Various jurisdictions in the United States categorize slot machines into one of two classes— class II games and class III games. The latter are the traditional slot machine games you’ll find in Las Vegas, Reno, Atlantic City, and other large gambling destinations. Playing slot machines is the most popular form of casino gambling in the world, and knowing how to win at the slots can be one of the most important things a gambler ever learns. Although today's slot machines have little in common with the original Liberty Bell made by Charles Fey in 1896, their shape, size and popularity certainly do. On newer type slot machines, players have a second chance to win thanks to the new slot machines that offer “slot bonusing”. An example is the bonus wheel on Wheel of Gold slot machine. When the bonus symbol appears on the pay line, the bonus wheel on top of the slot machine spins. When it stops it awards a player a bonus payout. Slot machine structures are defined by number of reels and number of paylines. The classic slots have three reels and from one to five paylines. The contemporary video slots have five reels. The number of paylines starts at five. The video slots incorporate features like free spins and bonus rounds.
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Different types of Slot Machines
By Henry Tamburin
If you love to play the slots then you had better know the difference between a Multiplier vs a Buy a Pay vs a nudge slot machine. Here’s a guide to help.
The term refers to slot machines that take multiple coins and the number of coins played multiplies the winning payoffs. For example one cherry on the pay line might pay 2 coins with one coin played, and ten coins with five coins played.
On most multiplier machines the payoffs are proportional to the number of coins played except for the jackpot. You usually get a bonus payoff for maximum coins played when you hit the jackpot. For example hitting three 7’s on the payline might pay 100 coins for one coin played but if you play 2 coins you would win 500 coins (instead of 200 coins). The overall return percentage for these machines includes the bonus jackpot payoff; therefore if a player plays less than maximum coins the theoretical return percentage is lower. This feature encourages players to bet the maximum amount on each spin.
There are some machines, however, that pay off in direct proportion to the number of coins played (e.g. in the above example the machine would pay 200 coins for 2 coins played). With these types of slots, you are not penalized with a lower return percentage for playing less than the maximum number of coins.
Buy a Pay
These types of machines are the most confusing to players. Their characteristic feature is that each coin played activates a set of jackpot symbols. In essence when you insert more coins you are “buying” additional jackpot symbols. An example is a Sizzling 7’s machine. If you inserted one coin and three Sizzling 7’s showed on the center payline, you would not win a thing. It’s only after you insert the second coin in these machines that the Sizzling 7’s jackpot becomes active (with one coin played the single bars, double bars, triple bars, etc are active but not the Sizzling 7’s).
It’s very important if you play these types of machines that you play the maximum coins. You would not feel very good if you hit a winning combination or worse a jackpot, and then discover that because you didn’t play enough coins, you end up winning nothing.
How do you recognize a buy-a-pay machine? Check the payout schedule on the face of the machine. If you see a different combination of winning symbols when a second coin is played compared to one coin played, this is a buy-a-pay machine.
On these types of slot machines, once the reels stop spinning symbols will move to the center payline from just above or below it. The most common nudge machine is a version of Double Diamonds. Some of the bars and diamonds will drop to the payline.
On these machines you could end up with a winning spin even if no winning symbols appear on the center pay line when the reels first stopped. This is the draw that gets players to play.
This refers to a specific type of slot machine where you have the chance to double, triple, even five and ten times the winning payout if a wild symbol lines up on the pay line. If more than one wild symbol lines up, the payout is multiplied again.
Examples of these types of slots are Double Diamonds, Five and Ten Times Pay, and Treasure Tunnel. Slot players enjoy playing these machines because they like to see their winning payoffs multiplied.
On newer type slot machines, players have a second chance to win thanks to the new slot machines that offer “slot bonusing”. An example is the bonus wheel on Wheel of Gold slot machine. When the bonus symbol appears on the pay line, the bonus wheel on top of the slot machine spins. When it stops it awards a player a bonus payout. The bonusing concept encourages players to play longer because psychologically they win something they didn’t expect.
A progressive slot machine takes a percentage of all the coins that are played and adds it to a jackpot that increases in value. When a player hits the winning jackpot symbols, he/she wins the total accumulated in the jackpot. The progressive meter then resets the jackpot to a minimum payoff. In general casinos have a leeway on what percentage of coins played is added to the jackpot (usually it’s between 0.5 to 2%).
There are two types of progressives. The Megabucks and Quartermania are examples of progressive slots that are linked to other similar machines in different casinos. By linking the machines, the jackpots often exceed several million dollars. These progressives are known in the industry as revenue participation games because the slot manufacturer owns the machine and the casino essentially leases the floor space to them. The revenue from these machines is shared between the manufacturer and the casino. The other types of progressives are the multiple progressives like the Cool Million slots. On these machines you can win any one of three progressive jackpots by lining up specific symbols corresponding to the three jackpots. Another plus for Cool Millions is that they guarantee to pay the first million of a jackpot and the rest in installments (most other progressives pay the jackpot in installments over 20 years).
