A Beginners' Guide: The Basics

You are probably familiar with the Classic Slot Machine. Three reels spin, and in order to win you need to get three identical symbols lined in the middle. Online Slots, or as they are also called, Video Slots, are more than that. First of all, most have five reels. The second thing to understand is that the winning streak doesn’t need to appear in the middle row. It can be in the top or bottom row, it can be diagonal or in zigzag. Also, the locations of the winning streaks change from one Slot to another. Welcome to the Online World where everything is possible. How would you know you have won if there are so many different Winning options that change from Slot to Slot? Worry not; you will be let known of your every Win by the game’s software.

What Are Pay Lines

As mentioned above, in Online Slots there are various possible winning lines. Usually, there are 9 to 30 different winning lines for each Slot game, which are called Pay Lines. They look something like this: 

In this game above there are 25 different Pay Lines. Meaning, with every spin you have twenty-five possibilities of winning. As you can see, some Pay Lines run straight, some diagonal while others zigzag the reels. The important thing is, if you get any of these 25 Pay Lines, you Win.

Another important thing to understand is:

You can get a winning streak anywhere along the Pay Line. The matching symbols don’t even need to be next to each other, or in any specific place along the Pay Line.

Here is a frequently asked question:
How do I decide on how many Pay Lines to bet? 

Let’s explain this. In the game shown above there are 25 Pay Lines. Meaning: with every spin you have 25 different ways to win. Before every spin you need to decide on how many Pay Lines you want to bet; it can be on only 3 lines, or 18. You can select any number from 1 to 25. You can’t choose which lines you want to bet on, just the number. 

If you bet on 1 line, you play for 1 coin in every spin. If you bet on 6 lines you play for 6 coins in every spin. The more Pay Lines you bet on, the higher is the amount of money you spend on every spin. 

Another frequently asked question is:
If I bet on more lines, do I increase my chances of winning? 

There is no definitive answer here. Some would say that you should always bet on the max number of Pay Lines. That way, you are more likely to win with every spin. That is true, but remember you are betting more money on every spin. Others would say that you should bet on just one single Pay Line per spin, since each line is weighed independently in the win-or-lose equation. That is also true. 

The decision is yours. You should give it a try and see for yourself what is more enjoyable for you. Some find it boring to play with just one Pay Line and enjoy the excitement and fast-pace of a multiple Pay Line game. Others prefer to stretch the game as much as possible; the way to do that is to bet on one line at a time. 

The next frequently asked question leads us to the most exciting feature of Online Slots, the feature that distinguishes them even more from land-based casino slots:
How come I can Win with only two identical symbols, not three?

Wild Symbols

You can win with only two identical symbols if along the Pay Line you also get a Wild symbol. Wilds stand for any other symbol. If you get two cherries and one Wild – you win! If you get one spade and two Wilds – you also win!

The last thing to know about Wild symbols is that they come in all shapes and sizes. Each slot has its own Wild design. 


The next special symbol you want to be aware of is the Scatter.

Scatter Symbols

Scatter symbols are another great feature of Online Slots. They can generate a number of different outcomes: Scatter symbols can award you with coin prizes, free spins or bonus rounds. 

In order to get these prizes, you’ll need to have 3 or more Scatters appear anywhere on the reels, in no specific order or location. (There are some Slots that 1 or 2 Scatters are enough to generate a small prize, but that’s not the norm.) 

Important to know

Scatter symbols don’t need to land on a Pay Line. As long they are visible on the screen, they count.

As mentioned, Scatters can generate free spins and bonus rounds. Another common activation of Scatter can be that of a Multiplier – it multiplies your win x2 or x3. The best part is, Scatters multiply your entire win from the round, not just that of a specific Pay Line.

The only downside is that Wilds cannot substitute for Scatters. Three Scatter symbols are needed to generate a winning feature, and in this case the Wilds can’t stand for a Scatter; you’ll need all three. Worry not, they’ll show up, they always do.

How to Set the Bet on Your Slot Machine

You start each game by deciding the amount of money you wish to play with. There two steps to complete:
1. Deciding on the Bet Amount. In every slot you will have a Minimum and Maximum bet points. For example, from 0.5 to 100 coins. Meaning, you can bet half a coin on every spin, or 100 coins, or anything in between. Needless to say, the higher your Bet Amount is, the higher the reward will be. 

* The term ‘coins’ is used on the PrimeSlots sites, not dollars or euros or pounds. The reason for that is to simplify the user experience. Instead of dealing all the time with exchange rates, in each country the term ‘coin’ refers to the local currency. ‘4 coins’ would mean 4 AUS dollars in Australia, 4 pounds in England, and 4 euros in Germany.

2. Next, you need to decide on how many Pay Lines you want to bet. Crucial to understand: the Bet Amount is for a single Pay Line. As explained in the Pay Line section above, most slot games give you the option to decide with how many Pay Lines you wish to play, and you’ll need to multiply that by the Bet Amount. If you decide to play with 2 coins and choose five Pay Lines, you will bet 10 coins on every spin. The higher the risks are, the higher the rewards. 

Once you made these two decisions, you are ready to play. The only other decision you’ll need to make is a very simple one: to click yourself every time on the Play button, or select the AutoPlay. 

Return to Player & Hit Frequency: Online vs. Casino

Two of the most fundamental concepts to understand about slot machines; together they give a pretty accurate picture of how “generous” a slot machine is. Both are per machine. This will help you greatly in choosing which game to play. 

Return to Player (RTP)

RTP is the percentage of wagered money that is paid back to the player – per machine, and in the long run. This is crucial to understand. RTP isn’t calculated per player or per session, but rather per machine. 

A machine with 90% RTP means it will pay back in winnings 90% of the money players wagered on it. The higher the RTP of a certain game, the higher your chances of winning on that game. 

Important to note: online slot games have a much higher RTP than land slot machines. Online slots have an RTP higher than 90%, and in most cases higher than 95%, while land slot machines have RTP of between 70-80% 

To find out the RTP of an online slot game, click the “i” or “?” button in the main screen of the game. All online slot games must display their RTP. 

Hit Frequency

Hit frequency is the percentage of times a slot machine will stop its spinning on a winning combination. Meaning, if a slot machine has a Hit Frequency of 25%, it will generate a winning combination 1 out of every 4 spins. 

The average here varies widely. Let’s say it is between 10 to 30%, for online slots. 

Important to note: high hit frequency doesn’t necessarily increase your overall winnings. Why? Because it also depends on the RTP and the size of your winning. 

Combining both RTP and Hit Frequency gives you an edge when choosing an online slot machine to play.

Let the Spin Game Begin

When you hit the Play button, things will start happening. Music kicks in, Reels spin, Pay Lines present themselves as you win, Wilds animate in front of your eyes and Scatters award you with different bonuses. Life is good. 

You do not need to worry about recognising the different symbols, like Wilds and Scatters. They will be obvious, even though each slot has an entirely different theme and design. They sparkle, they are accompanied by sound effects and they are usually animated. 

You can change your bet parameters between spins. Raise or lower your Bet amount, increase or decrease the number of Pay Lines. If you are new to online slots, you should definitely try that – changing your Bet parameters throughout the game. It is the best way to get a feel of the game, see how different combinations of Coins and Lines play out. 

That is all you really need to know in order to start playing Online Slots. If you read thus far, you are ready. 


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