Slots Play Casinos 101 Guide to Online Slot Terms
Welcome to the Slots Play Casino 101 on online slots terms and slot machine slang. Whether you are an online casino slots play expert, a real enthusiast, one of many casual slots players, or a complete newbie, knowing the basic terms will boost your understanding of what online hot slots play action is all about.
Knowledge is power, or at least the way to power play and increase your playing enjoyment and potential wins.
The A-Z Glossary of Online Slot Machine Terms
We have put together a comprehensive one-stop shop for all the slot machine slang you could ever need to get the most out of your online slot machine play.
The language of playing slots is always on the move, due to the amazing technological advances that slots software developers have made over the years, and continue to deliver.
Cutting-edge slot machines have now lifted all creation barriers and developers run wild with their imaginations when it comes to theme variety, 3D animations, incredible audio quality, engaging gameplay and edge-of-your-seat features. The number of bonus features increases constantly, and every new release introduces online casino slot enthusiasts to even more exciting ways to reel in those dream wins.
There are so many excellent slot games to choose from when you play online, and an array of exciting features to explore. Because of this, there are some specific terms you’ll encounter, which can be useful to understand before you play.
To help you to become a Master of the Slots, here’s our Slots Play Casinos A-Z guide to some of the most common, slot game terminology.
Slots Terms Explained:
243 Ways Slot Machines
243 ways to win refers to the number of ways to land a winning combination. A 243-way machine pays out when symbols appear on any of the reels in any position. Symbols count toward winning combinations as long as they are on adjacent reels
1,024 Ways Slot Machines
A 1,024-way machine is similar to a 234-way game but with an extra row of symbols. The five reels with four columns create an exponential amount of new paying combinations and bigger cash potential.
3D Video Slot Machine
3D Video slots are graphically sophisticated slot games with depth in their imagery to give a three-dimensional effect. This is a entertaining version of online slot machine play that is played out in 3D scenarios with 3D characters.
3 Reels Slot Machine
A slots game with 3 reels and 1 payline (aka classic slots or reel slots). Traditional 3-reel slots come with just one payline, but more recent 3-reel slots can also have up to 10 pay lines positioned horizontally, vertically or diagonally. The win frequency of 3-reel slots is generally higher than games with more reels, but the frequency of a win on a 3-reel slot machine is usually lower when there is only one pay line.
5 Reels Slot Machine
A 5-reel slot machine is a slots game that uses five reels to hold the game icons. The slot reels are five spinning columns of symbols. This type of game has become the standard for most online slot machines.
6 Reels Slot Machines
A 6-reel slot machine has six columns of spinning symbols. These games usually have additional features and the complexity of available combinations increases since you can land up to six identical symbols in a row.
This refers to the action that takes place on a slot during a specific period. These periods are often used to determine the patterns and behaviors of the games. Action is the total amount that a slots player bets in a specific timeframe. Some bonus offers and wagering requirements use this number as a point of reference.
Active Pay lines
An active payline is “turned on” and pays a prize if a winning combo lands on it. Many machines let you activate and deactivated pay lines to adjust your wager. Active pay lines are those enabled by the player, which indicates how many lines winnings can occur on.
A feature used most commonly in slot tournaments, which enables participants to boost their playing time and therefore, their scoring potential.
All Ways slot machines have pay lines that create winning combinations from left to right and right to left.
Progressive Jackpot paid by slot to a group of players in graduated payments or installments over a lengthy period, which can even get to a couple of years.
An automated feature offered by several slot machines, allowing the player to select 20 up to 100 spins to occur automatically, without any player participation. Just sit back and watch the wheels spin and win.
Autoplay and auto spin features let you set a wager and number of spins for the slot machine to complete automatically. You can usually disable autoplay after any round with a simple click.
Amusement With Prizes are slot machines that provide some level of player interaction. Most frequently, AWP is found on a classic slot featuring fruit symbols.
A term gamblers or frequent slot players used to use to describe a slot machine because of the large mechanical levers used in the early machines – hence, the term: one-armed bandit.
