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What is a Slot Machine?

A slot machine is a particular type of online game. It features a number of spinning reels that are packed with special symbols. If you can land the symbols in particular patterns (referred to as paylines), you will get a reward from the game. This is a basic explanation of what to expect, but when you play slots online, you will discover a whole lot more.

These games often come with amazing designs, from the symbols on the reels to little details in the background. They also come packed with amazing bonuses to help make gameplay a little more interesting. You can find free spins, wild symbols that can act as substitutions, expanding symbols that can cover the whole reel, gamble games, and a whole lot more! Every slot game has something a little different in it, and every player likes something a little different.

5-reel slots are some of the most common real money online slots that you will find, but there are plenty of other variations too. 3-reel games are also incredibly popular, and it is not unusual to find games with 6 or 7 reels too.

Win mechanics can also differ slightly. Most games come with paylines, as mentioned above, and these can range anywhere from just 1 all the way up to hundreds and thousands! Special games called Megaways can even have shifting paylines that can stretch up to 117,649 paylines! These are not the only ways to grab wins though, some games also use what are called cluster mechanics. To gain a win from these, you need to collect clusters of matching symbols – usually 5 or more will trigger a win.

There truly is a slot for everyone out there, so make sure you check out some online slots real money no deposit games to get a feel for what you might like!

How Do You Play a Slot?

Playing a slot is very straightforward. If you can play a table game like blackjack or poker then you are going to have no trouble with a slot! All you need to do is select the bet that you want to place per spin, and then hit the spinner to see if you can land a win. Many games also come with autoplay features, so you can set several spins going with just a single click.

There are a few more things you need to know before you are ready to start spinning a slot for yourself, so we recommend you check out our guide on how to play a slot. It is always best to go into something fully prepared, and this will help you learn a little more about some of the lingo that is used to describe slots games.

Top Slot Developers

  1. So, who is making these impressive games? There are teams of slot developers working all over the world to create impressive and interesting games for players to try. Some of them have impressive and long-running game series that have become classics of the genre. Others concentrate on pushing out interesting and unique games with innovative new mechanics that could shake up the industry quite significantly.

    A good slots player will get to know some of these developers and the quirks that they put into their games. Here are five of the best – developers that you will encounter at nearly every casino and industry heavyweights that know precisely what to put into a game to make it brilliant to spin.

    NetEnt

    NetEnt is easily one of the biggest slots developers in the industry nowadays. They are from Sweden, and first began to develop games in 1996. Their games stretch across many different genres and themes, and a new release from NetEnt always carries a certain little bit of buzz to it.

    Where NetEnt’s true strength lies is in their innovation. Remember those cluster pays that we mentioned above? They were first developed by NetEnt, but this is now a feature that you can find across many different developers’ games. This is just one of the many fun little mechanics that they have developed over the years. There is no denying that NetEnt has been slowly revolutionising the casino world.

    They also have their eyes on more than just the typical slot game. If you are at all familiar with table games, then you might have spied live casino games from NetEnt too. Their live casino is incredibly popular, and you will always find knowledgeable and friendly dealers when you decide to play with one of them.

    They are also investigating other areas of innovation that could help to transform the industry. One of their most popular slots is Gonzo’s Quest, which sees the player travel with the titular explorer into the South American jungle in the search for El Dorado. In addition to this existing as a popular mobile slot, they have also created a version that you can play in VR. If there is an innovation or change to be made in the world of casino gaming, you can expect NetEnt to be investigating it!

    Microgaming

    Another big player that you need to know about is Microgaming. The number of slots that they have created is nothing short of amazing. It is even possible to find casinos that are packed with just the best online slots real money games from Microgaming! At the moment, they are thought to offer over 600 games in 25 different languages, something that is not to be sniffed at, and many of these games are mobile compatible too.

    As a company, they have been creating games since 1994, and they really began to pick up interest and acclaim in the early 2000s. They are known for developing their own amazing slots, but they also do a lot of work with smaller companies. It is not uncommon to load up a slot from a very small developer and see that Microgaming had a hand in it somewhere. They are committed to developing the industry from all angles, whether that innovation comes from their own studios or one that they are supporting.

    One of the best reasons to play with Microgaming will always be for their progressive jackpots. These special games come with the chance to win a life-changing amount. The most famous of these is Mega Moolah. This is an African-themed slot with a progressive jackpot in the millions. It was the slot that triggered the highest win from an online slot ever. In 2015, a British soldier won £13.2m from Mega Moolah with a bet of 25p. This record is still yet to be beaten!

    Playtech

    Playtech specialise in online games based around pop culture franchises. They have made many games using themes crafted from well-known films and TV shows such as American Dad or Batman Begins. A common line of thinking in the slots world is “if you can think of it, it’s a slot”, and Playtech is working hard to make sure that this is true. Fans of some of the world’s biggest franchises are going to find brilliant games waiting for them from Playtech.

    Like Microgaming, they also love to offer progressive jackpots. If you want to try one of these types of games that are a little different to the ones on offer from Microgaming, trying one from Playtech might be a good shout.

    Playtech is one of the developers that has made an amazing series of games, all of which are slightly different and offer their own playstyle. The Age of the Gods series is based on Greek mythology – though there are a few spin-offs based on Norse mythology too. These games are themed around the story of a particular god from the Ancient Greek Parthenon, or a particularly famous figure such as Medusa. Each game has its own selection of bonus features plus a chance to win that Playtech progressive jackpot, so giving as many of them a spin as possible should be a must for mythology lovers.

