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With thousands of slot games available online, it makes little sense to waste away your bankroll at games that do not fully meet your needs and expectations. Endlessly throwing cash at slots using a trial and error approach can be costly.

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Confused by the Slots? Know the Types Available to Find the Right One

Slots are hugely popular casino games found in almost every land-based and online casino. They’re fun and easy to play, plus they have lots of different variations in payout pots, themes and features. With many thousands available online, and new ones coming out on a daily basis there is a slot that will appeal to every type of playing preference. Here’s a guide to some of the different types of slots you will come across at the casino and the key features that set them apart.

Classic Slots

Though many prefer the more advanced graphics and bonus features found in video slots, there are still some - especially the older generation who grew up playing these games - who enjoy the experience of playing classic slot machines or 3 Reel Slots. Many online casinos cater for these preferences by offering classic slots. These are video slots that mimic the mechanical style slot machines by recreating the look, feel, and playing style of the original slot games. There’s no real lever to pull, of course, but everything else about the slot machines is replicated when playing online. These classic slots typically have just three reels (though some can have as many as five), and there’s a distinct lack of bonus features. The symbols are more often than not different types of fruit symbols. As for payouts, these games don’t tend to pay out too often, though when they do, payouts can be quite large. This is one of the reasons why they’ve remained popular despite the many advances made in slot game design in recent years. Many players also prefer the more straightforward gameplay they offer - a lot of modern video slots have loads of different features and bonuses, which can be confusing to the average player. With classic slots, everything is kept very simple, and players have an easy to understand payout table of what they need to get to win the big prizes.

Fruit Machine Slots

The term ‘fruit machine’ is of British origin which refers to the classic slot games which used fruit symbols on the playing reels. These kinds of slots were (and in many cases still are) typically found in entertainment venues, pubs, clubs, land-based casinos and the like in the real world. They originated in the US towards the end of the 19th century and instantly became popular. When you played one of them, you stood a chance to win a prize, which back in the early days of slot machines were things like chewing gum and small fruity sweets. These prizes paid in days gone by are the reason why slot machines usually featured various pieces of fruit as symbols - apples, oranges, cherries and watermelons, for example. They’re also where the term ‘fruit machine’ originated. Read more about Fruit Machines Player Strategy

These slot machines, back in the days of the mechanical slot, had a lever sticking out of the side. You would pull this lever to spin the reels. Back then, these machines usually had just three rows of three reels, with a total of nine symbols appearing on the one. Due to technological limitations, these machines were quite simple and didn’t have the many bonus features found on the modern slot games of today. Later on, the lever was replaced with a button players could press. Though the button is a lot more convenient for many, most of today’s physical slot machines found in land-based casinos still have a lever as a sort of legacy feature alongside the button. 

One Armed Bandits

Another name for these slot machines with a mechanical lever was ‘one-armed bandit’. This name came about because it was very common for players to spend a lot of money on these types of slot machines without seeing any substantial wins. Of course, games like these are designed to favour the house (i.e. the place or venue that owns the game), so chances are if you play one of them, you’re going to end up losing money. One Armed Bandits were very cheap to play, typically requiring a small value coin and very easy to play. To win, a player needs only to match a line of symbols.

Video Slots

For many decades, players were content with playing slot machines in land-based venues. Once the internet come of age, it wasn’t long before online casinos started appearing bringing a software-based version of the slot with it. The developers of these games were able to make them much more advanced than their physical land-based counterparts. For example, they could give online slots more much immersive graphics and sound effects, along with exciting new features such as bonus rounds. Software-based video slots also provided the opportunity to introduce many more paylines. All of the slots you’ll find at online casinos today are a version of the video slot. These are so-called because they’re video representations of slot machines. There’s no physical button to press or level to pull, nor is there a broad set of actual reels that spin right before your very eyes. Instead, everything about the slot machine is accurately represented on a video screen.

Video slot game technology also gave rise to the networked game, allowing multiple people to play the same game for a more substantial cash jackpot. These types of games became known as progressive jackpot slots. The more players there are, and the more money that is spent, the higher the jackpot prize rises. It has no upper limit and can reach as high as six or even seven figures. Dozens of people have been made millionaires thanks to playing progressive jackpots. Of course, the more people there are playing, the quicker the prize pot will grow. But at the same time, more people playing also translates to mean a smaller chance of winning.

