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What are online slots?
Slots are one of the most popular games at any online casino. Based on the classic slot machines you’d find at land-based casinos, slot games combine simple gameplay with fun animations, special features and big prizes.
At Xfire, we’re massive fans of online casinos and slots in particular. If you’re just getting started in the world of online casinos or would just like to learn a little more, we’ve put together this guide to help you.
Here you’ll find all the details of online slots, how to play them, and where to find the best slots. We’ll help you find the perfect slot game for you, and hopefully, you’ll be able to land some big wins on the reels!
What makes a good online slot game?
When looking at online slots, it’s important to know what you’re looking at so you can find a great game to play. There’s a lot of factors that go into making a good game. Of course, there’s the obvious stuff like how fun or exciting it is to play, but here are a few more things to look out for:
- Bonus Features – Special features like scatters and wilds can help to make a game more exciting. They also increase your chances of winning, which is always a good thing. Be on the lookout for games that offer different bonuses like multipliers, free spins, cascading and expanding reels and more. Of course, there are still plenty of great games that only have a few bonus features, so it’s not the only factor.
- Minimum and Maximum Bet – Every slot game will have a certain range of bets that you can make. These usually change from a few cents to more than $100. Check to see what kind of bets the game offers, as some may have a lower range of bets than others. Depending on how much you like to bet, some games will be better than others.
- Jackpot – A lot of games will tell you what the maximum jackpot you can stand to win from the game is. In most cases, the bigger the jackpot, the better. Just remember that games with bigger jackpots usually pay out less often. Some online slots also offer a progressive jackpot. This is a prize that builds up over a long time, sometimes across multiple casinos. The prize can be won by any player at any time and adds a lot of extra excitement to the game.
- RTP and Volatility – Slots are entirely based around luck, and the winning chance is represented by the RTP or return to player rate. This is shown by a percentage, usually around 96% or so. It’s a theoretical figure for how much you could win back while playing the game for an infinite length of time. RTP isn’t the only thing that tells you how much you could win from a game, however. Slot games are also measured in volatility. Games with low volatility typically give out smaller prizes more frequently. Slots with high volatility meanwhile will pay out less frequently but with bigger cash rewards.
- Mobile Play – One of the best things about modern online casinos is that you can now play from a variety of devices. This means you can load up your favourite slot game on your mobile or tablet while on the go. Not all slots work well on mobile devices, however. Make sure to check whether the game works properly on mobile devices before you try to play it.
- Interesting Themes – Although you might be a fan of the more classic fruit machine slots, playing an online slot with an exciting or unique theme is often more interesting. Unique and fun designs and graphics help to really make a game more thrilling to play, in our opinion.
Why should you play online slots?
Slots are one of the most popular game types at any online casino. If you’re still wondering what all the fuss is about, let us break it down. Here are some of the main reasons for the popularity of online slots and why you should give them a go:
- Easy to play – Unlike other casino games like table games, there aren’t many rules or strategies to learn when playing slots. Gameplay is usually as simple as hitting spin and waiting for the wins to land. The ease of play and the fact that the rules are easy to understand make online slots very popular and relaxing to play.
- Play anywhere – With the advent of mobile casinos, you can now take online slots wherever you go. These days, slots are all optimised to be enjoyed on mobile devices without the need for additional software. You can play the latest high definitions video slots on your mobile or tablet while you’re on the go.
- Huge variety – One of the best things about online slots is the sheer number of different games you can choose from. There are loads of top casino game developers out there that are regularly releasing top-quality slots. No matter what kind of game or theme you’re into, there’s undoubtedly some slots you’ll love.
- Special features and bonuses – While you might think endlessly spinning reels doesn’t sound that exciting at first, the addition of special features ramps up the excitement. Most games will feature wilds and scatters, which help you unlock wins and give out free spins. On top of this, many games will also feature multipliers, expanding reels and hundreds of paylines. These all create unique and interesting games that will be sure to keep you playing for a long time.
- Potential for big prizes – Slots tend to pay out much bigger prizes than any other online casino game. Depending on which slot you play, these prizes could be your stake multiplied thousands or even hundreds of thousands of time. Some progressive jackpots can even pay out millions, making you a millionaire just by spinning the reels.
Types of online slots
When it comes to playing slots online, there are a few different types you’ll come across. Most online casinos will offer some of the following types:
Video slots are the most common type of slot game you’ll find at any online casino. Video slots often include high-definition graphics and animations and are loads of fun to play. Most video slots will have lots of bonus features and exciting gameplay to go along with the brilliant design.
Classic slots are based around the common types of slot machines you can expect to find on the floor of land-based casinos. They often use classic symbols like the fruit and BAR symbols. These games tend to have fewer special features, but that doesn’t make them any less fun to play.
Most online slots are designed to be played on mobile devices now, but it used to be that mobile play was much rarer. Make sure you check with your casino to see if the slots on their site are playable on your mobile before signing up.
Progressive jackpot slots
Progressive jackpot slots are often video slots or classic slots. They feature one or more progressive jackpots. These are cash pools which increase each time the game is played without the jackpot being won. Some games share a progressive jackpot across multiple casinos or even multiple games.
