You might think a guide to how to win at slots would either be full of BS, or very very short! But even though slots are pure luck, it doesn’t mean your fate is entirely in the hands of the software.
From picking the best slots to playing smarter during the game, I’m going to share some of the most useful and honest slot strategies, as well as answers to popular questions like what are the best slots to play? How important is a slot RTP? What slots pay out more often? How do jackpots affect my chances of winning, and how should I play a slot to get the best outcome?
Top tips for how to win at slots
Take these tips to heart and you’ll give yourself the best chance of short-term success, and ensure you get more play for your money in the long term.
Of all the decisions you’ll make when you play slots online, choosing which slots to play is by far the most important. But if you’ve got over 2,000 slots to choose from, how to do you know which ones pay out the most prize money? And which games pay out the quickest?
You might think a game’s maximum multiplier or total win makes a difference, but they don’t. Let’s look at the most important elements in how to win at slots…
Tip #1: Play slots with the highest RTPs
Theoretical Return To Player or RTP is the average amount of money a slot is programmed to pay out over the long run – usually the course of millions of spins.
It’s a legal requirement from the UK Gambling Commission that operators tell players the payout percentage – or house edge – for each game. But it’s also a really useful number that all experienced slots players will bear in mind when they play.
How RTPs work
Put simply, the higher the RTP, the lower the house edge and the less money you’ll lose over the long term. Online slots software involves 2 important pieces of information, the payout percentage and a random number generator. All slots are random, so we can’t predict when a slot will pay out. But we do know that in the long run, a game will pay out somewhere between 93 and 99% of all money staked.
Let’s see how our choice of slot RTP could affect the amount we win or lose. We play 1,000 spins at 50p per spin on two slots, for a total stake of £500. Here’s the average theoretical return:
In around 1 hour of gameplay, you would lose £31.25 on Atlantis and £9.40 on Marching Legions. That’s how important RTPs are in how to win at slots.
How to find RTPs
You can always find a slot’s Return To Player in either the game rules, info material or help files. Because we offer slots from over 40 of the world’s most respected slots providers, they all display RTPs in their own way.
Take Wolf Gold, for example. To find the RTP, click the “i” icon to open the game rules, cycle through the pages and you’ll see the 96% RTP displayed on page 4. It only takes a few seconds and it’s worth checking before you play.
Slots with the highest RTPs
The average slots RTP is around 95%, although you’re spoiled for choice with hundreds of games at 96% or more. But OJO’s proud to offer the widest selection of online slots with RTPs above 97%. There is no secret to how to win at slots, but sticking to games like 1429 Uncharted Seas (98.5%) with the highest possible returns is a great place to starts.
Tip #2: Play low volatility games
How much money you can expect to be paid out is one key factor in choosing the right slots, but when you can expect to win is important too. The big multiplier slots might sell you the dream of striking it rich, but it could be a long wait.
If you want to hit a win more quickly, or just experience wins more often, then look for low volatility slots. Sometimes called low variance slots, these games have higher ‘hit rates’, which means you experience winning spins more often. The downside of course, is that the wins are smaller.
How to spot low volatility slots
You won’t find variance or hit rate in slot rules, so there’s no point looking. Slot providers may reference low, medium or high volatility in their marketing bumph when they release a new game, but most of the time you won’t know for sure.
There are however some features of low volatility slots to look out for though. Generally these slots have lower maximum wins, and they don’t have progressive jackpots either. If you come across a paytable with modest payouts for symbol wins, you’ve probably found a low variance slot.
Contrary to belief, RTPs have no bearing at all on volatility. You can find low variance slots with RTPs of over 97%, and those under 95%.
Our favourite low volatility slots
Even though you can’t win life-changing money, low variance slots have become some of the most popular of all time. Play any of these and you’ve got a good chance of hitting a win during your session. But remember, we’re talking about hitting a win and getting a return from a single spin, not making a profit over the course of your session.
Tip #3: Learn how jackpot slots work
All slots players would love to hit a huge progressive jackpot, but there’s not much you can do to improve your chances of winning one on a single spin.