The amount of money the player has deposited and has currently available to bet and gamble with. When it comes to the casino’s bankroll, the term refers to the money a casino has to pay out to the players.
A symbol found in traditional slots which can appear as a single bar, double or even triple bar. Bars are classic black slot symbols with “BAR” printed on them in white. They are often the lowest paying and come in single, double, or triple stacked versions.
These are usually the more traditional style of slots play game, and come with three or five reels. Basic slots are three-reel machines with a single payline. The prize is always the same, and there are no special features. These slot machines tend to have limited pay-lines and involve retro elements, such as bars, fruit and bell symbols.
An amount selected to place on the outcome before spinning action takes place. Also called a wager.
This is the automatic maximum bet per spin in terms of money or credits.
A “bet one” setting adjusts the wager or bet, to one single coin of the selected denomination per spin.
Bet Per Line
The amount (in money or credits) selected to be wagered or betted, per payline.
Bet Per Spin
The bet a player places per payline multiplied by the number of active paylines determines the bet per spin value.
The amount bet or wager on each spin (equal to Coin size x Number of coins x Paylines)
These come in the form of virtual coins or credits, and refer to the amount of stake that you can place when playing online slots.
A player can decide how many betting units to wager, although some games include a minimum and maximum bet allowed.
The fee paid to enter or buy in to a slot tournament.
These are a freebie features that enable you to take another spin of the reels without betting more coins or credits. This means that you could keep playing and therefore increasing your chances of getting your hands on the jackpot. Bonus features can be triggered based on specific combinations or can randomly provide players with additional ways to earn bonus payouts. A bonus feature, or bonus game, offers free spins, additional wilds, unlock a mini game, or other considerable winning potential. You can find instructions on how to activate a bonus feature in the game’s pay table. Most slot games have a plethora of exciting features and multi-line bonuses to keep you engaged and in the game.
A bonus round is an in-game event where slot players make specific decisions to earn extra prizes or facilitate additional play.
Branded slots are licensed slots created by the software developer in cooperation with the brand owner (Superman slot, Spiderman slot, Wonder Woman slot, etc.).
Additional symbols added to the slot providing higher cash prizes and that players need to wager increased amounts to obtain. Buy a pay refers to payouts that a player gets, only if they meet a minimum wager amount per spin. It’s important to realize this, since at times the jackpot win won’t be available unless you are meeting a certain betting amount – usually, the max bet.
The fee payable to enter a basic slots tournament.
Buy a Feature
A buy a feature allows access to specific bonuses or unique gameplay if a player is wagering a minimum amount per spin.
The candle is the light on top of a physical slot machine at a land-based casino. You can use it to call over an slot host if there is an issue or if you hit the jackpot.
A carousel is a bank or group of slots that are together on a casino floor, sometime these are linked progressive jackpot slot machines.
Cascading or Tumbling Reels
An exciting feature where the symbols on a winning line disappear and the reels above drop replacement symbols, which can also create a winning line, all from the same spin. Cascading wilds convert other symbols in a slots game into more wilds, allowing for massive or concurrent wins.
Traditional slot, one-armed-bandit style, featuring three reels and a single payline. These machines often use vintage symbols like bars, bells, fruit, and 7s.
Click and Pick
Click and Pick is a form of in-game gamble feature in online slot machines, typically implemented as a bonus feature. Click and Pick usually presents a player with multiple possible rewards or prizes. All of them are hidden as an on-screen bonus, until you click them, so you never know quite what you’re getting.
Coins are the total amount of cash, or betting units you have in a slot machine at any given time.
The denomination of coin used in the bet (links with Number of coins). The coin size is the value assigned to each coin or credit when you’re betting at a slot machine. These can be as small as 1¢ or as large as $100. This amount gets multiplied by the number of paylines to calculate the total bet.
A coin slot is a physical hole where you put your coins to fund the machine. Finding a coin slot is becoming rare with digital devices, although some casinos still offer physical quarter or penny games.
The collect button allows players to cash out their remaining number of credits from the slot machine.
A special feature in slots that can trigger multiple wins within the slot cycle of play.
