How to Play Slots for Beginners

How to Play Slots for Beginners

Slots are very popular among gamblers worldwide; this is the broadest game category at any online casino, and they are in demand by both newbies and experienced players. Regular gamblers already have a clear idea of how slots work and how they differ. Still, there are many customers without any gambling experience who are looking for a guide on how to play slot machines for beginners in the USA. If you are also interested in this topic, we suggest you keep reading. The editorial team has collected all the necessary information in one place to help newcomers get acquainted with the world of online slots.

Slot Machine Basics for Beginners & Gambling Rules

As in any other case, you need to find answers to several questions in order to understand how to choose and how to play slots. What characteristics do slot machines have? What is included in the list of basic and bonus features? What affects the probability and size of winnings? The answers are below.


One of the slots’ key features is that the game’s results are impossible to predict because of a random number generator that works using complex mathematical calculations. Neither players nor casinos can interfere with RNG operation, and each round results are completely random. This is an important aspect of slot machine basics for beginners; it guarantees that licensed slots work fairly.

Keep in mind that it is necessary to choose only gambling sites with licenses and certificates from independent gaming software auditors. Usually, you can find confirmation that these documents exist and are valid on casinos’ official websites.

RNG work is based on randomness; there is a specific algorithm that uses numbers and can generate hundreds of thousands of outcomes in a split second after pressing the Start button.

What Are Slot Machine Lines

Paylines, or simply lines, bring winnings in slots: you get a prize if particular symbols line up in a specific order. Slots can have from 1 to over 200,000 lines; the higher the number, the higher the chances of collecting winning combinations. Moreover, more paylines usually provide more exciting gameplay.

The Queen of Atlantis slot
The Queen of Atlantis slot from Pragmatic Play has 1,024 paylines

One of the crucial factors determining a particular line as winning is a direction. Different slot machines have different variants of determining exact combinations and prizes. Several options are available:

  • From left to right. This option is the most widespread; the first combination symbol has to be located at the leftmost reel.
  • From right to left. The principle is the same as above but in reverse; the symbol on the rightmost reel is the first in a combination.
  • In both directions. In this case, the first symbol position doesn’t matter, as the winning line can start from any direction.
  • All ways. This system of determining the winning combination is quite profitable for players. It doesn’t matter how symbols are located on the line; you need to collect the same symbol on each reel (the part also doesn’t matter).
  • Clusters. You need to collect a group of 3 or 5 symbols that forms a cluster to get a payout.

Paylines and the way to create them are essential factors to consider when choosing a slot machine.

RTP, Volatility & Payout Rate Explained

As you remember, slots’ results are completely random. Nevertheless, slot machines have several crucial criteria that affect the size and frequency of potential winnings.

ParameterRTPVolatilityPayout Level
TypesUp to 90%, 90-95%, 96-99% (relative classification)Low, medium, highIt depends on the bet size and the winning combination
What affectsRTP displays what part of the money invested in a slot will return to all players in the long run. Remember that this criterion works only in the long run and takes into account bets made by all players in a particular slot. For example, the slot’s RTP is 95%. This means the slot machine will give players $95 of $100 invested in the long run.Volatility demonstrates how often and how much you can win in a particular slot. Low volatility provides frequent but tiny payouts, while high volatility delivers significant payouts that are sporadic.The maximum payout is the maximum amount of money you can win per spin in a particular slot. The payout size is influenced by the bet’s size and a winning combination that comes up on the reels. Special payout tables allow you to find all the necessary information about a particular slot machine.
Newbie’s choiceBoth newbies and regular players are always better to choose slots with at least 95% RTP, because even the theoretical opportunity to get back most of the money spent attracts everyone.Inexperienced players should choose titles with low volatility that provide frequent winnings so there are fewer risks.Newcomers shouldn’t chase after the vast potential payouts because slots that promise significant winnings usually have a big minimum bet size. It is best to start with a minimum investment and gradually increase your bet size if you succeed.

There is also such a criterion as the fall frequency, a correlation between wins and losses within a certain number of spins. For example, imagine a slot in which 10,000 out of 100,000 spins are winning: the fall frequency is 10% there. This criterion demonstrates how often you can win in this or that machine.

Game Symbols

Moving on, there are still a lot of points to consider in this guide on how do you play slots for beginners. Symbols are the main structural slots elements that determine your results and participate in the game process. And it’s not about design diversity; each symbol on the playing field has its purpose and possibilities. There is no need to describe standard symbols; let’s stop at special ones that have unique abilities.

Wild & Scatter

Perhaps the most common special symbols are wild and scatter. Wild symbols can replace other images on the playing field; sometimes, they can even form combinations.

There are also expanding wilds: when they come up, they become bigger and occupy more cells of the playing field, increasing your chances of winning.

Scatter is unique because this symbol and its features are not tied to an active payline. Often scatters bring additional benefits, no matter in which place on the playing field they are. In most cases, you can count on free spins for collecting 3 or more scatters.

