Introduction to Video Slots
With the rapid rise of the internet during the 1990's, it didn't take long for land-based casinos to realize their potential online. The first online casinos only featured classic casino games, like roulette and blackjack, but slots machines were soon added to the mix to provide a more entertaining experience. As with land-based casinos, slots quickly turned out to be more popular than traditional casino games and took up the bulk of game portfolios at online casinos.
When slots were initially introduced at online casinos, the design remained the same as land-based slots, featuring the same number of reels and symbols. However, restrictions were soon removed thanks to computer programming, paving the way for brand-new video slots to emerge with unique themes, unusual payline structures, and more rewarding bonus features. The incredible graphics, sound effects, and animations also enhanced the entertainment value of video slots, providing an unparallel gaming experience for online slot enthusiasts.
In this article, we are going to take an in-depth look at how video slots work, provide the different types of video slots you will find both online and at land-based casinos and offer valuable tips and strategies to increase your chances of winning on video slots.
How Video Slots Work
The fact that anyone can win at any time is one of the greatest appeals to video slots. You simply need to make a real money wager along with a click of a button and an enormous cash prize can potentially be yours. However, behind the scenes, video slots are anything but simplistic. The technological innovations within a video slot are the most advanced in the gambling industry. One aspect of video slots that an unassuming player won't see from the outside is the random number generator. This extremely complex software program essentially randomizes every single outcome, ensuring every spin of the reels will generate a different result which will be completely independent of the previous spin in every way.
There's also two important factors to keep in mind when playing video slots. The first is to understand that every time you spin the reels the result will be completely random, and the second is to remember that the payout on a video slot is always going to be less than the chances of winning. In fact, video slots are designed to provide a long-term edge to the casino, but unbelievable things can occur in the short-term.
It's for this reason that your primary objective should be to look for a video slot with the highest return to a player ratio that is closets to 100%. Fortunately, the return to player ratios at online casinos range between 94% and 97% which is far greater when compared to land-based casino slots as they need to factor in several additional costs into their equations.
Most slot enthusiasts find it extremely difficult to comprehend the concept of randomness since a video slot's appeal goes hand-in-hand with the feeling of good fortune while playing. Some believe today is their lucky day, while others are under the impression that tomorrow is the perfect day to play their favourite video slot. It's not completely wrong to have this train of thought, but most slot players tend to forget that video slots are ruled by algorithms, ensuring fairness, randomness, and credibility of all outcomes.
Every certified casino is bound by the strict regulatory code set out by gambling authorities. Therefore, casinos have to comply with independent testing standards, random number generator fairness, and the rules set out by authorities such as the Malta Gaming Authority, the UK Gambling Commission, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, and other regulatory authorities around the world.
Different Types of Video Slots
Video slot structures are determined by the number of paylines and the number of reels. Contemporary video slots start at 5 paylines and will feature 5 reels. Most video slots will also come equipped with a wide variety of bonus features to make the gameplay more captivating and appealing to players around the world. These bonus features include multipliers, free spins, respins, and more. Below, you will find the different types of video slots at both land-based and online casinos.
Multi-Line Video Slots
They are also referred to as multi-line slots and 5-reel slots, featuring three rows of symbols presented across 5 reels. The multi-line structure provides more winning combinations and is far more captivating than classic 3-reel slots. The first video slots started with 5 paylines but this number increased over time as well.
Standard payline configurations on video slots start at 5 paylines and increase all the way up to 40 paylines. The paylines run across the reels in various zigzag patterns depending on the video slot you are playing. You will also find several video slots that feature up to 100 paylines, but these video slots will usually feature additional rows of symbols as well as additional reels.
Free Spin Video Slots
These video slots provide a free spin feature within the slot and can be triggered whenever a certain symbol combination is displayed across the reel set. The combination is usually 3 or more scatter symbols anywhere in view and once activated, the player will be awarded a set amount of free spins that does not require any additional funds from the player. The free spin amount is usually displayed within the game or players are required to make a few selections to see how many free spins they will receive.
Bonus Round Video Slots
Bonus rounds is another fantastic way to award players with free credits. Video slots that feature bonus rounds are also referred to as bonus slots. Bonus rounds are usually triggered by displaying 3 or more bonus symbols and once triggered, the base game will disappear and be replaced by a second screen which will complement the theme of the game. In most bonus rounds, players will need to pick from a selection of objects to earn instant cash prizes or spin a wheel of fortune to unlock additional prizes.
Multi-Tier Bonus Round Video Slots
Most video slots only feature one bonus round or a bonus round with a free spin feature. However, to maintain the popularity of video slots, software developers produced video slots with multiple bonus rounds in a single game. Should a player achieve success in the first tier of the bonus round, they will advance to the second tier, leading to bigger payouts. For instance, a player is required to find a key in the first tier to unlock the door to the second tier of the bonus round. Multi-tier bonus round video slots is extremely popular due to their payout potential.
Tips & Strategies for Video Slots
Unlike table and card games, video slots are games of chance and require no skill. Although there is not a system that can be used to guarantee success, you can use the following tips and strategies to improve your chances of winning, especially when it comes to video slots.
Choose The Correct Video Slot
One element of video slots that most players overlook is the slot variance. The variance basically describes how often a slot pays out and how much each payout will be. To keep things simple, every slot can either be a low, medium, or high variance slot. A low variance slot will pay out quite often but will produce very small amounts. A medium variance slot will offer small wins but will also have the potential to offer larger wins. A high variance slot will reward enormous payouts, but it won't happen very often.
Take Advantage of Casino Bonus Offers
Online casinos love offering high percentage bonus offers as they know the chances of triggering a large payout on slots is highly unlikely. It's for this reason that we urge you to take as many bonuses offers as possible. Although you might not walk away with a large sum of money, you will still give yourself more chances of winning when you have more money to spend on each spin.
Avoid Chasing Losses
The golden rule of gambling is to never bet good money after bad money. It's extremely tempting to chase your losses and is known as gambling fever throughout the gambling community. It takes loads of discipline to keep your cool and stick to a betting plan once you start losing. You will always have a voice in the back of your mind saying, "one more spin". However, always remember that should you continue placing bets until your entire cash balance is depleted, the casino wins.
Avoid Spending Your Winnings
Quit while you're ahead is the second golden rule of gambling. Should you be lucky enough to win a substantial amount on your initial spin, stop. You will have a strong urge to continue as you'll think luck is on your side when it's really not. Casinos will always win in the long-term and the house edge tied to video slots you are playing will eventually turn in the casino's favour. So best step away before the video slot swallows all your winnings.
Play For Fun
Casinos with video slots will usually feature a free-to-play section where you can enjoy free casino slots for fun. This is a fantastic way to learn the different characteristics of each video slot before you spend your hard-earned money on it. Ensure you go through the betting options in each slot to see what you can afford and also make sure you browse through the bonus features to see if they appeal to you.