Slot Machine Tutorials

Slot Machine Tutorials

Are you looking for a good slot machine tutorial for USA players? If so, we’ve got just the sort of guide you need. While slot machines are one of the easiest gambling games for newbies, they can still be complicated if you don’t know how they work. This is where our guide comes in. We’ll explain everything for you right here, so you can start spinning and (with lady luck on your side) winning in no time at all.

Slot Machine Basics Tutorial

Like any good slot tutorial, there is little point in us diving straight into the special features. We’ll get to that in turn. However, if you are new to slots, you have to first understand what a slot is, how it works, and what to expect once you start playing.

Spinning the reels of a slot is unquestionably simple; however, some of the special features may be tricky to understand.

A slot consists of a set of reels and paylines which run across them. To win, you’re going to need to match up as many identical symbols on those paylines as you can. Matching three identical symbols is normally enough to pick up a prize, but the symbols have to appear on the same paylines (routes across the reels). Unless you are playing a slot with 243 or more paylines, it isn’t enough to land them on adjacent reels. We’ll guide you through the process of wagering shortly, but first, let’s continue with some basic information.

Random Number Generator

Slots are designed to deliver random results. Yes, the symbols on the reels are weighted, so the better-paying symbols appear less frequently than the lower-paying ones. However, slots are run by algorithms known as Random Number Generators (or RNGs), and these ensure completely random outcomes of each spin.

Odds & Payouts

Finding out the payout size is simple enough. You can often click on the slot’s paytable to find out what it pays for selected symbol combinations, how its special features work, and more. The amount you can win depends on the symbol combos you land. However, the RTP rate and the volatility also determine how the game pays its winnings.

Highly volatile slots pay less regularly but deliver immense wins when they pay up. Low-variance games deliver smaller prizes but typically provide regular wins to keep you in the game. RTP is the amount of each bet that the casino puts into a theoretical pot for all players to win. The opposite side of an RTP is the house edge (the bit of each bet the casino takes as pure profit). The higher the RTP, the fairer the slot, and the more there will be for you to win.

Slot paytable
A slot’s paytable will tell you all you need to know about payouts

Slot Machine Symbols

The key to winning in slots is landing the better-paying symbols on paylines. A typical slot will have anything from six to twelve standard paying symbols, each with its own prizes, and those prizes will rise in value the more you bet.

However, there are also several other symbols in video slots. These are known as special symbols, and they serve wildly different functions. While they won’t all appear in the same slot, here is what you can expect should they appear in a slot machine that you are playing.

Special SymbolRoleHow It Works
WildSubstitutes for one icon you need to land a win.Wild symbols act like jokers in a traditional deck of cards. They can substitute for symbols you need to win. They may appear in many shapes and forms.
ScatterCounts anywhere and may trigger bonuses.Scatters count wherever they fall. They don’t need to appear on paylines. Three or more may also trigger a bonus feature.
MultiplierBoosts what you can win.Multipliers may be worth x2, x3, or any figure. They will increase the value of any winning combo they appear in.
StickyRemains in place for several spins.They are often found in respin and free spin bonuses, they usually take the form of wilds, remaining in place and giving you multiple chances to win.
BonusTriggers bonus rounds.These must fall on specific reels (anywhere on those reels) and will always trigger a bonus round.
StackedImprove your chances of winning.Stacked symbols improve your chances of success. They often appear as wild symbols covering whole reels.
MysteryIt can transform into one specific symbol.Mystery symbols act like wilds, but they can only turn into one symbol, not any icon.
JackpotTriggers the game’s jackpot.Land five of these on a line to win the game’s jackpot prize.


You will need to land identical symbols on paylines to win prizes. However, some slots don’t use paylines. 243 ways to win, for instance, merely mean that you need to land identical symbols on adjacent reels to win. Other games, like Cluster Pays, use “groups” of adjacent symbols to dish out prizes, and MegaWays games feature a random number of ways to win (often up to 117,649) on each spin. Some slots even start out with a limited number of lines, but you can unlock more by landing consecutive wins.

Difference Between Early & Modern Slot Machines

The earliest real money slots were notably basic, offering just three reels and often a single payline to win on. Most had fruit symbols and were woefully short on bonuses, if they had any at all. Video slots tend to feature five reels and multiple paylines. These are the games that include many of the bonus features we’ve already described above.

More recently, slots can include specific engines. Cluster Pays and MegaWays games, for instance, often contain collapsing reels/symbols. The winning symbols are removed (you still collect a prize), and new ones drop down in their place. This gives you a chance to win several times with the same bet.

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Video slots often come with bonus rounds, too. These can include instant win games, free spins, and re-spins. An instant win game often involves choosing from items to win prizes, like a scratch card. Free spins are often played on a separate set of reels with a bonus mechanic (like enhanced wilds or multipliers) in play. Re-spins are typically played in the base game, with an added feature woven in. Some bonus rounds don’t need symbols to trigger them. They may be triggered randomly.

How to Play Slot Machine Games

The next step in our tutorial for slot machines is to show you how to bet. Here’s what you need to know before you start playing:

  • Begin by finding the slot you want to play. Be sure that it has a decent RTP and the features, wagering range, and prizes you want to see.
  • Adjust your bet using the coin value button. Older games may allow you to adjust the number of lines and coins you bet per spin. Modern games have fixed paylines and straightforward fixed betting buttons.
  • Hit the spin button to start the slot game.
  • The reels will stop on their own, or you can stop them prematurely by hitting the stop button.
  • You can also use autoplay features to bet on several spins in succession with the same stake.
  • Once the reels stop spinning, any winning combinations will be evaluated and paid out.
  • If you’ve triggered a bonus round, you’ll be taken to that round. After it ends, you’ll return to the base game.