Also, when you play slot machines for beginners, you can find the combined Scatter-Wild symbol in some of them, which has several abilities simultaneously; for example, it can replace another picture and activate free spins.

Sticky & Multiplier

Sticky symbols are a real boon for gamblers because they have the ability to stick to a specific place on the playing field and stay there for several spins. This significantly increases the chances of gathering a winning combination because you have more spins to collect the missing images.

Best Online Casinos
No deposit $40 bonus for the new players
Read ReviewShow More
150% up to $3,000 for the first deposit
Read ReviewShow More
280% bonus for the first deposit up to $14,000
Read ReviewShow More

Everything is clear with multipliers: the name speaks for itself. When this symbol lands on the playing field, it increases your winning combination amount by the number of times specified in the multiplier.

Bonus & Stacked

Bonus symbols, as the name suggests, unlock additional bonuses in a slot game. They may vary considerably, although the most popular options are extra rounds, re-spins, and free spins.

Stacked symbols significantly increase the winning potential, consisting of several pictures at once and occupying more cells on the playing field. In addition, stacked symbols can come up on several lines.

Bonus Rounds

A bonus round, as well as special symbols, make slot games more exciting and interactive and increase potential winnings. The availability of bonus rounds in slot machines for dummies plays an important role also because newbies can get the necessary experience faster, encountering more game situations and scenarios.

Let’s see what features are important to consider when talking about bonus rounds:

  • The variety of additional options is wide, but you most often get access to re-spins and free spins.
  • In most cases, the bonus game starts automatically, suspending the standard round, but in some cases, you need to take some action to run it.
  • Bonus rounds are free, so even if you don’t win anything, your bankroll won’t suffer.
  • Sometimes, a bonus round starts even if your spin is unsuccessful.

Also, in some slots, a re-trigger is available; in this case, instead of one bonus round, you get a few, thus further expanding the gameplay.

Reels & Rows

Rows and reels are concepts without which a beginner guide to slot machines in the USA can’t exist. These structural elements form a slot’s layout and playing field, but what is the difference between rows and reels? Anyone who has ever seen a crossword puzzle can quickly figure it out.

Both a reel and a row are straight lines; the difference is in their orientation on the playing field.

Reels are vertical lines of the playing field; there are 5 in most slots. Rows are horizontal lines; there may be 3, 4, 5, and even more, depending on the slot machine.

The Liberty Bell slot was created by Charles Fey in 1894
Liberty Bell, the world’s first slot machine, had only one row and three reels

Many newbies get confused, as they don’t see the difference between a row and a payline. Everything is simple: a row is strictly horizontal, while paylines can be both straight and curved depending on a provider’s imagination. That’s why there are often more paylines than rows in slot machines.

Odds & Payout Tables

The odds of winning vary from slot to slot. We have already described the basic characteristics of slots for beginners: RTP, volatility, and fall frequency. Also, it is essential to remember that results are random due to the RNG work.

To better assess your chances of success and get the complete picture of a slot before starting to play, you need to study its payout table. Usually, it opens by pressing a separate button and contains the following important data:

  • The number and form of paylines.
  • Types and features of available symbols.
  • Minimum and maximum bet.
  • The presence or absence of risky games, bonus rounds, jackpot draws, and so on.

Today there are many slot games with a huge number of paylines and hundreds of possible winning combinations that determine the chances of winning. It is in your interest to spend a little time and study the full description of a selected slot to assess whether it suits you.


We have already mentioned the multiplier symbols that can be found both in a standard round and in the bonus game and have small or impressive odds. Sometimes, scatter and wild activate them. All gamblers like multipliers without exceptions, as they allow you to increase your winnings many times.

However, gambling providers usually balance the quantity and quality of multipliers so that casinos stay profitable and players are motivated.


The autoplay feature allows you to relax and watch the slot reels spin alone and without your intervention. All you need to do is to set the number of automatic spins and click the Start button. If winning combinations appear on the screen, you will see the corresponding information and get a specific prize amount. However, remember during autoplay, there is no possibility to change the betting parameters until all the spins you have set are completed.

Online Slot Types

Considering that the first mechanical slot machine was invented at the end of the 19th century, and in the 2000s, gambling studios provided thousands of slots, it is expected that today their choice is enormous. Let’s consider the main categories.


Classic slots are the direct descendants of the first mechanical slot machines, which, like their modern counterparts, had three reels and one line (although today, classic slots can have up to 25 lines). Images are also traditional: BARs, sevens, fruits, and so on.


Video slots have much more variety not only in terms of the number of reels, rows, and paylines but also in terms of graphics and animations. These slot machines have exciting themes and unique symbols, designed in accordance with the plot and genre; moreover, soundtracks also perfectly immerse you in the game world created by a provider.


Such titles are the next stage in video slot development. 3D slot machines offer the most realistic and juicy gambling experience due to a three-dimensional playing field and animations, a variety of themes and plots, and a lot of perfect graphics solutions.

