Online Slots Strategy – How To Win Online Slots in 2023
Every casino player wants to know how to win online slots. That’s the million-dollar question – quite literally, in some cases! So, buckle up as we’ve created an extensive online slots guide below that details all the best strategies and tips.
- Our Top 10 Online Slots Tips
- How Do Online Video Slots Work?
- How To Win Online Slots – Elements That Affect Your Video Slot Strategy
- Top Video Slot Strategies
- The Monte Carlo Fallacy
- Responsible Gambling: How To Set & Stick to a Budget for Your Online Slots Strategy
- Slots Tournament Strategy
- Video Slots Strategy – Summary
- How to Win Online Slots FAQs
Our Top 10 Online Slots Tips
Don't get us wrong – when it comes to playing video slots, Lady Luck holds most of the cards. Indeed, there’s only so much you can do to change the outcome of such games.
But that doesn’t mean that you have to leave everything about how to win online slots to chance! There are ways you can increase your chances of success, as you'll see below.
How Do Online Video Slots Work?
Their practically universal appeal is down to a number of factors, including that they are super easy to play! All you have to do is set how much you want to bet per spin, and press the Play button.
However, behind this simple-to-use façade, there is a whole list of elements that determine the outcome of the game, which we explore in more detail in the next section.
How To Win Online Slots – Elements That Affect Your Video Slot Strategy
Spinning the reels on a video slot is incredibly easy, but behind the scenes there’s a whole mechanic that determines when you lose, when you win, and how much your payout will amount to.
As we’ve said many times in this article, online slots are purely based on luck. But that luck doesn’t come out of thin air. Instead, it’s the result of a Random Number Generator (RNG).
At land-based casinos, the RNG is mechanically driven; at online casinos, the RNG is a computer algorithm, which is basically a list of instructions given to the video slot.
These algorithms are incredibly important to ensuring the fairness of the video slot, which is why the best game developers get theirs certified by reputable third-parties like eCOGRA, GLI, and iTech Labs.
You should only play games by trusted game developers at legal and licensed casinos. This ensures that the video slot title in question is truly random, giving you a fair chance at winning.
RTP & House Edge
These independent auditors are also responsible for running similar tests to verify the Return to Player (RTP) rate of a particular slot.
In theory, the RTP defines how much of your stake you can expect to get back when you play. So, in a title like NetEnt’s Starburst, which has an RTP of 96.01%, users will get 96.01p/c back for every €/£/$1 they wager on average. The rest of the wager, in this case 3.99%, will be retained by the casino, making up its house edge.
But things aren’t that simple for players.
- The RTP of a video slot is often calculated over a million – or even a billion – spins. This means that not all players will receive the same percentage back. Indeed, some players may get less than 50%, while someone who lands a jackpot could get 50,000% or more.
- The RTP isn’t always constant. In games that come with many bonus features or that are part of a progressive jackpot, the RTP will be different for the base game and when playing the bonus feature.
- Some game developers offer their games in a range of RTP variations, meaning that one casino may have a title at 95%, while another can have the same title at 92.5%. Even so, it’s important to note that casinos cannot change the RTP at will, and that there are laws in place at jurisdictions that issue casino licences.
Famously, the Malta Gaming Authority lowered its minimum allowed RTP percentage from 92% to 85% in 2021. Having said that, this is unlikely to affect how much players win or lose in a single session.
Because video slots already have one of the lowest RTPs for any casino game, our advice here on how to win online slots is to go for titles that have an RTP of at least 95%.
To make life easier, we have also created an article dedicated to the highest RTP slots, which have a rate of 98% and over. Moreover, we recommend staying away from branded slots, which usually come with some of the lowest payout rates out there.
Volatility & Variance
Volatility and variance are two words you may come across in plenty of video slot reviews, and while these two terms refer to similar things, they are technically not interchangeable.
- Volatility refers to how unpredictable the results of a slot can be in the short run.
- Variance refers to how unpredictable the results of a slot can be in the long run.
Despite the technical difference, many use the terms synonymously when it comes to online slots. Both rates are usually given a ranking that ranges between low and high.
- Low-volatility and variance slots usually issue more frequent, but smaller-sized payouts.
