What Do the Most Common Slot Terms Mean?

Be in the know about slot terms, winning symbols and the gamers' argot before getting started.
2nd June 2023

Bet sizes to re-spins, catch up on popular slot terms | Virgin Games

If you’re new to the world of online slots, we wouldn't fault you for being confused about slot machine terminology. After all, there are abbreviations concerning your wager, phrases to indicate a win, slot slang you might hear in the gaming community, and more to get your head around before you can call yourself a pro. 

To help you out, we’ve outlined the must-know slot terms and their meanings.  So do yourself a favour, and keep on reading to clue up on the basics before diving into our hefty games archive.

The Basic Slot Terminology Every Player Should Know Before Getting Started

Understanding Your Money When Gambling Online

We take responsible gambling seriously here at Virgin Games, which is why we always want to ensure you're in the know about how your money works when playing slots online or via our app. Here are two of the most crucial things to imprint on your memory.

Bet Sizes

When you see anything to do with bet sizes, that simply refers to the amount that you can stake on any game. The minimum bet is the smallest wager permitted, while the maximum bet is the most that you can stake, with a number of figures available in between.

Return to Player

The Return to Player, also known as RTP, is the amount paid out to players on any online slot game, relative to the amount that is wagered on the game. If a slot machine has an RTP of 95.32%, for example, then it means it pays out £95.32 out of every £100 that is staked on it.

How to Recognise a Win When Playing Slots Online

Look, when you're spinning reels on Tiki Island or Deal Or No Deal, we're going to make it loud and clear when you've hit a jackpot. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't know what you're looking out for – that's all part of the thrill.

Winning Combination

When you are playing a slot game, the ultimate aim is to win. To achieve this, you have to land matching symbols on a spin, which will form a winning combination. The symbols will generally have to appear on adjacent reels, particularly on the original online slot machines, and this begins with the reel furthest to the left-hand side of your screen.


A payline is used to evaluate the symbols produced on any spin, which can give you a win. Some games have more paylines than others, as you’ll find out with our Megaways slots which means that the symbols don’t just have to appear in a straight or diagonal line as they would in the old-fashioned slots.

Common Slot Symbols and Bonus Features You Need to Know

Luckily for newcomers, many slot games feature recognisable symbols, so get to know these popular slot symbols, and you'll be good to go.

Wild Symbols

Wild symbols can appear in all different forms, and they are an important part of any of these games. They are able to help you secure winning combinations when they are displayed on the reels, as they can be used as substitutes for other regular symbols. If you require three symbols for a win, and you have two matching symbols alongside a Wild, then it completes the combination.

Scatter Symbols

These symbols can be used to trigger bonus rounds in some of our games, which generally require at least three of them to appear on a single spin. Scatter symbols can also award payouts, and unlike regular wins, the Scatters do not have to be in a direct combination to achieve this.

Free Spins

In this bonus round, you will be awarded a set number of free spins to try and boost your winnings from the base game spin. The allocation you receive can vary from game to game, and in some slots, you will have the opportunity to re-trigger this bonus, which will give you even more free spins. It’s possible that extra special symbols, such as Wilds, can appear on your free spins, plus there may be multipliers active to increase your payout.


Trigger a Re-spins Bonus and you will be able to play for the chance to scoop some big winnings! Normally when you are awarded re-spins, you will be aiming to fill the reels with a certain symbol type, potentially giving you the opportunity to win a jackpot. When the symbol you require appears, it can also reset the number of re-spins you have left.

Popular Variations in Online Slot Games to Familiarise Yourself With

We like to keep things interesting. That's why we've got such a varied selection of slot games for you to choose from. Your classic slot functionality features can include a 3x5 reel set, with wins evaluated from left to right, and it's not very innovative. Below we've grouped up some of the variations on the classic you're likely to see when giving a new game a spin.

Cascading Reels

If an online slot game has cascading reels, it means you can complete a number of winning combinations from just a single spin! Winning symbols will be removed in these games, which creates space that is filled by new symbols falling down from above. Once they are in place, the reels will be re-evaluated, and if new wins have been formed, the process will repeat. They can also be used to activate a bonus round; in Secrets of the Phoenix, securing four consecutive winning cascades will unlock the Free Spins Bonus.

