Online slots are quickly becoming one of the most popular games to play online. Much like real slots, these games are really simple to play and offer the chance to win money. However, you are risking your own money when you play, and therefore, not understanding how they work can have consequences. Luckily, they’re fairly straightforward to understand, and even though there are thousands of different slots, they all work in the same way.
The Basics of Online Slots
When you choose an online slot and load up the game, you’ll be faced with the grid. This is made up of reels (vertical) and rows (horizontal). The number of reels and rows the game has will depend on the game, but these will always display symbols. The aim of the game is to match symbols across paylines or in clusters. Different symbols will pay at different rates, which you can check on the paytable. The higher-paying symbols appear less frequently but will generally award bigger prizes.
Before you start playing, you can read through the rules and paytable, including information on paylines and bonuses. You may also want to adjust your stake. Most games have minimum and maximum stakes, and it’s easy to change this before pressing spin. The newest online casinos will usually let you play for free in demo mode too.
Hitting the spin button will cause the reels to turn and new symbols to appear across the grid. Each time you press spin, you’re betting your stake and hoping that you land matching symbols to payout. The outcome of each spin is determined by a random number generator (RNG). The RNG activates each time you press the spin button. While the numbers it generates are hidden, they correspond to what happens on the reels. The game’s software uses this random number to calculate which symbols appear and how much the potential win is.
Online slots don’t work in cycles or run hot and cold. Every single time you press spin, the RNG calculates a new number that’s in no way affected by the last. This ensures that the game is completely random each time and that it’s fair to play. Licensed online casinos have to prove that their games are random and fair.
House Edge and RTP
Like all casino games, online slots are programmed in favor of the casino. It’s possible to win money, and some slots can offer jackpots worth millions. However, the house edge means that over time, you’re more likely to lose. This is indicated by the return to player (RTP) rate. You can view the RTP rate of any game before you play, and most slots have this somewhere between 95% and 98%.
The RTP is a mathematical calculation of how much you could win back from a slot when playing over a very long period of time. For a game with an RTP rate of 95%, you could expect to win back $95 when betting $100 over many spins. However, in the short term, you could win more or lose more. This is known as variance or volatility.
Slots that have high variance payout less often but offer bigger wins. Those with low variance are the opposite, meaning you win more often, but the payouts are generally smaller. If you’re playing high variance slots, you should be prepared for long streaks without wins, so a higher bankroll is usually required.