Columns are the vertical lines of symbols in a slot machine that spin. This term is used interchangeably with reels.
Comps are complementary prizes, drinks, food (land-based casinos), or spins and cash (online casinos) offered by the casino for loyal players.
Console Slot Machines
If you love to play slot machine games online, you have many picks of console slot machines and slot games that offer gambling elements. These console games include basic slots or 3d video slots type that are based around an action storyline with elements of progressive slots.
Credits are the unit used after you insert money into a slot machine. A credit indicator is usually near the bottom of the slot machine or screen.
Demo mode, or practice mode, gives you a “fun balance” to play your pick of slot game. You cannot win real money, and your balance doesn’t carry over.
The denomination is the value of a single coin on a slot machine. Some machines allow the player to change the coin amount. A carousel of slots in a brick-and-mortar casino will usually be the same denomination for a primary jackpot.
EGM is an acronym for “Electronic Gaming Machine.”
Expanding wilds are a unique type of wild symbol that grows beyond a single space. These often fill the entire reel they land on, creating more winning potential.
This is part of a slots tournament in which players can boost their base scores by buying Rebuys and Add-ons to extend a game and therefore increase playing time and winning potential.
All slot games have symbols that reflect either game characters, numbers, cards and certain classic symbols such as cherries, sevens and bars. Extra symbols add to the game performance and can carry varying amounts of potential. Recognizing a specific symbol will keep you ahead of the game, and most importantly, it’ll make sure you’ll have a lot of fun while doing so!
A feature is any additional bonuses, free spins, and side games that you can unlock with certain winning combinations on a particular slot machine. 3d video slots are generally more feature-rich than the classic single payline slot machines.
Fixed Value Slots Jackpot
A fixed value slots jackpot is a set amount a player wins if they hit the jackpot combination. This award is the traditional payout in slot machines and is also called a flat-top slot prize.
A special feature in slots that can trigger multiple wins and can be a multi-line feature.
A free play slot lets you try the game without risking any real money. The best online casinos offer this in their demo mode.
A free-to-enter slots tournament with various bet max or min options.
A bonus round that enables numerous free spins that requires no additional wagering. Free spins are opportunities to spin the reels and win prizes without having to wager. You earn them during game features or with some casino bonuses.
A term used mostly in the UK, this is a traditional name for a slot machine, as they classically involve fruit symbols within the game. You can find land-based fruit machines, but also online versions of the retro slot machine at casino sites. Online versions of the classic casino 3-reel game feature Holds and Nudges.
A gamble feature offered by some slots, enables players to double their winnings if they predict the accurate outcome of the next card.
Often used to describe a win on a spin that features a winning combo on an active payline. To “hit” is to complete a winning combo on an active payline.
The number of times a slot awards a winning combination.
A gambler that places an extremely large number of credits and bets.
A feature on fruit machines that allows players to hold certain reels in place while they respin the other reels.
The hopper is the area below the reels of a physical slot machine used to catch winning coin payouts. These days, most land-based slots use ticket vouchers.
Hot and Cold Slots
If a slot game is currently paying out a lot, it is called “hot” or a “loose” slot machine in slot machine terms. But if a game has been quiet for a while with no payouts, it is considered a cold slot. Generally, this is word-of-mouth information that players like to use and is often based upon anecdotal rather than actual results.
Slots that allow players to interact with the game and change the course of it.
The maximum amount of money a player can win in a game’s primary Jackpot. This jackpot will be a multiplication of your initial wager, and its size can vary from game to game.
A line bet is the amount of wager on a particular line landing a winning combination. Some slots have various pay-lines, so the player can choose how much and how many lines to place a stake on. A line bet refers to how much a player is wagering on a single slot machine line. This amount determines the payout if the player hits a winning combo.
Loose Slot Machines
A loose slot machine is considered to have a higher-than-average return to player (RTP). A loose slot is always highly popular and can also be known as a hot slots machine (see above).
The max bet is the highest number of credits that a player can wager on each spin. On most slots, there is a bet max button to adjust the wager to the maximum automatically. Sometimes the jackpot is only available when playing at the max bet.
