The Ultimate Online Slots Guide: Slots Tips, How They Work and More

From slot strategies to bonus rounds, we've got you covered with our ultimate guide to playing online slots.
30th November 2023

Find everything you need to know in our ultimate slots guide

So, you’re ready to start playing online slots. Understandably, you may feel like there is a lot to get to grips with. Wondering how you trigger a win on a slot machine? Or maybe it’s the common slot terms that have got you in a twist? Luckily for you, we’ve got all the answers for you.

Have a look through our ultimate guide to online slots, and scroll down to learn the truth about strategies, bonus rounds you need to know, how you can win when you’re playing these games and much more.

Slots: Getting Started

If you're about to start your journey into the world of online slot machines, then here are all of the basics you need to know, including random number generators and the return to player rate.

What are some common slot terms?

We know you’ll also want to learn the lingo before you spin the reels on any of our games – it helps to know what’s going on. If you’ve ever wondered what the likes of “Big Bertha” and “Pokie” mean, or why the use of “777” is so prevalent in slot machines, then we’ve got the answers for you.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the most important slot terms that you’ll come across on any of our games. So, when you next go to hit the ‘Spin’ button, you’ll be completely clued up.

How do online slots work?

There’s no better place to begin than finding out exactly how online slots work, right?

If, somehow, you've never come across one of these games before, let's start with the real basics. A range of symbols are displayed on a series of reels, and your aim is to give them a spin with the hopes of landing matching symbols on display across the reels. The outcome of each spin is determined by a random number generator – but we’ll come to that shortly.

If you played slots in a brick-and-mortar casino, you’ve got a head start. The mechanics are pretty much identical in our online games – you press the ‘Spin’ button to get started, and you can watch the result of the spin unfold in front of your very eyes.

Symbols are produced on the reels in certain positions by an algorithm called random number generators.

What are random number generators?

Random number generators (or RNGs, as we like to call them) are the vital clogs in the wheel. In short, this clever bit of software ensures each game gives you fair odds of winning by producing numbers to create random outcomes on the reels. Naturally there are many ways that RNGs impact online slot games, so you can read up if you want to get closer to the details.

What is the return to player rate?

The return to player (RTP) rate refers to the amount you can expect to win on slot machines on average. If a game has an RTP of 94%, for example, it means it will pay out £94 out of every £100 that is wagered on the machine on average. If a slot has a lower percentage, it means it is a high volatility game, so you may get fewer wins but they may be more valuable in the long run.

Don't take the RTP rates literally – after all, they're only an average – but they do give a good guide as to what the game might produce.

How do you win at online slots?

If you're wondering how to win at online slots, then you're not alone. But as every iGamer knows, there is no guaranteed way to win when you’re playing any of our online games. True, some of our casino options are game of strategy, but slots are a game of chance, meaning your smarts won't make a difference.

The outcome of every single spin on our slot machines is completely random, so nothing you can do from your end has any influence over that. Besides, the fun of playing slots online is that you have no idea what is going to happen on every spin.

How do online slots differ from land-based slots?

Land-based casino slots and fruit machines have had their time – there are just too many benefits when you play online nowadays.

Firstly, you don’t even have to leave your home, as you can spin all of our games on your phone. Download the Virgin Games mobile app to your Apple or Android device to get started.

Another advantage is our bonus offer; sign up with us and you can spin free online slots! All you need to do is deposit and wager £10 on any of our games to get 30 free spins on the classic that is Double Bubble*! Don’t fret about any wagering requirements, as we don’t have those here. Any winnings you land on these games will be yours to keep, with no fees on withdrawals to your chosen payment method.

You also have a much wider choice of games online – we can’t think of any other place with almost 1,000 slots to play. Added to that, online casinos offer the chance to explore an innovative live casino, place blackjack and roulette bets, and even try out some Slingo. All in all, we’ve got you covered.

Playing the Games: Get to Know Your Slots

Here's the fun part – picking out some online slots for you to play. Whether you're new or an experienced hand, check out some of our brilliant games that you can spin for real money wins.

