Online Slot Guide | How to Pick a Good Online Slot

Updated: 78419

An online slot guide to help you pick a good slot to play and how to lose less often when playing. Tips for tournaments and prize draws and the perfect combination for....

Online Slot Guide | How to Pick a Good Online Slot

This online casino slot guide will show you how to pick a good slot to play. Depending on what you are looking for in your slot, [other than winning], here are some tips that will help you choose the slot you will enjoy most.

What to look for when picking the best casino site slots:

  1. Regular Wins
  2. Bonus Rounds
  3. Scatter Symbols
  4. Free Spins
  5. Features
  6. Jackpots
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Responsible gambling: Before we start, and I am sure you don't need informing but just in case, only gamble what you can comfortably afford to lose. Slot games are designed to earn money for the casino and have an edge meaning long term they are impossible to beat. However, using this guide, your enjoyment can be improved.

Where to Play Good Slots This Guide Helps you Find

When looking for a good slot to play I can reduce the time you need to spend looking for the slot by recommending a good online casino to find them.

Take a look through the following options to find the best casino to find the element you are looking for a good slot to play.

  • Best Casino for Slots that Pay Often
  • Best Casino for Slot Bonuses
  • Best Casino for Jackpot Slots
  • Best Casino for Slot Tournaments
  • Best Casino for Slot Prize Draws

Slots That Pay Often

Nothing is worse than playing a slot with long runs of dead spins and seeing your credits drop rapidly. Find a slot that pays wins often for better entertainment. Be aware that in some cases, in fact many, these 'wins' are less than the total stake. But it does at least provide action and your credits diminish less quickly.

Pick slots with HIGH RTP%

RTP means 'return to player' percentage. Mostly, although not exclusively, this will mean you will be playing a less volatile slot that will supply you with regular wins, and more importantly a more significant return for your buck that a LOW RTP% Game.

Mostly people like to gain regular wins when playing slots online. There is something quite demoralizing about seeing 20 or 30 credits drop from your balance with dead spins of the reels. 

It seems quite impossible for this to happen on slots with vast numbers of win lines, but I have suffered runs of 20-30 dead spins even on 243 winning line slots.

Return to Player % When to Play
97-99% Most Often
95-97% Less Often
90-95 Rarely
<90% Never

It is true to say that more regular big wins will come from slots with lower RTP's but how that transposes into entertainment for you will depend on how comfortable you are with a rollercoaster ride of your bankroll. If you like riding big dippers, it may be ok for you, with your balance dropping quickly and replenished with significant wins.

Pick Slots with Low Volatility

If you can combine a HIGH RTP with a Low Volatility slot, you will get the smoothest ride of any slot available at your online casino.

You will get more regular wins at a low value, meaning your credits, 'should' last longer.

Remember the edge is still there, which means in the long term you should be losing, and high RTP doesn't mean you will not lose quickly sometimes. Generally, though, you will have a smooth ride on these slots but still have the chance to win big on bonus and scatter rounds, free spin, and jackpots.

For me, it doesn't make any sense to play high volatility, or low RTP. Jackpots are still available, bonus rounds and free spins can always pay big, you may have to wait a little longer to get to them. With a balance that is lasting longer, you will get your chances. On LOW RTP and HIgh Volatility, you may get wiped out before you've had any entertainment value from your slot.

RTP/Volatility Guide

Use this handy guide to see how your bankroll will feel

High RTP - Low Volatility - Smooth Ride

Med RTP - Low Volatility - 

High RTP - High Volatility

Low RTP - Low Volatility

Med RTP - High Volatility

Low RTP - High Volatility - Extreme Ride

This scale above will show you what type of ride you will have playing the combinations of RTP and volatility.

HIGH RTP + LowVolatility means regular smaller wins with less frequent bonus rounds and jackpot chances

LOW RTP + HIGH volatility means infrequent larger wins with infrequent big wins on bonus rounds and jackpot chances

There is no guarantee in landing a bonus round and getting a big win. I offer one personal example when over $250 was spun on $0.05 denoms and when I finally got the scatter bonus it paid $3.40!