The min bet is the smallest amount a player can wager on one spin. Usually, it’s one credit for one payline. It could be as little as one 1¢.
This is another term for a max win and refers to the maximum amount of money slot machine jackpots can pay out to a player. In slot machine gaming with no jackpot this is usually the amount received for landing 5 of a kind of the highest paying symbols, while wagering a max bet with the highest multiplier (if there is one). In slot games where there is a jackpot, then the max jackpot will be the highest-paying jackpot. In a Progressive slot game this is the largest possible progressive jackpot. A max win or jackpot can be checked in the game’s pay table.
Mechanical slots are traditional, older machines and have physical reels that stop behind a glass revealing symbols. These generally have fewer paylines than a video slot and predominantly feature 3-reels.
Slots available for play across all hand-held devices including tablets and smartphones. Mobile slots have intuitive touchscreen controls for phones and tablets. Play video slots right in the web browser of your mobile devices.
Multi-line slots have many paylines. Each line increases your wager and drastically boosts your chances of winning. Play multi-line bonus slots for excellent payout opportunities.
Slot machines featuring more than one payline, usually found in video slots.
These are bonus feature symbols that boost slot machine winnings by multiplying them. A multiplier is a bonus feature or symbol that significantly increases your winning payouts. For example, a 3x multiplier triples your win.
A fruit machine feature that allows slots players to move reels downwards. Nudge slot machines allow the player to press a button to nudge the slot reels down one at a time. You only need a set number of nudges to get it right and win a prize.
Nudge Slot Machine
A nudge slot is a particular video slot machine that has symbols that move up or down once the reel has stopped. A nudge slot provides additional wins and an added excitement to online casinos slot titles.
Numbers are symbols commonly found on the reels. The 7 was a traditional symbol, but now you can find 9, 10, J, Q, K, and A regularly.
Number of Coins
How many coins or betting units are used in each bet (links with coin size) in a slot machine.
Classic slot machines available at land-based casinos of which basic slots reels are spun once the handle on the side is pulled down. Slot machines are called one-armed bandits all around the world. This slot machine slang originated because they have a lever (or one arm) and are programmed to take money from players.
Online Slot Machines
Slots played via desktop or laptop via the internet or using a mobile device – cell phone or tablet.
The different combinations of symbols that cause a payout. This refers to the line which includes a winning combination or pattern of symbols. If this winning selection of symbols should land on this line, and you had placed a wager on that payline, then you could win a payout. The number of paylines can vary from slot machine to slot machine. The payline is the line or pattern that a winning combination needs to land on to win a prize. It can be straight, diagonal, or zig-zag in many directions. Check the Pay Table to see the available paylines.
The winnings awarded to a player who spins a slot machine winning combination. This is the amount of winnings you could receive by landing a pattern, combination or matching symbols along a payline. The symbols usually have differing values and correlating payouts. This varies depending on the combination of symbols. Payout requirements and values also vary between slot machines.
The percentage a slot machine offers as a payback via winnings. The payback percentage is the total amount a slot machine pays out over time. This term is used interchangeably with RTP (return to player).
An explanation of all the different paylines. The table indicates in a slot machine window, what symbols have a winning combination or which icons lead to free spins. Also, the table will show you how much you stand to win on particular combos and much more.
Penny slots, or Nickel slots have wager options as little as 1¢ per payline. These low denomination slot machine games are popular since they provide extended entertainment with little risk.
This is a bonus feature round in which players need to select items in order to reveal and win hidden cash prizes.
Australian term for slot machines (from ‘Poker machine’). Australian slot players may also refer to them as “pokie machines”. This refers to classic slots, video slots, progressive jackpot slots and tournament slots. All are known as Pokies in the Land of Aussie-play.
Linked Progressive jackpot games are linked through different casinos with a jackpot that continues to escalate in value due to the constant contribution adding to the value, each time the game is played. A progressive jackpot slot has a grand prize that grows with each spin until someone wins it. A player will need to bet max coins in order to be a candidate to win the big progressive slot machines prize. Progressive slot machines often have have lower return-to-player payouts, but when it eventually hits, the lucky slots player wins the lot, sometimes millions of dollars.
