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Different Types of Slots

Different Types of Slots

Online casinos offer different types of slot machines. Their catalogs can include the simplest classical games with 3 reels and modern video slots with 3D graphics, hundreds of paylines, special symbols, and additional bonus features. In this article, we will tell you how to choose the right game from a wide variety of types of slots in the USA; you will learn what mechanics and features they have.

What Are Slots

A slot is a machine with spinning reels consisting of symbols displayed on its screen; and when a winning combination appears, you get money. The first mechanical slots appeared more than 100 years ago; since then, they have undergone many changes, evolving from mechanical to electronic versions.

Many slot machines migrated from land-based gambling venues to online casinos. However, their operation principle remained the same: the reels rotate around the axis and stop at randomly selected symbols. If there is a combination of the same symbols on the line, you win.

There are no levers in modern video slots; the RNG determines which symbols appear on the screen. The algorithm generates the sequence of numbers at a particular moment.

With the advent of electronic devices and the development of technology, providers are no longer limited in physical characteristics. Now they can add a different number of reels, rows, and paylines to their slots.

Difference Between Online & Land-Based Slots

Slot machines are the most popular category in casinos. First land-based slots had a body, a screen, control buttons, a lever, and a reel rotation mechanism; modern slot machines have the following features:

  • Gaming chair.
  • 3D graphics.
  • Built-in acoustics.
  • Infrared display.
  • Additional screen that displays paytables and other sections.
  • LCD control panel.
  • Mechanism for accepting banknotes.
  • Hopper for prize money.
  • Card reader.
  • Electromechanical counter.

Unlike land-based slot machines, online slots are available in online casinos, not in land-based gambling venues. The active development of online games began after the release of legislation prohibiting gambling in offline casinos. Even after repealing this law, the online gambling industry continues to develop, new types of slot machines, mechanics, and other interesting features emerge. Both land-based and online slot machines have their own advantages.

Online Slot MachinesOffline Slot Machines
A wide variety of plots, mechanics, and bonus optionsA unique gaming experience that you won’t get online
Higher betting limitsStricter limits, which protect you from draining your bankroll
Big multipliersLess risk to face scripted slot machines
The ability to play in a comfortable place without leaving home
Adaptability for mobile devices
RTP is often higher because of the lack of additional costs for maintaining game studios

Different Types of Slot Machine Games

Even if you have many years of experience under your belt, you are unlikely to know about all the types of slot machines offered in online casinos. Some of them have already lost their popularity, and many others are only gaining momentum. Let’s look at the features of each of them.

Single-Coin Machines

It is difficult to find these machines, as they are outdated; their peculiarity is that you can only bet one coin. The disadvantage of single-coin slot machines is that you can’t earn much from them.

Multipliers

This is a feature in slots that increases payouts by several times. They look like coefficients and are listed separately for each combination in the payout table. The rules for using them are different: you can find them in the usual mode mostly, but there are also bonuses that drop out while free spins or other additional rounds. There are also odds that multiply not the winnings, but the bets themselves.

Straight

These are the multipliers that are available in the main game. They are applied to all combinations and their coefficients show how many times the bet is increased.

You can learn the information about the prize amounts in the payout table. It is available in the Help section directly in the slot.

In rare cases, there are win multipliers per line. If you get a combination, you get a payout according to a certain coefficient, and additionally you get a multiplier with a x3 coefficient, then the reward is also increased three times.

Bonus Multipliers

They are more often available in slot machine types with free spins, because providers are trying to highlight them with additional features and make them more profitable compared to the main game. In some slot machines, you can choose the multiplier coefficients yourself; the number of free spins depends on its value. This diversifies the gameplay and increases your chances of getting a big win, especially in those games where they are cumulative. The Wild symbol can also play the role of a bonus multiplier.

Selection of multipliers depending on the number of free spins
Bonus multipliers in the Game of Thrones slot

Buy-Your-Pay & Hidden Buy-a-Pay Slots

This is another rare and slightly outdated type of slot. In these games, from 1 to 5 coins are offered per spin; this determines the amount of paylines that are activated. You can also determine the symbols that the slot pays for. The more coins you deposit, the more prize combinations are added.

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Experienced players recommend avoiding these slot machines. You have to play at the maximum stakes in order to win on all combinations. And if you bet only one coin, it will be twice disappointing if you come across a prize sequence with a large multiplier, but it is not activated.

Multiple Payline Slots

These slot machines have one or more lines along which winning combinations are built. Providers are actively developing slots with 10, 20, 25, 50, 100 or more paylines to provide you with more winning chances; their number can be fixed or variable. Please note that bets are placed on each line, and the more you activate them, the higher the minimum limit is.

