If you think playing online slots is as easy as pushing a button, you’re in for a surprise. Once upon a time, it may have been that simple. Today’s online slots are high-tech. There are tens of thousands of ways to win, exciting bonus features, extra levels of play, rich video graphics and cinematic sound effects. While this may seem a bit confusing, it’s not once you understand the basics.

Symbols and Paylines

Most online slots have a base game and bonus features. The base game is very simple, as all you have to do is get the same symbols on consecutive reels. Usually, you need at least three of them, and these symbols must land on the paylines, which is a fixed pattern. Some slots have ten or less; others have 20, 30 or more paylines.

Before you decide to play, make sure you choose a bet amount that fits your budget. Then, at the bottom of the screen, you will see the option to increase or decrease your bet. Betting less will allow you to enjoy more exciting action, but it does mean that you won’t usually win as much. However, it’s better than betting too much and then losing too quickly.

Next, look up the game’s odds table so you can see how the game works. Here you will see the list of symbols, how much they pay, what the Wild symbol is (replacing all other symbols and helping you make a winning line), what the paylines are, and what the Scatter and any bonus symbols are.

Many slots have low-income symbols based on poker cards, such as 10, J, Q, K and Ace. Then the higher-paying symbols tend to be those that belong to the theme of the slot.

Once you understand this, you can spin and enjoy the game. Soon, you will get used to making winning lines and seeing how much you are rewarded with the symbols.

Although the basic game is simple, many slots come with complex bonus games, which are often the source of big bonuses.

Bonus Features

It’s a crowded market and slot fans are always hungry for something new. One way they can do this is to present complex bonus rounds. These may take the following forms.

  • Free spins – in which you can win a certain number of free spins, perfect for increasing your funds

  • Re-spins – some games add more free attempts during the free spins bonus

  • Winning multipliers – a slots may have a mechanism by which your regular winnings can be multiplied multiple times

  • Expanding Bets or Symbols – Bets or bonus symbols may be scattered across the screen, giving you many different ways to win in one spin

While base game wins are your livelihood in slot games, the bonus round is where you can score some big wins. The slot’s payout table will explain how each game’s bonus feature works, but it’s also a good idea to read the online reviews. Or even play for free, so you can learn how things work without risking any money.

Accumulate bonuses

Some games have jackpots that you can win. The amount of money keeps going up until someone wins. Jackpot payouts can be applied to a range of slot games and across the web, with developers chaining slots on many different platforms.

While the idea of winning a life-changing jackpot is attractive, it is very rare. Chasing progressive jackpots is not cheap. In order to pay out such large top prizes, slot developers must limit their expenses to some of the more routine ones. In other words, you will win less in a given session because so much cash is set aside for progressive jackpot payouts.

How much you win in various sessions is called volatility. If the slots are highly volatile, you may win a small amount of winnings in most cases, and then randomly get a large amount of winnings. Low volatility games tend to pay out small amounts on a regular basis.

Another indicator you may see is the RTP, which is a mathematical representation of how much you expect to win if you play infinitely. 97% of the RTP is considered to be good. Of course, you can gain or lose more in any single session.