Stick to Low Volatility and high RTP to win on slots more often.

Slot Bonuses, Features & Free Spins

You have picked the type of slot you want to play regularly, so how can you ensure to get some good entertainment too? Bonuses, features, free spins, and wild symbols can all add to the slot playing experience.

Bonus Rounds/Scatter Rounds

Usually found as either bonus symbols or scatter symbols, they can be found BOTH present on some slots. There are even slots out there with Bonus, Scatter AND free spins symbols. When trying to get three in view, you have nine different feature symbols taking up possible win line, low and high-value symbols, and the combinations become huge.

It can become frustrating to see all three in view on the reels over and over again without matching and awarding the relevant bonus round.

So look for a slot with just one - 

Most often you will need to have three of these symbols in view on the reels to trigger the bonus or feature round. 

In many cases, landing four or five will offer more bonuses, features, or free spins. If this is a feature of the game, it can make a massive difference between the wins for hitting three and hitting four and five. If you land all five, get excited!!

Free Spin Rounds - And Retriggers!

Landing a free spins bonus can be the most lucrative of all bonus features. You have probably seen some youtube videos from players recording free spins rounds.

Some slots offer free spins from landing a sequence of free spins symbols. Others may offer the free spins from the bonus or scatter symbols. Each slot can be different, so check the information of each game before playing to understand how free spins are won.

Most often, you will need to land three free spins symbols in view to trigger them. There can be more free spins to be won for landing more free spins symbols in the winning turn.

Free Spins round can often feature further special symbols, or bonuses, add more win lines or multiply winning spins.

The ultimate buzz on free spins is if there is an opportunity for a retrigger. Adding more free spins to the total and landing further wins increasing the overall value of the inning turn

Random Features

These are my second favorite slot feature behind free spins. They can be disappointing sometimes but can also offer huge wins, including jackpots.

Nothing has to be landed on the reels during a spin in most cases. You may get some slight change in the screen when these random features are about to happen. 

Jackpot Slots

Jackpot slots are the most popular type of slots and in particular, progressive jackpot slots. Who doesn't want the chance to play tiny demons and have the possibility of winning a life-changing amount? Jackpots can come in three main forms

Top Payout Jackpot

This jackpot will be the maximum possible win on the slot itself. This may x1000, x10,000 or more. The details on this will be available in the slot information panel. It is usually won by hitting a full screen of matching symbols, or a random feature within the game.

Mini, Minor, Major, Mega & Grand

These jackpots are displayed at the top of the screen. In most cases and are usually won from a  feature round. In some case, they will have a seed [starting] value so that when won, they do not return to zero. 

Often available to win in bonus rounds you may have to land a particular symbol or sequence of symbols. Minor Jackpots can be won frequently, and sometimes multiple times within a single game. As you would expect, the Minor and Major, by way of progression are won less often. Less often still the Mega and Grand Jackpots.


The mother of all slot jackpots the progressive can be truly enormous, running into millions of dollars. And they are won, with surprising frequency.

There are several progressive jackpot providers in the online casino space, and this progressive jackpot guide will give you more details on which are the best, the biggest jackpot winners and where to play.

Slot Tournaments

Slot tournaments are often avoided by players online incorrectly thinking that the RTP of the games is turned down for the duration. This could not be further from the truth and in fact, your chance so winning are increased by taking part in tournaments,

How Do Slot Tournaments Work?

Online casino members are invited to take part in a tournament playing a single slot. These can be scheduled for a particular time on a specific day.

It is advised to play tournaments on low to minimum denomination. Free Spin prizes are awarded as low denoms rather than matching those you use while playing.

During this time, each player has their wins recorded and added up during the qualifying period. The player who stacks up the most significant number of wins collectively in this time will be the winner and receive a prize. Often there will be consolation prizes for the runners up too.

Prizes are rarely cash and most frequently are further free spins and a minimum denomination. However, if you win the tournament and get rewarded with 200 free spins or more, every win from those spins is additional wins from your session, which, by default would have possibly been winning one too.

