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How to Play Slots: The Guide to Winning at Slot Machines

Slot machine games are here to stay. People play them more and more every day, as a quick way to win some quick money. In addition, they are a popular activity at bars and arcades because they are easy to play – all you have to do is pull the lever. 

Unlike the game Blackjack, Slots require no skill at all, and the main goal is to get the symbols on the reels to fall in a perfect line to win a payout. So all you need is just sheer good luck!

On top of the marketing campaigns run by casinos to further popularise it, people generally make a beeline for the slot machines because it is the easiest game to play.

Developers of online slots have also improved over the years with graphics that are eye-catching and in high definition, making them look just like real slot machines.

After all, the ultimate result is to entice more people to spend time and money at their establishments. Once they are hooked, they will keep coming back for more. 

It is also so convenient now that slots have gone online because it means anyone with an online casino account can enjoy the game from home. 

slot machine

Components of Slot Machine

Although slots require little to no skills, it is still beneficial to have a rough understanding of how slot machines work. There are a couple of components that make up the slot machine, so let’s break it down so that it can be explained further: 

  • The coin slot is where you put coins or pennies into the machine. The slot machine should reflect the amount you’ve put in, and whatever your amount will determine whether your bet is low or high.
  • The handle or level is what you pull to spin the reels on a slot machine.
  • The reels – these are the three to five wheels that hold pictures on a spinning display. Each reel displays only one symbol at a time, but when they stop spinning, an individual character appears together on each of the reels based upon the instant it stops. The more identical symbols that appear consecutively on activated pay-lines, the more coins you win. Once again, though, some modern machines have multiple pay-lines etched into each reel, and numbers can move from left to right across them as part of their animation.
  • The lever is usually on the left-hand side of the machine and pulls towards you; this causes the reels to spin. The casino also uses it to make sure that you have paid and isn’t cheating; they’ll pull it themselves, and if nothing happens, they know that there are no credits left on your account and you can’t play anymore.
  • The buttons – these let you choose how many coins you would like to bet or activate pay-lines. For example, three coins will ensure maximum chance since you’ll be playing with three pay-lines.
  • The screen – displays various symbols and when the reel starts and stops spinning – sometimes followed by a bonus round. There’s always an animation that will pop up each time you win to cheer you on.
playing slot

Basic Steps to Play Slot Machines

1. Insert coins into the slot machine and hit the lever to activate the game

If you are playing with coins, you’ll want to insert the coins slot to begin.

Use the coin slot to deposit one or more coins into the machine. If it’s a multi-coin game, then you might need to select how many lines you want to bet on and hit ‘Spin.’

Slots usually have three spinning reels that spin when activated by pressing down on the lever/button or pressing play on online slots. You can press “Spin” for each reel or press ‘Start’ to automatically activate all three reels at once.

Hit stop when you feel like your slots combination is good enough for a payout. You will see fruit, numbers, other objects, or just simple bars on these reels.

2. Learn the different winning combinations

The first thing you need to know is that different winning combinations result in different payouts. For example,  two oranges pay $10, three grapes pay $100, whereas four watermelons pay $500.

Some slot machines have a paytable that you can refer to determine how much money you could win if your combination hits. If there were no paytable next to the machine, you would have to use trial and error–trying different combinations until you win something.

3. Let it play out or hit stop

You have the option to let the slot machine stop spinning on its own until it comes up with a random combination, or you can always hit the spin button again.

After several rounds, you might notice a particular symbol/number/picture disappear even though it’s part of a winning combination. When this happens, you might have to wait for a couple of spins for them to return. But they do come back; you just have to be patient. 

Everything else is quite self-explanatory: if you want to stop the play, then just hit stop. You can also press the ‘Cash Out’ button when you are ready to cash out or just before you hit the cash-out limit, or you might lose your money.

4. Press the ‘Cash Out’ button to get your payout. 

You’ll always be able to see the meter on the top/bottom of the screen to see how much you have won. The bottom right-hand corner shows your total credits and coins. Here, you can press this to play another game or hit ‘Cash Out.’

You can cash out anytime after hitting a winning combination. You should also cash out and move on to another machine if there are no high-paying symbols on the reels so that you do not waste time.

Slot Machine Paylines

A pay line is the string of connected icons across the reels that form winning combinations that match the paytable. The number of symbols in a line determines how many coins you can win per coin played

For example, if you bet one credit per line and have four lines active, you will play four times this number for each spin since there are four lines. Players can choose from single-line to 50-lines or more depending on the machine they are playing.