Slot with 10 paylines
Ways to build winning combinations in the Book Of Ra slot machine

Wild & Scatter Machines

In almost any slot machine, you will see special symbols, including Wild and Scatter. Each symbol has its distinctive features.

  • Wild. This is a symbol that substitutes other symbols that form a winning combination. In addition to the usual Wilds, there can be those that expand throughout the reel, sticky which stay in the same place, and movable.
  • Scatter. This is a symbol that pays regardless of its location on the reels. Often, 2 such symbols are enough for a payout. Also, when 3 scatters fall out, the free spins round or another bonus game begins.

You can find out about special characters in the Help section. To open it in different types of slots, you need to press the “i” button under the control panel.

Progressive Jackpot Slots

In these games the main cash prize, which can reach millions of dollars, is at stake. The progressive jackpot is accumulated each time when one of the players makes a bet in a particular slot. The amount grows until one of the lucky ones hits the jackpot, then, the winnings are reset to zero and the accumulation begins again.

Progressive slots usually have lower RTP, which allows the casino to accumulate the jackpot faster.

Winning the main cash prize is possible, but the probability is very low. There were many lucky ones in the history of gambling, for example, John Heywood: after spending just $36 in the Mega Moolah slot machine, he became the owner of $18.7 million after 7 minutes and 25 spins.

Big Berthas Slot Machines

These are the largest slot machines in terms of size. In land-based gambling venues, they are located at the hall entrance. They can have 4 or more reels. They got their name because of the similarity with the Big Bertha — a large artillery weapon of WW1.

Multi-Game Slot Machines

They combine several types of online slot machines. Thus, you can switch between slots, poker, blackjack, keno, and other games in the interface. Another benefit is that they can use different denominations. So, if you have chosen to bet $1 per spin in the slot, you can choose a different amount when switching to blackjack.

Multi-game slot machine
Screen with a selection of different games in one slot machine

Touch-Screen Machines

These machines don’t differ from other slot machines, except that they have no mechanical buttons; all keys are available on the screen. You use a touchscreen to interact with the slot machine. The screen can be placed vertically or horizontally and low, close to hands, so that they do not get tired during the long gaming session.

Best Slot Machine Games with Different Number of Reels

Number of reels is one of the main criteria of slot classification. The first mechanical slot machines had from 3 to 5 reels and 3 rows. In online slots, providers are able to place more of them on the screen.

3-Reel Slots (Classic Slots)

These are the simplest 3×3 slot machines with a minimal set of symbols and features. They have a small number of paylines: from 1 to 10. To diversify the gameplay of retro slots, providers add interesting features. For example, NetEnt offers a “Supermeter” mode in the Mega Joker slot, where you can set the bet size and choose the level at which you collect winnings.

5-Reel Slots

This is the most common option today. 2 additional reels allow providers to add more active paylines and provide you with more winning chances.

The first prototype of a 5-reel slot machine was created by Sittman and Pitt in 1891.

These types of slot machines games have higher quality graphics, offer an abundance of bonus features, special symbols, jackpots, multipliers, and other options.

5x3 slot playing field
Thunderstruck II 5-reel slot machine

6, 7 & 10-Reel Slots

These versions are rare: the number of lines can reach 100 or more. Due to additional reels, even more features are available in them:

  • 6 reels. Developers often create 6-reel versions of existing slots; for example, there is the Book Of Ra Deluxe 6 slot machine. The sixth reel appears only when the Extra Bet is activated and during free spins. The Novomatic provider also decided to improve one of their best slots by releasing Lucky Lady’s Charm Deluxe 6. An additional bonus has been added to the Lucky 6 slot from RTG due to an additional reel. Extra rows have been added to Aloha Cluster Pays so the playing field is 6×5; the slot has cluster payouts.
  • 7 reels. A good example is Farming Future by WGS Technology with a 7×3 playing field; many progressive slots have this structure. Also, 7-reel slot machines almost always have free spins and other bonus features.
  • 10 reels. Many of them differ from the traditional ones by having two different fields. For example, Forest Mania from iSoftBet, has two playing fields — 12×5 and 4×5.
Slot machine with 2 playing fields
Playing fields of Forest Mania slot

If you are a newbie, we recommend starting with 3 or 5 reel slots. Choose simple mechanics with minimal features to get used to the basic gameplay.

Video & Interactive Slot Machines

This is one of the modern types of slot machines for gambling with advanced 3D graphics and animated symbols. Video slots can contain 9, 25, 50, 100, or 243 paylines, various mechanics, including those where combinations are not paid on lines. Thanks to the technical progress, these slots have a wide range of winning options: wild symbols, scatters, interactive bonus rounds, and others.