At the same time, all basic features available in most slots remain the same.


Slots with progressive jackpots are in high demand among most players, as they give a chance to win an enormous sum of money. Progressive jackpots gradually accumulate as they are formed from all gamblers’ bets; moreover, accumulation can take place both within a particular slot and in all slot machines of a specific series or provider.

The Mega Moolah slot in demo mode
Mega Moolah from Microgaming is one of the most popular games with a progressive jackpot

As soon as a lucky gambler hits the jackpot, the prize pool begins to accumulate again.

How to Find & Choose Slots for Beginners

So, what to focus on when choosing slot machines for beginners? Follow a few essential tips:

  • Look for slot machines with high RTP and low volatility. This combination provides less risk and more frequent winnings, which is vital for inexperienced players.
  • Choose titles with a low minimum bet threshold if you have a small bankroll. In addition, if you wish to play longer, it is better to spend your bankroll sparingly and not to bet big, hoping for a maximum win.
  • Check slots’ features before playing for real money. Don’t limit yourself to looking at the payout table because you can also use a demo mode to play for fun without risks.

Lastly, trust only verified and licensed casinos that provide safe and secure gambling services.

Steps on How to Play Slots for Beginners

This is probably one of the easiest instructions you’ve ever seen, so here is a step-by-step guide to playing slots for beginners:

  1. Choose a suitable casino and sign up.
  2. Deposit money through the cashier.
  3. Choose a slot and study its paytable.
  4. Test a slot in demo mode if possible.
  5. Select the bet size and start spinning reels.

That’s all; you just need to wait for the round results and decide on the advisability of further game.

Determine Bet Size

Modern slot games usually offer an extensive range of available bets. To roughly determine what size is all right for you, it’s worth asking yourself three basic questions:

  • How long do I want to play? The more money you have in your balance, the longer you can play. Of course, big bets will spend your bankroll faster, even if you have relatively long and frequent winning streaks.
  • How much do I want to win? The vast majority of slots offer more significant potential winnings with correspondingly higher stakes; keep this in mind.
  • Are there any restrictions? If your goal is to wager a bonus, reviewing the wagering requirements before placing bets is essential. The maximum bet size may be significantly limited.

Also, don’t forget to use bankroll management right from the start. This is the best slot strategy for beginners because it simply helps you to play longer.

After determining the appropriate bet size, set the loss limits, outline the boundaries of acceptable losses, and don’t exceed them.

How to Claim & Use Welcome Bonuses & Other Promotions

Bonuses give you a chance to get more emotions and profits from gambling, but remember that it is crucial to study the terms and conditions of a selected offer beforehand. To begin with, let’s look at the main bonus types available at most online gambling venues:

  • Welcome offers are valid only for newbies; you can get such a reward for your first or several first deposits. You create an account, activate a bonus, deposit the necessary amount of money, and then receive a specific deposit increase, free spins, or both. However, the bonus money is credited to the bonus balance. If you decide to withdraw it, you have to meet wagering requirements, taking into account a wagering ratio specified in the bonus description.
  • No deposit bonuses can focus on both newbies and regular players. The main feature is that there is no need to top up your account to get a reward; however, strict wagering requirements most often apply.
  • Reload rewards are for regular players; usually, you have to make a deposit on a specific day or significant date or participate in a seasonal promotion. Wagering requirements also apply.
  • Cashback. It allows you to return part of the money lost in the casino over a certain period of time.

There are also a number of other special offers: referral bonuses, birthday gifts, loyalty programs, and so on.

Strategies, Tips & Secrets to Win Slot Machines for Dummies

Let’s summarize what has already been said and add some useful tips. So, how should a newbie act when it comes to slots:

  • Choose slot machines with a high RTP and low volatility.
  • Use bankroll management.
  • Use a no deposit bonus if a casino offers it.
  • Study a payout table and test a slot in demo mode before playing for real money.
  • Don’t play in a hurry or in a poor physical or emotional state.
  • Don’t play for too long and take breaks.

Finally, we advise treating slot games as entertainment, not a way of making money.

How to Avoid Mistakes

Remember that slot machines are all about luck, and casinos always have an advantage over players. To avoid mistakes while choosing a slot machine, game strategy, and other things, you should first not make hasty and rash decisions, not chase big profits, but constantly learn and improve. Of course, if slots are not just a way to have a good time for you.


It all depends on the promotion conditions of your casino; usually, the list of available slot machines is limited.

This is another name for volatility — a parameter determining the frequency and size of winnings.

At an online casino or on the slot provider’s website.

Yes. Tournaments usually cover slots of a specific series or a particular gambling studio. Gamblers who show the best results at the end of the promotion receive rewards from a casino.

Of course. You can do it through a mobile version or a downloadable app. Usually, a game selection is absolutely the same.

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.
No comments yet.
Be the first to leave a review and get an exclusive bonus on your email.
Add a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Compare Casinos