Which classic online slots should every gamer know?

While new online slots are constantly being developed, there is of course something to be said for the games that helped to boost the popularity of these machines.

So, if you’re looking to play some classic slots and enjoy a taste of retro gaming, then you can find ten suggestions here, all of which are among the favourites of our players. We’ll even give you two here to get you started; we have the likes of Rainbow Riches, which has inspired an entire franchise of games, as well as Double Bubble, which has its own collection of spin-offs, and even a daily free game in the form of Doubly Bubbly.

What other types of online slots are available?

There are many different types of slots for players to spin, and you can enjoy plenty of them at Virgin Games.

Let’s start off with a gamechanger – our collection of Megaways slots. These games have been around for almost a decade, giving players the chance to spin with hundreds of thousands of ways to win on every single spin! Complete with bonus features such as cascading reels and Free Spins Bonuses, so it’s no wonder they’ve been so popular.

Some online slot games on our site are built with the Cluster Pays mechanic, which are a step away from the traditional five-reel set that you will probably have seen. To complete a win in these games, you must land a number of matching symbols in adjacent positions on the grid.

Which progressive jackpot slots can you play?

Everyone loves playing online slots for big money – which is why progressive jackpot games have become so popular.

At Virgin Games, we have a number of different progressive jackpot slot machines for you to spin, including the brilliant Jackpot King franchise, plus a collection of Daily Jackpot slots powered by Red Tiger.

We've covered the ins and outs of progressive jackpots; how they work, what happens when they’re won, and prizes we’ve awarded are all included. Take a look and you’ll discover a new area of online gaming, with some of the best online slots you can play – and for big wins, too.

You could trigger huge real money wins on our progressive jackpot games!

When can you play new online slots?

New online slots are added to our site most weeks of the year, giving you new games to play and more ways to win real money. Make sure you check out our site every week to find out which new game features you can enjoy.

Can you play free online slots?

Once you’ve signed up with us, you can play free online slots in demo mode. The idea of this is to allow you to test out each game before you place your own real money wagers, so you can identify certain features that you may like. This also gives you an insight into how the mechanics work, including how you can trigger bonus games, as well as showing you how to win at online slots on specific games.

What are the best online slots in the UK?

The best online slots can differ from player to player. When you play on our site, you can discover a variety of features that make them unique.

You could choose to try out our online casino slots including Da Vinci Diamonds and Gonzo's Quest if you’re looking for some classic spins, or you can play some of our Games Global games, giving you plenty of slots to choose from.

Every player is different, so have a look at as many games as you can with our free demo mode to find something that suits you.

Bonuses, Payouts and More Fun Stuff

Wondering which bonus rounds you can play? We'll we've got the answers for you! You can also find out how slot machines pay out winnings to players, as well as the factors that have made these games so popular.

Which bonus features can I play in online slot machines?

We don’t have to tell you that bonus features are one of the many inviting factors for players into these games. That doesn’t just apply to specific slots bonus rounds – take re-spins, for example - this includes symbols that can help you to win, like Scatter and Wild symbols. The latter can replace other symbols on the reels to potentially create new winning combinations, so they are a big part of these games.

That being said, everyone wants free slot spins, don’t they? So the possibility of triggering the Free Spins Bonus in a good proportion of these games is a key motivating factor. Then there is the chance to play for a range of jackpot prizes too.

If you need to know how you can activate some of these features within our games, then be sure to read our guide to online slot bonuses and find out more.

Play for exciting bonus rounds and more across all of our games.

How do slot machine payouts work?

When the symbols are in place at the end of every spin, the reels will be evaluated for any winning combinations. If you do have some winning symbols, then their values will be multiplied by the wager that you placed on the spin to calculate your overall payout. These funds are then credited to your account, and you can withdraw them as long as you have a balance of at least £10.

How do you know when an online slot will hit?

When you play slots online, you won’t know that the machine is about to trigger a win and pay out until the spin has finished. That's the fun of it, right? If you've been taking note, you'll know by now that all of our online slot games use RNGs to provide random results on every single spin, and there is no such thing as streaky slots. You could win a few spins in a row, or you may lose some consecutively – it’s all about the luck of the draw.