Cluster Pays

These games do not feature traditional reels, and winning combinations are triggered by identical symbols appearing in a cluster. The symbols must be directly alongside each other in order to complete the cluster. Take a look at our exciting game Cluster Tumble, with a demo mode available so that you can see how this mechanic works.

If you've been keeping up, you should now have all of the basics of slots terminology covered, hence be well-equipped to take a spin on any of our slots. You’ll be able to tell what some of the most significant symbols in these games look like and how they can help you to win, plus you’ll have a better understanding of the bonus rounds and the general mechanics of a slot work.

However, you may still have some questions before you finalise your slot machine strategy. We’ve answered some of the most popular questions below to top up your knowledge bank even more.

What Are The Different Slot Types?

In the modern world of online gaming, you can play a huge variety of different slots. If you browse through our catalogue of games, you can discover a number of progressive jackpot slots, including the Jackpot King range, as well as the Daily Jackpot slots. In these progressive slots, the size of the prize fund continues to increase until one player triggers the jackpot. Once this has happened, it is reset to its seed value and starts to rise again.

Spin our Megaways slots and discover hundreds of thousands of ways to win! You can even take on the Banker in Deal or No Deal: Golden Box Megaways, where you have 117,649 paylines available, plus bonus games including the chance to play Deal or No Deal itself! Another of our classic games from this series is Raging Rhino Megaways, with cascading reels and the possibility of landing up to 50 free spins.

Of course, the traditional slot machines are still available in brick-and-mortar casinos. You can pull the lever on the side of the machine to start the spinning of the reels, plus there are basic slots like the fruit machines mentioned above.

What Is It Called When You Win on a Slot Machine?

If you complete a combination of matching symbols on a winning payline on the reels, you will trigger a payout, and this is what winning on one of these machines is known as. If a player scoops a big win and a large amount of money, then it can be known as “hitting the jackpot”.

What Is Slang for Slots?


You may hear a number of different names for slot machines. For example, the ones that can be found in traditional British pubs are commonly known as fruit machines, or “fruity”, mainly because the reels display fruits such as cherries and lemons.


In Britain, you might also hear slot machines referred to as “FOBTs”, which stands for fixed odds betting terminals. These were introduced in 1999, and they are electronic machines that are available in betting shops across the country.

Big Bertha 

In other parts of the world, there are other names for slots. In the USA, you can play on what is known as a Big Bertha, formed of eight reels in total, which is the biggest slot that can be found anywhere in the world. As a result, the name Big Bertha also lends itself to other large slot machines in that part of the world.

One-armed Bandit

Another example of coin slot slang that might be used to describe slots in the USA is “one-armed bandit”. This phrase dates back almost a century to the mechanical slots that required a lever to be pulled for the reels to operate.


If you’re ever in Australia or New Zealand, then you may hear the slot machine slang “pokie”. This originates from the term “poker machine”.

The Sound of Rain

Other slot machine phrases include the likes of “the sound of rain” when coins are being paid out, and “streaky slots”, which refers to a belief among some slot players that the machines can have hot and cold moments. This is obviously not the case, however, as the random number generator (RNG) used in all of these machines makes certain that it is completely fair for all. You can also find the RTP information on each of our online slots, which outlines the average payout rate and your chances of winning on every game.

What Does 777 Mean in Slots?

You will commonly find 777 on slot machines in the USA, and it is used to signify a jackpot being won. Generally, a 7 symbol will be shown on each of the three reels, and if this lands then the player could win a potentially huge prize. The use of 777 in slots derives simply from the idea that 7 is a lucky number, and therefore, hitting three of them on a single spin would seem to be a big stroke of luck.

Some online slot games are named with this idea in mind too. For example, you can spin 777 Strike, one of our Daily Jackpot slots, with the opportunity to scoop a progressive jackpot prize.

The list of slots we have on-site is constantly growing, with all different types available for our players. Sign up today and explore our most popular online slots!