Slot machine rules – Learning to play slot machines

When we play online slots, all we do is imagine how the reels stop and the symbols line up to trigger a big payout. While it’s important to have fun playing slots, it’s not just about looking at the colourful symbols without a brain.

Slot machines were created in the late 19th century, when they were introduced in local bars and pubs. Later, they continued to entertain women in hotels or casinos. In fact, slot machines were used by clever casino operators to distract the wives of big bosses and mafia officials from their card games.

The one-armed bandit is one of the most popular casino games among gamblers, requiring no skill but only moderate behaviour.

Slot machine rules

At a basic level, slot machines are the easiest and simplest games there are, yet they continue to be widely available in casinos. Here are the rules you must follow:

  • A payout is triggered when the necessary symbols line up on a payline. To find out the different paylines, you can consult the payout table displayed by each slot game.
  • Slot machines have a different number of paylines, they can range from one payline with the most basic slots, up to 50 paylines. Paylines are not limited to horizontal lines.
  • A payline will not form if the necessary symbol does not appear on the first reels, but has appeared on the other reels. To trigger the payout and form the complete payline, the symbol must also be aligned on the first reel.
  • You can rotate the reels by pressing the « Spin » button.
  • You can always choose the number of paylines you want to play with.
  • More paylines means more chances to win.
  • Before spinning the reels, you must first select the number of coins per payline and the size of the coins. The coin size is multiplied by the number of coins.
  • To play for a progressive jackpot, you must play with the maximum number of coins. Simply use the « Maximum Bet » button.
  • Slot machines can have a minimum of 3 reels and a range of up to 9.

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The basics of slot machines

Objective of the game

The aim is to achieve the highest possible gain by combining the appropriate symbols. But you should know that the higher the bet you make on each round, the higher the payout will be. Betting 1 Euro per round and betting 10 Euro is not the same thing. If you reach a payout of 4,000 coins with a bet of 1 Euro, you will receive 4,000 Euro, which is always great, but if you reach the same payout with a bet of 10 Euro, you will receive 40,000 Euro, which is probably a more desirable amount.

Paylines and reels

The word « reel » can be better understood when placed in the context of the original mechanical slot machines. It is simply a wheel with symbols on it that you can rotate by pulling the lever or pressing the « spin » button, and when the reels stop, the symbols line up to form a payline. Naturally, the same concept is used for online slot machines.

The payline is the line that runs through the reels and connects the symbols to each other. If the correct combination of symbols appears on the reels when they stop spinning then the payline is triggered and a specific payout is made. Today’s online slot machines have zigzag paylines. They can run in different directions, but always from left to right.

Bonus features

Almost all slot machines have different bonus features. These bonuses can be very rewarding, while some can be very stingy. These bonuses can consist of different bonus rounds, a second or even third bonus screen where you can score different amounts. In this case, you are usually forced to click on a few choices that will reveal your bonus win, or depending on how innovative the game is. You may even be required to use your skills to win the bonus money. Bonus rounds are very interesting because they almost always include multipliers that increase your winning amount by several times.

Game Functionality

Some slot machines even have a gaming function that we have seen in video poker games. This is when you have scored a win, and are offered to double it in a separate screen by guessing the colour of the card, red or black. Or, to multiply your potential winnings, you can guess the suit of the card, whether it’s clover, diamonds, hearts or spades.

Game Features

A standard online slot machine game has several buttons with which you can play the slot machine. Probably the most convenient option is the « play automatically » button. It allows you to select the number of spins you want the computer to do for you, while you do other important things on your computer, rather than just pressing the spin button all the time. You can also adjust the size of your bet per line and per coin, and select the number of paylines. Most important is the « Info » or « Paytable » button, which allows you to see how much the slot machine game pays for its paylines.

An easy-to-use strategy for slot machines

Before you start playing slots, it would be wise to put in place a strategy that will help you play more safely and thoughtfully. A strategy for slot machines does not literally mean moves that you have to make like in card games, it is just simple strategic thinking to help you save money.

The first thing to do is to select a one-armed bandit game and practice it in free play first. This will allow you to see if the game is really to your liking and the frequency of payouts. Don’t worry, free mode casino games are identical to real money mode, except that you play with play money for practice.

Once you have decided to play with real money, you need to build up a reserve that you will use. You must not exceed it at any time. If you have won more than this amount, simply walk away with the money. The goal is not to lose your winnings and your entire bankroll in the end just because you were greedy and thought the slot machine was hot. There is no such thing as a fashionable slot machine.

Play several times and make sure you don’t spend all the money you bet at once. If you find that you are losing, stop playing immediately, as losing leads to further losses as you try to make up for them.


There will never be a shortage of slot machine games. Periodically, new slot machines are introduced to the market by different software suppliers. Microgaming has more than 400 slot machine games, and most likely Playtech as well. Today, there are even 3D animated slot machines by Betsoft that are about the same quality as a large animated blockbuster, with even more unique technical and gaming features than before. Moreover, with the advent of mobile phone casino games, slot machines have become even more convenient than before. You can now have your favourite slot machine with you wherever you go.

Useful Slot Machine Glossary

  • Free laps: Free laps are exactly what their name implies, they are laps given for free. Free spins are triggered by a particular symbol, or are given through promotions.
  • Multiplier: Certain symbols on a slot machine can be used to trigger a multiplier. They are usually triggered during bonus games or free spins. The multiplier then multiplies the amount of the payline win you have reached, and the multiplication is usually set from 2x to 5x. In some slot machines, the multipliers increase as the symbols that trigger the multiplier function reappear.
  • Scatter: The scatter symbol is another common feature of slot machines and is used to trigger scatter payouts as defined in the game’s paytable or to activate a bonus round.
  • Wild: This is probably the most important symbol in slots, as it can replace a missing symbol in a payline to trigger the payout. In video slots, if you hit wild on all reels, you can trigger a jackpot or activate a multiplier.

Our articles on slot machines written by experts.
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