Online Slot Terms You Need To Learn Before Playing

Online slots are some of the most played casino games in countries with legalised gambling. The reason for this is that they usually come with unique themes and special features designed to help boost your wins. All of this can be overwhelming to new players, which is why we’ve outlined some of the most common online slot terms, which you should learn before playing.


Reels in an online slot are the columns that slots are composed of. These reels display the symbols of an online slot, and to make wins in a game, you’ll be required to match several identical symbols across multiple reels. Most online slots will use five reels, but we’ve seen some slots have as little as three and others go up to six or seven. What’s more, there are some online slots with special features that allow you to expand the reels continuously to help create more wins.


Paylines are lines that stretch across a slot’s reels in various shapes and directions. You’ll need to match a string of identical symbols on these lines to make wins, and the number of paylines in a slot will vary depending on the game. We’ve seen some online slots with as little as one payline, making it substantially harder to make wins, and we’ve seen other slots with over 100,000 paylines, which can make it easier for you to make wins. It’s worth noting that some online slots do not use the paylines mechanic and instead use a cluster mechanic where you must make clusters of matching symbols to make wins.


Variance and volatility are terms used interchangeably that tell you how frequently and how much an online slot will payout. For example, an online slot with low volatility will pay small amounts frequently, while a slot with high volatility will pay large amounts infrequently. Slots can also have medium volatility, which means they provide you with a chance to win both big and small amounts.


The Return To Player or RTP rate is a term that informs you of how much of all wagered money an online slot will return. Before you get excited, RTP rates are calculated over a long period of time, not just as part of a single game. They also involve multiple players, so you can’t work out when you’re going to pay. However, you should always try to play the online slots with higher RTP rates as you’re going to be more likely to trigger a payout.

Special Features

In addition to all of the above, most modern-day online slots come with lots of special features that can help boost your chances of making wins. These features vary between games, but most online slots will have wild symbols that substitute for other symbols to make more wins and a free spins mode where you are given a selection of free spins. Other popular features in online slots include multipliers, mega symbols, expanding symbols, an avalanche mechanic where winning symbols are removed and replaced by new symbols that can trigger a chain reaction, and there’s so much more available.

Now that you have an understanding of the basic terms of an online slot, you’re free to select a game and start playing. If the selection of slots is too overwhelming, you can check out websites like for some recommendations of the best slots. Remember to read up on the various gameplay rules of a slot and check the RTP and volatility of a game before playing so you know what to expect.