Online Slots: How to Play Like a Pro

If the wheel of history were part of a cosmic slots machine, then humanity hit the jackpot just about… now! We’ve come a long way from the time of old-school fruit machines in casinos, and although puggies and pub machines are still popular in the physical world, the REEL action nowadays happens online. There has never been a wider choice of slots online that you can play to win real money.

If you never tried online slots before, then this guide will be the perfect introduction to learn the basics and we suggest you read all the way through. On the other hand, if you’re already familiar with how video slots work, then you can skip the first section and read the more advanced stuff, including our top online slots picks for UK players.

First time playing online slots? Start right here

There’s a reason why every online casino carries at least a couple dozens of online slots in their lobby. They’re so darn simple to play! We’re positive you’ll quickly get the hang of them if you experiment with any title in “free play” mode, which lets you demo a game without spending real cash.

The following list summarises the most basic concepts related to online slots gameplay that new players have to deal with in the early stages.


Reels are the spinning columns with the colourful symbols. Most video slots have 5-reels, but this number varies: Classic slots can have 4-reels, 3-reels or even a single reel, while modern games can have 6-reels, 7-reels or more.

5 reels online slot

Bet amounts

The bet amount is the money you spend on every spin. You can manually set this value by adjusting the coin value and coin level from the console of the video slot.


Also called win lines or bet lines, these are the vertical, horizontal or diagonal lines that pay out a sum of money when particular combinations of symbols fall along them. Most games pay from left to right, but some titles pay both ways. Players can usually set the number of active paylines on the reels and this determines the size of your bet, however some games have fixed paylines.


This is usually a screen shows a complete list of the payouts you can win when landing certain combinations of symbols. This amount is usually given as a multiple of your wager.


A spin is triggered after clicking the SPIN or PLAY button and sets the reels of the slot in motion. More interestingly, some games have an autoplay and autospin function that lets you spin the reels a predetermined number of times.

Slots concepts for advanced players: Let’s go deeper down the rabbit hole

Now that you got the basics down pat, let’s move on to some cooler features that are present on many modern video slots. Keep your eyes peeled open for these words when you’re playing online slots; each term offers you a different way to instantly increase the size of your potential payout when you wager your next bet.


Wilds are symbols that substitute for any other symbol on a payline. This can increase your chances of hitting a winning combination on the reels. There are different types of Wild symbols, including stacked wilds, random wilds, sticky wilds and moving wilds.

Wilds at Online Slots

Gamble feature

Some games include a gamble feature, usually in the form of a mini-game that lets you choose from several options with a mystery reward. Other games boost your payout if you win a coin toss, if you correctly guess play card symbols or whether their colour is black or red.

Free spins

These are additional spins that are awarded to the player at no extra cost. These can be triggered randomly or by hitting special symbols on the reels. Retriggering free spins frequently is your ticket to a big win, especially if stacked wilds and multipliers are available.

Respin feature

After a spin is complete, you can get a chance to set the reels in motion again and increase your chances of winning. This can be very profitable if sticky wilds and other special symbols are on the reels.

Tumbling reels

Some games have reels that move in a different manner, including avalanches, cascading reels and dropping symbols. Tumbling reels simply disappear and reappear in a new combination after playing a round.


Multipliers boost your payout by the number (or multiplier level) that is currently active on the reels. Certain games award free spins win multipliers or sticky function multipliers.

Advanced autoplay

Advanced autoplay or autospin functions let you set different coin level types on individual spins.

You’re well on your way to becoming a slot expert. Now is the time to hit the reels, but before you do you need to find the slot that fits your needs best.

The differences between classic slots and video slots

You can divide online slots into two main categories: classic or video slots. While in real life this approach of dividing things into two tends to get messy, in the world of slots it actually gives us a neat way to classify the vast majority of games out there.

  • Classic slots include fruit machines, as well as the traditional slots or puggies that you’re bound to find at the pub.
  • Video slots feature animated graphics and other special visual effects.

Choosing the best online slots

There are plenty of titles out there vying for your attention. Finding the best UK slots can take some time. Whether it’s the best videoslots or the best fruit machines you’re looking for, one thing is certain: you’ll need to try a game before deciding if it’s the best fit for you.

Fortunately, you can play top games from the likes of WMS, IGT, Bally and Barcrest without spending a penny thanks to free play or demo mode.

Which are the top brands in online slots?

Slots and other games for online casinos are created by companies. Brands like NetEnt, WMS, Microgaming, Yggdrasil, Play’n Go, Quickspin and Scientific Gaming are among the most well-known name among players due to the consistently high quality of the games they make.

Play on the go with mobile slots

But why stick with the same four walls? If you’ve had enough of the pub, or playing at home, why not go out for a breath of fresh air… you can still play your favourite games!

Almost every online slot can be played on your tablet, phone or any mobile device. While the old Flash titles can be difficult to load on a mobile Casino browser, this isn’t a problem for newer titles developed with HTML5 technology that allows casino games to be played seamlessly across screens of all sizes without losing any of their visual or gameplay appeal.

Read more about mobile slots.

Played a great puggie at the pub? Chances are you can find it online too

Many players in the UK come into contact with slots through the pub machines they find at the local bar or betting parlour. Many of these games, especially the modern ones, are Vegas slots that can be played both offline and online.

Famous manufacturers that let you play offline slots online are IGT, Bally, Barcrest and WMS. Offline players will immediately recognise these Vegas slots titles, which are readily available on the biggest casino lobbies online as well as smaller ones.

Demystifying 3 slots terms that players commonly mix up

We’ll wrap things up by covering some of the more obscure terminology used in online slots games. Even the pros misunderstand these concepts sometimes, but unless you’re one of those high-rollers who make a living out of playing slots online, then it won’t matter one bit for your overall enjoyment. Still, if you’re curious what these words really mean, then this is your chance to find out.

Hit frequency

This refers to the probability that an online slot machine will return a winning combination after a spin. It’s usually expressed as a percentage and this number determines which games are high and low hit frequency, with the former giving you a better chance of winning money over time.

Return to player (RTP) or payback rate

What is RTP? This is a term used by casinos to refer to the percentage of all wagered money that a slot will return to the players over time. Online slot machines have different payback rates depending on its features: the higher the RTP, the better the likelihood of winning back a bigger share of the money you wagered.

Volatility slots

This refers to the how risky a slot is. High volatility games tend to pay out a larger sum though infrequently, while low volatility slots pay out smaller amounts on a relatively more consistent basis.

That brings us to the conclusion of this overview of the key terms and features you’ll come across when playing online slots at a casino website. Now that you’re equipped with the basic (and not so basic) knowledge it’s time for the practical portion of our course!

Ready to start playing?

Try slots for free or sign up for an account and start winning on the reel. If you choose the latter option, we wish you luck and encourage you to play responsibly within your time and money limits.

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