Are Slot Tournaments Worth Playing?

The answer is yes. the likelihood of winning the slot game itself is no different. And you have additional prizes on offer to be won. Another advantage of slot tournaments is often they are used by the online casino to introduce a new slot to players. Playing at low stakes offers you the opportunity to plan and learn the game with the added possibility of winning a prize.

Slot Prize Draws

The online casino will offer prize draws for players when playing a specific slot. Casinos use this tactic to introduce you to a game, perhaps for the first time. You will almost always have to opt in to qualify, and prizes can be both bonus credits or free spins.

Keep in mins the RTP and volatility advice above, and if the draw includes one of these, it is worth playing.

Slot Games Odds

It is not possible to provide exact odds on landing a winning spin on a slot machine because of the sophisticated random number generator software system used to determine the outcome of any one spin.

I spoke earlier of playing high return to player percentage games. Even if you played a 99% RTP game, it does not mean that within your session, you are guaranteed to get back 99% of the money you have bet. Of course, if that happened, you would never get in front and be able to walk away with a win.

99% refers to the supposed life of the machine. However, a single spin is a random occurrence, so the chances are you could quite easily spin ten times and find only four wins in that sequence.

Higher RTP 'should' statistically mean over more extended periods the percentage of winning spins you experience will be higher than low RTP slots

How to Tell if a Slot Machine is Ready to Pay

What follows is a short answer to a long question.

There is no way, either in a land-based casino or online slot game if it is 'ready to pay' Each spin of the reels is determined by a random number generator, and any prolonged period of time where no pays have been awarded has no effect on the next spin or series of spin from the slot.

I can not extend the explanation further than that. You can not predict when a slot will pay.

Slot Machine Tips

Here are some tips to help you choose and play online slot machines, and how you can improve your chances of winning on slots.

Use Bonuses

Well, you can use bonuses for some lower risk and lower value play but don't expect to be walking away with huge wins or jackpots. The bonus credits may be limited to minimum denomination stakes, and many progressive jackpots can not be won on these stake levels.

Play Loose Slots

This one is often advised and to use it wisely is to look for high RTP and low volatility slots as described earlier in this article.

The slot will be loose because it has been designed to be so. Not because someone has spotted something and suggests that it is ripe to pay out lots of wins. I'll repeat it, every spin on a slot is random, and previous spins have zero effect on the outcome of the next.

Which Slot Machines Pay the Best?

It is getting repetitive, but this is another form of the most frequently asked question about online slot machines. 

Two answers

  1. The ones with the biggest jackpots pay the best prizes
  2. The ones with HIGH RTP and Low Volatility pay most frequently

How to Win at Slots.

No strategy can be applied to guarantee to win at slots although there is one tip, that if followed will increase your chances.

I go into this strategy in detail below but be warned; you might not like it or have the discipline to use it.

Online Slot Strategy to Win More Often

Ok, so here it is. It is not a guarantee to be able to win at slots, but if followed, you will find you will lose much less!

First, set a loss limit and whatever happens, even if you have a total blowout.


This is your session; you have been unlucky. Do not test your luck further. You decided what bankroll, you were prepared, and hopefully, comfortably able to afford to lose, and you've been beaten - take it like a grown-up, hold your head up and walk away. No one will think any less of you.

Quite often, when we play slots, there will be a moment in time that our balance exceeds the bankroll before we began playing.

Consider how professional gamblers - who would never play a slot by the way - would approach their betting.

They would be looking for a return on their investment. Usually, this is very small, maybe even as low as 1%. 

Maybe pick a 5% return on investment. If achieved, cash out and walk. It's a better interest rate over a shorter time than you would get anywhere.


This might be on your very first spin. It might be after ten spins. You might only be a dollar in front. It doesn't matter. If you started with $1000 and you find yourself with a $1050 balance you have made a 5% profit on your investment.

Use the $50 for some food, a drink, or some entertainment and consider it good business. 