Whilst many people decide which slot to play based on the theme, special features or promotional offers, the savvy gamblers steer towards slots with the highest RTP. The house edge of online slot machines can vary widely, and it stands to reason that the lower the house edge, the better your chances of winning.
|Top RTP Slots||RTP||Bet Limits||Free Spins||Paylines||Rows||Reels|
|Jack Hammer 2||97.10%||£0.50 – £250||10-20||99||3||15|
|Simsalabim||97.50%||£0.25 – £125||Yes||25||3||5|
|Retro Reels Extreme Heat||97.50%||£0.30 – £112.50||Up to 20||30||3||5|
|Devil’s Delight||97.60%||£0.20 – £40||Yes||20||3||5|
|Kings of Chicago||97.80%||£0.05 – £50||Up to 30||5||3||5|
|Starmania||97.87%||£0.10 – £20||10||10||3||5|
|Blood Suckers||98.00%||£0.25 – £50||10||25||3||5|
|1429 Uncharted Seas||98.60%||£0.10 – £100||25||50||3||5|
|Jackpot 6000||95.10 – 98.90%||£1 – £2||No||5||3||3|
|Mega Joker||99%||£1 – £5||No||5||3||3|
Of course, you should keep in mind that only the best slot sites to win offer high payout games from which you can take advantage. The return to player percentage of a game is measured over thousands of game rounds, and it stands to reason that the higher the RTP, the better the deal for the player. With this in mind, I have decided to create a list of the 10 online slots with the highest RTP.
#10 Jack Hammer 2 (NetEnt) – 97.1% RTP
Jack Hammer 2 is the first of many NetEnt slots to make this top 10 list. This entertaining slot has a crime and adventure theme, captured in a comic book style. There are an impressive 99 bet lines in this game, providing plenty of opportunities to win. It also boasts a variety of interesting features that make the game exciting to play, whilst creating chances to win. The Sticky Win feature sees any winning symbol combinations held in place for a free re-spin, and they continue until no new wins are created. There is also a free spin feature, where you get up to 20 free plays, where all wins are doubled and extra wilds randomly land on the reels. Jack Hammer 2 has a player-friendly RTP of 97.1%
#9 Simsalabim (NetEnt) – 97.5% RTP
This magical themed slot recreates all the excitement of a magic show. The stage is set, with symbols such as a magician’s wand and top hat, a caged dove and a Houdini-style chained chest. The hypnotist is wild, helping to complete winning symbol combinations. When you play Simsalabim, keep your eyes peeled for 3 bunny rabbit symbols on the first 3 reels. These trigger the bonus game, where you pull rabbits from the hats to reveal cash prizes of up to 50500 coins. The slot also features a free spins round, which provides the potential for big wins thanks to the triple payouts. All these features combine to provide a great RTP of 97.5%.
#8 Retro Reels Extreme Heat (Microgaming) – 97.5% RTP
The RTP of 97.5% is one of the highest you will find in the Microgaming slots selection.Retro Reels Extreme Heat has an old-school feel, with symbols you’d expect to see on a classic fruit machine, including cherries, lemons, bells, bars and 7’s. At the same time as providing a retro feel, it includes many features which you’d expect from a modern video slot. There is a free spin bonus, where you can get up to 20 free plays with all wins doubled. There are also wild substitutions and scatter pays. A highlight is the innovative re-spin feature. After any spin, you can choose to spin just one reel, which allows increased chances of winning.
#7 Devil’s Delight (NetEnt) – 97.6% RTP
Unleash your inner devil in this NetEnt video slot. Set against a fiery backdrop and tombstones, the 5 reels are filled with symbols from the underworld.Devil’s Delight is packed full of exciting features that provide plenty of chances to stack up the wins. The devil wild expands to cover entire reels. Whilst the free spins bonus features win multipliers of up to x5. Yet the real highlight of the game is the unique Soul Reaper bonus game. Match the correct sin to each character their soul will be added to the Soul-O-Meter whilst you reap a coin prize. When the Soul-O-Meter is filled with 15 souls, the Sin Spins feature is activated. Here, you get 10 Sin Spins where you can pocket some juicy rewards. With so many cool features and a high RTP of 97.6%, this is one hell of a slot!
