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What to look for in a lucrative slot machine


13 Jan 2018

According to data from Statista, there were the best part of 167,000 slot machines and other mobile gaming devices within casinos in the US state of Nevada alone in 2017.

Meanwhile, head in a south-easterly direction to Oklahoma’s largest casino, the Winstar World Casino and Resort, and over 7,400 gaming machines can be enjoyed under one roof.

Whether at a land-based casino or playing slots online at one of a vast number of websites, there is no shortage of opportunity to spin the reels.

Where there could be a dilemma is which of the plethora of slots to play, especially among rookie players with little experience. There could conceivably be the impression that they are all the same, but with distinctive skins.

This may be true, although only to a point. Different slots tend to have individual features that predominantly separate them from others.

Next time you sit down to send the reels into a spin, here are some of the things to look out for to assist you in deciding if your machine is a money-spinner or not.


Most typically, you will activate a bonus feature or a bonus round if landing three similar symbols or logos on certain reels.

Examples of bonus features could be a ‘Pick Me’ feature, where you may be shown a set number of boxes to select from, with each having a different prize positioned behind it.

There is also the potential for some slots to offer a selection of different bonus features, which may hinge on the exact reels the special symbols fall on or the nature of the symbol that is shown.

Free spins

It doesn’t take an in-depth explanation to highlight the benefits of free spins. You continue to play a slot as normal, without using any of your own cash.

The number of free spins you may receive can differ drastically from game to game or by the result that activated the free spin. Were three, four or five symbols landed or were wilds or scatter symbols featured?


The ‘nudge’ option is a standard feature of almost any fruit machine found in a pub or club. This gives you the chance to hold certain reels still and allow only chosen reels to spin in the hope of landing a particular sequence.

Respin features on slots are not dissimilar as winning symbols are locked on reels and the others spin.

Like free spins, you could receive a set number of respins or, most often, the respins last for as long as you continue to hit a winning combination.


Undoubtedly, the biggest prizes available on slots are for landing a jackpot, with the amount in some cases standing at well over £1 million.

If you want to play for the truly life-changing sums of money, keep an eye out for slots offering progressive jackpots, rather than fixed jackpots.

Progressive jackpots continue to rise every time someone plays a game. Each bet placed effectively feeds the jackpot.

To win a jackpot, you will normally have to bet the maximum spin sum on your selected slot and then spin an exact sequence of symbols. An example could be identical top-level symbols on all reels.


Any winning spin on a slot machine is gratefully accepted, but it’s even nicer when these successes are enhanced.

Multipliers are the logical way of achieving this, especially when combined with other features. These can lead to extra-special wins, in some cases over a 1,000 times your stake for that particular spin.

For example, how about a free spins bonus feature where winnings can be retriggered and combined with multipliers? It’s not unfeasible that such a scenario can quickly turn 10 free spins into 500.

RTP and variance

Variance refers to how frequently a slot will pay out. Low variance slots pay out frequently, but smaller amounts. This could even be less than the cost of the spin.

Higher variance slots can witness countless spins without a pay out, but when one does arrive, it tends to be bigger.

A slot’s return-to-player ratio effectively refers to the house edge of the casino. A slot with a RTP of 95% gives the casino a 5% edge.

Getting the right variance and RTP combination can be difficult and depends on your individual demands, although a high-variance machine with a low RTP must be considered the worst combo.


The theme of a slot is understandably going to have a bearing on how much you enjoy playing and fun is a key reason to spin the reels at slots.

However, the chance to win big money or end a gaming session in profit should be another and features of a game must also be reviewed before pushing spin.

It is advisable to always know which features and bonus extras might be spun, rather than stumbling across them as you go and then not really knowing how to best take advantage.