbols on the screen. If the displayed symbols matches any of the winning paylines, you will win.

The major benefit to three-reel slots is the simplicity of them. Most new gamblers can pick up the gameplay of a three-reel slot quickly. When compared to other 5-reel or progressive slots, the three-reel slot takes the cake for ease-of-use.

Playing a three-reel slot is as simple as:

  1. Picking the 3-reel slot machine
  2. Reading the rules of that machine (pay table)
  3. Inserting your money or credits
  4. Determining your bet amount (start low until you’re comfortable increasing your bet)
  5. Place your bet
  6. Spin the machine
  7. Wait for the three reels to stop and compare the end result with the pay table to see if you won

Because there are only three (3) reels, you can typically determine whether you won or not much more quickly than other slots which have more complicated gameplays, scatters, and bonus rounds.

Five-Reel Slots (Video Slots)

The next step up from a classic, three-reel slot game is a slot game with five-reels — also known as video slots. The video slot game was developed in 1970 and has become a staple for land-based casinos and online casinos throughout the world. In fact, odds are that if you’re playing a slot machine whether online or at an actual casino, it’s a 5-reel video slot.

The five-reel slot game is much more complex than the traditional three-reel slot machine. The two additional reels (5 total) give the game much more flexible opportunities for paylines. Instead of the straight-line winning sequence, a five-reel video slot can offer payouts based on varying paylines including X’s or other non-linear combinations.

As the name suggests, the five-reel slot has 5 total reels which store the slots’ symbols. The reason the 5-reel slot is sometimes referred to as a video slot is because this slot type broke the mold of a traditional slot machine which used mechanical reels and a lever to execute the game.

The five-reel slot introduced players to a new slot gameplay which involved buttons instead of a lever and electronic videos in stead of mechanical reels—although many 5-reel slots do still use mechanical reels, too.

These same characteristics from the late 1900’s are still true to today’s slot games and the five-reel slot is one of the most popular slot types for land-based and online casinos.

Learning how to play a 5-reel slot is a little bit more complex than the 3-reel slot machine because the additional reels offer more intricate gameplay opportunities.

Fortunately, many five-reel online slots offer free play modes so that you can test the slot before wagering any reel money. We definitely advise anyone interested in paying a 5-reel slot for real money to either practice with the free play mode first or at least, take their time to review the paytable and other gameplay rules.

Playing a five-reel slot involves:

  1. Picking the 5-reel slot machine
  2. Practicing in free play mode
  3. Reviewing the rules of that slot (pay table)
  4. Inserting your money or credits
  5. Determining your bet amount (start low until you’re comfortable increasing your bet)
  6. Place your bet
  7. Spin the five reels
  8. Wait for the 5 reels to come to a stop and determine if your sequence matches a winning combination

Five-reel slots will also typically offer bonus rounds or free spins if you hit that winning combination. In those instances, you can stand to win big with the additional spins and bonuses.

Progressive Slots (Jackpot Slots)

Progressive slotsjackpot slots — are another common type of slot. These slots are popular more for their potential payouts than the gameplay themselves. A progressive jackpot slot is not describing the slot itself like the two previous ones (3-reel or 5-reel), but rather the gameplay which is based on the opportunity to win a large, compounding jackpot if the necessary requirements for hitting the jackpot are met.

Many land-based casinos will use progressive slots as a lure to attract players to the casino and some jackpots can reach over $1M.  Online casinos will also market progressive jackpot slots and the potential payout if you were to hit it.

Unlike the 3-reel slot or the 5-reel slot which are distinguished by the number of reels, the progressive jackpot slot is characterized by its gameplay more than its make-up.

Progressive jackpot slots have what is known as an accumulated jackpot which acts much like a state lottery. To qualify for the progressive jackpot on a slot, you must wager the maximum amount for that game and if you lose, a percentage of your wager goes into the pot increasing the jackpot total.

If you win, you win the full amount and the jackpot pool resets.

Progressive slot games can have three or five reels, so the actual process for playing a progressive slot will be based on how many reels it has as well as the specific slot’s rules.

However, if you want to play a progressive slot you will ned to remember one thing: Progressive slots require you to wager the maximum amount.

In other words, if you are playing a progressive slot but choose not to wager the max bet, you will not qualify for the progressive jackpot itself. Each progressive slot has other requirements related to the symbols and gameplay to qualify for the jackpot, but betting the max is the one rule-of-thumb to remember when playing progressive slots.

It’s also important to know that your odds of winning the progressive slot jackpot are very low, lower than winning a typical jackpot. It works very similar to playing the lottery, which also has very low odds.

Need Gambling Help?

Learning how to play slots requires also learning how to manage your gambling budget. Slots are the world’s most popular casino game because they are the easiest to play, but that also makes them one of the more dangerous games for habitual gamblers. If you or someone you know is struggling with gambling addiction, please take the time to seek out help. Many casinos will get you in touch with self-exclusion programs which can help you avoid the temptation of gambling.

Playing Slots FAQ

Every slot game (3-reel slots, 5-reel slots, progressive slots, etc.) works the same — by using a Random Number Generator (RNG). Slot players decide on their wager, place the bet, spin the reels, and wait for the RNG to render a sequence of slot symbols on the reels. If that sequence aligns with one of the pay table’s winning combinations, the player wins the payout’s odds using their wager amount.

The fast or slow slot playing theory is a myth — the speed at which you play a slot game is independent of the results. The Random Number Generator (RNG) creates a completely random and independent spin every time. Playing slots is much like flipping a coin; no matter how quickly or slowly you flip a coin from one time to the next, your odds are always the same.

Whether or not you decide to bet max on a slot is entirely up to your strategy and bankroll management.

However, if you are playing a progressive slot, you should play the maximum bet because that is typically needed to meet the progressive jackpot bonus requirements.