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How to Play Slots Online

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how to play slots online

Get all the inside information on how to play slots from the expert team at Bet on Reels. We explain all the details to help you play smarter and win more

Thousands of online slots are available, with various features, bonuses, jackpots, themes, paylines and win ways. For beginners, it can become ‌overwhelming when choosing a slot to play, so learning how to play slots first is the best way prepare yourself.

This article, from the slot experts at Bet on Reels, will guide you through the slot machine, giving you a breakdown of the main ‌features, what to look for in a great online slot, and explain a few technical terms to help you try and win some prizes.

What Are Slots & How Do They Work?

Slots are gambling games that are designed multiple reels. Symbols randomly land on a line when the reels stop spinning. To win, you usually need to have three or more matching symbols on a payline. A win is determined the second you hit the spin button, and this is based on the Random Number Generator mechanic built into every online slot machine. 

Slots can‌ have varying numbers of reels, rows and paylines. The symbols can also unlock special features such as wilds, free spins and scatter symbols, to name but a few. It’s essential to read the rules and paytable of a slot when learning how to play slots, as this will tell you all the finer details about the slot, the RTP, variance and features.

Understand the Basic Terms:

You will encounter a few terms when learning to play slots. In this section, we discuss the five top terms you should know before playing an online slot.

  • Reels: Appear as columns across the game screen. This is the part of the mechanics that spins and has the symbols on. You can have three or more reels in your game, with the average being five.
  • Paylines: Paylines are the pattern or ways in which winning combinations can land. You can find the number of paylines your slot has on the paytable or the side of the grid. Paylines can pay from left to right or both ways, depending on the game. Some slots have adjustable paylines where you can increase or decrease the number you play on.
  • Rows: Rows run horizontally across the grid. Your slot could have three or more rows. If your slot has a 5×3 grid, it means that your slot has 5 reels and 3 rows.
  • Symbols: Symbols are the pictures or icons that appear on the reels. Each game has varying symbols depending on the theme. If your slot has a fruit theme, you will probably have various fruits, bars, bells, lucky 7s and stars as symbols.
  • Paytable: This is where you will find what each image or icon means and pays out. It will also tell you if you need specific symbol combinations for a win. 

Step-by-Step Slot Playing Guide

Now that you have the basics covered let’s ‌look at how to play. Keep in mind that slots can vary, and you should check the rules of your game, but as a starter, here is our playing guide:

  • Step 1: First, you need to sign-up with an online casino and deposit funds into your account. Bonus tip: Shop around our site to find sign-up bonuses and other offers!
  • Step 2: Choose a slot based on your preferences of theme, type of slot, bet amount, variance, and RTP.
  • Step 3: Check the paytable to see the value of each symbol or bonus feature.
  • Step 4: Choose the number of paylines you want to play on if they are adjustable paylines, or hit “max bet” to play them all.
  • Step 5: Press the spin button to play!
how to play slots online

What else should you be looking for?

It is wise to understand the RTP or Return To Player of the slot. In short, it’s the theoretical percentage that a slot will pay back over an extended period‌ of playing. You can look for the RTP in the rules, paytable, slot review, or description. The average range for RTP percentages is 94% – 96%. Remember, the higher the RTP, the better your odds of winning.

The next thing to consider is the variance or volatility of a slot. This tells you how frequently the slot pays out and the size of payouts. Low variance or volatility means that the slot will reward frequent small amounts, medium volatility pays out slightly more but not as often, and high volatility means the slot pays out large amounts, but not quite as frequently.

You can also read a few handy tips in The Ultimate Guide to Winning Slots Online that our experts at Bet on Reels have put together for you.

Tips to Remember When Learning How to Play Slots Online 

  • Read the rules, paytable, and reviews of the slot you want to play. Understanding the symbols and features, such as free spins, stacked wilds, or a buy-in feature, is essential.
  • Only play with money you can afford to lose, stick to your budget, and set limiters. Start playing on slots with a lower variance to build up your bankroll. If you have a smaller bankroll, avoid playing on megaways or progressive slots at the beginning.
  • Practice paying in demo mode to understand all the features, symbols, and win ways.
  • Look for sign-up or deposit offers. It won’t increase your chances of winning, but playing with free money is a great way to boost your bankroll.


Q: How many symbols do I need for a win?

A: Though slots may vary, you usually need three or more matching symbols for a win. You would need five or more matching symbols to win for cluster pays.

Q: What is the RTP?

A: The RTP, or Return To Player, is the theoretical percentage the slot will technically pay back to you in an extended period.

Q: Should I practice playing my chosen slot?

A: Yes, practicing in demo mode allows you to understand the features, symbols, paylines, and any other rules linked to the game.