How Do Online Slots Work? — A Beginners Guide to Slots

by D.Djokic • June 10, 2021
How Do Online Slots Work

“How do online slots work?” is one of the most frequent questions asked by casino regulars. Even though casinos offer hundreds of different slots, they are all very similar once you get the hang of the basics.

If you are new to the world of online casinos and wish to learn how to play slots online, we have the right thing for you. Our guide will help you learn how slots work inside and out and show you which slots you should play to make the most out of your casino experience.

Eight Quick Facts About Learning How to Play Slots Online

  • Most video slots have four or five reels, while vintage-themed ones come with three reels.
  • Paylines are straight or zig-zag lines, and you can win by landing a winning combination on them.
  • RTP stands for return to player and represents the amount you are expected to win for every £100 wagered.
  • You can land wins frequently with low volatility slots, but high volatility slots can help you net much bigger wins.
  • The best way to learn how to win on online slot games is to playtest them for free before playing for real money.
  • Wild symbols substitute every other symbol and Scatter symbols usually unlock bonus features like free spins.
  • Certain progressive slots require you to bet on every line to unlock the chance to win the jackpot.
  • There are no hot or cold machines, and a random number generator determines the outcome of each spin.

Slot Machines Guide

There are many new slots sites in the UK, so it’s only natural that everyone wants to learn how to play slots. Truth be told, modern-day online slots are much like old slot machines. Granted, while they are a lot more advanced, the principle and gameplay are rather similar. All you have to do is spin the reels and, believe it or not, that’s all there is to it.

Of course, while gameplay is mostly automated and it takes only seconds to learn how slots work, learning how to win on online slots is a whole different story. The best thing you can do to increase your chances of winning is to learn which slots you should play. To do that, you must learn everything about video slots and the different features modern-day video slots have.


Reels are one of the first things you should know about when learning how to beat online slots. They are vertical columns on which symbols are located and each slots’ most identifying feature. Vintage-themed slots generally have three reels, and most modern-day slots have either four or five. Of course, since video slots come in all shapes and sizes, you can find slots with six or even more reels.

Reels are directly connected to the number of paylines since the more reels a video slot has, the more winning combinations a slot can form.


If you are wondering what the chances of winning on slot machines are, you should learn how paylines work. As the name suggests, they are the lines that pay if you land a winning combination on them. They can be straight or zig-zag-shaped. At the same time, they can pay left to right, right to left, or both ways.

Generally speaking, one thing you will find in almost every guide to slot machines is that the more paylines a video slot has, the easier it will be to land a winning combination. However, you should know that your chance to land a winning combination is also affected by the number of symbols a slot has. The more symbols a slot has, the harder it is to get a winning combination.


Each slot comes with various symbols. If you wish to learn how to win on online slots and how much you can win, you should master slot symbols. Namely, every symbol has its value that can directly influence payouts. In other words, there’s a huge difference between landing a winning combination with a group of symbols that have the lowest value in the paytable and landing a win with the most valuable symbols.

Therefore, if you wonder what the best slot machines to play are, our advice is to simply check the slots’ paytable and determine whether the slot is worth playing.

Apart from basic symbols, most slots will have one or more wild symbols. Scatter symbols can substitute any other symbol and usually are the most valuable symbol in the paytable.

Lastly, slots that have bonus features often come with scatter symbols. By landing three or more scatter symbols, you can trigger a bonus feature.

Bonus Features and Free Spins

We’ve shown you almost everything there is to know about video slots in our guide to slot machines. If you wonder how to trigger bonus features, keep reading.

Believe it or not, it is just as easy as everything else so far. The first thing to know is that nearly every video slot has a bonus feature. The most common one is the free spins feature that you can trigger at any point by landing a specific set of symbols, either anywhere on the reels or in a particular other.

The exact specifics of each feature will be explained once you access the slot’s paytable. Therefore, if you are trying to learn how to play online slots for money, the first thing you should always do when firing up a new slot game is to check the paytable and learn as much about the slot as you can.

Other features may include multipliers or the so-called avalanche feature that increases the multiplier each time you land a consecutive win. All in all, bonus features are undoubtedly an exciting way to make a quick profit.

You asked, “how do online slots work?” and we delivered. The last thing you should know is that some features are a lot easier to trigger than others. However, they may also be a lot less profitable or rewarding than the rest, so make sure to find a fine balance between how easy to land and rewarding a feature is.

How to Beat Online Slots

After you learn how slots work, there are several other aspects you should take into consideration that will help you beat online slots. One of the most important ones is RTP that stands for Return to Player.

RTP basically refers to how much money you are expected to win back after wagering £100. For example, if you play a video slot with an RTP of 96%, you are expected to win £96, while £4 goes to the casino. In other words, think of RTP as something similar to a house edge.

If you wish to learn how to win online slot games, it is important not to get ahead of yourself and focus entirely on finding slots with the highest RTP. Namely, RTP comes into play after hundreds or even thousands of spins. If you spin the reels five times, you may lose five times in a row, but it is also possible to win all five times.