- High-volatility and variance slots usually issue less frequent, but larger-sized payouts.
- Medium-volatility and variance slots fall in between.
Normally, slots come with a volatility rating rather than a variance rating – though some sites mix up the terms. It’s also good to note that certain developers use a range rating. In Pragmatic Play slots, for example, the volatility is shown using one to five lightning bolts, with one being the lowest volatility rating.
Whether you should go for a low volatility slot over a high one depends on your bankroll. If you have a larger budget and can play for longer, then going for a high-volatility slot may make for a more enjoyable experience.
This is especially the case for high-volatility video slots that come with bonus features like free spins, as these games tend to pay out bigger amounts during the bonus.
Slots also differ on things such as the denomination of their coins, which is something that you’ll need to take into account when looking how to win online slots.
Firstly, let’s start with what ‘coin denomination’ means. This is simply how much the face value of the coin in the game is. Now, in penny slots, the coin always has the value of one penny (or one cent), making this part of a penny slots strategy easy. However, a number of video slots now offer a variety of coin denominations that can even go up to €/£/$100.
Secondly, while some video slots let you place a stake on all paylines, others may ask you to stake one coin on each payline you’d want to play. So, in this case, if you decide to place 1p/c per payline on a game that has 20 paylines, the price per spin will be of 20p/c.
Video slots from reputable game developers will always show you how much a spin will cost before you begin playing.
Whether you’re working on your penny slots strategy or a general one for video slots, knowing what kind of bets the game allows for helps you break your budget into smaller stakes.
This way, you can keep tabs on your spending and maximise your playing time. As always, what you choose to stake per spin should be down to your budget, but you should never wager more than you can afford to lose, and you should never exceed your budget either.
The paytable of a video slot includes three factors:
- Symbols: The symbols in the game are usually split into three: card suit symbols, themed symbols, and special symbols. The first two usually pay when you land three or more identical ones on a payline starting from the leftmost reel.
- Paylines: These are basically the lines onto which you’ll need to land a combination of symbols to win. This can be the most confusing element to understand, especially since different developers have created different payline formations for their slots.
Some games, for example, have 20 paylines, but give you the opportunity to choose how many paylines you want to bet on. Other games, like Megaways™, have reels that can accommodate between two and seven symbols, giving players up to 117,649 paylines. For more information about this, check our article on slots paylines explained.
- Rewards: These are the payouts or bonus features that you can get when you land different winning combinations of symbols on the paylines. We explore the bonuses in more detail just below.
While you cannot determine which symbols fall where, understanding what each symbol in a video slot is worth can help you keep tabs on how big a win your stake has resulted in.
Meanwhile, games with a higher number of paylines usually give you a better chance of winning, though this is usually offset by lower RTPs or higher volatility.
With hundreds of new video slot titles hitting online casinos each and every year, developers today have plenty of competition to keep them on their toes. The result is a myriad of slot bonus features that make gameplay more exciting and which can be helpful in your playing slots strategy.
These bonus features can be varied, too. Some basic ones can include Wild or Scatter symbols, but they can also go on to include free spins, bonus rounds, side games, multipliers, wheels of fortune, and more.
While most bonus features are randomly triggered, they affect your overall winning potential. This is mainly because games that have multiple bonus features tend to have a lower RTP during the base game and a higher one during the bonus feature. Even so, such bonus features tend to pay quite a bit more than the base game, so it all evens out.
For those with higher budgets, we’d also recommend trying the Bonus Buy feature available in some Megaways™ titles. This allows you to buy into the Free Spins round of the game, which has a higher RTP overall. Be aware, though, as this feature can cost upwards of 100x your stake!
Progressive jackpots slots look and feel like normal slots, but whenever a player takes them for a spin, a small amount from their wager is added to the jackpot pool.
More commonly today, such pools are part of a network, where multiple video slot titles at many casinos contribute towards the final jackpot – this can end up being of €/£/$1,000,000+. In such cases, the jackpot may fall at any time on any of the games at any of the casinos in the network.
Progressive jackpots fall at random, so there’s not much you can do to trigger them or to know when they’re about to be triggered.
