How to play slots at casino

By Rainbet
Published Feb 14, 2024

This articles shows how to play slots at land-based casinos, exploring multiple topics like understanding what is a slot machine, how to choose a good slot machine, how they work and how to bet real money and spin the reels.

Guide to play slots at casino: from beginner to expert

Before stepping into a Las Vegas casino to sit in front of slot games, you must know how to play them. A blackjack player does not sit in a table without knowing what an ace is, so you need to learn the basics of a slot machine.

Just as these table games demand preparation, understanding the workings of slot machines improves your gameplay experience and potentially, your success.

Slot games, with their dazzling jackpots and diverse themes, are not merely about pulling levers or pressing buttons.

A wise slot player knows how to choose the right machine, knows a good slot machine strategy, comprehends the dynamics of paylines, bonuses, and denominations, and manage his bankroll efficiently.

This beginner guide serves as your foundation, ensuring you're not just another first time visitor that throws all his savings, but a prepared slot player aiming for the jackpot.

1. Understand what is a casino slot machine

To master slot machines, you must have a better understanding of what they are.

A casino slot machine, at its core, is a gambling device with spinning reels. These reels have symbols, which land randomly after a player places a bet and spins the reels. If these symbols line up, the player wins a payout based on the symbols’ alignment.

Originating in the late 19th century, slot machines have evolved from mechanical levers to button-operated machines, and now even to digital versions in online casinos.

Today, they encompass a wide range of games, including the penny slot, known for allowing bets as low as one cent, making it a favorite among casual players.

Types of casino slots

There are various types of machines, each offering a unique casino gaming experience. Here's a list of the slot machines:

  1. Classic Slots: Often resembling the original slot machine concept with three reels, these games are straightforward, focusing on simple symbols and payouts. They're perfect for those who appreciate nostalgia and simplicity.
  2. Video Slots: A leap from classic slots, video slots feature digital screens, enriched graphics, and themes ranging from popular culture to mythology. With five or more reels, they offer more paylines, leading to greater winning combinations.
  3. Progressive Slots: Known for offering life-changing progressive jackpots, these machines accumulate a portion of every bet across a network of slots to create massive prize pools. The jackpot grows until someone hits the winning combination.
  4. Multi-Payline Slots: Unlike traditional slots with a single payline, these machines feature multiple paylines, increasing the chances of winning on each spin. Some video slots offer up to 100 paylines or more.
  5. 3D Slots: Utilizing advanced graphics, these slots offer an immersive experience with three-dimensional characters and narratives. They combine engaging gameplay with cinematic presentations.
  6. Bonus Slots: Featuring special rounds and bonuses, these slots trigger additional games or free spins when specific symbols land on the reels, offering extra chances to win.

2. Understand how casino slots work

At the core of every slot machine is the Random Number Generator (RNG), a digital algorithm that ensures each spin's outcome is entirely random, making it impossible to predict the next combination of symbols.

The paytable is another crucial component, providing players with essential information about winning combinations, payback percentage, and the value of symbols, including wild symbols, multipliers, scatters, etc...

Return to Player, or RTP, is a term that describes the percentage of all wagered money a slot will pay back to players over time. It's a theoretical calculation, with higher RTP values indicating better chances for the player in the long term.

Volatility, on the other hand, measures the risk involved in playing a slot game. Low volatility slots offer more frequent wins of smaller amounts, making them ideal for cautious players, whereas high volatility slots offer larger payouts that are less frequent, appealing to those willing to embrace greater risk.

Bonuses are also important for slot machines, especially for a big win. Bonus rounds, triggered by a specific combination of symbols (the most iconic is the three aligned sevens), offer players the chance to win additional prizes through bonus games or free spins. Bonus features like multipliers can significantly increase winnings, making them a sought-after feature in slots.


Denomination in the context of casino slot machines refers to the value of each credit played.

Essentially, it's the monetary value assigned to each coin or token you insert into the slot, determining the amount of money you're wagering with each spin.

Slots can vary widely in denomination, offering options ranging from pennies to dollars, allowing players to choose a machine that matches their bankroll and betting style.

Higher denomination slots typically offer better payback percentages, appealing to high rollers seeking bigger wins, while lower denomination slots allow for longer play sessions with a smaller bankroll.


Paylines are a fundamental aspect of casino slot machines, defining the lines on which matching symbols must land for a player to win.

Initially, slot machines featured a single horizontal line, but today's slots offer multiple paylines, ranging from straight lines to zigzags, across the reels.

The number of paylines can significantly vary, with some modern video slots offering hundreds or even thousands of ways to win. Each payline represents a different pattern of symbols that can result in a payout when matched according to the game's paytable.