Nudge

Have you ever wanted to move the reels when you didn’t have enough to get a winning combination? There are slot machines that do this. They have the option of moving the reels to the place where the symbols form a payline. A prime example is Hot Nudge by NoLimit City. There, 4 Wild symbols can appear on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th reels; you can push them until they cover the entire reel.

Slot with moving reels
Hot Nudge game screen

Combination

They combine the features of two or more different types of slot machines that we mentioned above. For example, they may have a progressive jackpot, a bonus multiplier, and wild and scatter symbols.

Megaspin Slots

In these slots, you can spin several reels at once. In some slots, this may be part of a bonus feature, during which additional playing fields are opened for spins.

Slot machine with 4 different reels
In these slots, you can form several paylines at once

Virtual Reality (VR) slots

It is not so easy to find these slot machines, because the leading providers are still testing them. Many leading companies such as Sony, Samsung, Oculus, and others are improving this technology. In the future, it can be gradually used in gambling, so you can look forward to VR slots. You will be able to visit game rooms equipped with dozens of devices and get a more realistic interaction with them, as if visiting a land-based casino.

Different Types of Online Slots by Mechanics

In addition to other criteria, principles of reels rotation differ from slot to slot. In classic versions, reels make several turns, and then it is revealed whether you win or not. In order to innovate the gaming experience, providers have started to develop new mechanics, making the games more interactive and profitable for you.

Megaways

These are slot machines with a fixed number of reels, but the cells in them can change: there can be from 2 to 7. Due to this, the number of paylines increases; you may have up to 117,649 of them at your disposal.

The first Megaways slot was the 6-reel Dragon Born by Big Time Gaming; the release took place in 2016.

These types of online slots have extra bonuses and multipliers, respins, free spins, etc. Some of the top Megaways slots are Divine Fortune Megaways and Gonzo’s Quest Megaways.

Reels in Megaways slot
Different number of symbols on the reels in Gonzo’s Quest Megaways

Cascading Reels Slot Machines

The NetEnt provider implemented this mechanic in Gonzo’s Quest slot in 2011. In cascading reels, all symbols from a winning combination disappear and new ones appear in their place. Thus, several prize chains can form in one spin; with each new avalanche, the multiplier coefficient increases.

Cluster Pays Slot Machines

This mechanic was also invented by NetEnt. If a group of identical symbols is collected in the stack, they are paid regardless of the lines. The amount of winnings is determined by the number and type of symbols gathered in a cluster. You can try out this mechanic in Shangri-La: Cluster Pays.

The playing field of Shangri-La: Cluster Pays slot
You get winnings for clusters, not active lines

Slots at Casinos on Mobile

As gambling became more popular on the Internet, providers have begun to adapt their software for smartphones and tablets. Previously, they had to develop slots separately for desktop and mobile devices using Flash technology. But today all games are made with the help of HTML5, which means they are cross-platform and automatically adjust to the device you are using.

Mobile slots are not limited in functionality and have the same bright graphics. Only the location of the buttons has been changed; the main function keys are located near the playing field and are enlarged in size so that it is comfortable to press them. All secondary elements are available in a drop-down menu so they do not take up space and do not distract you from the gameplay.

Steps on How to Find Top Slots & Play

After you have learned what slots are, it’s time to find out how to choose them correctly. When looking for different slot types for USA players, you should pay attention to the same key factors.

License

Choose legal online casinos that use original software from official providers. Before releasing a slot, the provider sends it to an independent laboratory (for example, iTech Labs) for verification; they check its RNG and RTP. If the results are determined randomly and the return percentage corresponds to the declared after tens of millions of spins, this slot receives a license and the provider can release it.

The original software does not have scripts that lower the RTP and do not give you any winning chances. Therefore, you should only play on licensed gambling sites; they reach agreements with official providers and place their games in the lobby. In the source code of the page, you can see which server the slot machine is loaded from to make sure that it is original.

RTP, Volatility & Payout Rate

Previously, providers did not indicate the RTP; however, this information is available in the rules of modern slots. RTP shows how much money the casino returns to all players in a particular slot.

This is an average indicator that is constantly changing and works in the long run.

If the RTP of the slot is 95%, then you will not receive $95 for sure out of $100. This criterion applies to all users, so another player can get this amount.

Also, slot machines have volatility; it is extremely rarely indicated, but you can find it out from reputable sources or from the paytable. There are three types of volatility:

  1. High. Payments are rare, but their sizes are large.
  2. Low. Regular, but small wins.
  3. Average. Equal chances for large and small prize money.

