If you’ve ever played those old slots you see in arcade and casinos, with a lever and 3 reels of spinning fruit, 7s and diamonds, then video slots will blow your mind. They’re the 21st century’s answer to traditional slots, and they have become the UK and Europe’s most popular online casino game – often making up 85-90% of the entire game selection at major online casinos.
Video slots have 5 reels and a tonne of symbols so that there are loads of possible combinations which can trigger a payout! Most 5-reel slots have between 15-25 different paylines that can be activated at once, unlike traditional 3-reel slots that have one single line across the centre – the payouts are bigger and more regular.
The improved payouts are great, but it’s the quality of the games themselves – the stunning graphics, realistic animations and varying themes – which make video slots so popular among different types of player. You can tell we’re fans of video slots here, but read on to find out exactly what it is we like so much, and why 5-reel slots are the ultimate online casino game.
Why Play Video Slots?
The main reason people love video slots is that they are fun. Slots is a game of chance, since the reels are controlled entirely by a Random Number Generator (RNG) and there’s no guarantee you’ll win – and that creates a level of excitement.
Typically, you can play video slots for as small a wager as you like – as little as 1, 2 or 5p per spin, enabling players to play without the risk of spending beyond their budget. You can while away hours with just £1-2, and you can usually still win the jackpot, even with reduced stakes.
This is a special type of video slot where the jackpot is not fixed; rather, a small portion of every bet made by every player is put towards the progressive jackpot. When finally won, most progressives cash out at hundreds of thousands, even millions of pounds. They are extremely hard to win, and you often have to bet the maximum to have a chance, but the payouts are truly life-changing.
Major software developers are producing new games every month, and most casinos have hundreds of unique slot games to keep you entertained. At their core, all slots may be the same, but the variation in design, style, theme and bonuses is uncountable and keeps players loyal for years.
Bonuses and Rewards
All casinos will offer you a joining bonus if you register and deposit with them. Sometimes it’s free spins (often without even depositing) and other times it’s just matching your deposit 100%, so you have extra cash to spend.
Demo Games and Free Play
You can play most games for free before putting money into the real thing; this gives you a chance to practice and get a feel for the game. If you don’t like it, try out another; if you do, then start spinning properly and reaping the rewards.
How to Play
On the face of it, video slots can seem a bit complicated and daunting, but there’s really not all that much to it. The first thing to realise is that you wager generic coins, and you assign a value to them. For example, you might wager 10 coins – you can choose if the coins are worth £0.05 each or £5 each, or anywhere in-between. This way, all winnings are proportional to the coin value, and someone betting larger amounts will win (and lose) proportionally.
Now for the technical stuff. Old 3-reel slots had a single “payline” – a horizontal line across the middle of the reels – on which matching symbols had to land to make a win. Video slots can have 25 or more paylines, which means that symbols can be matched in obscure orders to make a winning combination.
Before each spin, you choose:
- The number of paylines to use
- The number of coins per payline (usually 1-5)
- The value of each coin
- The more paylines you use, the more likely you are to win, but the more expensive each bet becomes.
Special Symbols and Features
Usually if 3 or more matching symbols appear next to each other on a payline, that’s a win. However, there are special bonus symbols with extra abilities:
- Wilds – These can substitute for any other symbol to make a winning combination, kind of like the joker in a deck of cards.
- Scatters – Scatters are key to opening bonus rounds within the game. In no particular order, if a few scatter symbols turn up, they’ll activate a bonus where you are likely to make a great payout.
- Multipliers – These can be activated in loads of different ways (depending on the game) but basically if you get a multiplier (often up to 10x) your winnings on that spin are multiplied – pure and simple! Your £50 win could get multiplied to £500!
- Bonus rounds – These vary hugely. Some involve a bunch of free spins where any winnings are multiplied, while in others you might face a grid of mysterious bonuses and any that you pick either multiply your winnings or give you a jackpot. When well designed, bonus rounds can turn an average game into a great one!
For those who haven’t played video slots before, knowing where to start can be a bit tricky. Our casino reviews1 offer a good starting point since we go into a good amount of depth analysing the pros and cons of various popular and new-release games. However, we’ve also picked out a few choice games from our recommended casinos to get you started.
32Red – Thunderstruck II
Thunderstruck II is frequently rated as the best video slot online today. It has numerous bonus features that don’t appear on any other game and there are 243 ways to win on every single spin! Based around Norse mythology (with Loki, Odin and Thor) it’s a powerful, explosive game.
Mr Green – Gonzo’s Quest
Join Gonzo on his high-octane adventure in search of the lost city of gold – El Dorado. Designed by NetEnt, the game features avalanche reels (they fall from the sky rather than spinning) and Gonzo jumps around, talks and cheers when you win!
Ruby Fortune – Mega Moolah
Mega Moolah is the grandaddy of progressive slots, with its jackpot recently being won at £13.2 million. It is set in the wild plains of Africa and is known for enjoyable gameplay and great graphics in addition to its massive payouts.
Pop Culture Adaptations
Most software developers base some of their slots around famous movies, characters or stories to entice players. The Marvel-based slots are hugely popular, with other titles including The Dark Knight (Batman), Tomb Raider and Gladiator. These often feature images of your favourite characters and even cut-scenes and audio from the movies!
No two video slots are the same, yet they all offer an enjoyable playing experience and the chance to take home jackpots with only a nominal investment. If your luck is in, you can finish your session with thousands, perhaps millions in the bank – if not, you still had a great time and have only gambled what you could afford anyway!
There are thousands of different slots out there, and those at our recommended casinos are verified with good payout percentages and guaranteed quality – check them out! If you want to indulge in online casino, whether it’s to make your fortune or just taste the excitement of playing for small stakes, video slots are the answer.