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How To Play Casino Slots

Learning how to play casino slots is a relatively simple process, so long as you know what to look for. There are several types of slot machines - classic reel slots, video slots, multi-line slots and progressive slots. The rules and options will vary by the type of slot machine you choose.

The Basics
Classic reel slots are the most basic slot machines, presenting 3 reels, 5 reels or 7 reels. As a rule of thumb, the more reels a slot machine has, the harder it is going to be to line up a winning combination. In the same token, the more reels, the higher the payoff will generally be for hitting a winning combination.

Video slots are slot machines that don't have actually reels, but rather a themed game with a screen depicting reels - much like a video game, really. Video slots usually offer 5 to 7 reels. Many of them have multiple pay-lines, as well, which brings us to the Multi-line Slots.

Multi-line slots are slot machines with more than the typical amount of pay-lines, or ways to line up a winning combination. For instance, instead of getting a straight line across or perfectly diagonal across the reels, a slot machine with many pay-lines might have lines that zig-zag up, across and back down again. Multi-line slots may offer anywhere from 5 or 9 to 20 or 25 pay-lines. Bare in mind that you will have to insert a single coin for each pay-line you want to activate per spin. The more pay-lines a slot machine has, the more expensive it can become to activate all pay-lines.

Progressive slots are those that offer a continuously growing jackpot. The jackpot will start at a certain amount, then a percentage of every coin inserted into the slot machine is added to the progressive jackpot each time it is played. There will be one specific winning combination that awards the jackpot. In order to win on that combination, however, the player must 'Bet Max', meaning they must insert the maximum amount of coins to release the jackpot.

Before we get too involved in how to play slot machines, let's first discuss two key factors in selecting the best slot machine. Payout Percentages are a very important factor in selecting a slot machine to play. Unfortunately, in land-based casinos, the payout percentage is not always available for viewing. The casino may post a sign saying their slots offer 95% payouts, but they will not tell you which slot machines that applies to without some investigation. Try asking various staff members at the casino. Online casinos, on the other hand, usually provide the payout percentages for their slot machines right on the slot. Note that online slots generally pay tremendously higher than casino slots - as high as 95% to 99%, as opposed to an 85% to 90% payout at most land-based casinos.

The second step is to check the slot machine's Pay Table. The Pay Table is the most important part of a slot machine, as it tells the player what the winning combinations are and their respective payouts. Be sure to check the payouts for the amount of coins or coin size entered, as machines often payout better for inserting the most coins - especially progressive jackpot slots, as mentioned above.

Bonus Spins are also a great thing to look for when choosing a slot machine. Certain slot machines offer Bonus Spins for hitting the correct winning combination(s). Once won, Bonus Spins will be automatically played out, one after another, until there are no Bonus Spins remaining. Try to find a slot machine that offers Bonus Spins, preferably with double payouts for winning combinations hit during Bonus Spins!

How To Play Slots - The Buttons
Now that you have a good idea of what each slot machine has to offer, it's time to learn the various buttons and options found on a slot machine. These rules apply to both casino slots and online slot machines, as they are basically the same. The only difference is whether you are pressing a button or clicking it with a computer mouse.

Credits: The first thing you'll want to do is insert money, which is converted to Credits. In a real casino, players can insert bills into the machine. In an online casino, the amount of money deposited into the casino should be automatically available as credits to play.

Bets: The player will need to choose what Coin Size, or coin denomination, to play. To do this, choose the button that corresponds with your desired coin size. Some online slots have an up/down or left/right arrow to increase or decrease the current denomination. Depending on the slot machine, you may be able to choose 1-cent, 5-cents, 10-cents, 25-cents, $1, etc.

Bet One: Classic reel slots will usually allow the player to insert 1, 2 or 3 coins per play. Multi-line slots will allow the player to insert as many coins as the machine offers in pay-lines. For example, a 9-pay-line slot will allow a max of 9 coins. Pressing the Bet One button inserts a single coin. Continue pressing the Bet One button until the desired amount has been wagered. (Note: See 'Bet Max' button below for more betting options.)

Spin: Once the desired amount of coins have been bet, press the Spin button. This will start the reels spinning. Most slot machines today will stop the reels automatically, but others will allow the player more control over the outcome by pressing a button to stop each reel, one at a time.

Spin Again: Once a player has completed their first spin, they may automatically spin the reels again, betting the exact same amount, by simply hitting the Spin button. Should the player wish to change their bet, they must do so before hitting the Spin button again.

Bet Max: Every slot machine has a Bet Max button, allowing the player to automatically bet the maximum amount and set the reels in motion. Depending on the pay-lines and highest coin size allowed, this can become expensive, but remember that a progressive jackpot slot will only award the jackpot if the player bets the maximum amount. In this case, it is very handy.