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How to Win at Slots

Playing slots is easy and fun, plus there is always the thrill of winning a big jackpot. Although playing slots does come down to luck, understanding the games more can help you along the way. From choosing the right slot machine to finding the games with the biggest payouts, our experts are here to help you.

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1. Choose Between Regular or Progressive Slots

Regular slots have a set jackpot amount you can win whereas progressive slots can reach any value (even record-breaking amounts).

When considering which slot game to choose, looking to see if it’s regular or progressive can have an impact on your enjoyment and your potential to win. Regular slots have lower variance which means that the wins are more frequent but the payouts are usually smaller. High volatility games, like progressive slots, offer huge jackpots with wins being few and far between.

If you’re wanting to simply play to win money, regular slots might be your best bet but if you’re looking for enjoyment with the potential of a big win, progressive slots will become your new favorite game.

Progressive Slot Games With the Biggest Jackpots

Mega Moolah

In 2015, Jon Heywood won the biggest online progressive jackpot ever recorded – over €17.87 million. He also earned his place in the Guinness Book of World Records and is yet to be beaten.

Mega Fortune

The jackpot wins on this luxury lifestyle-themed slot are as flashy as the game's symbols. In 2013, a man in Finland, won over €17.86 million playing Mega Fortune online.


This land-based slot game is very popular with Vegas casino players. The biggest jackpot ever recorded on the game was in 2003 when a $100 wager turned into over $39 million!

Arabian Nights

This game consistently pays out jackpots, but the biggest one at €8.6 million went to a player from Finland in 2015.

Hall of Gods

This Norse god-themed slot, hasn't broken any records yet but it has hit big jackpots. In April 2015, a Swedish player won €7.78 million.

2. Study the Pay Table

When learning how to play slots, you will discover that slot machines can have dozens of symbols and hundreds of ways to win, as well as bonus games and special features. Reading the pay table of each slot game you play can take only a few minutes but can be invaluable when the action starts.

Pay tables are designed to give you the lowdown of all the symbols, paylines and bonuses that are scattered throughout the game. Understanding what they are and how they are triggered can help you know what to look for when playing.

The pay tables of online slots are usually illustrated and interactive, meaning you can quickly take note of the key information before getting back to playing. Online games will also include any special instructions or highlight if there are any minimum bet requirements that are needed to qualify for any bonus features.

An example paytable from a slot game

Different games will have different symbols and bonuses available but more often then not you’ll come across these five most commonly used symbols in slots:

  • Wilds – This symbol acts as a substitute for other symbols of the reels, making it easier to land a winning payline

  • Scatters – When a certain number of these symbols land across the reels, it triggers features including bonus games or free spins

  • Multipliers Land a multiplier and you’ll see your original bet increase to a specified amount

  • Sticky – Once this symbol appears it will remain on the reels for a certain number of spins, making it potentially easier to land a lucky payline

  • Stacked – These symbols stack themselves on the rows across the screen, triggering a bonus game or other slot bonus.

3. Look Out for Bonuses

Bonus games and features in slots can give you more chances to win money. The most common reward is free spins, but prizes including wager multipliers and even huge jackpots can be found in slot game bonuses.

With any slot machine strategy, bonus features can potentially improve your odds of landing a big jackpot by extending gameplay or topping up funds.

Keep in mind to check the pay table first as this will state whether the slot machine has any bonuses, and any wagering requirements to trigger them too.

Slot Games with the Best Bonus Features

The list below summarizes the slot games with the best bonus features currently on the market the Return-to-Player (RTP) percentage, the number of bonus features and, most importantly, what you can win when you strike it lucky.

Avalon II [95.9% RTP]

Players can enjoy up to eight bonus games in this slot title, with rewards including free spins, multipliers, and cash prizes.

Family Guy [96.05% RTP]

This hilarious slot game is jam-packed with seven bonus games, the best being Lois' Hot Spins which will increase your winnings with its own special pay table.

Jackpot Raiders [96.3% RTP]

Superior graphics and six bonus features combine to give players multi-level games with cash prizes.

Jurassic Park [96.67% RTP]

Dinosaurs mean prizes in this slot game, which includes five dino-themed free spin games and an exciting T-Rex Alert bonus round.

