How to Play Casino Slots—Basic Rules for Beginners

The online gambling industry is worth hundreds of billions of dollars, and those numbers are climbing year on year. Table games and live casinos are a big part of that, but casino slots arguably play a bigger role. You’ll find these games in their thousands on popular casinos, and they serve to attract players of all preferences and budgets.

If you’re new to casino slots, check out the following guide to learn how to play them.

Check for Legitimate Sites and Developers

The online gambling industry is tightly regulated, and each jurisdiction has its own rules. So, if you’re playing from Canada and checking a list of Canadian online slots, make sure all of the sites that offer those games are regulated by the authorities in your province. If not, it means the site is not held to the sort of strict standards imposed upon regulated sites. It also means you have little recourse if something goes wrong.

Thankfully, scam sites are rare, and if a site is not regulated in your region, it will typically block you from accessing it. But there are exceptions, so it’s important to remain diligent.

Look for Promotions

Casinos often run free spin promotions, giving you literal free turns of those slot reels. You may be asked to deposit or stake a certain amount first, and there are also wagering requirements to consider, but free is free. These promotions can give you a shot at winning some real cash with minimum financial outlay. It’s also a chance to experience some real money slots without wagering any real money.

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Pay Attention to the RTP and Volatility

All slots have something known as a Return to Player (RTP). It is expressed as a percentage and indicates how likely the game is to pay out. These numbers are created following millions of spins, and they are averages, so don’t read too much into them. However, if you’re stuck choosing between two slots, one with an RTP of 97% and the other with an RTP of 90%, you should opt for the former.

The volatility can also help you to pick the perfect slot. Volatility dictates how often a game pays out and how big those payouts are. High volatility means it’s not uncommon to go long stretches without a win, but the wins are big when they hit. Low volatility is the opposite. Choose the former when you’re playing long sessions and the latter when you have only budgeted for a few spins.

Find Tournaments and Must-Drop Jackpots

Slot tournaments create leaderboards and task players with playing games to collect points that determine their place on these leaderboards. How you collect those points varies, but it’s usually based on one of the following:

  • The total amount wagered
  • The win ratio
  • The biggest payout
  • The most consecutive wins

You’ll keep all of the money you win while playing in these tournaments, so anything you get from the leaderboard is just a bonus.

By the same token, Drops & Wins and Must-Drop Jackpots give you a chance to win random sums on games you were going to play anywhere. These promotions are everywhere these days, so they’re always worth checking out.

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Play in Demo Mode

Most slots are very simple—just spin the reels and see how things go. But some are a little more complicated and require regular inputs from the player. To ensure you’re not confused by these games, play them in demo mode. Not only can you see what the slot is all about and enjoy a few risk-free spins, but it’s the perfect chance to familiarise yourself with unique game mechanics.

You should be able to find demo modes on all slot machines. In some jurisdictions, you will be asked to verify your identity to play. Some sites may also insist that you join before you have access to demo mode. But in Canada and most other countries, this option is widely available and often included on casino review sites.

Check the Game’s Paytable

On the subject of complicated games, if you’re stuck in a particular rule, need to know where the paylines are, or don’t know what a certain symbol does, check the game’s paytable. There is one of these in every single slot. It’s usually on a separate screen, accessible via an “i” icon, but some older, retro-styled slots put the information on the main screen alongside the reels.

You’ll also find options to toggle the game’s sound on and off, as well as help/settings screens that show everything from the RTP and volatility to the payout frequency.

Summary: Playing Online Slots

With hundreds of new slots hitting the market every year, players are spoilt for choice. What’s more, these games are getting more and more intricate, with new features and styles being introduced on an almost monthly basis. There’s a lot to consider, and thanks to this short guide, you’re ready to get stuck in and start spinning!

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