How to play best online slots
Slots can often seem a bit daunting at first, especially if you’re playing a newer video slot with lots of different options and bonuses. Follow our step by step guide to get to know slots and start playing today!
- Step 1 – First off, pick your slot game and open it up. Your screen will be filled by the reels of the slot machine and the operating buttons like “Spin” and “Max Bet”. You should also be able to see your bankroll, the amount you have available to wager, in the corner of the screen.
- Step 2 – Next, take a look at the paytable. This tells you the key information about the particular game. You should look at how much each symbol is worth and the winning conditions.
- Step 3 – Choose how much you’d like to bet and how many paylines to use. A payline is the combination of symbols that results in a win. You can increase the number of paylines to increase the chance of winning but you’ll also increase your stake. Usually, there’ll be a “Max Bet” button to select all paylines at once.
- Step 4 – Click the “Spin” button to spin the reels and play the game. If you win the game will show you how much you won and sometimes will offer the chance at a bonus game to win bigger prizes. Keep spinning as much as you want, but remember to keep an eye on your bankroll.
In-game slot bonuses
Some online slot games will feature special bonuses and other features. These might be confusing at first but once you understand them they help to make the games more exciting and fun to play.
Here are a few different bonuses that you might encounter whilst play online slotsWilds are symbols which act as a substitute for other symbols to help you win. For example, if you need five 7 symbols but get four 7 symbols and a wild, you’d still win.
- Stacked Wilds – These wilds can stack up, potentially covering the entire reel and increasing your chances of winning.
- Expanding Wilds – Expanding wilds will expand and substitute multiple symbols across the reel and hopefully help you to win big.
- Sticky Wilds – Sticky wilds will stay in place for several spins. They can help to increase the odds of you winning for multiple spins.
- Scatters – A scatter can unlock special features such as free spins, bonus rounds, and even mini-games. These all give you the chance to win more prizes.
- Multipliers – Multipliers are everyone’s favorite, if you get these in a winning spin you can massively increase your winnings. Some games even have the chance to stack multipliers, giving you the potential of winning huge prizes.
Online slot terminology
Online slots may seem confusing if you’re new to the casino, a lot of that is thanks to the different terminology used. Here is a quick summary of some of the most common terms that slots use:
Reels are the spinning part of the slot game. Of course, slot games online are all computer-controlled, but they’re based on classic games which would use a spinning reel inside the machine. Each vertical moving section of the game is known as a reel, and most modern slots use five reels.
Wilds are a special symbol which are featured in a lot of online slots. These symbols substitute for other paying symbols in the game, helping you land wins.
Scatters are special symbols found in a lot of modern online slots. These symbols will be explained in the rules of the game and usually unlock free spins or other rewards. The exact role of scatters will depend on the game you’re playing, so make sure to familiarise yourself with the rules before you start spinning.
Free spins give you a certain number of spins without needing to pay any of your own money. Your spins will be worth the same amount as the stake you were betting when you were awarded them. Some games offer free spins as part of a bonus round that might also include multipliers. Make sure you read through all the rules before you begin playing.
Return to Player rate. All slot games have to be tested for their RTP rate before being featured on an online casino. It’s a theoretical figure of how much you can expect to win back from playing the game. The higher the figure is the 100% the better, but some games with lower RTP rates pay out bigger prizes. You can easily find this out by looking at the game details on the site.
Volatility is what is used to measure how frequently a game pays out. Games with high volatility pay out less often but with higher prizes. Those with low volatility pay out more frequently, but the prizes are smaller.
This is a special type of jackpot that builds up over time and can be randomly awarded to a player at any point. Some progressive jackpots are shared across multiple casinos and games, meaning that the prize can build up into a massive jackpot.
Which are the best online slots?
There are thousands of different online slots out there, and if you’re just getting into the world of online casinos, it’s difficult to know where to start. At Xfire, we love video slots and have put together a list of our top ten favourite online slots:
This is one of the most popular slot games of all time. Despite being released in 2012, the game is still brilliant fun to play today. Starburst is really simple to play and the expanding wilds really up the excitement.
This is a game with medium volatility, meaning that wins are fairly frequent. Starburst is a great slot to play, especially if you’re a beginner to the world of online slots.
2. Gonzo’s Quest
From top casino software developers NetEnt, Gonzo’s Quest takes players on a journey to El Dorado, the City of Gold. The game is brilliantly designed with each of the symbols baring a unique design.
The game introduces players to avalanche reels, with each win causing more symbols to fall down and leading to chain reactions. Gonzo’s Quest isn’t bursting with special features, but it’s still a fan favourite thanks to its mix of great design and enjoyable gameplay.
3. Mega Fortune
This is a perfect example of a progressive jackpot slot. Known as the millionaire-maker, Mega Fortune regularly pays out massive jackpots of over $1 million. There are three different jackpots up for grabs with each one available to be won at any time.
4. Book of Dead
Ancient Egypt is a popular theme amongst video slots, but Book of Dead was one of the originals. This brilliantly designed game is rated at a high volatility meaning that prizes are rare but can be huge.
