Slots games are credited as the most accommodative of all casino games, mainly due to their simple gameplay procedure. Since their invention in the 19th Century, pokies have maintained the same playing process. The only changes apply to the buttons used, the accommodated wagers and the awarded payouts.
While the gameplay is mostly straightforward, it can be a challenging feat for new gamblers who have yet to be exposed to the games. Here is a guide that breaks down the free slots gameplay basics to understand as a new punter.
Understand the odds
It is crucial to know the chances of winning in pokie machines before playing them. Slots are known for having a straightforward gameplay procedure and massive wins. Still, they have some of the worst winning odds compared to other casino games like blackjack and video poker.
The rigid playing process allows little to no room to alter the odds in one’s favour. No skill is accommodated in gameplay.
Additionally, slot winning odds are in favour of the gambling organisation and not the player. These sets have a house edge of anywhere between 1% and 15%. This makes the chances of losing higher than those of winning.
You should not fall for gimmicks which assure players of payouts without risk.
Be mindful of your bankroll
Exploring online slots should always start with establishing the amount of money you are willing to spend. Pokie machines may boast a simple gameplay procedure, but it is fast-paced and lasts up to three seconds only per round. Each round has to be paid for, meaning that the spend amount can grow hugely in a short period.
Accordingly, you should;
- Have a spending limit
Ensure you determine how much you can spend without denting other vital areas of your life. The set amount should be within the bounds of what you can comfortably lose. Treat slot gameplay like entertainment you have to pay for, like a fair ride or a movie ticket. If you happen to collect winnings along the way, good for you. However, if lady luck does not pay a visit and the entire amount is lost, your life will be relatively unaffected.
- Avoid credit cards
Credit cards are widely provided as a cashier channel in online casinos, but you should avoid them at all costs. Using credit cards to fund pokie gameplay means spending money you do not have and encouraging recklessness. These cards run on funds granted by the issuing bank, and not only do they have to be paid back, but they also apply interest.
The last thing you want is to run up debt on a risky venture like slots gambling. Like the United Kingdom, some countries forbid online casinos from accepting credit cards as a banking option. If you are not in such a jurisdiction, take the initiative to limit their use yourself.
- Manage the bets
Once you have a suitable bankroll in mind, determine how much you can spend on each round to maximise the gameplay experience. Set the highest and lowest possible limit you can pay. If you are looking to gamble for a few minutes only or your bankroll is massive, set high stakes. Big bets ensure you get higher values for any combinations or bonus features that are triggered. Consider small stakes if you are working with a low bankroll or you want to gamble for a couple of hours. Although the payout values will be low, playing more spins allows you to exploit more winning chances.
Choose an ideal gambling provider
The online casino you choose plays a significant role in your slot gameplay experience. The continued explosion of the online gambling market increases the available gambling providers. However, do not take your business to the first website you lay eyes on. The internet is saturated with rogue casinos that alter the winning odds unfairly, apply terms that are nearly impossible to meet or limit the withdrawal of funds under unscrupulous claims. The ways to tell the best casinos from such untrustworthy sites include;
- Operating license
A good reputation is everything for a successful online casino, and nothing confirms that as effectively as a valid license from an established institution. Bodies like the UKGC, MGA, AGCC, and AAMS Italy are considered the best. These firms have stringent rules in place that ensure their licensees abide by high fairness and safety standards.
These license stamps are often located at the bottom of casino pages or in the “Terms and Conditions” sections. Seals of approval from independent firms like eCOGRA, GLI, and iTech Labs also go a long way in verifying a gambling provider’s services.
- Security measures
The virtual nature of online casinos makes them high-risk targets by hackers and fraudsters. Since these sites demand personal information during account registration and money transactions, they present the risk of financial and identity theft. Ideal gambling clubs have security measures like the latest SSL encryption to keep out unauthorised parties. Also, each player gets a PIN-secured account that is accessible to them only.
- Partnered game studios
Casinos may be the source of slot entertainment, but they do not specialise in their creation. Instead, they purchase games from online gaming software developers. Each slot provider uses a unique approach to game development, some excelling at the craft better than others. Choose gaming sites that blend products from game studios that are masters in the art. NetEnt, Play’n Go, Microgaming, Playtech, Red Tiger Gaming, and Yggdrasil Gaming are among the leading firms in slot development.
- Slots collection
The best gaming sites have a vast collection of slots to meet most gambling needs and offer enough room for exploration. Some websites feature pokies in the hundreds or thousands placed in different categories depending on their themes, features, popularity, and other elements.