#6 Kings of Chicago (NetEnt) – 97.8% RTP
Kings of Chicago mixes the best elements of a video slot with classic poker. The game is played with a deck of cards, which is shuffled before each round. Unlike normal slot machines, where payouts are made for matching symbols across paylines, in this slot, you win if you have a poker hand on one of the five paylines. The game includes a joker, which substitutes for all cards. Plus, the scatter label can randomly appear on any card. Get 3 or more and free deals, the equivalent of free spins are triggered. You can bag up to 30 free deals in the special feature and all wins are doubled. This innovative slot machine provides a unique twist on what you expect from a video slot, and boasts an impressive RTP of 97.8%.
#5 Starmania (NextGen) – 97.87% RTP
With colourful star symbols set against a pretty outer space background and a spacey, ethereal soundtrack, this NextGen slot is a real treat for the senses. Wilds are stacked onto the reels boosting your shot at winning combinations. There is also a free games feature, where extra stacked wilds can help create some big wins. The game features 10 paylines and wins are paid in both directions. With every line win, you also have the option to gamble your prize, for a chance to double or even quadruple your win multiple times. The great graphics, exciting features and favourable RTP of 97.87% make Starmania a real hit with players.
#4 Blood Suckers (NetEnt) – 98% RTP
The vampire genre has never been more popular, and it is the inspiration for this spooky NetEnt slot. You’ll see various Blood Suckers adorning the reels, along with the weapons to fight them off. It is not merely the impressive 98% RTP that draws players to this slot, but also the rich selection of special features. There are wild substitutions, scatter pays, free spins with triple payouts and a vampire slaying bonus game. Trigger the bonus and you will find yourself in an ancient burial chamber, filled with coffins. Open the coffins to slay vampires, earning coin wins with each creature you defeat.
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#3 1429 Uncharted Seas (Thunderkick) – 98.6% RTP
This video slot from Thunderkick is visually stunning. The reels are replaced with a medieval style hand-drawn map and the symbols include a variety of sea creatures and beasts as well as sun, moon and star symbols. The slot includes a wild symbol which expands to cover entire reels, helping to create bigger wins. There is also a free spins bonus where you can earn up to 50 free goes. 1429 Unchartered Seas has a rewarding RTP of 98.6%, one of the highest you will find in a video slot, making it a popular choice with players.
#2 Jackpot 6000 (NetEnt) – Up to 98.8% RTP
Jackpot 6000 is a thrilling classic slot machine from NetEnt with a real old-school vibe. You can play with up to 5 paylines active, betting between 1 and 10 coins per spin. It is highly recommended to play with the maximum bet of 10 coins however, as this creates the possibility of triggering Supermeter mode. In this game mode, you can win a mystery prize of between 10 – 6000 coins when just 2 joker symbols land anywhere on the reels. Also, getting 3 jokers on a payline in Supermeter mode guarantees a jackpot payout of 6000 coins. When you play Jackpot 6000 with 1 – 8 coins, the RTP is a paltry 74.9% – 79.2%. Yet with 10 coins in play, the RTP ranges from 95.1% – 98.8%. The variance is because Supermeter mode is skill based, so you can directly impact the outcome.
#1 Mega Joker (NetEnt) – Up to 99% RTP
Whilst Jackpot 6000 boasts an extremely high RTP, it is just beaten to the top spot by another NetEnt classic slot; Mega Joker. Bet with just 1 coin and the RTP is an underwhelming 76.9%. Yet on the other hand, a max bet of 10 coins elevates the RTP to between 89.1% – 99%. Furthermore, it provides bigger payouts and the Supermeter mode. In Supermeter mode, you need to choose the bet level and the optimum level at which to collect your winnings. It is this element of skill which can increase the RTP. The skill component, retro style and engaging gameplay make Mega Joker a firm favourite with players.
Frequently Asked Questions
Because our goal is to keep you well informed we have put together a list of the most frequently asked questions and our team of experts has provided the answers below.
🏆 What are the best paying slots?
The best paying slots are the ones that feature a high RTP because that translates to a small house edge such as NetEnt’s Jack Hammer 2 slot or Simsalabim, with a return to player percentage of over 97%.
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✍ How do I choose a good slot machine?
In choosing a good slot machine a player should look for high payouts, volatility and the features of the game itself. For example, you are bound to have a higher return on your investment while playing a slot with free spins and multipliers.
💱 What is the average payout on slot machines?
The average payout on slot machine varies among slots but you are going to find a higher return-to-player percentage in the recommended online casinos as compared to the traditional slot machines. Blood Suckers slot and 1429 Uncharted Seas slot have a very high RTP of over 98%.
🎰 What is a high variance slot machine?
High variance slots are destined for gamblers who are willing to play for huge wins.Kings of Chicago is a great example in that direction because it features not only a high RTP but also a high variance, which makes it ideal for our example. Flexible betting limits, free spins and a unique twist on slots as we know them are just a few perks of enjoying this title.
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