Sometimes, that figure will be achieved very quickly, and this does not satisfy the gambling desire in your head. But remember at other times, you will have had total blowouts, or have sat between your starting bankroll and loss limit, for ages before hitting a significant feature and getting a great win to put your balance at $1300.

Sometimes you'll achieve a good profit quickly, small profit over a long time, good profit over a long time, or just 5% in 15 minutes.

If you stop every time you get to your predetermined profit target every time you play, no matter how long it takes, you will lose less often - trust me!

but remember, it is unlikely you will ever win playing slots over the long term unless you are fortunate enough to land one of those monster progressive jackpots on offer when your life changes and the desire to play a slot has disappeared.


Online Slot Guide Frequently Asked Question

  • Can I play slots for free?

    You Can! Many of the casinos featured on this page, a demo mode option is available to play for free.

    It is a great way to learn about the slot. Get a feeling for what symbols produce bonus features, free spins, and wins.

    It provides the opportunity to see if the pace of the game, the style, or the story suits what you want from a slot.

    You may have a limited virtual bank to play with, but it is usually large enough to play for a reasonable amount of time to know if you want to play for real or not.

  • Is Playing Online Slots Safe?

    If you are playing on a state registered and licensed online casino, you can be sure you are playing as safe as can be.

    If you choose to play slots on an off-shore unlicensed casino, then if you do run into any trouble with accessing your funds or withdrawing a significant win, you'll not have anyone to help.

    Always play with a state-regulated casino for the safest possible slot play.

  • Can I play Slots on my Cell?

    Mobile Casinos have full cell capability these days, and whether you use IOS or Android, you'll find gameplay designed explicitly for 'mobile-first.'

    Graphics, control, and the gameplay is designed for use on mobile devices. So yes. You can play online slots on your cell.

    A variation of this question asks:

    Can you play slots on your phone for real money?

    If you have registered for an account with an online casino, you are of minimum age and located in the state in which the casino operates, then yes. You can play for real money on your phone.

  • What is the 'Payline"?

    The payline is a combination of positions in view on an online slot. Matching symbols across these paylines results in a win.

    Some online slots start with a single payline and can run into hundreds. In most cases, you will find combinations of, 5, 10, 20, 25, 40, 50, 100, and 243 most frequently.

    There are some online slots with even more paylines than this.

    Megaways is a good example when paylines can run into thousands.

  • What is the Paytable?

    The paytable is quite simply, a table of information showing what wins are possible by the matching the various symbols on an online slot machine.

    Using visual images of the symbols combinations, the paytable will show how many credits each possible combination will pay, relative to the denomination of your stake.

  • What is Autoplay

    It is an automated way to play a modern online slot machine without having to make each spin of the reels manually. 

    There will be a function to set a set number of spins up to around 100. You set this and press play, and the slot will continue on its own for 100 spins.

    You can set a loss limit if you wish. So if you lose to your limit, the autoplay will be canceled.

    You can also do the same for a win limit.

    Many players do this to save the monotony of pressing the spin button, and usually, the slot will stop autoplay if you hit a feature, bonus or free spins. It will also stop if there is a decision or selection to be made by the player.

    Finally, it will stop if you hit the jackpot!

  • Are Wild Symbols good on Slots?

    Check the paytable of the slot you aim to play to find out. On some slots, it has zero value other than acting as any symbol to make combinations. On other slots, it is the most valuable if lining up with other wilds. The value of the Wild Symbol will depend on the individual slot you are playing. 

  • What does a 'Scatter' Symbol do in Slots?

    The scatter symbol is, except for a jackpot, is what a slot player is looking to land. The Scatter symbol can even land to a jackpot landing chance.

    They usually open up various bonus features and rounds, can offer free spins, or an attempt to land a jackpot prize.

    In most cases, you would be looking to get three scatter symbols to appear anywhere on the reels to trigger the scatter bonus. Sometimes, landing 4, 5 or even more can exponentially increase the payout on the bonus round or feature. 

    On occasion too, a cash award is won if you land just 2 of the three required.

    Check the paytable on the slot you wish to play for full details on the scatter symbols for that game.

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