How to Play Slots at an Online Casino – The Complete Guide


Ah, the one-armed bandits. The days when you could walk into a pub, insert a coin or two, and win bubblegums or cigarettes if you scored the three same fruits in a row on it are long gone. Slots have evolved into something much more interesting.

The main reason we play slots is the same – the almost unparalleled rush of joy and excitement we feel when the slots pay out. So, if you want to learn how to play slots and experience it too – read on.

What Should You Know About Slots?

Slots are one of the most popular gambling games, as they sometimes pay out huge winnings for practically no effort. They also don’t require any unique know-how. All it takes to win big is to pull a lever – or, in the case of an online casino, a click on a button.

Slots only had three reels in the day, but modern ones come with five and occasionally four. There are more than 1,100 types of slots, but playing slots works on the same principle – you spin the reels, and they sometimes land on a winning combination of symbols. As all slots use a random number generator, so the combination the reels land on is entirely up to chance. It’s why estimating the outcome of any particular spin is impossible and why the online slots are such a thrilling experience that keeps you on the edge of your seat every time.

Now, all the slots operate in a similar way. If you’re just learning how to play slots, it’s a good idea to get over some basic terms so that you can start playing and having fun.


The payline is what everyone is hoping to see as the reels stop spinning – it’s a line that connects winning symbol combinations. The win window usually displays the size of the earned payout. Most of the slots also have the Payline wins window; it shows which of the paylines you’ve won with the spin.

Balance Window

Also known as coins or current balance, this window is what you should keep an eye on to ensure you’re playing responsibly and not losing more than you can afford. Every spin costs money – those are just the rules of slot machine play – so you should expect the number to change with each spin you make. 

Lines Windows

You will also always have an indicator showing active paylines as you have to activate each payline to receive the payouts. These will also likely have select buttons to increase or lower the number of paylines, and a bet number that indicates a bet per payline. 

Nearby, you should also see the total size of the bet, and a bet max button, which will activate all available paylines and spin them automatically. 

A tip for those who are just learning how to play slots: this feature will bet the maximum number of coins on all the paylines, so you should use this button carefully. 

Spin Button

This button starts all the fun!

Now, there are two additional terms you should know about, and these should heavily influence your choice of online casino. One is the Return To Player (RTP), and the other is Hit Frequency. Let’s explain these, too.

Return To Player

Return To Player (RTP) is the amount of money that gets back to the player. The RTP is a crucial indicator – the higher the RTP, the higher your chances of winning. So if you want to know how to play slots to win and what your odds are, you need to keep an eye on this number. 

Slots, on average, pay back 92% of every deposit everyone makes on a particular slot, but not at once, and not to a single player. Instead, this amount is spread out throughout the machine’s lifetime. The remaining 8% goes to the casino – it’s how it makes money on slot machines.

Now, because online casinos don’t need as many employees and are utilizing the Random Number Generators, you get to earn more than you would at a real casino if you’re lucky. The typical RTP number for an online casino is 90%–95%, while your regular casinos offer 70%–80% RTP. 

Hit Frequency

Hit frequency is another metric to pay attention to when learning how to play the slots, as it’s an indicator of how often the slot will hit the winning combination. It’s usually disclosed in percentages. At online casinos, these are commonly somewhere between 10% and 30%. Of course, the higher the ratio, the higher the chances of you scoring big. 

Now that you know the basics let’s check how you can start spinning online. The first step should be to find the right casino, of course. This is something we’re going to get into in detail in this guide on how to play online slots.

Find the Right Casino 

The most significant task is finding the right casino. There are more than a thousand casinos available online, with new ones appearing every day. You want to find a casino that accepts people from your country, and that’s secure enough to trust it with your money. It should have a good reputation, plenty of different games, and bonuses or VIP programs that would turn every money-conscious person into a die-hard player.

Of course, having the option to play bingo or place sports bets at the same casino is a nice bonus.

Let’s break down the process of finding such a casino, as it’s the most important thing to pin down so that you can play slots online

Mind the Law

Most of the casinos are regulated by one or another authority. Regulated casinos usually hold a license from Curacao, the UK, Malta, or plenty of other places. However, these licences differ when it comes to who can play in the casino based on their country.

Playing at a regulated casino is a must, so you should first narrow down your options by looking for casinos that accept players from your country. You can usually find a list of restricted countries on the Terms and Conditions page.

The next question to take off your list is how old do you have to be to play slots at a particular casino. Regardless of your country of origin, you must be over 18 years old to play in any regulated casinos, and with some, you need to be at least 21. Many will require a strict KYC procedure and plenty of paperwork. While this may be seen as a nuisance for players – it’s a good thing. KYC helps solve the irregularities that may occur, and you know that playing at such casinos is safe.

Payment Options

To start playing at a casino, you’d have to make deposits first. Once you win, hopefully big time, you’d want to make a withdrawal and have the money land in your account. 

So, checking the payment options first is a good idea. When it comes to playing slots at a casino, you might want to maintain a certain level of security and go with a casino that accepts PayPal as a payment method. Maybe you want anonymity – in which case you should check whether a particular casino accepts cryptocurrency.

While you’re checking for these, keep an eye out on fees, maximum and minimum limits to avoid any surprises when depositing or withdrawing your funds.

Good Reputation

Last but not least is checking online what kind of reputation a particular casino holds. If many people are praising it for all the right reasons, you should go ahead and start spinning. However, if there are unhappy players complaining about this or that, you might want to try another casino.

How to Play Casino Slots? 

Typically, you’ll be asked to create an account at the casino first. The process isn’t any different than registering any other account – you type a name and email address and then confirm it. You’ll also be asked to verify your payment method.

A good casino will always ask for additional verifying information. That info is commonly a valid proof of ID and a recent utility bill. After you pass the verification phase, it’s time to make your first deposit.

Before you make a deposit to play slots games online, check the casino’s welcome bonus. Some bonuses are not eligible for specific payment methods, or there could be fine print for the welcome bonus. 

Once you make your deposit and claim the welcome bonus, the next step should be picking your preferred game. Do your research on the slots offered, as some offer higher RTPs. Others have specific rules which you should know before you start betting.

Final Tips

Before you go out into the world of online casinos and start spinning those slots, here are our best tips on playing slot machines.

For the highest chances of winning, try to avoid just spinning and hoping for the best. Have a strategy set in place regarding the bets you make, paylines you are activating, and much more. Be aware of your budget as well, and try not to spend more than you can afford to lose – slots are a game of luck, after all, and there are no guarantees the next spin will be “the one”!