Great Things to Know About Playing Online Slot Games
Playing online slots seems a straightforward and simple enough task, right? Slap down a bet, spin the reels and wait to see if you win. What could be simpler? Even so, there are a few things that slot players think they know about the games which they really don’t. There are also things they may not know which they really should.
In this article, we will debunk slot myths and legends, provide a few tips and tricks, and generally let you in on a host of great things that you should know about playing online slot games online. Let’s start with the most obvious slot issue, shall we?
- 1 There Is No Winning Strategy, So Forget It
- 2 It Is Possible to Use Betting Strategies
- 3 Forget About Magical Hours
- 4 Setting Up Your Bet with Max Coins
There Is No Winning Strategy, So Forget It
You probably shouldn’t need telling this, but there are no such things as winning slot strategies – none. There has never been such a strategy, and there never will be. Slots cannot be counted like cards, and you cannot get a peek at how a game has been programmed. It just isn’t possible. Online slot games are designed to be random. They even operate on RNGs (random number generators) which should be the big giveaway.
If online slots could be rigged in any way, it certainly won’t be by you, no matter how skilful you might feel you are programming. All of this put together essentially means that you can give up on slot strategies for a start. It is a waste of time. If someone claims to have developed or stumbled across one, there are only two possible explanations; they are lying, or they’ve found a way to cheat. Awfully sorry to burst your bubble, but we need to be cruel to be kind. Now that this is out of the way let’s look at somewhat cheerier and more useful things.
It Is Possible to Use Betting Strategies
As we’ve rather unsubtly mentioned above, strategies guaranteed to land a win on slots don’t exist. However, you can certainly use betting strategies to improve your chances of balancing your budget. Traditional strategies don’t seem to work with online slots. Ordinarily, betting systems such as the Martingale rely on even money payouts to be most effective, and even then, players will have to whether a storm during losses, increasing their bets to break even, essentially. What can you do then?
Many slots out there now have specific betting systems you can use when wagering. These will often be available via the betting button, or via the paytable. They can optimise your bets to match the type of variance and volatility you’re dealing with (more on that in a moment). If you want to use betting strategies to manage your balance carefully, find a slot which offers such a feature.
Forget About Magical Hours
You may have heard a rumour which has been circulated on the net. Basically, it goes along the lines of “winning is easier during off-peak hours”. The logic (such as it is) is that there are fewer players spinning the reels of slots, so your odds of landing a win are increased. Unfortunately, it is not true, and here’s why…
Most slot machine games share their progressive jackpot prizes. They run on networks. While there may indeed be few people playing a jackpot slot at your casino, there could be truckloads of players giving it a whirl at another site. As all progressive Rainbow jackpots slots have networked and linked jackpots, one of those other players at a different site could pinch your prize instead. Moreover, just because it is “off-peak” in your time zone, it could be “rush-hour” in another. It is always rush-hour somewhere in the world, so the concept of off-peak hours, giving you a better chance to win doesn’t exist at major international online casinos.
Setting Up Your Bet with Max Coins
One little trinket you can take with you (and it appears to be true) is that slots tend to respond better when you play with more coins. You can keep the value of your coins at a minimum if your budget is stretched, but it does seem to be more advantageous to play with the maximum number of coins, even if they are worth very little.
Many older online slots increase prizes based on the number of coins you wager, not necessarily the value of those coins. This is particularly true when dealing with jackpot slots, which may require a maximum coin bet, but not necessarily a maximum stake. Our advice would be to try this approach. Slot players swear that they frequently land better prizes with this method. Take that with just a pinch of salt, but there does seem to be some merit in their claims.
More Lines and Cheaper Stakes Is Not Always Better
It wasn’t long ago we were all wagering 30p for a 30-line spin. Suddenly, we were getting 100 lines for the same 30p stake, and that sounds great. Hold your horses, though. Rule one of betting online is that the casino always wins. There is no way that a slot is going to give you an increased chance of winning (and a surplus of paylines would do) without covering their bases.
If you check the paytable of a slot which offers you far more paylines than your measly stake, you will probably notice something. The value of the prizes is often considerably reduced from what you would see in 30-line, 30p a spin game. Yes, software providers compensate for the surplus of lines by dropping the value of the prizes.
Slots which generally cost a little more to play (let’s say 50p for a 30-line spin) often provide you with a handful of goodies in exchange for those higher bets. An array of special features could be one perk. In short, always check out exactly what you’re getting for your stake because what initially may appear to be a top deal, may not always work out that way when you look under the bonnet.