In fact, there have been times when two jackpots have fallen back-to-back, and times when it took ages for the jackpot to drop again.
For those who have got the cash and the time, then a big win strategy when playing online slot jackpots can be to play the maximum bet possible at a time when the jackpot is high enough to be worth it.
Even so, chasing progressive jackpots as part of your how to win online slots strategy rarely pays off. Instead, we recommend that you find a high RTP game that’s part of the jackpot and have fun playing it.
Top Video Slot Strategies
Some players swear by certain gambling systems for their how to win online slots strategies. But what are these systems, and do they really work?
The Straight 60 Video Slots System
Mentioned in John Patrick’s Slots: A Pro’s Guide to Beating the One-Armed Bandits, this system is probably the best video slots strategy around.
The genius of the Straight 60 strategy is in its simplicity – but you have to strictly adhere to the rules for it to work out in the long run!
Here, you set a €/£/$60 win and loss limit, and play normally until you’ve lost €/£/$60 or won €/£/$60. Either way, that will be the cue for you to walk away from the game.
Martingale Video Slot System
As probably the most famous betting system of all, the Martingale strategy is an easy enough system that requires players to double their bet every time they lose and go back to their original betting amount once they hit a win.
But whoever thought of using this for video slots clearly didn’t really understand how they work.
The Martingale system is based on even-money bets (1:1), which can be used in online roulette for real money, baccarat, and craps. But video slots don’t work on even-money bets. In fact, a winning symbol combination can pay anything between just 0.10x your bet (so you win but make a loss) and 1,000x.
So, in this case, if you want to go ahead with it anyway, we recommend keeping an eye on whether you’re making a profit or not to determine whether you want to double your bet or go back to the start.
Reverse Martingale Video Slot System
As the name of the system suggests, the Reverse Martingale is the opposite of the Martingale. So, in this version, you double your bet per spin whenever you win, and you go back to your original wager whenever you lose.
What we said above about even-money bets in video slots still stands, though this may help keep the size of individual bets small, as the chances of making a profit multiple spins in a row is low.
Why We Left Out Other Video Slot Systems
There are many other betting systems that people say they use for slots, including the Paroli, the 1-3-2-4, and the Fibonacci. While these can help you with other real-money casino games online, they do not offer anything to video slot players. In fact, using such systems in your strategy for playing slots can only lead to confusion.
The Monte Carlo Fallacy
Something that is well worth keeping in mind when playing video slots is that past events do not guarantee any future turnouts. In fact, this is such a common belief that there’s a term for it: the Monte Carlo Fallacy.
The name comes from an occurrence that took place at the Monte Carlo Casino back in August 1913, when in one roulette sitting, the ball fell in a black pocket 26 times in a row. As this happened, players kept assuming that the ball would land in a red pocket next, losing millions of francs in the process.
Contrary to popular belief at the time, there wasn’t an imbalance in the wheel. Instead, it was just pure chance, because every time the wheel is spun, the chances of the ball landing on red were the same as those for it landing on black: 50:50.
This can also be said for video slots, which also work in a completely random manner. In other words, don’t assume that because you lost one spin, or lost multiple in a row, the next one will certainly turn out to be a large win; or vice versa.
Casino Bonuses as Part of Your Online Slots Strategy
Casino bonuses are one of the easiest ways to boost your bankroll and keep you playing for longer.
In fact, these bonuses can often be included in the strategy on how to win online slots. After all, free spins and extra credit can give you better chances of winning. This is even more exciting if you manage to land some no wagering free spins, which let you play the game and withdraw your winnings straight away.
Main Bonus T&Cs to check out:
Online bonuses come with Terms & Conditions that can affect the final aim of your online slots strategy. While we've listed the main ones to look out for below, either way, you should always read the full T&Cs before claiming any offers.
- Wagering requirements tell you how many times over you will have to play the bonus (or bonus + deposit) amount before you can withdraw any winnings – even from slots! This doesn’t count for no wagering free spins.
- Maximum bet limits explain how much your maximum stake can be, which includes bets on slots. Remember the lower your bet, the smaller the payout will be.
- Eligible slots are the games free spins can be played on. In other words, you can’t just play whatever game you want to with your free spins.