Another point worth covering is paylines. A payline is merely a line across the reels that pays out if you land a winning combination. Classic slots have a minimal number of paylines, whereas video slots tend to have many more, anything between 20 and 30 on average. If you’re going to win from landing a winning combination on a payline, you need to have placed a bet on that particular payline. Bet on all available paylines, and you’ll improve your chances of winning, but this will also cost more. Some video slots do away with paylines entirely and will pay out if you land a winning combination in any line across the reels. You’ll probably come across 243 ways-to-win slots - these are an excellent example of slots without paylines. Form a winning combination with a symbol on each reel, and you’ll win.

Themed Slots

One of the reasons why slots are so popular is because they come in all sorts of themes. Scroll through any casino’s slots library, and you’ll see a diverse range of titles - slots can be themed after pretty much anything, from historical characters and fantasy worlds to sci-fi adventures and superheroes to name but a few categories. Online casinos often have a sizable range of different slots so breaking slots down into different themes helps players to find the niches they want to play. For example, there may be a group of slots themed after animals, another for ones themed after ancient Egypt, and another for those themed after fairy tales. Most slot themes are original; that is to say, they’re based on original stories and concepts. However, there’s a growing trend for slots to be based on pre-existing IPs, such as movies, TV shows, bands, brands and the like. There’s a wide range of games themed after various Marvel characters and films: some examples are Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Wolverine, Thor, and Captain America.

Progressive Jackpots

Did you know that slots have the potential turn people into millionaires? Well, they do. Though before you rush to your favourite casino and start spinning the reels, you need to realise that not every slot is capable of rewarding you with such a big win.

Most slots have a fixed jackpot that’s usually a set multiple of your wager. The higher your bet, the more you stand to win. With progressive jackpots, there’s no limit on how high the money pool can reach. Every time a player places a wager on the slot, a small percentage of that wager goes towards the progressive jackpot. The prize pot will continue to grow until one player is lucky enough to win the big kahuna. The more players there are, and the more they wager, the higher the jackpot will get. Simples! The typical progressive jackpot can reach as high as five, six, or even seven figures before they’re won.

So if you’re itching for that life-changing win, you may well want to try out progressive jackpots, but remember the odds of winning are incredibly low. Progressives tend to attract more players because of the higher cash prize, and more players mean more competition. They also tend to pay out far less frequently than regular, fixed jackpot slots.

There are several different types of the progressive jackpot. The standalone version, which is most commonly found in land-based casinos, is so-called because it’s not linked with or connected to any other game. Only those playing this particular slot contribute to the jackpot, which is often on the modest side. Then you have local progressive slots, otherwise known as in-house or proprietary slots. These are part of a shared network of slots that are both operated and owned by the casino. They usually offer higher payouts than standalone progressive jackpot, though the odds of winning are somewhat lower because more players are contributing to the prize fund. Last but certainly not least is the wide-area progressive jackpot. These are the ones that make millionaires. They’re available at multiple online casinos and have a shared jackpot that players contribute to no matter where they’re playing. Some wide-area progressive jackpots only include a single slot, whereas others have a network of two or more. As you’d expect, the chances of winning one of these game are, to say the least, very slim indeed, especially if it’s an unusually massive jackpot.

There are also some slots that have more than one progressive jackpot. It’s common to see a video slot offer four different progressive jackpots. Each one will be of a different value, and you usually get the chance to win one by activating a bonus feature.

Whenever a progressive jackpot is won, the jackpot total resets either to zero, or a predetermined value, i.e. £1,000. While progressive jackpot games are most commonly associated with the slots, other casino games, such as video poker and roulette, can offer progressive jackpot prizes as well. If you’re playing one of these slots, you usually have to bet the maximum amount per spin to qualify for the progressive jackpot. Whether you are eligible for entry or not, a percentage of your wager will still contribute.

3D Slots

One of the most popular types of slot right now is the 3D slot. As its name suggests, this is merely a standard slot, but with 3D graphics and visuals that make for a much more immersive, engaging, and enjoyable gaming experience. These slots come in a broad range of themes and have rich, vivid stories that are brought to life thanks to the high quality of the 3D graphics. The experience you get with these slots is further enhanced by improved sound effects. You can play 3D slots on a range of devices, including desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets - chances are your device will be fully capable of supporting 3D software and running 3D games. Perhaps the best way to experience one of these slots is by playing on a handheld touchscreen device, such as your smartphone. The reason for this is that most smartphones have an LCD screen that dramatically improves the quality of 3D graphics.