Special features such as free spins, wilds and expanding symbols help to increase the wins and the excitement. Book of Dead by Play’n GO is usually one of the most popular games offered at online casinos.
5. Immortal Romance
As a vampire romance themed game, the story might not be for everyone, but this is a deceptively fun game. From developers Microgaming, Immortal Romance features 243 paylines and plenty of unique special features.
The different characters in the game can each unlock a special feature which include free spins, multipliers and special wilds.
6. Mega Moolah
Another great example of a progressive jackpot slot. From developers Microgaming, Mega Moolah is undoubtedly one of the most famous online slots in the world. In 2018, it broke the Guinness World Record for largest slot win as one man won more than $18 million from the mega jackpot.
The game is great fun to play, and the prospect of landing one of the four jackpots on offer makes it incredibly exciting.
7. Vikings Go to Hell
Yggdrasil has a whole series based on their Viking characters. This is one of the best in the series, but if you enjoy it, you should definitely check out the others. You’ll join the angry band of Vikings as they journey into hell to battle demons. It sounds ridiculous, and it is. It’s also ridiculously fun.
There are loads of special features to keep things interesting no matter how many times you’ve played. With a maximum win of 3,000x your stake, there’s a lot of reasons to play.
8. Bonanza Megaways
From Big Time Gaming, Bonanza Megaways isn’t the first Megaways slot, but it’s certainly one of the best. The Megaways genre adds a crazy number of paylines, more than one hundred thousand in fact. On top of that, there are cascading reels, chain reaction wins, free spins and wilds to increase your chances of winning.
9. Jammin Jars
Jammin Jars is perfect for you if you love bright colors and flashing lights. The game is great fun to play, and there’s a maximum payout of 20,000x your stake. Of course, this big winning potential also means that there’s high volatility. Free spins and multiplying wilds add more chances for big wins, and there’s also the unique rainbow feature to look out for.
10. The Sword and the Grail
From Play’n GO, the Sword and the Grail initially looks like a fairly simple game as you first load it up. Once you start playing, however, you’ll soon discover that there are loads of special features to help you land big wins.
As far as medieval-themed slots go, this is one of the best, and the character designs and backdrop are all well thought out.
Best slot game developers
Video slots don’t just spontaneously appear, someone has to invest a lot of time and effort into creating them. There are loads of great casino software developers out there that produce online slots, but some are a cut above the rest.
We’ve made a shortlist of our favourite developers below. These are companies that consistently put out the best games, proving time and again that they’re the best in the business.
NetEnt is almost certainly the best-known developer in the world of online casino games. This company has been producing the best games around since it was first formed over twenty years ago. Rather than stick to the same old tired formula, NetEnt is continually innovating and helping to change the way slots are played.
Slots from NetEnt are usually packed full of exciting features that help enthral players while also giving you the chance to win to big prizes. Some of their best games include big hits like Starburst, Gonzo’s Quest, Jumanji and Planet of the Apes.
Despite only being around since 2013, Yggdrasil has already proven themselves as one of the top slot developers in the industry. The highly successful Vikings series helped to catapult the studio into fame, and since then, the company has continued to create quality titles across all genres.
Yggdrasil slots are always lovingly designed, and you can tell that the studio places a lot of emphasis on great graphics and quality animations. Some of the studios most popular games include Valley of the Gods and Vikings Go to Hell.
Play’n GO have helped revolutionise the online casino industry by popularising mobile slots and helping players all over the world enjoy quality video slots. The studio has a lot of highly volatile games, some of which can award massive jackpots to lucky players.
The games studio has created an impressive library of fun and easy to play video slots. Their best games include titles like Book of Dead, an Ancient Egyptian-themed slot and Hugo Goal, a football-themed game.
Microgaming has been in the business of creating online casino games since 1994. As such, the studio has bundles of experience and has created some of the best games that you’ll find at online casinos today.
Microgaming has a long history of producing some of the best video slots, but the studio still produces hits on a regular basis. Games like Immortal Romance, Love Island and the Terminator combine pop culture themes with brilliant gameplay and big prizes. Microgaming is also famous for creating the progressive jackpot slot, Mega Moolah.
Quickspin is fairly new to the world of online slots, but that hasn’t stopped the studio from having a tremendous impact already. Quickspin has created games such as Spinions Beach Party, Eastern Emeralds and Sticky Bandits.
The company has put a large emphasis on creating games for all types of players, and all of Quickspin’s titles are also optimised for mobile play. In a short space of time, the studio has built an impressive catalogue of top games. Quickspin’s slots are featured at some of the best online casinos around.
Stay up to date at Xfire
At Xfire, we make it our mission to provide players with the latest information, news and insights into the world of online casinos. New games are always being released, and new developments in how we play slots are always just around the corner.
If you’d like to stay up to date with the latest happenings in the world of casinos and online slots, now you can. You can check out the best online slot page and slot reviews to find the latest and most exciting slot games. You can also stay up to date by keeping an eye on our news page. Here we’ll share details of the latest developments in the online casino industry.