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How to Play Slots?

For the purposes of this article when we talk about slots, we mean video slots, as these are the ones that you will be playing with your bonus cash. There are other types of slots, such as one arm bandits and fruit machines, but these are normally found in brick and mortar casinos and pubs in the UK. You can find them in online casinos, but you will normally be playing multi line/reel video slots.

Number of Reels

The number of reels refers to the number of vertical columns with symbols on that spin round and stop to make up the winning combinations. Most video slots have between 5 and 9 Reels, most will have 5 reels.

Reels

Symbols

Each reel has a number of symbols and (sometimes) bonus symbols. If you are playing a 5 reel slot you will need to match 3 or more symbols in a particular way (known as a line) from left to right to win a certain amount.

Lines

The lines refer to the number of lines that you can match symbols along to get a win. The traditional win line that most people will be familiar with is the line horizontally across the middle of the reels. With video slots you can have additional pay lines, and these can include diagonals, V shapes, and a lot of combinations in between.

With some slots you will get the option to increase or decrease the number of winning lines that you are playing, others will be static. With some slots additional paying lines will only become unlocked during bonus rounds.
The more lines you play, the higher the cost per spin (you bet a certain number of coins per line), but the greater the chance of winning. We recommend going for maximum lines when playing through slots bonuses.

The image below shows an example of different paylines.

Pay Lines

Coins

In a lot of cases the number of coins refers to the number of coins that you want to bet per line. Let’s say that the slot you are paying has 25 pay lines and you select 2 coins, you will be betting 50 coins per spin.
When it comes to wins on a particular line, you will usually multiply the win by the number of coins you are betting per line. For example, if the pay table says that a particular combination along a line wins 100 coins, you would actually win 200 coins if you bet 2 coins per line.

In certain games, the big jackpots and wins can only be fully won by betting the maximum amount per line and having all lines selected. Anything less than this will mean you only win a proportion of the jackpots.

Coin Value

The coin value is the actual value that you want to place on each coin that you are betting. Continuing the example above, let’s say that you bet 2 coins per line and there are 25 pay lines which makes 50 coins per spin. If you chose £0.50 per coin, that would equate to £25 per spin.

To trigger the maximum jackpots with the majority of games, you would need to bet the maximum coin value per spin. If you don’t, it will mean that you win a proportion of any jackpot.

Coin Value

Bet Level

Some slots have a bet level. This is just another way of manipulating your total bet amount. All it does is multiply your coin value by the level that you select. For example, if your coin value is £0.50 and you are playing 50 coins on level 2, then you would be playing £0.50 x 50, in other words £25 per spin.

Coins

Bonus Symbols

Many of the slots that you play will have bonus symbols. Normally when you hit 3-5 of these symbols you will enter a bonus round with free spins and/ or multiplier rounds. Multipliers multiply your winnings on the free spins by X amount and this is where you can normally hit the big wins.

Bonus Symbols

 
Casino Bonus Types

What is a Cashable Bonus?

Cashable bonuses are bonuses that can be cashed out as soon as wagering has been fulfilled. These are the most common types of bonuses that are awarded to new players.

Cashable Bonus

Example

  • Deposit £100 and receive a £100 bonus, with 20X wagering of the bonus.
  • Your casino balance is £200
  • You can withdraw anything remaining once you have made £2000 worth of bets

Things to Be Aware Of

  • Bonuses and winnings may be forfeited if you attempt to withdraw before completing wagering, so always check that you have completed the wagering requirements before attempting to withdraw your balance
  • Certain games may have restrictions with regards to what games count towards wagering., check our article on what games should I play?

What is a Refund Bonus?

With a refund bonus, you will use your own funds to place the initial bets or complete the wagering and if you lose you will receive a refund for the stake that you lost. Refund bonuses will usually be limited to a certain amount, for example bet £5 and get £5 back if you lose.

Cashback Bonus

Will There Be Restrictions on Games?

This will depend on the bonus. It’s always important to check the terms and conditions for any games restrictions.