    Play’n GO

    Play’n GO has been an independent company since 2005. From their base in Sweden, they have created over 50 games that are available to play in over 30 languages. Accessibility is a big thing for Play’n GO, as you can also find many of their games available for mobile play as standard. No matter what device you want to access their game on, Apple or Android, tablet or PC, their games will be compatible and should run with little to no issue.

    In addition to their slots offerings, they have also developed many different table games – especially blackjack. Players might even have tried a Play’n GO blackjack game before as they can often be found at many casinos. If this is the case with you, you should definitely try some of the best online slots this developer has to offer!

    One of their most popular games is Diamond Vortex. This is a great slot to try for those players looking for something out of the ordinary as it offers a little bit of everything in terms of game mechanics. Play’n GO aren’t afraid to put together a slot that features an abundance of fantastic bonus features.

    Barcrest

    Barcrest is one of the oldest game providers in the industry. They have been creating games since 1968. Of course, they weren’t making online slots back then but instead making land-based cabinets for casinos and pubs throughout the UK. Nowadays, they are making many of the best online slots UK players and those further afield adore.

    Though they have been in the game a long time, they still know how to deliver an amazing slot that many types of player will be intrigued by. They have been innovators for years; having helped to champion the 5-reel slot format in the UK and develop interesting mechanics to keep players engaged. One of the most fascinating of these by far is the Big Bet feature. For a much higher bet than usual, a player can unlock various mechanics and changes that could potentially lead to a fantastic win.

    Of course, the series most often associated with Barcrest is Rainbow Riches. This is a brilliant slot machine series that uses Irish imagery like leprechauns and pots of gold throughout its games. Each one has a unique theme and individual bonuses. Everyone needs to try a Rainbow Riches slot at some point!

What is the Best Slot Machine?

So, of the many real slots online, which is the best? This can be quite a difficult question to answer since they are all so different. Player preference is also going to be a big factor here – someone who likes simple 3-reel classics would most likely hate the craziness of a Megaways. However, there is one game that comes to mind when we think of the best (or maybe the most popular) slot – NetEnt’s Starburst.

This game will really only not be at an online casino if it is dedicated to another developer’s titles. If a casino has NetEnt games, Starburst will be there and it will be one of the most played games too. It is also not unusual to see Starburst included in welcome offers for casinos as it is a great game to choose if you want a taste of what a casino can offer.

It has a beautiful theme. The background flings us out into space, and the symbols of the game are all stunning gemstones. The multi-coloured Wild is the true winner here, however, as it expands over the reel, sticks in place, and then grants a free respin where you could potentially land another win.

This is an incredibly clean and easy-to-play slot, and for these reasons, it is clear why it is a favourite amongst players. If you are looking for a great first slot to spin, you can’t go wrong with Starburst! However, you are sure to discover a vast range of other slots that you might want to try too! Take a look through our casino reviews here at PlayRight, and find somewhere you can spin your favourite casino games now!

FAQs

Online slots are simple to play - set your per spin bet amount, and you’re good to get started. You’ll win money for matching combinations of symbols falling onto the reels, in much the same way as a standard pub fruit machine - except with online slots, there are more reels, more symbols and many more ways to win!

Some games will also have a larger jackpot prize, as well as multiple in-built bonus rounds that present other opportunities for winning money as you spin.
Online slots at legitimate, regulated casinos are most definitely not rigged. It is true that games payout at a certain level, for example 95% - known as the return to player percentage, or RTP. This is fixed at a certain level so that games don’t tend to run at a loss over the long-term - however, this does not mean you are guaranteed to lose, or that it is fixed against you.

It’s still perfectly possible to win big and life-changing amounts of money playing online slots - even if these games are geared up to pay out less than they take in over the long term.
Low variance slots tend to pay out on the most frequent basis, albeit at lower amounts. These are the kind of games that see you landing regular combination wins as you spin through your budget, even if the bigger wins come along a little less often than with some other games.

On the opposite side of the coin there’s higher variance games, which go through feasts and famines - one minute, you’re getting nothing for what feels like forever, the next it’s raining massive combination wins. These might pay out less often in frequency, but usually pay out in a higher amount when the wins do start falling for you. As a rule of thumb three reel and old school fruit machine slots will be low variance slots where as progressive linked jackpots are very much high (or very high) volatility slots. Video slots, which make up the bulk of slots in a casino's game library will be medium to high, but there are some low volatility/variance video games titles.
Although often used inter-changeably five-reel slots, as the name implies, always have a standard five reel construction. Combinations of matching symbols across these reels will payout a combination win in accordance with the symbol ranking and the number of matching symbols in your combination.

A video slot is any online slot machine, which includes those that have 3 reels, 6 reels, no reels and many of the various other configurations that developers have experimented with over the years. They are both fundamentally the same game, even if 5-reel denotes a more specific type of online slots game.
There’s no way of telling how frequently a progressive jackpot will pay out, as this is determined by random number generators and algorithms woven into each progressive slots game. Some games seem to pay out every couple of months, while others tend to go much longer spells without dropping.

While the chances of winning are small, something akin to winning a National Lottery jackpot, it can and has been done - progressive jackpots do regularly mint unsuspecting players as overnight millionaires, even if you’re not going to see them drop for you on a regular basis.