Count Those Symbols and Beware
You can’t count cards in an online slot, but you could (and should) count the number of symbols which appear. The fastest way to count symbols is to visit the slot’s paytable, where you can see every possible icon which could appear on the reels. But why? Well, there is a very good reason for this.
The more symbols there are on the reels of a slot, the less chance you have of landing a win. Essentially, there is a heightened risk of essentially useless symbols blocking your path to a payline win. Special symbols which do not go on to trigger a bonus round will always get in the way, for instance. Stacked symbols can be beneficial to players when you’re playing on a big reel set. However, if there is a surplus of many different symbols, and you’ve only got 3 rows of icons on those reels, the odds are that stacked symbols are going to far less beneficial than if they were to appear on a 7-row reel set. How many symbols a slot uses, and how many appear in a stack are things worth considering.
Free Play Is Possible…at the Moment
We’ve often said that using free to play slots is a great way of weighing up how good a game is. You can practice Doctor Love and spin for free; you can learn the features, see how often a game pays out, and develop betting strategies which work for you. However, this luxurious resource is going to be more difficult to get your hands on, at least for UK-based players.
Players based in Britain are set to suffer from new UK Gambling Commission laws. These state that you’re going to need to sign-in to your casino account to play free demos. Alternatively, you may visit a casino software provider’s site or a casino review site, but you may need to sign-in or prove your age to play demos there, too.
If you’re the type of slot player who likes to test drive a slot before you play, these changes are certainly something worth keeping in mind.
Learn About RTP, Variance and Volatility
It is good to learn about RTP, variance and volatility. Return to player percentages, variance and volatility are all aspects of how a slot works. How often a game pays, how likely you are to endure barren spells, and what kind of returns you’re looking at can all be determined by those details. Most casino review sites will let you in on the variance/volatility and RTP rates of a game. However, other resources will correctly show you how to calculate RTP for yourself.
As a general rule, if you’re on a budget, you’ll want low variance (also known as volatility or risk) games. If you’ve got more to spend, highly volatile games are more ideal for you. The higher the variance, the longer you’re going to have to go without a win, but the more a slot pays. Low-risk games tend to pay out frequently, but with smaller prizes. Players should always look for high RTP. Anything above 95% (dare we say 96%) is considered the industry standard nowadays.
“Cold” Slots Don’t Exist
Remember how we discussed off-peak hours earlier? Well, cold slots are along the same lines. You will no doubt have heard about “hot” and “cold” slots. You may have seen it referenced in television shows (Friends springs to mind). Basically, a cold slot is supposed to represent a slot which has just paid out its jackpot; therefore, it won’t dish out anything for a while. By contrast, a hot slot hasn’t paid out for ages and is “due” to cough up its top prize. You will no doubt have heard tales of sweet old ladies hopping from their seemingly cold slot to a hot one which has just been vacated and then landing a jackpot win. If only the original player had stayed, right? Wrong.
The truth of the matter is, hot and cold slots are purely a figment of yours or somebody else’s imagination. Slots use random number generators. While they can be programmed to pay out frequently or not so frequently, they don’t have a magic clock which determines when that occurs. The odds of landing a progressive jackpot prize immediately after one has just been won on the same game are the same as the two prizes being won a million spins apart. Hot and cold slots, sadly, just don’t exist. They do, however, make for terrific advertising for casinos who want to you make you believe that a big win is right around the corner.
A Final Word About Popular Slots
Our last nugget of truth for you concerns so-called popular slots. Every online will likely have a section in their lobby of red-hot or popular games. Be careful and don’t necessarily take those sites at their word.
If you’ve been playing in the online casino world for any length of time, you will know exactly what the most popular and least popular slots are. For instance, some casinos will advertise games from obscure developers as red hot and popular titles. No disrespect to Merkur Gaming, but the only reason their games are going to be more popular with players than Microgaming, NetEnt and Playtech slots is if the only games offered at a casino come from Merkur’s vault. There is just no chance of that happening.
Many of the biggest and best sites genuinely do post their most popular slots in these sections. However, smaller-scale sites will often be very selective about which games appear there, and it is seldom a good reason that they choose. In many cases, these games will be costly slots or offer far smaller cash prizes. They may provide fewer features than other games or have a dreadful RTP rate. Either way, these may not be the kinds of games you want to play. Instead of trusting a casino that a game you have never heard of is a hit with “other players”, we’d recommend you scout around to find something that you want to play in the first place.