Slots are considered one of the most popular gambling entertainment. According to statistics, about 50% of the visitors of all the world's offline and online casinos come to play just slot machines. It is not surprising that providers use the most advanced technologies and spend huge amounts of money on finding innovative solutions to make their products more interesting and more attractive to players. An ordinary online casino can offer its users about 70-100 various slot models today: from classic to cutting-edge, with functional symbols and progressive jackpots, realistic 3D graphics and bonus rounds.
Beginners are often lost in such diversity and do not know which model to give their preference. In this article we will talk about slot classifications by device, game mechanism and other important characteristics, and also give some simple tips on choosing online slot. All currently existing slots can be divided into two large groups – offline and online. Now we consider several types of real slot machines that exist at the moment:
Mechanical – the first (classic) slot machines with three reels, one gaming line and traditional symbols (bars, sevens, cherries, bells), which are currently used, rather, as decoration of the interior of gaming halls or exhibits in gambling museums. Now, as many years ago, these devices are called "one-armed bandits" because of the large lever that resembles a hand. The lever was used by players to trigger the mechanism that set the drums in motion.
Semi-Mechanical – the next generation of slot machines, in which drum rotation was controlled by a computer. Thanks to the improvement, semi-mechanical devices received several new options, such as multipliers, several winning lines, possibility of buying an option, points accumulation, etc. To start the drums, they more often began to use the Spin button. But some manufacturers continued to produce models with a lever – a tribute to traditions, so to speak. Semi-mechanical slots can still be found in gaming halls.
Video slots – the latest generation of devices, in which the real drums were replaced with a screen with their image. Hence the prefix "video". The use of new technologies in the slot-game opened wide opportunities for creativity and each slot provider used them in its own way. The playing field of the video include now five, seven, nine reels with a huge number of payment lines (in some models more than 100). Bonus games, banking games and multi-games were added to the main game with a choice of several games on the same slot machine. The slots themselves became themed, with beautiful graphics and animation, realistic sound effects and additional screens for mini-games.
Progressive – slots that are programmed to deduct a certain percentage in the progressive jackpot account of each bet made by the player. Such a slot can be single, that is, one progressive jackpot is accumulated by one slot machine; local – several slots are included in a single network within the same institution; the network progressive slot is part of a large network that includes several offline and online casino slot machines. Players use a slightly different strategy of the game for progressive slots, different from the strategy that is used when playing video slots or slot machines with rotating reels. This is due to the high level of rates and progressive slots’ dispersion.
With the appearance of online casinos, the developers not only transferred all the functions and characteristics of land-based gaming machines to the online space, but also added to the list of varieties of slot games with a couple of new options. But we will begin the description with the simplest models:
Classic slots are essentially a virtual equivalent of a “one-armed gangster”. This concept can also be attributed to any offline or online slot machine with three reels and one gaming line. Unlike real 3-drum machines, classic online slots can vary in subject matter. Many developers have abandoned the traditional characters, replacing them with thematic ones. Also, 3-reel online slots can contain special characters or bonus games and be included in the network progressive jackpot. Classic online slot often has one payline, although there are exceptions.
Multi-reel slots are models of online machines, the playing field of which consists of 5, 7, 9 reels. Much less often there are slots with an even number of reels.
Multiline slots – already from the name it becomes clear that these models will have several paylines. The playing field in the first multiline slots consisted of three reels and three payment lines: above, below and in the middle. It is no longer possible to somehow classify slots by payment lines due to the huge number of different options. Only a regular online slot for 3 reels and 5 pay lines can have from 9 to 50 paylines, which is already talking about 5 by 5 models.
Progressive slots are not much different from their real counterparts. In order to hit the jackpot, it is necessary to play at maximum bets, only in progressive online slots the bet limits can be smaller than in real gaming halls, and the choice of models is bigger.
3D slots are models with more complex graphics and detailed drawing. During their development, 3D technologies are used, which allows creating a special, dynamic atmosphere and enhances the sense of reality of what is happening. The first 3D slots were presented to users in the online space, but from 2013 they began to appear in real gaming rooms. In addition to bright and spectacular graphics, these slot machines are not much different from ordinary video slots. So, 3D-models are more likely to be interesting to players who want to get not only a solid win, but aesthetic pleasure from the game. If you want to try 3D slots in action, then pay attention to the products of Betsoft Gaming - the clear leader among developers of slots with 3D technology.
AWP (Amusemt with Prizes) – these machines came to online casinos from British bars, where they were very popular among visitors. The playing field in these devices was not covered with glass, so the players loved to cheat and hold the drum with their fingers or push it so that the symbol would become in an advantageous position. The resourceful developers skillfully used this feature of AWP devices in an online game: from time to time a player can use additional options and “hold” or “push” a virtual drum. The AWP slot looks like a classic machine on a single gaming line. The plus is that the player can get an extra game with various prizes. But the value of such a prize is not as great as in video slots and is comparable to a small payout.
i-Slots is a proprietary series of 5-reel interactive slots, which is represented only in online casinos using Rival software. Matching certain characters in the main game i-Slots launches an additional game with a parallel developing storyline. As you progress in the main game, the player moves along the storyline of the additional game. Winning in i-Slots depends not only on the RNG results, but also on the player’s skill. In addition, the entire gameplay will be accompanied by small animated screensavers.
In general, the slot industry is developing very dynamically, and it is simply impossible to list all the slot options in one article. In addition, the gaming range of sites sometimes includes very unusual models that can hardly be qualified. In any case, when choosing the next online slot, pay more attention to the math and paytable. It does not hurt to get acquainted with the additional info, read the reviews of experts and user reviews, view promo slots, which usually show the key points of the game. After all, cool design and new-fashioned "features" of the gaming machine should not distract you from the main goal – a chance for a big jackpot.