Gladiator [91.46% RTP]

Look out for the Gladiator Jackpot, which gives players the chance to win a progressive jackpot, along with four other bonus features, multipliers and free spins.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail [95.8% RTP]

Players stand to win a jackpot or cash prizes by landing one of the many wild symbols or four bonus features in this slot title.

Fortunium [96.47% RTP]

This steampunk-inspired slot offers three bonus features, Mystery symbols and Win Boosters that can result in bigger cash prizes for players.

The Invisible Man [96.4% RTP]

With two bonus games and two wild symbols, players have more chances to win cash prizes in this slot game.

Mega Moolah [88.12% RTP]

Everyone plays Mega Moolah for its progressive jackpot, which has hit world record-breaking amounts in the past. It's two bonus features can also make playing that bit more interesting too.

Game of Thrones [94.86% RTP]

This slot game features only one bonus game but it gives players four opportunities to win lucrative multipliers, free spins and cash prizes.

Casino Bonuses

While the in-game bonuses are not to be missed, neither are the online casino bonuses. Online casinos offer big welcome bonuses to new players, and other special offers like free spins or reload bonuses to their regular bettors too.

Before signing up to an online casino, find the site that offers the best bonus for your gameplay.

4. Understand Payout Percentages

Every slot game has an RTP, slot payout percentage, or house edge. Despite the various terms, they all mean the same thing: the amount of advantage a casino has against a player winning.

In slots, the RTP is calculated over millions of reel spins to produce an average percentage of money the machine returns to players. So, if a game has an RTP of 96%, that means for every $100 entered in the slot machine, a player will receive $96 back.

Of course, this is an average calculated over a long time period, so players should use this percentage as a guideline.

5. Learn About Variance

When a game mentions variance, volatility or payout frequency, it’s referring to how frequently a slot game pays out, and the amount it pays.

Low variance slots land wins frequently but the payouts are usually small. High volatility games offer huge jackpots, but the wins are few and far between. Use variance to find a game that matches your bankroll and gameplay needs.

Pay tables don't list variance but you can find this information in slot game reviews. A quick look at the symbols on the pay table will also indicate a game's variance.

If the biggest payout for five symbols is less than 3x or 4x the payout for four symbols, the slot game has low variance and might be better for those with smaller bankrolls.

6. Check the Fine Print Before Playing Real Money Slots

When playing slots online, check a casino's fine print before depositing any funds. Some online casinos have high wagering requirements, which means players must bet a certain amount of money with the site before they can withdraw any winnings.

We recommend finding an online casino that has specific offers and bonuses that don’t require a high wager. Check out our list of trusted casinos that have some of the lowest wagering requirements in online gambling.

7. Try New Slot Games

Slot machines aren't cheap. One brand-new machine can set a physical casino back between $15,000 and $25,000. Online casinos are able to buy games in bulk packages but they're also expected to pay anything from 10-40% in royalty fees a month.

Obviously, casinos are careful to choose slot games with longevity, but they also want to make their money back quickly. Therefore, casinos may sometimes increase the payback percentage of new slot machines or offer special bonuses to use on them. This helps the casino promote the new games and is a great way for players to potentially increase their payout odds on a new slot title.

When looking for new slot games online, check out our online slot arcade and search by 'Newest First'.

8. Practice Slots With Free Play

Free slot games are essentially the same as a real money version but with no risk to your bankroll.

If you’re new to playing slots or new to a particular title, playing the free version first is a good way to get used to the gameplay, check out the in-game bonuses and features, and ultimately, see if you enjoy it.

Our free online slots arcade offers thousands of titles, with no registration or download needed.

9. Read Online Slot Reviews

If you’re looking for tips and advice for a particular game, we suggest reading a few online slot reviews. These will tell you how bonus games are triggered, any extra features the game has, and whether it's even worth playing for real money.

In addition to reading slot reviews, don't forget to research casinos too. Online casino reviews should inspect a site's game selection, banking processes, and its ranked fairness so you can decide if it’s the best site to play slots for you.