What is a Post Wager Casino Bonus?

A post wager casino bonus is one that is received after certain wagering requirements have been met on a player’s deposit. In other words you will need to deposit a certain amount and then place a specific number of bets or a certain amount before the bonus is credited to you.

Are There Wagering Requirements Associated With Post Wager Casino Bonuses?

This will depend on the post wager bonus that you are taking. As a general rule the larger the wagering requirements are before the bonus is released, the less likely that there will be wagering required on the bonus.

For example a post wager bonus that is applied after you wager your deposit through once is likely to have a wagering requirement on the bonus. Whereas a post wager bonus that is applied after you have wagered your deposit 15X is likely not to have wagering attached to the bonus as well.

That said it is always important that you check the specifics of any bonus before you deposit.

Are There any Game Restrictions with Post Wager Casino Bonuses?

There may be game restrictions associated with post wager bonuses, so it’s important that you check the terms and conditions before completing any offer.

What is a Sticky Casino Bonus?

Sticky Bonus Type I / Phantom Sticky Bonus

A sticky bonus is a bonus that cannot be withdrawn. There are certain variations within the sticky bonus which centres around whether or not the sticky bonus is removed once you withdraw. The sticky bonus type I, also known as the phantom sticky bonus, is always removed once you attempt to withdraw

Example

  • Deposit £100 and receive £100 sticky bonus with 20X wagering of the bonus
  • Your casino balance is £200
  • You wager through the bonus and have £250 remaining at the end
  • Withdrawable balance is £150 (£100 sticky bonus is deducted)
  • Profit is £50

 

Things to Be Aware Of

On the face of it, phantom sticky bonuses seem like a poor option for advantage bonus play. If you are playing a low variance game for low stakes then this may be true. To make the most of these bonuses you want to increase the stake you are playing with (to increase the risk and the potential payout). This will increase the expected value (as well as the chance of busting out). You will also want to play a high variance slot to increase the opportunity to get a big win (this will also increase your bust out rate). In other words you are increasing the chance of you losing your deposit, for the opportunity to win a big amount that will take you over the initial bonus and deposit total that you started with.

Some games may be excluded from wagering or being played with sticky bonus

  • Example of High stake High Risk
  • Deposit £100 and get £100 sticky bonus
  • Place £200 on Red on roulette.
  • 45% chance of winning £200
  • Bet wins You now have £400
  • Complete wagering on low risk low variance game
  • You end up with £360
  • Profit = £360 - £100 Sticky bonus - £100 deposit = £60

 

Sticky Bonus Type II

Some other casinos offer a slightly different type of sticky bonus that is more favourable to the advantage player, but these are less frequently available. Some offer one or both of the following:

Bonus is not removed after the wagering has been completed and you withdraw. This means that you can withdraw your winnings and continue betting with the sticky bonus. 

If your betting bonus balance drops because of losses any further winnings are immediately cashable. In other words you don’t need to exceed your deposit amount to cashout any winnings.  

 
What is House Edge?

House edge is the percentage of all money wagered that the house will earn from a game over time. For example if the house edge on a particular game is 5%, for every £100 that you bet you would expect to lose £5. It’s worth remembering that when you play any game with a house edge, it’s unlikely that you will lose exactly the house edge amount. Sometimes you win more, sometimes you lose more, but the more that you play a game the closer to the house edge your actual losses will get.

What is Return to Player (RTP?)

Return to player is the exact opposite to house edge. So using the above example, if a particular game has a house edge of 5%, the RTP is 95%. For every £100 that you wagered on a particular game you would expect to get back £95.

Conclusion

The variance of the game will affect how close to the house edge you will get when playing for shorter periods of time. If you play a high variance game, there is a chance that you will win much more than you put in, but there is also a greater chance that you will lose much more too, increasing your bust out rate for a particular bonus. The longer that you play the game, the closer you will get to the house edge in terms of losses.