After all, the uncertainty and the chance to win big on every spin are the things that make video slots thrilling.

While RTP might not make a huge difference if you simply wish to bet big and spin the reels ten times, it may make a significant difference if you enjoy long sessions. For that reason, if you wish to learn how to win on online slots in the long run, we recommend that you stick to slots that have a minimum RTP of at least 95%.

If long sessions aren’t your thing and you are a short-term player, you should consider a slot’s volatility when choosing the slot to play.

If you don’t know what volatility means in video slots, then the simplest way to explain it would be to say that volatility refers to how frequently the slot pays. For example, slots with low volatility pay frequently but provide low payouts overall. As far as high volatility slots go, they are the opposite. They pay rarely but generally offer bigger wins.

How to Win Jackpot on Online Slots

Jackpot slots are an entirely different type of slots. Unless you are specifically trying to win the jackpot, our advice is to stay away from them. In most cases, they have worse RTP, a low hit frequency, and worse payouts than you would get from regular slots.

However, if you wish to test your luck and hope for a life-changing win, one thing that will help you learn how to win jackpots in online slots is always to bet the maximum number of lines. Namely, most jackpot slots come with three or more jackpots. 

Jackpots with lower prize pools are a lot easier to win. However, to be eligible to win a jackpot in the first place, you must bet on a specific number of slots. The more lines you bet on, the more jackpots you will be able to win.

Granted, while this won’t necessarily show you how to win a jackpot playing online slots, it is the only thing you can do to influence the game and increase your chances of winning. As far as the rest goes, it’s entirely up to your luck.

Dispelling Common Online Slots Myths

Gamblers are often superstitious, and their beliefs sometimes are not in accordance with how slots work in general. In fact, many slot players often wonder what the best time to play slot machines is, thinking that the time when they play the slot may somehow affect the outcome. However, contrary to popular belief, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The outcome of each spin is determined by RNG — a random number generator that generates thousands of numbers every second. Each of the numbers is connected to a specific outcome on the reels. Whenever you press the button to spin the reels, the generator stops at a number, and the result is then displayed on the screen.

Therefore, if you are new to slots and still learning how to play slots online, remember that it makes no difference whether you play at 9 AM or 9 PM. At the same time, it doesn’t matter if you won or lost 10 or 50 times in a row since there is always the possibility of winning or losing again. Of course, mathematically speaking, you are unlikely to win 51 times in a row, but the possibility is still there.

What slot machines have the best payouts is yet another question that new slot players often ask. Once again, this is nothing more but a myth. After all, if there were slots with the best payouts, players would play those slots exclusively, and slot manufacturers wouldn’t even bother creating new ones.

However, while we cannot really answer what slot machines have the best payouts, certain slots indeed perform better than others. To find such slots, simply use what we’ve shown you so far. An important thing to remember is not to focus on a single aspect, such as RTP, for example. Instead, take into consideration slots symbols, paylines, RTP, volatility, and bonus features.  

How to Play Online Slots for Money

Once you have a good idea of how slots work, you’re ready for a nice long session of playing slots. In today’s time, the best way to play slots is online. To do that, you must first find a casino where you can play online slots.

With hundreds of online casinos around, finding the right one might take some time. However, to make the process a lot easier, you can simply find one from our list of the best online casinos in the UK.

While choosing the right casino won’t necessarily show you how to beat online slots or anything of the sort, it will affect your entire experience when playing slots. For that reason, picking the right casino is just as important as picking the right slot.

When creating the list of best casinos around, we considered several important aspects, such as the number of slots each casino offers, their payment methods, customer service, welcome bonuses, and much more. Of course, the very first thing we made sure of is that every casino on our list is secure and licensed by a reputable license issuer.

Therefore, one of the best things you can do if you wish to learn how to play online slots for money is to find a reputable casino and register with it. Additionally, remember that you can claim the welcome bonus during the registration process. While casinos generally offer bonuses for other casino games, a lot of them also have great free spin offers for slot players.

After you are done registering, navigate to the slots section, find the slot you wish to play, and you’re ready to go.

In today’s time, many casinos allow you to play for fun without having to spend any of your money. This is a fantastic way to practice and learn how to win online slot games, trigger bonus features, and much more. Of course, while you also won’t win any money like this, it is an excellent way to try new slots and find the one you like.


As you can see, learning how to play online slots is a piece of cake. Furthermore, now that we’ve answered “how do online slots work?” and showed you the basics, make sure to use that knowledge to your advantage. Granted, while you cannot do much to influence the outcome of each spin, the best thing you can do is pick the right slot that suits your playstyle and your bankroll.

An important thing to remember is that winning on slots is mostly about luck, so don’t trust the guides that claim you will win at a specific time or anything of the sort. Additionally, always make sure to try and play the slot for free before spending your own money.