A small contribution is taken from each bet on jackpot slots, so your payout from the base game is slightly worse than usual. Jackpot slots RTPs are also typically less competitive than the non-jackpot versions. So if you’re looking for ways to win in the short term, these big winning slots are probably not for you.
Ways to improve your odds: Myth or fact?
Now let’s look at how to win online slots jackpots. Aside from the obvious rules around each jackpot i.e. landing 5 jackpot symbols on a payline, are there ways to boost your chances of winning?
- Jackpot size: Some players believe if a jackpot usually hits once a month and for an average of £200,000, then as it approaches that figure, it is ready to pay. The size on its won’t actually make it more likely to pay out, but there is some logic to this argument. Just remember that a bigger jackpot means more players will be trying to win it.
- Must-drop jackpots: There are other ways to put yourself in a better position to win. Look for hourly and daily must-drop jackpots that have not yet paid out as the end of their period approach.
- Smaller jackpots: Games with dedicated jackpots (as opposed to jackpots linked to a selection of slots), OJO-only jackpots or smaller network jackpots pay out more often. You won’t win as much if you do hit it, but a win’s a win! Try Beast of Wealth or Holmes & The Stolen Stones for more winnable jackpot slots.
- Bet size: Some jackpots are only active at certain stakes. You may bet the minimum per line and not realise that you do not qualify for the progressive. If the jackpot is the reason you’re playing a particular slot, make sure to check the game rules before you play.
Tip #4: Choose your bet size wisely
Once you’ve chosen your slot game, the only decisions left are how many lines and coins to play, how much to bet in total and how long to play. None of these decisions will change your odds of winning, but they can all impact the state of your bankroll, and help with safer play.
There are many betting systems in casino gaming, but we have shown in our roulette guide that none are capable of turning a consistent profit.
It’s far wiser to pick an amount you can afford to lose and stick to the same bet size per spin. Many slots experts will tell you that by betting the maximum, you are ‘hacking’ the game into paying out more. But the only truth behind this supposed strategy is that by risking more, you are in a position to win more. But just remember that you’re playing for the same multipliers and RTPs.
There is a caveat to this mostly flawed strategy, however. Some games have variable RTPs depending on your stake. Check the game rules to see if it applies, and how much you need to bet. The RTP on Rainbow Riches Pick ‘n’ Mix is 94% to 98%, depending on your bet size.
Don’t bet more just to get the better RTP though. If the higher tier is too rich for you, it may be smarter to accept the lower RTP or find another game. There are plenty to choose from!
Tip #5: Play more lines for lower stakes
In literal terms, the number of paylines you play does affect how to win on slot machines. Playing more paylines gives you more chances to win on a single spin. But it doesn’t increase the RTP, and crucially, you are betting more too.
Here are 2 slot games, a 20-line and a 1-line. We bet 20p per spin on both slots, but we have 20 lines or “ways to win” in Slot 1, and only 1 way to win with Slot 2. Sure, our line bet is 20 times bigger on Slot 2 so if we do hit a win, our real terms return is bigger. This is mathematical variance and bankroll management at work!
ook at it this way: David plays 1 number on roulette, and Sam plays 10 numbers. Each number has the same chance to win. Dave will win more often than Sam, but he is risking more too. The same is true of paylines. If you want to increase your chances of winning sooner, then play the maximum number of paylines and reduce your stake.
Ultimately, you can play 1 line or 40 lines and end your day with the same return. Playing 1 line may just require a bit more patience!
Tip #6: Know when to stop
Winning at slots is sometimes about knowing when to play, and when to end your session. In theory, if a slot has just paid out, it makes no difference to the chances of a win on future spins. But there is something to be said for banking a win once it happened, particularly if it’s a big one or you’ve been waiting a while.
Knowing how to play slots is the easy part. Having a plan for when you win or lose is what sets a smart gambler apart from the rest.