A meter displayed above the reels that show how the progressive slot machine jackpot increases on a primary jackpot.
Random Number Generator
Also known as RNG, the random number generator is a type of software used for online slots to ensure that the outcome of the game is completely fair and random. Hot or loose slots – the outcome is always random.
A random wild symbol is a symbol that can randomly appear on any of the reels at any time. Such a type of wild is usually used to help provide more winning combinations and add the potential for bigger and better wins to every spin you play.
A tournament feature that allows players to rebuy entry and start again.
Rotating barrels used in mechanical slots, virtual equivalents are used in video slots and are also called reels. This is a specific name for the columns of symbols used in a slot game. A classic slot will have three reels, and this is the type you’ll mostly find on a land-based machine. But for online slot machines, they can have multiple reels of symbols, thanks to the digital technology available. When you launch a slot game, you’ll see a set of columns on your screen. These are the reels and this is where the game’s symbols will land. Most slot games have between three and five reels – with a few six and seven reel games available at some online casinos.
Another name for a single payline slot with 3-reels.
A slot tournament that allows players to rebuy multiple times during the tournament slot cycle.
Return to Player (RTP)
The return-to-player (RTP) is displayed as a percentage and is the theoretical wagered money that a player can expect to win over a certain period of time. For example, if a game’s RTP is 80% and you make 50 bets of £1, you may expect to receive wins of £40. This is a statistic in the form of a percentage, and adds a numerical value to the slot game. The RTP, is the average that the random number generator slot machine pays to a player over a sustained period of time. In theory, the higher the RTP percentage, the more likely you are to receive a payout. However, other factors and the value of payouts can affect the outcome of the slot game.
Rollover and wagering requirements are the total amount a player must wager to clear a bonus offer.
The suspenseful sound when a player hits a BIG WIN
The horizontal lines in which symbols appear. In slots, they run horizontally, and a game can have three or more rows. A combination of specific symbols in one row will give you a payline. However, paylines can’t always appear on one row as they go in all directions as long you have matching symbols.
These are icons that spin on the game’s reels. You’re bound to have different symbols depending on the game you’re playing. For example, if you’re playing a sports-based slot, you’ll have matching symbols to the specific sport’s theme. The icons have different values, and aligning certain symbols will payout according to their values. High-valued symbols mean higher payouts; the opposite is also true. However, some symbols come with additional properties like bonuses, wilds, and free spins.
Unique symbols that can trigger payouts or bonus rounds. This symbol prompts bonus rounds where you can grab free spins, among other prizes. Interestingly, this icon doesn’t have to show up on your combination line to earn you points. Scatter symbols are usually a gambler’s best allies as they can offer a chance at a progressive jackpot. So, anywhere you see the icon, it means goodies are up next. When playing slots, you’re going to want to land the scatter symbol. This generous slot machine icon can be the key to unleashing bonus features, like free spins or unlocking mini games. The scatter can appear anywhere on the reels and typically, the more you land, the better the reward will be. Check the paytable for which icon is the scatter symbol.
Scheduled Slot Tournament
A slot tournament that is scheduled in advance with a definite start and end time.
Second Screen Bonus
The second screen bonus is a unique feature that takes you away from the primary reels and to a mini-game with a different format. The second screen bonus is often a favorite, separate second screen bonus game for video slots, mostly with an interactive element. An example of such is when a player chooses mystery prize boxes or playing a higher or lower game gamble feature.
The “select lines” button allows you to activate or deactivate paylines. It affects your wager and likelihood of hitting a payout.
Shifting Wilds or Shifting Reels
Shifting wilds, or sliding wilds, are like expanding wilds, but they grow horizontally across multiple reel play.
Sit and Go Tournament
A tournament with a maximum number of players and redistribution of buy in fees.
Skill Based Bonus Round Games
Skill-based slots bonuses test your skill in a mini-game and give you a higher award for better performance.
A feature that enables players to stop the spinning of reels manually, generally within a video slot machine.