Typically all slot machines have multiple pay lines running parallel across the reels. This includes some older-style slot machines and many video poker variations. 

All winning combinations must run from left to right per pay line with multiple lines in the play. The only exception is the 5 Line Mystery, where each winning combination must start at the leftmost reel, with up to 3 additional wilds added to the mix.

slot game symbols

Understanding How to Play Slot Machines – Game Symbols

Essentially there are only five common slot symbols on conventional slots and video slots that you should know: Wild, Multiplier, Scatter, Bonus and Standard symbols. They are there to ensure that you have fun while gambling and so that players would want to keep repeatedly playing because of the extra perks.

📌 Wild Slot Machine Game Symbols

Wild symbols and wild slot machine game symbols act as wild cards and can be substituted by any other symbol to complete winning combinations. In addition, they help players win more by filling in for missing symbols on paylines, which essentially increases your chances of winning the jackpot in slot games.

📌 Multiplier Symbols

As their name suggests, Multiplier symbols enable players to multiply whatever amount of money they get on their winning paylines. They are extremely addictive because players can reap from both payouts with more than two multiplier symbols on winning paylines. 

📌 Scatter Symbols

Scatter Symbols are fun because you only need two to bag in the prizes and the best part about it is that they do not need to be on the payline for you to win. They are also extremely useful if you are playing slots that have more than three reels. But the best part is that Scatter symbols can trigger the bonus game feature, plus they are also one of the high paying symbols available in video slots. 

📌 Bonus Symbols 

Bonus symbols can also appear from time to time, and they trigger free bonus games or automatic spins depending on how many you get anywhere across the reels during a spin. How Bonus symbols start the bonus game feature varies from slot to slot. Some even require players to activate the maximum coins payline; therefore, it is best to check the paytable before playing to understand better how to trigger the bonus rounds. 

📌 Standard Symbols

Last but not least are all the standard symbols that you see on the reels. These can be combined with lower value symbols for higher payouts. Occasionally you will also see traditional symbols like watermelon, lemon, and cherry combinations on some of the video slots today. 

The only difference is that not all new slots come with three reels. Sometimes, you can see up to five reels on offer. This makes the gap between each symbol more significant, which also helps players get better chances at landing winning combinations. 

Always be on the lookout for the symbol number 7 because it is one of the best paying symbols you could get on a spin

5 reel slot

Understanding Slot Machine Bonus Rounds

Bonus rounds are what most players aspire to achieve because there are extra prizes to be won. Many who gravitate to slots are attracted to the idea of winning by sheer luck. The special screen and blaring dramatic sounds when you win is also a proud moment to behold. 

Bonus rounds are random occurrences during slot play and may take various forms. The frequency of bonus rounds is controlled by the overall payout percentage of each game. This overall payout percentage is set and cannot be changed.

Here are some of the popular types of bonus rounds you might encounter when playing online or in land-based casino slots:

5 Reel Slots 

The five-reel slots bonus round usually involves navigating a maze for a chance to get rich quickly. However, you can also find five-reel slots games that offer up free spins instead of a maze bonus, so keep your eyes peeled for both opportunities if you want to try out this type of slot machine.

4 Reel Slots 

This slot machine bonus round is similar to the maze-style one above but with fewer reels and more straightforward gameplay. But, of course, you’ll still try to navigate your way around a grid or screen to win big.

3 Reel Slots 

This type of game involves picking three objects that all have hidden monetary values. Unfortunately, the chance to advance within this bonus round is random, so you may want to grit your teeth and wait it out until you can find an opportunity worth trading for large money prizes.

2 Reel Slots 

Many slots now offer bonus rounds that allow you to trade up after receiving two matching symbols on any given payline. However, some games only involve the two-reel slots bonus round, so check your game before you bet to make sure.

1 Reel Slots

This bonus round is similar to the one above, except it only offers one reel slot. So again, check if there are any multipliers or other advantages which come with this kind of slot machine game because they can extend your chances of cashing in big time when chasing wins in these types of games.

Bonus Slot Machine Games

Some online slot machines do away with all the typical gameplay and offer different kinds of bonuses for incoming players. 

These usually involve spinning a wheel to win money prizes instantly, but since the odds for landing on something good are random, these games can quickly turn into a money pit if you don’t manage your bankroll right.

Casino Slot Machine Bonus Rounds 

This type is slightly different from the others in that it doesn’t involve any actual gameplay. Instead, you’ll see one of several kinds of slot machine bonus rounds that appear after hitting a certain number of spins with no wins. 