- Free spins value denotes how much each free spin is worth. Most range between 0.10 and 20p/c.
Responsible Gambling: How To Set & Stick to a Budget for Your Online Slots Strategy
Setting a budget is the most important factor in how to win online slots. Without it, you can’t decide how large each bet could be and set an earning goal. Nevertheless, setting a budget is also vital to ensuring you don’t end up in debt or in trouble over gambling.
- Setting The Budget – Think about how often you want to play and how much you can spare per month. If the maximum spare cash for gambling is €/£/$600 and you want to play daily, then never exceed your €/£/$20 per day budget. The final amount will change from person to person. Either way, your budget should never be larger than the maximum amount you can afford to lose without it affecting you or your loved ones.
- Dividing Your Budget – If you have a €/£/$20 per session budget and you place four €/£/$5 bets, you’ll be done in less than two minutes. Instead, split your budget up wisely so you can maximise the time you spend on the video slot, and therefore your chances of winning. A €/£/$20 per session budget can give you twenty €/£/$1 bets, or forty 0.50p/c.
- Sticking To Your Budget – No matter what happens, always stick to your budget. So, if the €/£/$20 for the session is gone, take a deep breath and call it a day. It’s incredibly important to never get into debt because of gambling, and to remember that these self-imposed rules are there to protect you. Indeed, this is the best strategy on how to win online slots, because it keeps you safe.
- Setting A Gain Goal – You’re having a great session and your €/£/$20 have turned into €/£/$40. How long should you keep playing for now? It’s a tricky one, isn’t it? This is why setting an achievable gain goal is one way of knowing when it’s time to call it quits. If that doesn’t sound like the thing for you, another option would be to set aside anything over and above the original €/£/$20 you manage to win. That way, even when your budget has expired, you still have something left over.
Slots Tournament Strategy
Slot tournaments are a completely different kettle of fish. In fact, while you’ll be spinning the reels of a video slot, winning the ultimate jackpot here takes nimble fingers and razor-sharp concentration. We have created a whole article dedicated to casino slot tournaments that includes everything you need to know about slots tournament strategy!
Video Slots Strategy – Summary
As a game entirely based on chance, no one can predict or guarantee how to win online slots. Nevertheless, having a solid online slots strategy can help you set your focus and even minimise your losses. Ultimately, though, stick to your budget and enjoy the game!
How to Win Online Slots FAQs
Video slots are games of chance, and there’s not much players can do to change the outcome. Even so, our tips detailed above within this article can help you increase your chances of winning and potentially even minimise losses, often by choosing the right kind of slot and knowing what kind of features or bonuses to look out for.
There are betting systems and online slots tips that can help you, but there is no system to help you win at online slots every time. After all, as we've already mentioned, these are purely games of chance.
It’s very easy. Select a slot that suits your playing style (casual or high roller), and check if it has a high RTP, a suitable coin denomination, and bonus offers with fair requirements. This is basically the starter pack for how to win online slots.
Yes and no. The RTP tells you how much of each €/£/$1 players wagered they can expect back. Yet the percentage here is based on the collective, rather than the individual. Therefore, you may bet €/£/$100 and lose it all, and someone else may bet €/£/$1 and win €/£/$200.
No! Online slots work on an RNG that is created and certified by the game developers. Casinos do not have access to this and cannot change it.
Online slots cannot be manipulated by players, and winning or losing is a matter of luck alone. Players caught cheating – or trying to cheat – may have their winnings confiscated, so it’s not even worth trying.
Absolutely! Slots are by far the most popular and most played casino games for good reason. They’re easy to play, the different kinds of themes offer endless variety, and the winnings can be very generous.
Yes, thousands of people across the world win at online slots every single day. How much they win, however, is a different story. So while you may be the lucky winner of a progressive jackpot, the odds of this are slim for all players, which is what makes it such a special event.
You can’t. Online slots are random, and there is no rhyme or reason as to when a player wins, loses, or lands a jackpot.
Not very often. Some progressive jackpots may even take months to give out the ultimate prize.
This depends entirely on your income. Our advice is to never gamble more than you can afford to lose, to have a set budget before you begin playing, and to never exceed that budget under any circumstances.