A low variance game will stick closer to the house edge losses over a shorter playing time or amount wagered. But again the longer that you play the game or wager through your funds on it, the closer your losses will be to the house edge.  

 
What is Variance?

Variance refers to the way that a video slot pays out its winnings to the player. This tutorial explains how low, medium and high variance slots work and how you should utilise them to maximise the bonus expected value.

Low Variance Slots

Low variance slots pay out smaller amounts more frequently. They normally don’t have huge jackpots that are very difficult to win. They are likely to have smaller jackpots that you are likely to win more frequently. These are the best option if you want to reduce your chance of busting out of an offer or to complete your wagering requirements after hitting a big win a medium or high variance slot.

Medium Variance Slots

These slots are somewhere in the middle (as the name suggests). They have some larger payouts less frequently, and lower smaller wins. They can be a good middle ground when you are looking to try and get a big win before you switch to a lower variance slot to complete the wagering requirements

High Variance Slots

High variance slots will give you the opportunity to hit massive wins, with a number of small token wins to keep you playing. Playing these slots will give you the largest percentage chance of busting out of an offer, but a greater opportunity to win a big amount. It would not be uncommon to have 10 or more losing runs with this type of slot, but then hit a big win that more than makes up for those losses. If you have a very large betting bank, you might want to opt for this type of slot, whilst accepting that you will bust out many times before getting a win.

Summary

The higher the variance of a slot that you play, the longer your losing run or bust out rate may be, but the greater the opportunity there is for a for a big win. Often we will recommend a two tier betting strategy whereby you bet with a medium or high variance slot to begin with and when you hit a big win, switch to a low variance slot to wager out.

Your betting bank size also needs to take into account whether you go for low, medium or high variance slot. The lower your betting bank is, the lower variance slot you want to take. 

 
Slots Myths Explained

There are lots of myths surrounding slots that need to be debunked before you start playing  them. Don’t get sucked in by the bright lights and funky noises. Get your strategy and stick to it. This tutorial aims to debunk a number of popular myths and psychological feelings that you may have whilst playing slots with your casino bonuses.

A Slot is Running Hot or Cold

If the slot machine hasn’t paid out in a while, it’s so tempting to think that it’s saving up for a big payout soon, known as running hot. You might be coming to the end of your wagering of the bonus, but it’s been a while since it last paid out. The temptation is to keep going beyond the wagering requirements to get that elusive win. Don’t do this. As soon as you have completed the wagering requirements, withdraw your profits.

Slots work using random number generators, so the chance of you hitting a big win is exactly the same every time you hit spin.

If a Slot Has Just Paid out a Jackpot It Won´t Payout Again for a Long Time

This is false. You the same chance of winning the jackpot every time that you spin. It’s just that the chance of hitting the jackpot is pretty small.

There are Winning Systems Or Strategies to Beat Slot Machines

Again this is false. Slots use a random number generator to decide what the payout will be. This has a built in house edge which cannot be changed. The only way to alter the chances of getting a return is by using bonus cash to place your bets with. Even this needs to be done in a certain way once you take into consideration the wagering requirements to stand a chance of making a profit.

Slots Run in Cycles So You Can Know When It´s about to Pay Out

Slots don’t run in cycles, they use RNG’s to select what the rows and lines will  be. This is a totally random phenomenon.

The House Edge Can Vary Throughout the Game

This is completely false. The house edge always remains the same throughout the game. Bonus rounds and jackpots are chosen using the RNG and you always have the same chance of hitting them each time you spin.

The Return to Player Figure Will Determine Exactly How Much I Get Back

Let’s say the RTP is 95% and you wagered £100, you would expect to get £95. Whilst this is true to a certain extent, it will rarely be exact. Sometimes it will be more than this, sometimes it will be less, due to variance, and deviation. The more you wager though, the more likely it will return 95% of the amount bet.

Hitting The Stop Button Will Change the Outcome

This is also false. When you hit spin the outcome has already been determined. Pressing the stop button, only speeds up the result that you will see.