Tutorials for Slot Machine Strategies

There is no such thing as a guaranteed way to win when playing slots. However, with our tutorial for slots, we can at least introduce you to a few options that you may wish to consider. Again, these won’t guarantee you a win, but they can put you in good shape — sometimes.


This rather basic strategy involves progressive jackpot slots. It only works in games where the jackpot is triggered randomly. The basic idea is that you keep playing (with the lowest possible bet) until you either trigger the jackpot, or your bankroll is gone. It sounds simple, but some slot players swear it works.


In this type of game, every coin you wager unlocks the potential payouts a game has. For instance, a single-coin bet might unlock just some symbols, while a two or three-coin bet would unlock other symbols. As you play more, additional lines become available, too. However, we do not recommend these types of games if you’re going to play with the minimum amount. There is every chance that jackpot symbols might pop up, but you won’t win anything because you haven’t “unlocked them” by betting just one coin. It can be deeply frustrating.

Multiplier Strategy

The multiplier strategy is straightforward enough to grasp. These are commonly found in classic slots and fruit slot machines. Every coin you wager increases the amount you can win by 1. For instance, a 2-coin bet triggers a 2x multiplier, and so on. This is advantageous if you place the maximum bet in the game, as it will often pay more than you’d expect. For instance, a five-coin bet may not pay x5 the winnings but x10 instead.

Slot Machine Etiquette Tutorial

If you choose to play slots in a real land-based casino, then it can help to learn a few tutorials for slot machines in the USA. One of these is slot etiquette. Slot etiquette revolves around having manners.

For instance, you should be sure that nobody else is using or playing the slot when you take over. It is not uncommon for players to “save” slot machines while they visit the bathroom, for instance. Not all casinos support this. Don’t leave valuables unattended, and don’t play with someone else’s leftover change; if you were to win, you may be denied the prize.

At the same time, it is impolite to talk to another player who is trying their luck. It is also rude to stand behind someone while they are playing. This makes players feel nervous and is easy to avoid.

Money Management

All tutorials for slots will say the same thing here: don’t splash your cash. Only play with what you can afford to lose. In fact, be prepared to lose everything you put into a slot. You should never play a game expecting to win. There are betting systems out there that you can use, but we don’t advise them. Some, such as the Martingale, can see you go bankrupt if you go on a losing streak. Instead, just spread your money sensibly, and quit while you’re ahead. This is all common sense, but you’d be surprised how many slot players forget to do this when gambling.

Tips for Playing Slot Machines

Arguably the best piece of advice we have for slot newbies is try online demo slots. You can find them on the websites of the software providers behind the games, but also at many online casinos themselves. Why play a free slot if you can’t win real money? What you get is still valuable. You can learn how a game works and experiment with it safely knowing that you’re in a risk-free zone and won’t lose a dime.

At the same time, we’d also encourage you to start with some of the easier games. Opt for games with high RTP rates and low volatility to begin with. Don’t migrate to more challenging, highly volatile titles like MegaWays games until you understand how they work.

Finally, if you like the look of one type of game, don’t hesitate to look around. Many slots are clones of others, and it may just be that there is another game out there that offers an identical experience but with better RTP rates, prizes, or volatility. There are thousands of online slots to choose from, so you’ll surely find something similar if you look around.

Slots for free
Slot developers’ websites often host free-to-play slots

Pros & Cons of Slots

Let us end by exploring the pros and cons of slots below. Here’s a quick guide to the highs and lows of slot machines:

The Good: Slots are generally affordable, with flexible wagering ranges suitable for players who like to splash the cash or prefer more reserved bets. The prizes you can win in slots are bigger than in table games. There are thousands of slots to choose from, so there is something for everyone. Finally, slots are easy to play and don’t require much previous experience.

The Bad: Slot machines have some of the worst probability of success of any casino game. Slots can have deceptive features that look better than they are. Slots can be quite addictive, and you can burn your bankroll quite quickly if you aren’t mindful of what you’re betting.


It depends on the type of a slot. Non-progressive winnings are tied to the symbol combo you land and your stake. Progressive winnings are uncapped and can be worth anything, even millions of dollars.

Each casino has its own deals with software providers. You can’t play the same games everywhere. However, there are plenty of slot clones out there, and one of those may be available on your site.

These slots have several prizes for you to win. They are triggered randomly, as their name suggests. The more you bet, the more likely you are to land the higher-paying jackpots.

Old progressive slots require you to place a maximum bet or land symbols on a specific line. If you don’t do these things, you may be offered a consolation prize. Thankfully, this isn’t the case with most modern jackpot slots.

Mobile slot machines are games that are optimized for mobile devices, either via apps or your phone’s browser. Cryptocurrency slots are designed to accept bets using BTC, ETH, and other notable cryptocurrencies.

Publication Author
Donald Peterson
Author of articles
Donald Peterson is an avid gambler from Edmonton, Alberta, who also writes about his experience with casinos. He’s been in the business for over 10 years, following the ever-changing industry landscape. His articles are aimed at helping beginners with choosing casinos, suitable games, and strategies.
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