Want to Play Slots? Start by Reading Our Helpful Slots Glossary
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If you’re planning on playing online slots anytime soon, it might help if you learn some of the lingo first. It’s not a completely new language you need to learn but there are some popular slots terms you’ll need to understand before you play. Do you know anything about wilds and scatters, for example? Do you know the difference between payline, payout and pay table? Keep reading and we’ll introduce the terminology and clarify the jargon you need to get a handle on in order to enjoy the slots you play.
The A to Z of slots terminology and jargon
- 3-reel – an online slot with just three reels. Typically, it will also have three rows of symbols and a more classic slots theme.
- 5-reel – typical of a video slot and features five reels with three or four rows of icons.
- All ways – an online slot which has hundreds of possible paylines, running left-to-right and right-to-left.
- Active payline – this is a payline that’s in play and if it contains a winning combination will result in a payout
- Autoplay – this gives players the option to spin the reels a certain number of times in succession, automatically, with no need to press or click a button or pull a lever.
- AWP – stands for ‘Amusement With Prizes’ and refers to classic style slots with fruit symbols.
- Bet per line – this is the amount being wagered per line. When multiplied by the number of active paylines being played you get the total bet per spin.
- Bonus slots – this is a type of slot machine with a specific combination of symbols that launch a bonus feature. This bonus feature allows a player to add to their winnings and generally involves another bonus game play or free bonus spins.
- Branded slots – online slots based on popular TV programmes or movies, often with
big features, attractive graphics and gameplay
- Cascading reels – a feature where winning combinations disappear from the reels and are replaced by the symbols above. Also known as tumbling or rolling reels, it’s possible for the wins to keep accumulating on a single real-money spin.
- Classic slot – this will typically be a three wheel slot game with just one payline.
- Coin size – this refers to the size of a basic bet on one spin. If you want to play a 25-cent slot, for example, the coin size will be one quarter.
- Drops – a new feature of online games where symbols fall into place on the reels.
- Fixed jackpot – this type of jackpot pays out a fixed amount every time.
- Flat-top slots (basic or straight slots) – these are non-progressive slots with a constant top payout that never changes. It’s also called a static jackpot slot game and it matters not how often the machine is played or the amount of money that accumulates. The jackpot will always be the same.
- Free spins – with a free spin the player gets to keep all winnings but doesn’t have to pay to play. They can be awarded when spinning a specific combination, from a bonus feature, or as a reward.
- Fruit machines – classic style slot machine that is very popular in the UK.
- Gamble – a popular feature that gives you the opportunity to double your winnings on a spin.
- Hit – this is a slots casino slang term and refers to a win
- i-slot – an immersive online slot that allows you to save your positions in a bonus round and come back to the game later.
- Jackpot – the largest possible payout.
- Loose slot – this is a slang term used for a slot game with a high payout percentage.
- Maximum or max bet – this is the most coins you can play on one spin. Even slots with a coin size of one quarter will generally have a max bet of more than one coin. Quite often you’ll need to play the max bet if you want to be in with a chance to win the largest payout.
- Mechanical slots – these are traditional slots that have physical reels rather than video.
- Megabucks – a popular land-based slot developed by IGT that holds the world record for a progressive jackpot win at $37 million.
- Mega Fortune – popular NetEnt slot that holds the records for an online progressive slots jackpot payout at €17 million.
- Multi-line slots – these are slot games with more than one pay line.
- Multiplier – this is a term used for a symbol that multiplies the payout from any winning combinations that appear. They are sometimes awarded in bonus features and can also apply to free spins.
- Multi-way – an online slot betting system with hundreds or thousands of possible paylines.
- Nudge – bonus usually found in UK fruit machines that lets you move reels up or down.
- One-armed bandit – this is a term for mechanical slot machines and is more of a slang term. They were called this because they used to have a level on the side that had to be pulled to start a spin.
- Online slots – pretty self explanatory this one. But did you know there are basically two types: download slots and flash slots. The later of which you play direct from the slots casino website.
- Payline – the winning lines on a slot machine are called the paylines. Traditionally, there was only one but modern machines and today’s video slots have many more
- Payout percentage – this refers to the amount of every bet made in a slot that is paid back to the customer in the form of a payout. For example, if the payout percentage is 97%, then 97 cents out of every dollar will be given back to customers in the form of payouts. The remaining 3% is the casinos take.
- Pay table (pay schedule) – this is a chart that shows how much money can be won on the different winning combinations.
- Penny slots – online slots for small stakes players.
- Pick Me – a bonus round in which players are able to pick icons to reveal hidden cash prizes.
- Pokies – this is a term used in Australia for online slots (pokie machines/poker machines).
- Progressive jackpot slots – this is a type of slot game that provides players with the opportunity to win large sums of money. Every time the reels spin and wagers are placed the jackpot increases. This type of game is usually linked or connected to other similar slots, further increasing the jackpot.
- Random number generator (RNG) – software that’s used by online and land-based casino games to randomly pick winners.
- Reels – this is another name for the wheels, which are comprised of symbols and pictures. The reels spin around when a game is being played and where they stop determines whether a player is a winner.
- Rows – horizontal lines of symbols.
- RTP (Return to Player) – the payout made over time to the player by an online slot. For example, an RTP of 96% pays out $96 for every $100 wagered.
- Scatter – these are symbols that don’t have to appear in a specific combination on an active payline in order to trigger a win. If there are three or more of these scatter symbols anywhere in view it will result in a payout. They are often used to activate bonus features and free spins.
- Skill stop – a feature that allows the player to stop the reels manually.
- Spin – moving the reels during the game.
- Stacked symbols – the same symbol one on top of another, either covering most or all of the reel.
- Stacked wilds – these are multiple wild symbols stacked one on top of another on a single reel.
- Symbols – these are the pictures on the reels that determine the wins. Traditionally, they were stars, fruits and numbers, but nowadays they can be pretty much anything but tend to stick with the theme of the game.
- Tight slot – a slang term used for a slot game with a low payout percentage.
- Trail – a bonus feature whereby players progress round a track or ladder in order to gain more prizes.
- Video slots – these are slots games with graphics to represent the reels.
- Wild symbol – this appears on certain slot games and can be substituted for any other symbol so that a winning combination can be made.
- Wild multiplier – added bonus win applied to wilds.
- Winning combination – the different combinations on the reels that have to be hit in order for a player to receive a payout.
- Win-both-ways – a slot that rewards players with prizes for paylines running left=to-right and right-to-left.
You now have enough jargon, terms and slang slots terms to get your gaming underway. There are bound to be some we’ve not mentioned, and new ones get added to the slots dictionary regularly. If you come across a term we’ve not included in our glossary, get in touch and we’ll make sure we add it to the list.