Game Rules: How to Play Online Slots

Slots are one of the most popular casino games worldwide. They’re fun to play, and most of the time, all you have to do is push one button. The flashing lights, the bonus mini-games, the loud noises! All of these things combined make playing this simple casino game such an exciting experience.

If you’ve never played a slot machine or are just looking to get a bit more knowledge about them, you’re in luck. We’re going over the basics of how to play online slots.


how to play online slots

First things first, you have to understand how slot machines work. Gone are the days when you pulled a massive lever and had to align three “bar” symbols. You can actually still find these machines in some places. However, just like many other casino games, slot machines have become much more complex.


Most online slot machines will have a similar setup of rows, reels, pay lines, and a pay table. Don’t panic. Let’s learn what these terms mean.

  • REELS – These are the vertical lines on the screen that spins when you push the button and display random symbols. There are usually five reels, but machines can have three, six, seven, or more. 
  • ROWS – These are the horizontal symbols that you have to align in order to win something. Most machines have three visible rows on the screen, but they can have more or less. The most classic version had one single row that you had to align in order to win.
  • PAYLINES – This is an imaginary line that goes across the screen from left to right. If you bet matching symbols on this pay line, you get a payout. This can vary from one up to several hundred, depending on the machine.
  • PAY TABLE – Every machine will have a pay table. This will indicate what symbols you need to get and what they will pay out. This will also show you the scatter bonuses and the wilds.


Besides these main features, there are also many different bonuses you can get. Again, every machine is different, and you need to check out the pay table in order to understand the payouts better. Some of the other features of the machines include:

  • WILD SYMBOLS – These are similar to any card game; they represent any symbol you need to win a pay line. For example, if you have three “bar” symbols in a row and a wild, it counts as four “bar symbols.
  • SCATTER SYMBOLS – These symbols are great because they don’t need to be on the same line or even next to each other in order to be counted. As long as they are scattered somewhere on the screen, it will help you. They sometimes even trigger bonus games.
  • BONUS GAMES – These are mini-games within the game that are triggered by something such as a scatter or a bonus game symbol. They offer additional winnings within the game that add to your total payout. They can be as simple as picking one of three chests, shooting monsters, or anything in between.
  • FREE SPINS – This is exactly what it sounds like. You get free spins that don’t reduce your balance. They can have their own wilds, multipliers, etc. They are one of the best parts of playing slots.


Now, you understand the basic mechanics of online slots. Let’s go over how to actually play. It might seem as simple as pressing a button and seeing what happens, but there’s much more that goes into playing. 


The first thing you need to do before anything else is choose the right casino. There are hundreds of different online casino sites online. You need to do your research and choose a casino that offers the kind of games that you want to play. 

Do your own research into the casino licenses, terms and conditions, and their reviews and ratings. There are many sites that review casinos and screen them for reliability.


playing online slots

Once you’ve chosen your preferred casino, it’s time to choose your machine. There are literally hundreds to choose from on any given site. Many let you filter by game type, game themes, or pay lines. Choose the one you like and one that offers the bonuses you are looking for.


If you were sitting in front of a slot machine, you’d need to put your coins in the slot to start the game. For the online version, the best way to begin is by checking the bet range and adjusting to an amount that suits you. It can range anywhere from $0.10 up to $250 or more.

You should set a budget for yourself so you know when the right time to stop playing is. 


Before you spin the reels, we recommend checking the unique rules and payout guide for that slot. The menu icon, question mark, or information button should lead you to a paytable. It’ll show you the symbols to look for, their value, and the pay lines, and explain the features.


Although each slot varies slightly, the main aim of the game is to line up matching symbols. Sometimes, you’ll need two or three on a payline; if it’s a grid, you might just need six or eight in a cluster. 

Forming combinations gets you a win, but it’s essential to understand that it’s up to chance. Slot games rely on a Random Number Generator, which uses an algorithm to determine the position of the reels randomly. 


Online slots are games that are truly random. However, there are a few things you can do to help you maximize your winnings.


The first and most important tip is to practice. You can make an account in most online casinos and play in a demo mode. This lets you practice without actually spending any money. You can get an idea of how some of the games work and learn to spot the machines you prefer.


We mentioned this before, but it is important. You have to choose the right machine. Not just the one that is the most entertaining but also the one that will deliver the best odds. There are two things you need to look out for: the RTP and the Volatility level. You can usually find both of these in the pay table information.

  • RTP – This stands for the Return to Player. This is the theoretical amount players can expect their return to be over a certain period of time. For example, a machine with a 97% RTP means that for every $100 you play, you can expect to get $97 back. The other $3 stays with the casino.
  • Volatility Level – This is the level of reward you get, both in size and frequency. So, a machine with low volatility will pay you out more frequently, but the prizes will not be that big. A high volatility will not pay you out as frequently, but when you win, you will win big.


The next thing to look out for is casino bonuses. Casinos will often offer bonuses and promotions for using their casinos. These can give you extra funds or extra spins during your game. Although, it is important to read the terms and conditions to ensure you can meet them. 

Looking for other fun casino games to play? Check out our most popular casino games.

Alan Lemus