Taking those first steps into the world of online casino slots can be daunting.
You enter with the intention of having some fun – and, no doubt, landing some nice wins along the way – before you’re suddenly bombarded with strange slot lingo and gibberish like ‘Wilds’ and ‘Scatters’, ‘paylines’ and ‘progressives’. . . and who’s ever heard of ‘wagering requirements’ before?
Take a deep breath and don’t sweat it. We’re taking things right back to basics, with a breakdown of the top slot terms and a list of slot sites every player should have in their arsenal.
The fundamental concept behind every slot machine is spinning. You spin to try and land yourself a win. It’s (pretty much) that simple.
Reels are the vertical columns of symbols that spin when you play. Think of an old-school fruit machine in a pub or casino.
Reels are the mechanical wheels inside the machine that present a row of symbols. With online slots, it’s the same idea – you just get a computer-generated version.
Being digitised also means online slot reels can do some snazzy things other than just spin.
‘Cascading Reels’, ‘Tumbling Reels’, or ‘Exploding Reels’ are special features to look out for; these basically involve winning symbols (surprise, surprise) cascading, tumbling or exploding away, to be replaced by new symbols and another chance to win.
Think of it like an extra spin for the price of one.
What Is A Cascading Reel?
When you spin the reels of a slot with a cascading reel feature, the symbols that form winning combinations disappear or “cascade” from the screen.
As they disappear, new symbols fall from above or appear from the sides to fill the empty spaces left by the disappearing symbols. This creates a cascading effect, hence the name.
The cascading reels mechanic often comes with additional features. One common feature is the “chain reaction” or “avalanche” effect.
After the symbols cascade and new ones fill the empty spaces, if new winning combinations are formed, the process repeats. This can lead to multiple consecutive wins from a single spin, increasing your overall payout.
Cascading reels can also be accompanied by multipliers. Each consecutive cascade or chain reaction can increase the multiplier value, boosting your winnings even further.
For example, a 2x multiplier may be applied to the first cascade, a 3x multiplier to the second cascade, and so on.
Now we’ve covered spinning, let’s talk winning.
Pay-lines are the lines on the reels where you’ll win a cash payout if a winning combination of symbols appears. If we think back to that old pub fruit machine again, there was just a single pay-line running across the 3 reels.
Once more, going digital means online slots have got a whole lot snazzier. You’ll now find games that can generate anything from 15 to a mind-boggling 100 pay-lines.
And they don’t just go in straight lines anymore. You’ll find a mix of vertical, horizontal, zig-zaggy and wonky ones.
Pay-lines can also be fixed or adjustable. With the latter, you have control over how many pay-lines are active in the game to suit how much you want to wager per spin.
Base Game and Bonus Game
The Base Game is the main game. It’s the slot’s general feel and style.
Whilst it’s all fun spinning in the base game, bonus games are the special feature modes that add some extra excitement to your play – and boost winning potential!
Common bonuses include Free Games features or fun Pick and Click bonus rounds.
As the slot market’s a crowded one, new slots are often developed with lucrative new bonuses – so it often pays to check out the latest releases.
When you hear the word ‘Jackpot’, you know we’re talking big bucks. Slots boasting a progressive jackpot have a fund attached which gets added to each time a player bets.
The jackpot fund keeps getting bigger and bigger until a lucky player comes along and strikes a serious win – we’re talking a life-changing, seven-figure, headline-worthy, OMG cash prize!
But be warned. Whilst the size of potential wins with these games are higher, they tend to pay-out less often.
You’ve probably heard of playing a wild card before. Wild symbols in slot games work with the same idea. They substitute for other symbols to form part of a winning combination.
The only symbols which can’t be replaced by Wilds are Scatters. . .
When you start playing slots, you’ll make fast friends with these babies. Scatter symbols don’t have to appear in paylines to do awesome things.
They can pop up anywhere on the reels to land you an instant win or unlock bonus features. The exact benefits of Scatters vary from slot to slot, so read up on the rules before you play to find out what perks you can expect.
Okay, we’ll admit it. We weren’t big fans of maths at school either. But this is some multiplication that’s simple (and pays!) to get your head around.
What’s better than a win? A win which has been multiplied, of course. Land a 2x Multiplier? Your win gets doubled. Land a 3x Multiplier? You win gets trebled. 4x? Quadrupled. . . And so on and so forth.
Who doesn’t love a freebie? Free Spins are, quite literally, exactly what they say on the tin – spins that are free.
‘How do you get your mitts on them?’ you ask.
You’ll often get Free Spins as part of the promotions run by online casinos.
Free Spins can also be awarded with ‘Free Games’ bonuses or with special ‘Free Spin Features’ within slot games themselves.
TO DISCOVER A GENEROUS WELCOME OFFER
So you’ve bagged yourself some Free Spins (woo!), and all of a sudden – what’s this? You catch the term ‘wagering requirements’ in the small print.
This refers to the number of times you need to wager your winnings before you can withdraw them.
Let’s say you win playing with Free Spins which come with 35x wagering requirements on winnings. You’ll have to wager those winning 35 times before you can withdraw what you’ve won.
So, there you have it. Get these slot lingo terms nailed.