Beginner’s Guide to Online Slot Machines

The first slot machine was invented by Charles Fey back in 1898. The machine is called for “Liberty Bell” and it had three reels, one pay-line, and held 20 symbols. Slot machines began to gain popularity across America during the 1930’s. They soon gained a universal appeal because, unlike other casino games, they did not require any special skill on the part of the player.

Liberty Bell

Online slot machines first appeared in the 1990’s. They are powered by a number of different software providers, including Microgaming, Realtime Gaming, and Rival Gaming. Microgaming has the most online slots to play (350+), followed Realtime Gaming (100+), and Rival Gaming (75+).

There are now over 1,200 online slot machines that you can play for real money. They come in both download and no download flash versions. The download versions are more popular because there is a wider selection of games to choose from.

What is a slot machine payout?


The payout percentage is the ratio between winnings and wagered amounts. If a slot machine has a payout of 96.69%, it pays out $96.69 for every $100 wagered. The majority of online casinos strive for a payout of around 95%, which is higher than the payout for a land-based machine (90%). Some slot machines are loose. So, if a slot has a payout of 110.45%, it pays out $110.45 for every $100 wagered.

American Wild West slot

Online slot games generally have a unique theme. Some common themes include love and romance, the American Wild West, ancient Egypt and Rome, the Far East, football, baseball, bowling, golf, the World Cup, Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, wealth and riches, cops and robbers, pirates and ships, tropical beaches, magic, movies, monsters, witches, dragons, vampires, the deep blue sea, diamonds, and adventure. As new slot machines are launched, more unique themes appear as well.

3-Reel, 5-Reel, and 7-Reel Online Slots

3 reel slot machines

With a few exceptions, classic or standard 3 reel slot machines have one pay-line. They are close replicas to the slot machine that Charles Fey invented back in 1898. Many 3-reel slots have traditional symbols, including Sevens, BARs, Cherries, Melons, Oranges, Plums, Watermelons, Lemons, Limes, and Grapes. Because of their easy-to-play format, these games are ideal for beginners.

More common 5 reel slot machines come with wilds, scatters, multiplier symbols, free spins, bonus rounds, random progressive jackpots, and as many as 100 pay-lines. Some 5-reel slots have traditional symbols such as Cherries and BARs. However, most five-reel games have icons related to their specific theme. For example, The Three Stooges is a 5-reel slot based on a popular American slapstick comedy from the 20th century. Its icons, including Moe, Larry, Curly, Bowler Hat, Pie with Cream, Auction Hammer, and Movie Clapper, are all related to the theme.

three stooges slots

Less common seven reel slot machines are unique to Vegas Tech casinos. Lucky 7’s was the first 7 reel game, followed by Farming Future.

Bonus Feature Slot Machines and Progressive Jackpots

Popular 5-reel bonus slots give you more chances to win. These games can have up to 100 free spins and/or 1-3 bonus rounds. Some even have a bonus feature guarantee option, which triggers the free spins feature if you don’t get it after 100 spins. For example, Microgaming’s “Steinfest” has 10 free spins and a “Beer Chug Bonus Game”. Realtime Gaming’s Ocean Dreams has up to 100 free spins. RTG’s “It’s a Mystery” and “Mice Dice” both have bonus feature guarantee options.

Progressive slots have the biggest jackpots of all online slot machines. For example, Aztec’s Millions has a jackpot that starts at $1,000,000. Jackpot Pinatas has a jackpot that is always at least $250,000. A few online slots have both a top jackpot and a “random progressive jackpot” that can be won after any spin. For example, Realtime Gaming’s Aladdin’s Wishes has a maximum jackpot of 10,000 coins plus a random progressive jackpot.

Newest and Most Popular Games

New slot machines are being added every month. Some of the newest games include Wonder Woman, Big bang Theory, Asian Beauty, Dragon Lady, Eagle’s Wings, Gold Factory, Hot Ink, Monsters in the Closet, Party Island, Private Eye, Reel Baron, Reel Gems, Retro Reels, Retro Reels Diamond Glitz, Rhyming Reels Queen of Hearts, Ruby of the Nile, Sneak a Peek Planet Exotica, Sonic 7s, and Voila.

With over 1,200 online slot machines to play, which ones are the most popular?

aztecs millions slots

Realtime Gaming’s most played slots include Aztec’s Millions, Aztec’s Treasure, Cleopatra’s Gold, Rudolph’s Revenge, Shopping Spree, and Triple Seven Inferno. Microgaming’s most popular games include Big Kahuna, 5 Reel Drive, Hitman, Ladies Nite, Mega Moolah, Tomb Raider, and Thunderstruck.

Now You Can Play Your Favorite Online Slot Machines on Mobile

mobile slots

In recent years, online slot machines have gone mobile. With “games on the go,” you can play popular Microgaming slots like Tomb Raider, Fruit Fiesta, Treasure Nile, Avalon, Mermaids Millions, Major Millions, Double Magic, Mega Moolah, and Thunderstruck. Just select a game, enter your mobile number, and play right away. The download version is available for over 1,500 “compatible devices,” including Blackberry®. The no download version is available for iPhone, iTouch, and Android.

Winning Combinations

Online slot machines have a certain number of winning combinations. For example, Realtime Gaming’s Triple Seven Inferno has 8 ways to win and a top jackpot of 1,000 coins ($5,000). This slot accepts coins from 5¢ to $5.00, and the maximum number of coins that you can bet per spin is 3 ($15). In order to win the top jackpot of 1,000 coins ($5,000), you must hit 3 Fireballs, and you also need to bet 3 coins. If you bet just two coins ($10) and hit 3 Fireballs, the jackpot is 500 coins ($2,500). If you bet 3 coins and hit 3 Red Sevens, the jackpot is 300 coins ($1,500). Or, if you bet just two coins and hit 2 Red Sevens, the jackpot is 150 coins ($750).

Here is another example of how winning combinations of slot machines work. Lucky Tiger is a 5-reel, 88 pay-line slot from Realtime Gaming software. If you bet to the max (1 coin per pay-line x 88 pay-lines = $88), here are the top jackpots for Lucky Tiger:

If you hit 5 Golden Tiger symbols, you will win 5,888 coins, the highest jackpot.
If you hit 5 Garden symbols, you will win 2,888 coins, the second highest jackpot.
If you hit 4 Golden Tiger or 5 Golden Fish or 5 Longevity symbols, you will win 1,888 coins, the third highest jackpot.

Finding an Online Casino

How do you find the best online casino? There are many factors to consider, including sign-up and reload bonuses, casino software, a free play option, variety of online slot machines, player support, banking options, and whether the casino has a rewards club.

Another factor to consider when choosing an online casino is whether it has the eCOGRA Seal of Approval. Many Microgaming casinos are eCOGRA certified. eCOGRA, the independent standards authority for the online gambling industry, helps players identify online casinos that are safe, fair, and responsible. eCOGRA certified casinos are “regulated and monitored” to ensure timely and efficient payouts, fair gaming practices, and fast dispute resolution. eCOGRA also calculates the monthly payout percentages for online slot machines for every casino that has its Seal of Approval.

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