Perhaps the single biggest draw for most Canadian players at the best online casinos is the quality of the real money slots they offer. But if you’re new to the whole business of online slots, what are these magnetic machines? Why are they so compelling and how do you take them for a spin? Well, read on and we hope to reveal the essentials about these real entertainers.
First, online real money slots are, at their most basic, online incarnations of the real-money video slot games that exploded in popularity in land-based casinos in the 80s and 90s. Indeed, classic Vegas slots such as IGT’s Cleopatra and Wolf Run migrated online in the last decade and proved as enduringly popular with online players as with real-world slot jockeys.
Secondly, despite the seemingly limitless choice of real money slots you can now find online, all casino slots are simple games of chance that follow a few basic rules that make them very easy to understand and play. Central to pretty much every video slot’s gameplay (or ‘basegame’), is the idea of spinning a set of reels – typically five – covered with a fixed selection of symbols. Should a specified combination of symbols line up in view along a specified trail across the reels (called a ‘payline’), then the player wins a prize advertised in the game’s paytable. With real money slots that prize is a cash reward that is a fixed multiple of the player’s stake made on that spin. The probability of a combination of symbols landing on a payline directly affects the size of the prize it awards, so the rarest combination will trigger the game’s jackpot, whilst more common combinations trigger smaller wins. And that is the very essence of real money slots!
The actual mechanism of betting on a real money slot matches the simplicity of the game itself. A player simply chooses the size of the stake they want to make per payline offered on that slot, and the number of paylines they want in play. With that choice made, the bet is confirmed the moment the player hits the spin button – any winning combinations that result from that spin are then paid.
Modern online slots offer payline counts ranging from ten or less (such as the insanely popular Starburst slot) to over one hundred, but in practice, most players just play all the available paylines as that gives the highest probability of turning the next spin into a win albeit with a higher total stake in play. The best online casinos are keen to cater for all types of players, so it’s usual to find most real money slots offer very flexible bet options to allow spins for just a few cents for the impecunious up to a few hundred dollars for those with pockets deeper than the Marianas Trench.
Naturally, slots’ developers over the years have looked to spice up this basic slot recipe with innovative features, and some have now become staples of most modern online slots in their own right. For instance, a huge majority of online slots now include both a Wild and Scatter amongst the possible symbols found on their reels. The former is a special symbol that can substitute for all other symbols (or all bar specific special cases) where that can generate a winning combination.
The latter is a special symbol that is free of the tyranny of paylines and can trigger wins if a specified number are simply in view, rather than the combination. Scatters have also become commonly used to trigger extra bonus features games, amongst which a popular option with slot developers and players alike is an award of free spins, with wins during the feature often multiplied by a fixed amount to deliver bigger payouts than the base game.
Amongst real money slots, a highly prized variant – both figuratively and literally – is the progressive jackpot slot. These mighty beasts are linked machines that boost their headline jackpots by adding a percentage of every stake played through them. Through this mechanism, truly staggering jackpots can be built and won, and popular online progressives like Microgaming’s Mega Moolah, Playtech’s Jackpot Giant and NetEnt’s Mega Fortune have all made multi-millionaires from lucky players.
The choice of real money online slots available to players today is extraordinary, covering all sorts of themes from the superheroic Marvel slots, to ancient legends such as the Spartans of 300 Shields; from the sublime of Starburst slot to the downright ridiculous of South Park Reel Chaos. Such choice can seem overwhelming, but don’t forget that all slots are simply games of pure chance, so a new player has just the same odds of spinning a win as a seasoned slot jockey who’s been riding the reels for years. And with pretty much all the best online casinos offering demo versions of their real money slots, it couldn’t be easier to take a few choice games for a free spin to get a feel for the reels before you commit any funds to some serious adult slots action! What’s not to like?