The beauty of slots is that they can be as simple or complex as you want. On the one hand, anyone can walk into a casino, put coins in a machine and pull the lever—if more coins shoot out, then you’ve won. But that same person probably wouldn’t be able to look at two slot machines and determine which one is better for them. To do that, you need to understand how slots differ, which is what this online slots guide aims to explain.

Understanding Different Types of Slots

One of the great things about online slot games is the vast selection that players have. They can come with three or five reels, have anywhere from three to 100 paylines (some come with no paylines at all), and that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface regarding the plethora of bonus features that provide extra ways to snap up payouts. Some games boast massive free spin sessions, while others rely on their juicy progressive jackpots to entice people looking to play slots online

Once you begin to understand the slot machine mechanics, you’ll be able to tell if you’re looking at a good game for you just by the paytable. In this explanation on how to play slots online , we’ll start with simple three-reel slot paytables and progress to the more complicated five-reel ones.

Understanding a Three-Reel Table

The easiest place to start the lesson on slot paytables is with the straightforward three-reel games. A three-reel slot paytable comprises just four columns: one for each winning set of icons, and the remaining three are for the payouts offered based on a one, two or three-coin wager. We’ll use the table for 5X Wins as an example:

As you can see, the first row is for a line of three matching 5X icons, which pays 1,500 on a one-coin wager, 3,000 on a two-coin wager, and the jackpot on a three-coin wager. It’s important to note that these “payouts” refer to how many coins you win—not dollars. To figure out how that converts to cash, you take the coin value that you selected and multiply that by the number of coins offered as a payout. For example, a 1,500-coin prize would pay $375 when you play with $0.25-coins, and this doesn’t take into consideration multipliers, which we’ll cover in the next section.

Understanding Five-Reel Lines and Multipliers

Once you’ve mastered the three-reel slots, you can progress to the five-reel ones for a more complex experience. When you increase the number of reels, you increase the capacity for game lines and features. A five-reel slot could have wilds, multipliers, bonus rounds, scatters, free spins and more—you’ll find all of this information and an illustration of the game’s paylines on the paytable, which is tucked inside the game menu.

The paytables in five-reel slots consist of multiple pages that can be scrolled through; this is where you’ll find information on the winning combinations, bonus features, game rules, and an illustration of the paylines. Each standard game icon has three (sometimes four) coin payouts displayed for lining up three, four, or five icons on a payline; these payouts are based on a one-coin wager. If you stake more than one coin per line, your payout is multiplied by the number of coins bet per line.

Another way to supersize payouts is through multipliers that often come with free spins and wilds. A multiplier takes a standard payout, and multiplies it by 2X, 3X, 4X—whatever the value of the multiplier is. Let’s say your payout is 360 coins; if you land a 3X multiplier, it triples to 1,080 coins. The only better thing than a multiplier is triggering a jackpot, which we’ll cover next.

Understanding How Jackpots Work

If you’re looking for big slots’ jackpots, online casinos are your best friend because they let you compare the values of various jackpots much easier than you could at a brick-and mortar establishment. Knowing how jackpots work will go a long way toward ensuring you’re eligible for them should you trigger one. First, you need to know what kind of progressive jackpot you’re dealing with: a random one, or a non-random one. A random progressive jackpot, such as the one in A Night With Cleo, can be triggered at the end of any given spin, regardless of whether it’s a winning or losing spin. These jackpots don’t come with minimum betting requirements.

When the jackpot is not random, however, it does typically have a minimum bet required. These pots are offered as a massive payout for landing the top winning line, such as the progressive jackpot in Food Fight. Unlike the random ones, these require a max bet in order to be eligible. If max betting sounds out of reach, rest assured for most games, it refers only to the number of coins bet per line—not the coin denominations. In Food Fight, you need to bet five coins per line in order to be eligible for the progressive jackpot, which is triggered by landing five Pudding icons. But you can choose any coin denomination ($0.01, $0.05, $0.25, $0.50, $1, and $5) in order to ensure you’re staying within your bankroll budget.

Understanding Bonus Rounds

One of the best parts of modern slots is the inclusion of bonus rounds to break up standard play. Inspired by the game’s theme, the bonus round takes place on a second screen where you’re set up with a certain task in order to win extra money. With some slots, the amount you win is completely random, while with others, the bonus rounds are loosely considered “skill-based,” meaning the amount you win depends on how far you progress through the round. We’ll give an example of both types of bonus rounds.

The majority of bonus rounds fall into the “unskilled” category, meaning there’s no strategic approach that will maximize your profits. For an example of a standard bonus round, load up Arrogant Pirates. This five-reel, 15-line slot has a Fortune Chest Bonus Game that’s triggered when you land three or more bonus symbols anywhere on the reels. In the bonus, you’re presented with three treasure chests; each one has a unique coin value. Pick one and collect its worth. After choosing, you’ll see the value of all three chests, so you’ll know if you picked the one with the most loot.

Heroes’ Realm, meanwhile, is a three-reel, one-line slot with a Skeleton Bonus Round that falls into the “skill” category. If you land three Skull symbols, you’re taken to battleground against an army of skeletons; choose your hero, and then start slaying the enemy. The more times you successfully hit your opponent, the more money you win.

When starting to play slots online for money, gameplay becomes more fascinating than most standard casino games. There are no limits on the type of storyline that a slot can have, which is why you’ll see themes that range from superheroes to pirates and everything in between. Take a look at our full roster today and you’re certain to find a game that speaks to you.