These may include free spins or coins, additional paylines added to all reels, or even “no risk” versions of existing games where you can keep playing without paying any real money for your bets!

Winning slot game

Secrets of Winning at Slot Machines

Winning at slot machines can get challenging. You might start off losing more than intended, so be sure to gamble responsibly. Despite saying that slots require no skills, here are some tips and trade secrets to increase your chance of winning:

✅ Check your budget first.

Most people who play online slot machine games do not limit how much money they can spend while playing. This is especially true when they are losing money at the beginning stages itself. 

There should always be a limit on how much money you can spend while knowing there will always be a next time! If you do not set up a budget initially, then games may start to become addictive.

✅ Do not let your emotions make decisions for you.

You should always be in control of your emotions when playing slot machine games or any other game for that matter. Symbols are generated randomly, and in a way, everyone has an equal shot at winning. 

There’s no way anyone can ever guess what will come on the screen next. So even if you’ve just cashed out on a handsome sum after landing a triple 7, there is a chance those lucky numbers may appear again. Remember, it is a game of chance and good luck, but at the same time, it is good to look at things rationally and know where you stand before deciding to play on or change to another slot machine.

✅ Know when to quit!

This is very important as sometimes people tend to play slot machine games for a long time just because they have been lucky at the beginning stages of the game itself. 

If this person does not stop and keeps on spending money, the chances are that he will surely lose everything at a later stage. There is no way to tell when luck would change, and one should really stop before running out of money. This would never happen if the player sets a budget or limit the funds put in place in the first place. 

There is no point in continuing if you know there is no way to win back the money loss or recover what you won earlier. In such cases, it’s best to call it quits.

You can take a break from it all for a while before heading back into the fray once again. Who knows, maybe a break is what you need to have lady luck on your side again.

How to Play Slot Machines for Dummies – Common Questions

How are slot machines programmed?

Random number generators(RNG) control determines slots payout, and every slot machine would have one attached. What it does is generate a random number for every reel spin.

Are slot machines rigged?

No. All slot machines have been tested, regulated, and approved by gaming commissions. Each machine is tested at least once a month for accuracy. The same goes for developers of video slots. The results are checked against a second independent testing company before being sent back to the casinos or allowed to operate.

What is a progressive jackpot?

Progressive jackpots require players to wager a certain amount before they can access the prize money. When more bets are placed, the higher the amount in progressive jackpot climbs. Once it reaches a set amount, a winning spin would determine who wins all of that money.

Progressive jackpots bets typically start small, and the amount would grow over time as more and more people continue to place new bets. As with many things in life, you must be in it to win it. Progressive jackpots are great for those who want to win it big. The winner could be anyone; you never know your lucky day might come.

What are free spins bonuses?

A free spins bonus is a marketing tool that online casinos use to attract players. The player receives several free spins or access to a specific game as an incentive for signing up at the casino and making a deposit. You can consider it as a risk-free way to win some money without actually using any of your hard-earned cash.

Usually, you can find these free spins in the promotions tab of most online casinos. Upon signing up, the free spins will be added on right away, and there will be no need to contact customer service to request it. You may checkout the top 6 mobile slot game in Malaysia to signup and claim these free rewards immediately!

However, this is highly dependent on the promotion being offered. Some may require you to fulfil some wagering requirements, or you might need to have some winnings before you can unlock the free spins.

Thus, unlike basic strategy, which lets you maximize your potential returns with perfect play, free spins are totally random and by chance. There’s always that small window of opportunity to win some big returns. Just make sure you always read up on the fine print before you proceed.


If you are new to gambling on slot machine games, this beginner’s guide will help by providing some crucial pointers. 

Every casino game comes with instructions that will tell you how to play it and what you can do in the game itself. Slot machines are pretty straightforward and user-friendly, so there is just the paytable to look at so that you know what to aim for. 

If you have further questions, you can always ask a casino representative or get in touch with the online casino’s customer service rep, as their services are available around the clock.

All you need to remember is that slot machine games generally come in three reels, and the main aim is to line up three or more symbols from left to right. If you remember this, you’ll be in for the win. 

Even if there are different variations to slots, all players need to place their bet first before they can spin. 

Some machines may also offer special features and bonus rounds that reward even bigger payouts for consecutive combinations depending on the game. Remember to take advantage of any free spins available in the promotions tab. If you would rather let lady luck take the reigns, or if you need to take a break, you can always place your bets, select “autoplay”, and let fate take over.

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