Tip #7: Make sure you’re well rewarded
As we’ve seen, RTP is the biggest factor in your long-term chance of winning at online slots. Part of your skillset as a slots player when looking for an edge – or to reduce the house edge – is choosing the best slots. But another major skill is selecting a casino with the most generous offers, and fairest terms.
Here are some of the added-value features to consider:
Welcome Bonus: Join a casino with a generous match bonus, but not too generous. Always read the small print, and avoid casinos that use wagering requirements, as they make it virtually impossible to win. At PlayOJO, we only offer bonuses with no wagering requirements, and we don’t cap what you can win.
Kickers, Rewards & Free Spins: Short of giving you cold hard cash, Free Spins are the currency of loyalty rewards. However often you play, you should be rewarded with perks like Free Spins with no strings attached. Some of the time, they’ll be for a specific game, but if they can be used with a number of different qualifying slots, use the advice you’ve just learned to pick the slot that’s right for you.
Comp points: Comp points are a fundamental pillar of loyalty programmes, but at most casinos they are flawed, and heavily weighted towards players who stake more, or play more often. At PlayOJO, you get money back on every bet, win or lose, with no strings attached. The cash is instantly credited to your account, and you can play or withdraw it as you wish.
Slots tournaments: As well as bonuses and rewards, a fair casino should give you things like entries to slots tournaments, where you can play risk-free and win for real. At PlayOJO, you’ll get the chance to compete against your fellow OJOers in Reel Spinoffs with added prizes up for grabs.
Can you really win money playing online slots?
If you’re playing online slot games for real money, then yes, it’s possible to win real money if you get lucky. But with RTPs of less than 100%, you’ll lose money in the long run. Slots are there for fun and entertainment, not to make money.
How do win at online slots?
The short answer? Match 3 or more symbols on an active payline. But if you’re asking ‘how to beat slot machines’, the answer is more complicated. Slot machines have a built-in house edge of 3% or more, which makes it impossible to beat the house in the long run. That doesn’t mean to say you can’t win – and win big – on a single spin however, and that is the essence of gambling.
Can you cheat online slots?
The process of developing a slot machine involves detailed planning, development and testing, so modern slots are unlikely to be hackable, or to contain some sort of bug which you can exploit. There are stories of players in brick & mortar casinos using electronic devices to cheat a slot, but when it comes to licenced online casinos, the chances are slim to none.
Even if you did manage to find a way to cheat, it would probably be detected and considered a breach of the site’s terms & conditions. Funds could be withheld and your account potentially closed forever. Fair gaming goes both ways!
Which online slots payout the most?
There are 2 parts to this question: Which slots have paid out the most, and which slots have the highest RTPs.
The slots with the biggest historical payouts are all jackpot games. Microgaming’s Mega Moolah was the first online jackpot slot to pay £10 million or more, and has created over 50 millionaires in its time. NetEnt’s Mega Fortune online slot is another to have paid out millions, with €17 million, €11 million and €8 million wins just a few of the jackpot payouts.
As for which slots have the highest RTPs, we mention a few of our favourites earlier, including the Monopoly Big Event slot at a whopping 99% RTP. Others with a theoretical RTP of 97% of more include 1429 Uncharted Seas, Esqueleto Explosivo and Bork the Beserker.
Is there a strategy to winning slots?
There are no known strategies will help you win slots online regularly, or even as a one-off. Online slots are games of pure random chance, which means that some players will hit a win on their first ever spin, while others may have to wait hundreds or thousands of games. You can improve your odds using the advice in my slot machines guide, but only to a certain point. After that, winning is just luck.
How do you know what a slot machine will pay out?
In brick & mortar casinos, or in pub fruit machines, observers would see a slot go many spins without paying out, and believe it was “due”. The timescale for a slot to pay out its stated RTP is in fact far longer, so it is impossible to tell when it’s likely to pay out.
With online slots, the secret sauce which governs when it will pay out is found inside the software, using a combination of RTP and random numbers. The games are so carefully tested, audited and regulated that not even the developers will know when they are going to pay out.