- Demo and cash slots
Choose an online casino that offers free and real money slot versions. The demo slots come in handy for those sessions when you are not looking to spend any cash but want to enjoy the playing thrill. The real money games demand cash bets, but they offer a chance at withdrawable payouts. Both pokie versions are the same in every way aside from the credits used to activate gameplay.
- Payment methods
Single out gaming sites that support cashier channels available in your respective jurisdiction. The banking options should be trustworthy and effective in conducting deposits and withdrawals. The best ones include Visa, Neteller, Mastercard, Skrill, Trustly, and Paysafecard.
- Site or app usability
A poorly designed website can make it challenging to conduct slot gameplay, even if it has the best of the lot. The selected gaming site or application should feature a smooth design that makes it easy for even newbies to move from one section to another.
You can gauge the experience to expect from a casino by reading its reviews from players and professional websites. Consider unbiased reviews that are honest with the good and the bad. An example would be theslotbuzz.com, which only promotes brands with valid UK licenses, and go in depth with their reviews to help you find the best slot sites.
Select the best slot
Look through the slots catalogue in your selected casino to single out the perfect one suited to your demands. Here are elements that can be used to tell them apart:
- Entertainment value
Slot developers design the sets around different themes that make them about more than just spinning reels and expecting winnings. Some of these themes take complex routes that unfold as gameplay continues. Others only scratch the surface and display the themes with their visuals only. Select a game depending on whether you are looking for intense, fun-filled sessions or relaxed gameplay that is not too flashy.
- Betting limits
Ensure that the chosen pokie machine accommodates the betting limits that you set when determining the ideal bankroll. Some slots cater to low rollers by accepting stakes as low as a penny, while others allow high rollers to use wagers up to $5,000 per round.
- Symbol winnings
Slots mainly provide payouts through character combinations formed over win ways or paylines. Check the paytable to confirm whether the slotted wins are worth the betting risks.
- Accompanying bonuses
Slot machines accompany combo payouts with bonus features that boost the awarded values. Select games with a wide range of features offering great winning potential. These bonuses can appear as free spins, wilds, special wilds, multipliers, scatters, gamble games, picking rounds, and jackpots.
- Payout metrics
Slot winnings are unpredictable, but payout metrics project the theoretical returns expected in the long run. The most common one is the RTP, which tells the hypothetical percentage of bets expected in long-term wins. The best pokies have an RTP of 96% and higher. Volatility is another popular metric, and it tells the amount and intervals to expect. Low variance pokies have a high chance of awarding small winnings regularly, while high variance sets gift significant payout between long losing rounds.
Practice using demo games
Free slots can serve as more than just a way to avoid spending cash while enjoying the gameplay. These sets also come in handy when choosing an ideal game before settling on the one to spend actual cash in. Demo sets are fitted with fun credits that serve as stakes.
The fake coins abide by the same betting and winning limits as the real money version, offering a clear picture of what to expect once real money gameplay commences. Free pokies also provide a taste of the payout metrics’ accuracy if you track the winnings for an extended period.
Take up available bonuses
Bonus provision is a significant part of online casino culture and works to charm punters. The widespread popularity of pokies makes them the most targeted recipients of these incentives. Some of the boons are explicitly provided to use in the games, while in others, they have the highest clearance rate. Popular boons to exploit include;
- Free spins – play slots for a specified number of rounds without charging the punter and offer a chance at winnings
- Match promotions – meets the deposits made by the stated percentage up to a certain amount
- Cashbacks – gift back a percentage of gambled funds, especially those that result in losses
- Loyalty clubs – grant rewards for regular business and are often tracked using point systems that can be used to climb a VIP ladder
- Tournaments – run competitions where the finishing players get real money prizes
Place your bet
Launch the selected bet and set the gameplay in motion using deposits or claimed incentives. The process is mostly similar in most games, requiring choosing a stake and spinning of reels only. The steps breakdown can differ from one title to another, but they all fall within the following path:
- Choose the bet lines to remain active if they are adjustable – it is advisable to use all win lines to assess more of the grid for winning combinations
- Select the credit value to use per coin and the number of coins to go on each bet line
- Select the spin button
- Use autoplay instead – this feature can support a preselected number of spins or run infinitely until the halt button is clicked
- Let the icons settle to reveal a new set that hopefully triggers valuable combinations or bonus features
- Repeat the procedure until the funds set aside run out or you achieve your set winning goals
The bottom line
Getting the upper hand over the house using slot games is challenging but not impossible. When you are lucky enough to end up with more money than you started with, put away the surplus before continuing with gameplay. That way, even if you lose everything afterward, you might still walk away with a bigger bankroll than when gameplay commenced.