How video slots work? Complete Guide

A core difference between online slots and the physical slot machines is the way players can wager. If there is anything that has improved the popularity of slots, it has to be the adjustable stake. In the physical slot machines, the amount a player could stake was pre-determined and most only accepted coins, tokens, or cash of a specific value and only those could activate the slot.

Today, that has all changed, and as long as you have a balance in the casino account, then you can stake up to that amount. Before playing, you are required to adjust the wager by using the increase and decrease button. In addition to this, every slot has a minimum and a maximum stake amount, determining how much a gambler will spend on each slot game.

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Paylines, Reels, and Symbols

The paylines, reels, and symbols are consistent in both physical slot machines and online video slots. However, classic slot machines are mostly 3-reels. This number gradually increased when video slots were introduced online, and developers started to offer more avant-garde games. In modern video slots, there are 4, 5, and even 6 reel slots although the latter are rare to find in most online casinos.

Once you ascertain the number of reels, then you can confirm the number of paylines. This gives you an insight of just how much you can win by calculating paylines, reels, and the coin value.

The more coins you select (plus paylines), the higher the potential win outcome is. Another factor that influences the win amount is the symbols. Be sure to distinguish between the low-pay and high-pay ones.

Understanding RNGs

The RNG means the Random Number Generator, and it plays a huge part in determining how much you can win. You see, slots are purely random games, which means it is not certain whether you will win or lose after playing a certain number of spins. This is because the RNGs are integrated into the software to ensure that the outcome is completely random.

  • RNG determines the randomness of a slot game
  • RTP determines the payback percentage of a slot game

Understanding RTP

RTP, or Return to Player, describes the theoretical payback percentage of a slot machine game. The term is used by casinos to determine the value a player will receive from all wagers if they land a winning combination during gameplay.

If a slot game has a 96% RTP rate, players are usually expected to receive 96 coins back if they wager 100 coins and win.


Now that you have a clear understanding of RNGs, RTP, reels, paylines, and symbols, it is much easier to start playing. Selecting the number of coins and their value determines your total stake.

Once you have confirmed the value of your stake, you are supposed to click on the play button. If you match symbols or land special ones like Scatters, then you can unlock winning combos and rewards.

Bonus Games and Multipliers

In a 5-reels slot, you are supposed to match 5 symbols to win a maximum amount. Matching low-pay symbols will award you a smaller prize while matching high-value symbols wins you the maximum amount possible on that specific slot.

Special symbols can unlock bonus games or multipliers that can double or triple your wins in the process. There are also different types of jackpots, as elaborated below.


There are two types of jackpots available: progressive jackpots and non-progressive jackpots. Progressive jackpots are available in some games and increase their value with every stake made. This means that if you wager and lose, a fraction of this amount is added to the pot and the jackpot-amount continues to grow. In non-progressive jackpots, the amount is fixed, no matter how many people lose their wagers at any given time.

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