Some online casinos offer filtering of games by the volatility level in the lobby. Payout ratios for each combination are available in the game rules. This shows how many times the bet amount will be multiplied if a combination of 3, 4, or 5 identical symbols appears on the reels.

Bonuses

Developers add bonus options to diversify the gameplay and attract customers with additional winning opportunities. Below we have highlighted the most common ones that are available in different categories and types of slot games.

Free Spins

These are the spins of the reels that you do not pay for. You can spin the reels a certain number of times for free, without financial risks. Often there are 10-50 of them, but this number can be significantly larger. These are not the free spins that you receive as part of the casino bonus; the provider itself offers you this potion as part of the slot machine. They are activated when certain conditions are met, for example, when 3 or more Scatter symbols appear on the reels.

There are even slots with a bonus purchase, such as Fat Santa. For a separate additional payment, which can be 50-200 times higher than your initial bet, you can purchase free spins if you do not want to wait for them to appear on the reels.

Bonus Games

These are various interactive games that are launched separately from the main game, for example, when bonus symbols appear. They can consist of several stages, where you need to open one of the offered boxes, pull the rope, shoot the plane, etc. In bonus rounds you can significantly increase your winnings.

There are bonus games with a choice of risk, when the amount of spins affects the multipliers. You can also spin the Wheel of Fortune, play in bonus rounds without all low-paying symbols, have sticky wilds and large symbols that occupy several cells appear on the reels, etc.

Other Bonuses

In addition to the bonuses mentioned above, there are other interesting options:

  • Slots with respins. These are the few free spins that are available in the main game.
  • Risk game. It is available in almost all old slot machines and provides a double or quadruple increase in winnings. After each winning combination, the Gamble button appears; by pressing it, you can activate the risk game. But this is an optional game, you do not have to play it. To win, you need to guess the color or the specific suit of the card face down. If you don’t guess, you lose all your winnings.
  • Slots with earnings of bonuses. You can get bonuses by accumulating a certain number of symbols. This feature is available in such slot machines as Vikings Go To Hell and Eye of the Kraken.

Payment Methods

When choosing an online casino with a license and among different slot machine game types, pay attention to the available payment methods. Choose those that process transactions in the currency of your choice. Also look at the minimum and maximum deposit and withdrawal limits. You can check the list of available services in the Banking section even before registration or in the Cashier section after creating and entering your Personal account.

Tips on How to Win Real Money at Different Slot Types

There are no recommendations and strategies that will help you beat slot machines. They are based on a random number generator, so no one can influence the result. All advice comes down to responsible gambling, proper bankroll management, and the right choice of slots:

  • Study the slot before playing. Find out its RTP, read the paytable, check the availability of special symbols and bonus games;all this affects the winning probability.
  • Test an unfamiliar slot machine in demo mode. This way, you can understand its mechanics without financial risks and prepare for real money gambling.
  • Set a bankroll and stick to it. Select a separate amount that you do not mind losing. It should be enough for at least 80-100 spins; during this time, valuable combinations can fall out in slot machines.
  • Avoid progressive slots. In jackpot games, the RTP is lower and winnings happen rarely.
  • Set the limits. You need to be able to stop in time; maximum win and loss limits will help you with this. In this case, you will spend only a reasonable amount of money.
  • Don’t try to win back losses. You had better finish the game and rest mentally. In any case do not make repeated deposits; you can lose even more and fall into a debt hole.

The most important thing is to treat gambling as entertainment; do not consider different types of online slots as a source of income. Think of the winnings as a nice addition to the fun.

FAQ

It is better to start with classic 3 or 5-reel slot machines with standard mechanics, without additional complicated options like Sticky Wilds.

No. The RTP and the overall gameplay are the same.

You can receive payouts in slots, but you won’t be able to deceive them and win at a particular moment. The results are completely random and cannot be influenced.

They are called so depending on how long ago generous payments occurred. It is believed that "hot" slots are at the peak of returns and you can hit the jackpot in them, while in "cold" slots there is an accumulation of cash. But all this is theory; slot machines do not have payout schedules.

These games are developed not by official providers, but by scammers; RNG does not work there, and the developers change the RTP to almost zero so that you only invest money, but do not win.

Publication author
Donald Peterson
Author of articles
Donald Peterson is an avid gambler from Edmonton, Alberta, who also writes about his experience with casinos. He’s been in the business for over 10 years, following the ever-changing industry landscape. His articles are aimed at helping beginners with choosing casinos, suitable games, and strategies.
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