Online slots certainly look different than the classic land-based casino slots of yesteryear. The graphics, sound and gameplay make for an incredible entertainment experience. Most games today have a plethora of symbols, bet-lines and action happening in the gameplay. As a player, it’s important to know what it all means, which games to choose, and what all of the symbols mean. This document will give you a basic understanding of how online slots work.
What are betlines?
The term Betlines refers to a classic way of determining a win in a slot game. When the same symbols appear (usually from left to right) in a pre-determined pattern, the player receives a win according to the betting table.
What are betways?
Betways allows the player win in any possible way, with 3 or more symbols in each column counting from left to right.
What are cluster pays?
Clusterpays counts the symbols in a cluster, meaning if you have more than X symbols grouped together, this will generate a win. The minimum number of symbols and the win size is determined by the paytable.
A look at common terms used to describe slots
You can find a description of all the special symbols in a game by looking at the game rules.
Some of the more common slot symbols:
What is a wild symbol?
A Wild is a symbol that can be used as a substitute for any other symbol, like a joker in some traditional card games.
Suppose we have a 3×3 slot with 5 betlines consisting of horizontal lines and diagonals.
Here the player wins on 3 A’s in a row:
C D D
A A A
B B C
But if the center symbol is a wild (W), then the wild acts as an A, and as a C, and they win on both the A’s and the C’s
C D D
A W A
B B C
What is a scatter symbol?
A Scatter is most often a symbol which is used to trigger a bonus game, for example free spins. Typically, landing 3 scatters anywhere on the reels will give you free spins.
What is variance?
The variance of a game is a number which gets calculated using mathematical formulas. This number is a measure of how much a game varies in its game winnings. Games where you win often but with relatively small amounts have low variance, while games where you win less often but, when you do, with higher amounts have a higher variance.
What does volatility mean? How does it affect games?
Volatility is similar to Variance. Low volatility means smaller but more frequent wins. Higher volatility means bigger wins, but they come less often.
What exactly does return to player (RTP) mean?
RTP, or Return to Player, refers to the measure of the percentage of stakes that is returned to the player (through wins).
Usually, when we talk about the RTP of a game, we refer to the theoretical RTP: the average win over many game rounds divided by the bet. Most NetEnt games have a theoretical RTP of approximately 96%.
But any time you sit down to play, there is an actual RTP: the total win of the session divided by the total bet of the session. For a short play session, this can be very far from the theoretical RTP value. For example, say you sit down and play with 100 euro, and in the end you leave the session with 70 euros – your actual RTP, in this case, is 70%. The important thing to remember when you see the listed RTP of a game is that this is the average RTP after a very long run of games, and is the not to be taken as the actual RTP.
If I play a game with an RTP of 97% – does that mean that I should win 97% of the money that I have wagered?
No! You should never expect the actual RTP to be the same as the theoretical RTP. It could take 100,000,000 spins to get to a desired RTP range, and even then, there are no guarantees – slots are a game of chance and this should always be remembered.If I play a game with an RTP of 97% – does that mean that I should win 97% of the money that I have wagered?
What is a progressive jackpot?
A progressive jackpot is a jackpot that grows with every round that is played on the game, until it pays out. You can think of it as a community of people all playing together, and every round anyone plays on the game causes the overall jackpot to grow and grow until one lucky winner gets the prize.
Can I “beat the system” at an online casino?
No. Slot games have no skill or strategy element whatsoever. Since the games are pure luck, the only possible “strategy” is the following: if you get lucky, quit while you are ahead.
Apart from that, there is no way to increase your luck.
What are Free Spins?
A free spin allows you to play one round on a video slot without using your own money. An online casino will sometimes give a number of these as part of their welcome bonus, or as a promotional prize for current players. You can also win free spins in some games, which adds to the gaming experience.