What is it about online slots that gamers love?

We can talk all day about the reasons why so many players across the world love to play slots online – so we thought we should list the main factors.

The great thing about online slot games is that they are beautifully uncomplicated. You don’t have to think about tactics like you would in blackjack or poker, you don’t need to worry about betting patterns like you might on the roulette table, all you need to do is set your stake and hit ‘Spin’. That’s all there is to it - sometimes simplicity is best, right?

There’s much more to add here, but don’t worry, we won’t spoil the rest of the piece for you. You can find out why gamers love playing online slots by reading for yourself.

Strategies and Online Slots: Do The Two Go Together? 

Ever heard of any slot machine strategies? Players have tried different tactics to try to win at online slots, the most notable being the 5 Spin method, which we've taken a closer look at. You can also find out about some slot machine myths, including whether they really can be hot or cold...

Which online slot methods can you try?

Players are always looking out for online slot tips, and one of the main tactics that has been thrown up is the “5 Spin” method, which was coined by Professor Slots on YouTube.

The idea behind this is that if you play a slot machine online, and fail to win after your first five spins, then you should move on to a different game. The theory essentially plays on the “hot and cold” slot myth, as Professor Slots believes that if a game doesn’t award a win within five spins, it is cold. If a machine supposedly cold, then you are less likely to get a winner.

Plenty of slot myths have done the rounds over the years, but are any of them really true?

How do you choose the right online slot machine for you?

As you will have noticed by now, we have plenty of options for you to choose from. We’re sure that we’ll have the right online slot machine for you, whether you’re after big wins or just some classic gameplay.

When it comes to making your choice, consider all of the bonus features in the game and its theme, plus the relevant bet sizes and paylines that you can spin with. We have hundreds of slots online - take a look and find out for yourself.

What are the best slot machine strategies?

There is no specific slots strategy that will give you guaranteed success when you’re spinning the reels. It's a game of chance, remember? As there is no sure-fire route to success on these games, the best slots strategy is to play the games that you enjoy the most – and we have over 900 real money online slots for you to choose from.

Keeping Online Slots Fun: Session Reminders to Chat Room Etiquette  

Having a good time isn't all about finding your go-to game – it's about how you look after yourself and others online. Read on for tips to keep things fun.

How do you play slots responsibly?

The most important thing that any player can do when they play slots online is to gamble responsibly

As you can find in our linked post, we have a number of different responsible gambling tools at Virgin Games that can ensure you remain safe when you are placing your bets on any of our games. This includes session reminders and deposit limits, but you can also speak to some of our live chat team 24/7 if you ever have an issue.

What is slots bankroll management?

Following on from our guide to responsible gambling, it’s important to think about bankroll management when you’re placing your bets online.

Managing your money is crucial, so of course deposit limits are a great way to keep in control of this. If you set aside some money to play with every month in line with those limits, you will be able to enjoy all of your favourite games responsibly, without ever losing more than you can afford to.

For slots players, take a look at our individual game information pages. You can find the minimum and maximum bet sizes available on each machine, so you can pick the games that are most suited to your budget. This includes 1p spins on the likes of Cleopatra and Reel King, so there’s something for every kind of player.

Most importantly, you must always know when to stop. You should never chase your losses, and if you do manage to trigger some wins, don’t let it go to your head and change your style of betting.

Slots and our other games across our site are meant to be fun. Make sure that remains the case whenever you log in.

Is there a slot machine etiquette you need to know about?

Of course, there aren’t as many unspoken rules about online slot machine etiquette as opposed to playing in a land-based casino. If you’re using our free chat service, you should always be polite when interacting with our friendly hosts and other players, and don’t give away any of your personal details.

The live chat is a great place to learn slot tips and strategies from other players, where you can discuss some of your favourite games, and potentially try out some recommendations.

Once you’ve read all about slots, check out our casino posts on our blogs page, including our top five blackjack tips for beginners, and the differences between live and online casinos.