The instructions to slots games include certain commonly occurring terms and it is essential the players clearly understand what they mean. Also players have to make certain choices in placing the bet and they should exercise these choices with the full understanding of the implications. This section addresses both these issues.
How Paylines Work
A specified number of like symbols appearing in a selected payline results in a payout. This payout is shown in the payout table. In slots machines the paylines do not only run in horizontal lines across the reels. They also appear in a zigzag fashion. A payline could have a symbol from the first row in the first reel, from the second row in the second reel, from the third row in the third reel, from the second row in the fourth reel and from the first row in the fifth reel. The payline patterns are displayed in the instructions section.
How to Select Paylines Before Betting
Classic slots offer from one to five paylines. Video slots offer from five to hundred and more paylines. The paylines are numbered starting from 1. Some slot machines activate all paylines by default, but in most cases players are asked to select the number of paylines. A LINES button is provided below the reels and the number of lines selected displayed near the button. Clicking the button once selects the first payline, clicking the buttons twice selects the first two paylines and so on. The prudent choice is to select all paylines, because a combination will result in a payout only if the payline has been activated.
Spin Button vs. Bet Max Button and the Difference
After the paylines and the staked amount have been set the player has to set the reels in motion. There are two ways to do this. A SPIN button is provided at the bottom right corner of the screen. Clicking this button will start the reels. This option is suitable for players who do not want to activate all the paylines.
The alternative is the BET MAX button. This button sets the paylines to the maximum number offered in the slots machine and simultaneously operates the reels. This option is ideal for players who want to activate all the paylines.
How Coins / Credits Work
Players have to first select the number of coins per payline. In some slots machine this is set to 1 by default, in other slots machines the player can choose a number up to the given upper limit. The total coins wagered per spin are obtained by multiplying the number of coins selected with the number of paylines selected.
The player then has to select the coin size from the range provided. The total stake per spin can then be calculated in currency terms, which is referred to as credits. The total credits wagered is equal to the total coins wagered multiplied by the coin size.
How to Select Coins / Credits
If the number of coins is set to 1 by default then no selection needs to be made. In other cases players have to operate the COINS button below the reels. Clicking on the button once increases the number of coins by 1. Clicking on the button when the number of coins is maximum, sets the selection to 1 coin.
The coin size button displays the default coin size. Clicking on the right arrow increases the coin size to the next higher one in the range and clicking on the left arrow decreases the coin size to the previous lower one. Nomenclatures may differ from slots game to slots game.
How Scatter Symbols Work
One of the symbols is designated as a scatter symbol, which has special properties. In order to be effective the scatter symbols need not appear in defined paylines. The specified number of scatter symbols can appear anywhere on the reels.
Scatter symbols usually offer scatter payouts, which are defined in the payout table. The payout is applied on the total bet. If the payout for three scatter symbols is 10, and the player has wagered 5 coins each on 30 paylines. The total bet is 150 coins and the scatter payout is 1,500 coins.
Scatter symbols can also be used to trigger bonus rounds.
How Wild Symbols Work
The wild symbol is the most important symbol in the slots machine. It is also referred to as the substitute symbol because it can substitute for most other symbols in order to complete a winning combination. If a particular symbol appears in an active payline on reels 1, 3, 4 and 5 and the wild symbol appears in reel 2 on that payline, then the substitution takes place and the player will be credited with the payout for five of a kind for that symbol.
In contemporary video slots the wild symbol may also act as the jackpot symbol or a multiplier.
About Expanding Wilds
Expanding wilds are special wild symbols. When they appear on a reel they expand to cover the entire reel replacing the other symbols. This expanding accompanied by a suitable animation like a face close up turning into a full length figure. Then all the spots on the reel act independently as wild symbols.
About Stacked Wilds
Stacked wilds do not expand but appear as independent symbols one on top of the other in the same reel. Double stacks have two wild symbols in a stack. Some slot games offer stacks of wild symbols covering the entire reel. Each symbol in the stack acts as an independent wild symbol.
How Multipliers Work
The usual payout for a winning combination is defined in the payout table. Slots machines sometimes specify a symbol as a multiplier. If that symbol appears in a winning combination then the payout is further multiplied. Usually the wild symbol is a multiplier. The slots rules may specify that if the wild symbol appears in any winning combination then the normal payouts would be doubled. The multiplier can be 3x or 4x or anything specified in the slots rules. In some slots games each multiplier symbol appearing in a winning combination independently multiplies payouts. The information about multipliers will be given along with the payout table.
How Free Spins Bonuses Work
In a Free Spins Bonus round the players are awarded a number of free spins. They do not wager any additional amounts for these free spins but are entitled to the payouts won. To further sweeten the pot the payouts may automatically be enhanced by a multiplier.
The Free Spin Bonus round is usually triggered when a specified sequence of symbols appears on the reels. The most common mechanism is three or more scatter symbols appearing on the reels. The number of free spins and the multiplier could be specified in the slots rules or could be determined randomly after the event is triggered.
How Standard Bonus Rounds Typically Work
Bonus Rounds, or bonus games on the second screen, offer players free credits without any bet being placed. They are usually triggered when a specified sequence of symbols appears on the reels. The reels disappear for the duration of the Bonus Round, which is played in a setting consistent with the theme of the slots game.
Essentially the players are required to select one or more objects from those displayed on the screen and are randomly awarded bonus credits. Sometimes players keep selecting till they hit a booby trap. The exact rules are made clear along with the payout table.
How Progressive Jackpots Work
In progressive jackpot online slots the jackpot amount keeps increasing with each wager. A portion of each wager is added to the jackpot amount. When a player hits the combination that results in a payout he will get the entire amount standing in the jackpot at that time. The jackpot amount will then be reset to the base level and keep rising till it is hit again. In some slots games the jackpot may be hit randomly after any spin.
Some progressive jackpots hit infrequently but pay out life changing amounts when hit. Others hit frequently but pay much smaller amounts.
How Auto Play Works with Online Slots
Most players wager at online slots using the same bet again and again. They find it tedious to activate the reels after each spin. Therefore most slots game developers incorporate an Auto Play feature. The Auto Play button is located below the reels. It allows the player to set the number of spins and then the player need not even be at his computer while the game plays out. Advance Auto Play feature allow for automatic aborting if the total amount won or lost in that session exceeds a specified amount or if any single win exceeds a specified amount.