Our guide to slot games offers detailed reviews of popular online and land-based slot machines and their manufacturers and designers. Each review covers important details like number of reels and pay lines, jackpot amounts, reel symbols, and special features. We also try to delve deeper into the story behind the game and its designer to offer an additional perspective that we find lacking at other slot review sites.
Our game guides also cover the free-play slot market. We see more and more posts by fans of recreational slot machine gambling, people who would no more put real money into a slot machine than they would jump out the window. In many cases, these players are drawn to free-play versions of the same real-money slot machines we cover in other reviews, so the details on these games are useful to both the pay-to-play and free slot markets.
We’ve tried to go out of our way to focus on both the land-based and Web-based slot gambling markets. We’ve done so because the two markets are so vastly different from one another. Where other slot review sites focus entirely on Web-based slots, we’ve included some coverage of land-based machine games. In many cases, the two markets inform and inspire one another, so where possible we’ve tried to highlight the interaction between the two.
Our notes on slot machine strategy are wide-ranging and based on decades of experience playing in traditional and online casinos. The strategy posts on our site cover everything from slot myths to thoughts on budgeting and bankroll management. Included is a guide to game selection that we think is the most comprehensive and thorough of its kind.
Wild symbols substitute for most or all other reel symbols to form winning combinations. Modern wild symbols often perform other roles as well – many will pay off big jackpots for spinning them in combinations of 3, 4, or 5 on a pay line. Still other wild symbols may trigger bonus or side games, or act as scatter symbols. The wild symbol isn’t a new innovation, though the ways bonus symbols behave are changing along with the online gaming industry. So-called “expanding wilds” will literally expand and make other symbols wild when they appear in certain combinations, while “stacked wilds” make entire reels wild at once, ideally leading to more frequent and larger pay outs.
A bonus game can be any game that takes place outside the standard spinning-reel action of a slot machine. The earliest bonus games were simple gamble features, allowing players a shot at doubling a payout by guessing the color of a virtual card drawn from a virtual deck. These days, online slot bonus games range from simple pick-em games to more complex skill-based shoot-em-up action.
A side game is a specific type of bonus game or feature in which the main action of a slot machine changes for a specific number of rounds or until a specific prize amount has been reached. These games are only possible on video slots that don’t use a mechanical or electro-mechanical interface. This was a design fad in the late 90s and early 2000s, and has mostly died out in North American and US-facing casinos, though some designers (notably Playtech) are still producing slots with side games built into the design. Usually, these side games are totally different from the traditional reel-spinning action of slot machines.
A specific type of bonus game that allows players to gamble their recent slot payout for a chance at a bigger win, usually in a double-or-nothing format. These features aren’t as common in land-based or online casinos as they once were, though some companies use them to set their products apart from the competition. An example is Amatic Industries’ gamble feature included on every Amatic online and land-based game, which asks you to choose which color of playing card will be drawn from a virtual deck. The payout is double-or-nothing, and is available on every jackpot, no matter how large or small.