Rainbow Riches

Rainbow Riches is one of the most well-known online slot games. It mixes amazing graphics with simple gameplay and exciting features. Nearly a decade after its release it still keeps players coming back for more.

Book of Ra Deluxe

Book of Ra was released in 2015 and the mix of Ancient Egypt and Indiana Jones style adventure resulted in a popular and exciting game. Its back to basics formula along with free spins makes it an enjoyable slot game to play.

Family Guy

This slot game is just as funny and entertaining as the TV show its based on. Family Guy has gained popularity with its many paylines and multiple exciting bonus rounds.

10. Manage Your Bankroll

Like other casino games, slot machines are available to play for a wide range of bets from one penny up to hundreds of dollars.

By playing smart you can manage your bankroll much more efficiently. Follow these four important steps to keeping track of your money:

1. Don’t bet all your money on a single spin

Although tempting, the odds aren’t in your favor for this so instead use the in-game bonuses when you can, play on a regular game rather than a progressive one, and choose games with a high RTP in order to stretch your bets and your bankroll go further.

2. Set a budget

Have a budget before you start playing and ensure you’re placing bets in line with this.

3. Choose slot games that give you the longest gameplay

This way, even if you don't win any payouts, you haven't lost more money than you anticipated and still had fun.

4. Know when to move on

Slot machines are designed to keep players entertained. Even when you lose, the slot machine will play triumphant music similar to when it lands a win on the reels. This can entice you to keep going but instead of wasting your money chasing a losing streak, walk away and take a break.


Can you cheat online slot machines?

Online slot games and even physical casinos use Random Number Generator (RNG) software which generates millions of potential results a second for the slot game, even when no one is playing on it. This makes slot games truly random and secure, and also means landing a jackpot is down to chance. Ultimately, therefore, slot games (both online and in land-based casinos) are impossible to cheat.

What are the best strategies for winning online slots?

There are plenty of how-to-win strategies floating around online. However, electronic and online slots use randomizing software to determine which symbols will land on the reels meaning there is no pattern to predict. The “strategies” you can find only give players the illusion they can control the game. Understanding the paylines of each game, learning the in-game bonuses and features, and playing on free mode to practice are the best ways to ensure you extend both your bankroll and your enjoyment.

Is there a way to tell if a slot machine is going to hit?

Given that modern and online slot machines operate on RNGs, it’s impossible to tell when a slot machine is going to hit. If the machine is going to deliver a win though, it will display this on screen, along with the amount.

Do slots pay more at night?

It can be said that brick-and-mortar casinos do pay out more winnings on slot machines at night but this is due to more players being active on slot machines at that time. If you’re playing online, you might not be able to see this level of increase due to the flexibility of being able to play whenever and wherever you are.

What slot machines payout the most often?

Slot machines with low variance, such as Starburst, pay out winnings more frequently. However, the amounts are usually much smaller when compared to games with high volatility, such as Mega Moolah, which has been known to pay out jackpots in the millions.

Should you max bet on a slot machine?

Players should only ever max bet on a slot machine if they can afford to do so. Slot machines are known to pay higher winnings on max bets but that doesn’t mean that you can’t or won’t win with a smaller-sized bet. Meanwhile, progressive jackpots can only be triggered with max bets so be sure to keep an eye on your bankroll when looking to hit these.

Should you stay at the same slot machine?

Players should only ever stay on a slot machine if they’re having a good time and it’s not costing them too much of their bankroll. The RTP percentage of a slot game means it will eventually keep more money than it pays out in winnings.

What is the best time of day to play slots?

Physical casinos on average pay out more slot jackpots at night. This is simply down to a higher footfall in the evenings resulting in more money being played. Slot machines in physical and online casinos both run on RNGs so players have the same chance of winning money on slots any time of day or night.

What is the best day to play slots at a casino?

As most online and brick-and-mortar casino slot machine games operate on RNGs, players will have the same chances of winning at slots any day of the week.

Do cell phones affect slot machines?

Older models were susceptible to cell phone interference due to their simple pseudorandom number generators (PRNGs). Mathematicians could study the PRNG of an older slot machine to determine its number cycle and consequently the algorithm. Slot developers have now resolved this weakness by installing complex RNGs and software into modern slot machines.