Players usually have the option to select how many paylines they wish to activate for each spin, with the understanding that betting on more paylines increases the chances of winning but also requires a larger bet.


Bonus refers to special features or games that offer players additional opportunities to win more than what's available in the main gameplay.

These bonuses are activated by landing a specific combination of symbols on the reels, often aligned with the slot's theme.

Types of bonuses vary widely but generally include free spins, mini-games, and the chance to win instant prizes.

Free spins are among the most common types of bonuses, granting players a certain number of spins without deducting any funds from their balance.

Mini-games, on the other hand, can range from simple pick-and-win options to complex, multi-level challenges that offer bigger rewards.

Instant prizes might be cash payouts, multipliers for future wins, or even jackpot amounts.

Cash out

Cash out in slot terminology is the process by which players convert their credits or winnings back into real money.

After enjoying a session of slot games, whether it's after a big win or when deciding to end the gaming session, players initiate a cash-out to retrieve their money.

This is typically done by pressing a Cash Out button on the slot machine, which then issues a ticket or voucher. This ticket can be redeemed for cash at designated machines or cashiers within the casino.

The cash-out process is an essential aspect of casino slot play, providing a secure and straightforward way for players to manage their funds. It's important for players to understand when and how to cash out, as it affects their overall gaming strategy and financial management. Successful players often have disciplined cash-out strategies.

3. Choose a slot

Choosing the right slot machine at a land-based casino can greatly influence your gaming experience and potential winnings.

Here are 7 essential tips that Gabriele from RainBet pointed out in order to help you make an informed decision:

  1. Consider the Denomination: Pick a slot that matches your bankroll and betting comfort level. Whether it's penny slots for casual play or higher denomination slots for bigger bets, choosing correctly can affect your playtime and cash out potential.
  2. Look for High RTP Rates: Slots with higher RTP percentages tend to offer better long-term winnings. While exact numbers might not always be posted, you can ask staff or look for information online about the casino's general payout trends.
  3. Understand Volatility: Slots with low volatility pay out smaller wins more frequently, while high volatility slots offer the chance for larger payouts but less often. Your choice should align with your risk tolerance and playing style.
  4. Consider the Game's Theme and Features: Choose a slot with a theme you enjoy and bonus features that excite you, such as free spins, bonus rounds, and wild symbols. The enjoyment factor plays a significant role in your gaming experience.
  5. Check the Paytable: Before playing, review the paytable to understand the value of different symbols, paylines, and how to trigger bonus features. This knowledge can guide your slot selection based on potential winnings and bonus opportunities.
  6. Observe Machine Performance: Some players prefer choosing slots that haven't paid out in a while, following the belief that a win might be due soon. This strategy is also called hot and cold slot method. By hot slot players refer to slot machines that are performing well, while cold slot aren’t. But remember that slots operate on RNG principles, making outcomes entirely unpredictable, so this strategy is based more on emotional feelings that rational ones.
  7. Set a Budget: Decide on a spending limit before choosing a slot. This decision ensures you to pick a machine that allows for extended play within your budget, maximizing entertainment value while managing financial risk.

4. Bet and Spin

After choosing your slot machine, the next step is to decide on the amount you want to wager.

This involves selecting the denomination and the number of credits or coins you wish to bet per line. Modern slot machines make this easy with clearly marked buttons that adjust your bet. Quick tip: do not max bet right away, test the slot machine first.

Once your bet is set, the next action is to initiate the game by pressing the spin button. This button activates the reels, which then spin and eventually come to a stop.

The symbols that appear on the paylines determine whether you win or lose. Wins are automatically added to your credit on the machine. If the reels display a winning combination as outlined in the paytable, you receive the corresponding payout.

How to play slot machines on cruise ships

Playing slot machines on cruise ships mirrors the experience at land-based casinos, with a few nuances. Once aboard, locate the casino section, most ships feature one.

Here, you'll find a variety of slot machines. Choose one that appeals to you, insert your payment to credit your play, and press the spin button to begin.

Each spin offers a chance to win, with payouts based on the combination of symbols displayed.

Remember, cruise ship casinos operate under international regulations, so familiarize yourself with these rules to maximize your enjoyment and potential winnings.

How to read slot machines

Reading slot machines starts with understanding the paytable.

This chart explains the value of each symbol, how to win with combinations, and the workings of any special features or bonus rounds.

Is there a strategy to playing slots?

Yes, there are multiple strategies to playing slots. One of the most famous is the Martingale betting system.

How much money should you bring into a casino to play slots?

The amount of money you should bring into a casino to play slots depends on your budget and playing goals. Usually a good amount of money starts at $100.