How to play slots may seem simple enough. Press to spin and wait to see where your luck takes you. Slots are among the most popular online casino games that there are, with literally hundreds of different titles to play and numerous ways to win.

When it comes to really knowing how to play slots, do you know your wild from your scatter symbol? Do you know your paylines from your multipliers and the importance of RTP? As a newcomer, it can all seem a little overwhelming. Let’s see if we can make it all a bit clearer.

Slot games can sometimes appear daunting to new players, but they are really easy to get to grips with regardless of whether you’re playing for free or with real money. Here are five steps outlining how to play slots.

Step 1

Choose your preferred online slot game and fire it up on your chosen device – the best ones are available on mobile, desktop and tablet. Your screen will fill up with the reels of your slot and operating buttons such as ‘spin’ and ‘max bet’, with the bankroll down in the corner.

Step 2

Check the paytable. This shows you exactly how much you can win depending on the size of your bet, along with your minimum and maximum stake options. Here you can also check a game’s bonus features, such as scatters, wilds and multipliers, to see if there are any other ways to boost your winnings. Knowing how much each symbol is worth allows you to know which ones to look out for.

Step 3

Next you set your coin size and number of coins per line. In most slot games, players bet with virtual coins that carry an actual currency value. Some games set the value for you while others allow you to do this yourself, providing extra flexibility for how you use your bankroll. Always be careful when setting stakes so you don’t fly through your bankroll in just a few spins.

Step 4

Now you will select your paylines. Most slots offer multiple paylines, with some ranging from ten to hundreds. Remember that the more paylines you bet on, the more you will wager, so be careful to play within your budget or you risk blowing your cash too quickly.

Step 5

Finally it’s time to hit spin! Once you are happy with your wager, go for it and you’ll know if you do strike it lucky as a message will flash up on screen along with some music. If you’re playing for real money you’ll have the winnings credited to your balance straight away. You can keep hitting spin for as long as you have a real money balance and you can exit the game at any time between spins.

Types of slot

Before looking at exactly how to play slots, it is worth knowing that there are different types of slot games. Even though there are literally hundreds of slots available, they generally fall into six types:

• Classic 3 reel slots
• 5 and 7 reel slots
• Progressive jackpot slots
• Megaways slots
Mobile slots
• Mega spin slots

Classic 3 reel slots are simple to play and resemble the game machines that you would find in land-based casinos. Generally, these tend to have 3 reels and 5 pay lines. You match the symbols across the lines to win.

5 and 7 reel slots are an extension of the classic 3 reel slots with an increase in the number of possible pay lines.

Progressive jackpot slots work by adding a small amount of money to the jackpot every time a player doesn’t win. The moment that a player does win, the jackpot resets and, the build-up starts again.

Megaway slots contain a random reel modifier that adds an increased number of symbols to a reel when it appears. This increases the number of ways a player can win.

Mobile slots are designed for specifically playing on mobile devices such as tablets and mobile phones. These are optimised for smaller screens and allow players easy access to enjoy online slots.


For you to know how to play slots, you need to know what you actually need to do to win. A payline is also sometimes referred to as a betting line. A combination of symbols on that line leads to a win. With the traditional fruit machines in physical casinos, there used to be only one pay line. Matching 3 symbols on this would’ve led to a win.

Most online slots now have between 3 and 30 paylines. Having this many increases your chances of winning. Rather than just running in a straight line, these paylines on online slots can run straight, diagonal, and even zigzag across the reel. The winning symbols do not necessarily have to be next to each other for you to win.

Now you know that you have to match symbols across paylines, the next part in knowing how to play slots is to understand the symbols.

Wild symbols

In short, wild symbols are anything that you want them to be. These are great to see as they can fill in for any other symbol that you may be missing. Let’s say that you have 2 identical symbols. The wild symbol can act as the third to give you a winning payline.

Wild symbols do carry some restrictions. They can’t be used as a replacement for Scatter symbols or free spins. But what are Scatter symbols? To know how to play slots, that’s the next part that you’re going to need to learn.

Scatter symbols

If you already know how to play slots, then you’ll already know that scatter symbols are your best friend. These symbols only mean good things for slot players.

When Scatter symbols appear, you get rewarded. These rewards can be bonus features, coins, or free spins. Usually, the symbol will have to appear a set number of times before any prizes are activated, but this varies from slot to slot and can easily be found in the game’s rules.

Another feature that Scatter symbols can unlock are multipliers. If you want to know how to play slots, you’re going to need to know how multipliers work.


Perhaps unsurprisingly, multipliers will multiply your payout. The value of a multiplier can vary. These will usually start at 2x but can go as high as 25x. A multiplier symbol appearing on your reel can only be good news as these symbols are what can lead to some big wins.

Understanding some of these symbols takes you some way to understanding how to play slots. Next is to understand your chances of winning.


In knowing how to play slots, it is important to understand Return to Player (RTP). Each slot will have its own RTP that is displayed as a percentage. The higher the RTP, the better for you.

The RTP is exactly what it says; it is the amount that is returned to a player. For example, if a slot had 98% RTP, it means that the slot will pay back 98% of what is wagered, with the casino retaining 2%.

To understand how this works when learning how to play slots, it is important to realise that the RTP is per game and not per player or session.

Hit frequency

Understanding RTP is an important part of knowing how to play slots. The hit frequency is another factor that is important to understand.

The hit frequency is displayed as a percentage and lets you know how often a slot will land on a winning combination. If a slot has a hit frequency of 25%, this means that it will land on a win 1 out of every 4 spins.

Can I boost my chances of winning?

When you understand how to play slots, you will realise that there is no way to boost your chances of winning. Every slot game runs from a Random Number Generator (RNG). The RNG works in such a way that there is no predicting what will land next on a spin. Although understanding RTP and hit frequency can let you know your chances of winning, there is nothing that you can do yourself to improve these chances.