Visitors to online casinos may get the impression that slots are the pinnacles of these sites – and for good reason. Online slots tend to make up the majority of content at online gambling sites, generating a billion dollar industry. There are literally thousands of online slots available today, created by different software providers and covering multiple themes. Online slots are based on the original slot machine created by Charles Fey over 100 years ago, but they differ from one another in terms of wagering limits, payouts, bonus features, themes, skill levels and more. They are also known by a multiple number of names, depending on their type and even on the player’s geographical location – from classic slots to fruit machines, progressive slots and more.
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One of the reasons that slot machines are so popular is that the rules are simple to follow. While games differ in terms of themes, paylines, odds and other factors, the basic premise of slots remains the same. Players need to choose the type of slot game they wish to play and how much they want to bet. They then press ‘spin’ and are paid out according to a pre-determined payout table if relevant.
Players need to make two decisions regarding the coins they pick, namely the value of the coin and the number of the coins to be played. Most slot machines will offer coins worth different denominations, which means the player first chooses the denomination and then how many times to wager that coin. The player who opts to wager a $1 coin five times, will essentially be making a $5 wager per spin.
Players may come across different variants of slot games, which introduce new rules or concepts.
In multi line slot games, for example, more lines can be activated by adding extra coins. These games can be played by landing winning symbols in multiple angles, including diagonally and horizontally.
In the case of progressive online slots, players are paid out an ever-growing jackpot when they land specific symbols on the reels. The rules of most of these games determine that players need to wager the maximum number of coins offered by the machine to put themselves in line to win the progressive jackpot.
Many online slots offer bonus features which have the potential to reward well.
Wild symbols substitute for other symbols in the game (usually not all of them) in order to create winning combinations. Scatter symbols will trigger a bonus game or higher payouts wherever they land on the reels. Usually more than one needs to land to trigger the extra features or payouts.
Free spins allow players to win extra games, usually triggered by scatter symbols. The number of free spins will differ from game to game. In many cases, bonus games triggered by scatter symbols are actually ‘games within a game’, meaning that they have their own rules and objectives.
Certain online slot variants, especially fruit machines, carry Nudge and Hold features. By pressing the ‘hold’ button, players are able to hold one or more of the reels on their next spin. The ‘nudge’ feature allows players nudge one or more of the reels on their next spin to create winning combinations or trigger a bonus feature.
Game Buttons Information
While online slot games differ in terms of how they look and how they pay out, it is safe to say that the majority of them have similar buttons which control certain aspects of the game, determined by the player.
Some of these buttons are explained:
Lines Per Spin: This button controls how many lines the player wants to bet on in each game.
Bet Max: By pressing this button, players essentially tell the machine to bet the maximum number of coins and to begin the game.
Cash/Collect: Players ask to have their winnings credited to their account as they want to end their gaming session.
Help/View Payouts: Some machines provide additional information about the game such as its payout table. Clicking this button will usually open another screen with the data.
Auto Play: A special feature where players request that the casino slot spins itself automatically. Players determine the number of spins they want and the game will begin automatically and continue for the duration decided by the player.
Spin: The Spin button is undoubtedly the one used most by players, and simply begins the game.
Coin Size: This button determines the denomination of the coin that the machine must play. Some games have a fixed denomination, while most provide players with a range of options.
Bet: The amount wagered on the online slot.
Bet Max: To wager the maximum number of coins possible on the game.
Bonus Feature: An extra feature within the slot game that enables players to win in different ways.
Classic Slots: Slot games with a traditional twist that usually consist of three reels. The number of pay lines and bonus features differ from slot to slot.
Coins Per Line: The amount that is bet on each pay line.
Coins Per Spin: The number of coins wagered on each game.
Fixed Jackpot: The top prize in a slot game with an amount that remains unchanged.
Fruit Machine: The name used to describe slot machines in the UK. Usually have nudge and hold features.
Hit Frequency: How often a casino slot machine lands a winning combination.
Jackpot: The top prize in a slot game.
Multi Line: A slot game that has more than one pay line.
Pay Line: Images need to align on this line in order to see the player win.
Payout Percentage: The rate that a slot game pays out to players.
Progressive Jackpot: A jackpot that keeps growing each time players make a wager on the machine. A small amount of the wager funds the jackpot which continues to progress until it is won.
Reels: Virtual ‘barrels’ on which the slot game’s symbols are located, which spin until they come to a stop to reveal any payouts.
Scatter Pay: A type of random bonus payout found in video slot games which could trigger another bonus feature or game.
Stacked Wilds: The positioning of multiple wild symbols on top of each other on the slot’s reels.
Symbols: The images on the reels.
Wild Symbol: A designated symbol in the game that substitutes for other symbols to form winning combinations.
Wild Multiplier: A wild symbol (see above) which also multiplies the win it forms.
Winning Combinations: How many ways the player can win on the slot game.
Opening an Account and Playing for Real Money
To play online slots at online casino sites endorsed by Casino.com Ireland, customers need to complete a quick and simple-to-understand process. The first thing required is to decide whether to download the software, comprising of over 300 online casino games, or to play in the browser using Flash technology, without the need to download software.
Both download and Flash versions require that players open an account. The next decision is whether to play in practice mode or for real money.
Creating an account for real money play: Players choose the ‘play for real money’ option and then click ‘create account’. The required fields need to be filled in, terms and conditions need to be agreed to and then ‘create’ is clicked. The real money account to play online slots is now set up.
To start playing online casinos and winning prizes, players need to fund their newly opened accounts. This is done by accessing the Cashier section of the site and selecting a preferred deposit method. Online casino sites offer a wide range of banking methods which allows for the smooth transfer of funds for players. Once the required fields have been filled in, players click ‘deposit’ and they’ll receive a confirmation message that a successful deposit has been made. It should be noted that the online casino sites suggested by Casino.com Ireland offer new players generous welcome bonuses which match their first deposits. Once the account has been funded, players are free to try out the many different online slots games and win real money jackpots.
To play online slots, customers need to decide whether to download the software, comprising of over 300 online casino games, or to play in the browser using Flash technology, without the need to download software.
History of Slots
A German immigrant to the United States, Charles Fey, is credited with creating the first slot machine as we know it in modern times. The Liberty Bell was born in Fey’s workshop in San Francisco and was based on three reels and 20 symbols. It didn’t take long for Fey to begin mass producing the Liberty Bell, and changes were made to the original look and structure. Images such as hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs were added, and the popularity of the game grew immensely. In 1910, Fey teamed up with the Mills Novelty Company to produce the Operator Bell, bringing significant changes to the design of the game.
In the 30s and 40’s, slot machines were adopted onto many casino floors as ‘ladies’ games’ but they were so popular among all players that they soon became the best played games in top Vegas casinos. Electro-mechanical machines were developed in the 50’s, and this decade saw the introduction of games such as Big Bertha and higher jackpots.
Bally Manufacturing brought about another change to the industry with the creation of games that moved away from Fey’s original design, and they dominated casino floors during the 70’s with their Dollar Slot Machine. The first video poker slot machine was introduced by Sircoma in the 1980s, bringing greater choice to players in terms of games and payment options.
With the launch of online gambling in the mid 1990s, slot machines made a rapid and natural transition to the World Wide Web. They are an extremely popular choice for players who are able to pick and choose their favorite operators, software providers, themes, wagering limits and skill levels at the click of a button at hundreds of online casino sites.