Slant top slot machines are wide and short games that save space. They allow the player to have a more immersive experience, particularly on video slots.
Slot Club / Player’s Club
The Slot Club, Slots Clubs, or Player’s Club, is a VIP program for loyal players to earn comps and other rewards. They are often tiered systems that provide additional services for slots players as they progress you up the ladder of the online casino.
A slots tournament is an invite or buy-in competition that pits players against each other with a set time limit or credit limit. The player with the best score at the end of the tournament wins additional prizes or free play credits.
Second level slot machine game play designed to enhance player winnings.
The slot machine term for a lever on the side of a slot machine – this is where the term “one armed bandit” comes from for a slot machine.
Slots types include classic slots, progressive slots, 3D games, video slot machines, and particular slot machine titles with bonus features.
Each move that you take when you play slots is known as a spin. You’ll spin the reels in a slot machine in order to match symbols and form the right combinations to win prizes. This is the gameplay on a slot machine or online slot game, while you wager a certain number of coins on each spin you take.
These symbols allow standard icons to occupy more than one slot on a reel. This means that your chances of hitting a matching combination are much higher. When you land a stacked wild symbol, your winning opportunities increase exponentially.
A slot machine with “staggered payouts” offers a larger payout when you bet more betting units or coins in the slots schedule of game play.
The amount offered by the jackpot will never change, and the jackpot is not contributed to by a percentage of the wager as they do in progressive jackpots.
When you land on this symbol, your reel stays put for several spins. Sticky symbols can be hard to acquire, but you need only to match two icons to win when you do, for great slots play results.
Streaky slots are a term used for the anecdotal change in a slots machine winning streak – going from hot slots to cold and back again.
A knockout slot schedule tournament usually played out over 3 rounds.
Tight Slot Machine
Tight slots are machines with lower RTP and are not considered to provide an RTP in the player’s favour. Generally, references to tight slots are anecdotal from player to player, as the real results are random.
The total bet is the amount wagered based on your current game settings. The coin size and number of active pay lines gets multiplied to calculate the bet max credits per spin.
A bonus round in which slots players get to progress up a ladder or around a track on order to win higher prizes.
A game with unique reels may not use a traditional column layout. The reels may be in a hexagon, tower, or side-scrolling display.
Low, medium or high – how the measure of how often and how much a slot pays out. Low variance slots pay out less but more often. High variance slots pay out fewer times, but the prizes are generally higher.
Video Slot Machine
Another name for 5-reel slots – the most common form of online slot game. This is a name given to the majority of modern online slot machines, which involve video elements and digital graphics. These types of slot machines also usually involve multiple reels, more than one payline, exciting themes, state-of-the-art animations and various bonus feature surprises.
Volatility in relation to slot machines measures how high risky a game is for the player. Of course, there is a risk of losing money in all slots, but some games are more predictable than others. A game of medium volatility is the best assessment for player chances.
Amount of money placed as a bet on a spin on a slot machine. In order to start playing a slot game, you’ll be required to place an initial bet. This is often referred to as a wager, and could be requested in the form of virtual coins (play for free without winning real money) or real money. There is a minimum bet requirement for each game, so make sure to consult the game’s pay-table before you start, to find out what this is and adjust your bankroll budget accordingly.
A wild multiplier is a feature that positively affects the payouts of combinations that include wild symbols by multiplying the numbers of each wild icon combination on the slot machines reels.
A symbol that can be substituted for any other symbol except the scatter symbol to increase the chances of forming a winning combination. Wild symbols can be the key to creating winning combinations. They can appear anywhere on the reels and will typically substitute all other symbols so that they then match, helping to increase your wins.
Winning both ways means a paying or payline combination can occur from left-to-right or right-to-left on slot machines.
Ways to Win
Instead of listing several pay lines, a game might list a specific number of ways to win. This number could be anywhere from 3 to 1,024 different winning slot machine lines.
A collection of identical symbols on slot machines payline that results in a win
A zig-zag payline moves in a crooked line across the rows and columns of the reels. There are often some very complex payline layouts as slot machines bonus features. Check the paytable to see the winning paylines available.