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Slot Game Types and Strategies: Explained

Row Of Slot Machines
Certain games come in and out of fashion. Take, baccarat, for example. Back when Ian Fleming wrote ‘Casino Royale’ in 1953 to begin his legendary James Bond series, baccarat was sufficiently popular enough for the majority of readers to be able to follow along with a game without having to consult a rulebook.

By the time 2006’s Casino Royale movie was produced though, the writers had made the wise choice of changing the game at the heart of the film. Rather than a tense baccarat game, it was poker – the card game which had seen a huge uptick in popularity in the 53 years between the book and latest screen version.

It’s not just poker which has benefitted over that time frame, either, because slots have seen a similar boost in popularity. Once a common casino diversion from card games, slots have transformed themselves, moved with the times and become one of a major worldwide draw.

From mechanical ‘one-armed bandits’ to all-digital and online slots, the world of slot gaming has changed dramatically over just a few short years, innovating at a rapid pace to keep up with the demands of the modern player.

Today, there are countless types of slot games available, and, in this guide, we’re going to share with you some of the most common slot games available, alongside smart strategies to tackle them. Let’s get started, shall we?

Five-Reel Slots
Slot Machine Close Up
Often called ‘video slots’, five-reel slots have blown up in popularity thanks to the added level of strategy involved. With five reels you move from just one payline up to one hundred, in some cases.

In turn, this means that the paytables are significantly more complicated, but they don’t feel that way. Every modern slot machine will automatically highlight any winning lines you’ve generated and almost all of them will have instant access to the paytable, so you can figure out exactly what you’ve won and how.

Five-reel slots often have additional features too, like ‘scatter symbols’, ‘wilds’ and ‘multiplies’. Scatter symbols are unique to the game you're playing but are used to unlock special features, like an instant win or a bonus game.

Meanwhile, wilds act like a joker and can be substituted for any other symbol to give the player a winning combination on their line.

Finally, multipliers multiply your winnings on any given line. If a multiplier appears across a payline, they’ll multiply the payout by a set amount for each coin you’ve deposited. It’s possible to further increase the jackpot by making use of the big sign-up bonuses offered by certain online slot providers. Each of these additional features adds excitement to the five-reel slot experience.

  • Find a buy-in level you’re comfortable with. Generally, the higher the cost of the slot, the greater the payout percentage will be. However, you should only ever bet what you’re comfortable with.
  • Don’t ‘prime the pump’. There are lots of myths around five-reel slots, including one which suggests that betting small and working up to bigger bets will yield greater results. In fact, studies have found that there’s no real advantage to it, so just pick your level and stick to it.
Three-Reel Slots
Based on the original slot machines, three-reel slots are by far the simplest type of slot going. Each game will involve three reels with different icons on them, with a line across the middle to indicate the payline.

A player bets and then spins the reels. When the reels stop spinning, the player will be paid out based on their payline. The winning combinations can be found in the paytable, which lists all the winning symbol combinations. Based on the rarity of your payline, the amount of money you win will differ.

  • Don’t always go for the highest jackpot machine, as lower jackpot machines are more likely to pay out.
  • Do your research on pay-out rates, these will be published online and in specialist magazines
Progressive Jackpot Slots
Progressive jackpot slots are growing rapidly in popularity for one huge reason – they often have massive, life-changing jackpots. Unlike traditional slot games which feature one jackpot per game (or individual machine), progressive jackpot slots feature one massive shared pot across the games and across the world.

Progressive slots offer a much higher jackpot then but, equally, you’re racing against a much larger pool of people for that prize. In terms of gameplay, you can expect a very similar experience to five-reel slot games.

  • On most progressive jackpot slots there are various jackpot tiers available. Depending on the amount you’re betting, you will be eligible for different jackpot tiers. It’s worth paying close attention to these tiers if you’re after the big jackpot.
3D Slots
An evolution on the ‘video slot’ format, which moved the once-mechanical slots into the digital era with random number generators and digitally-set odds, 3D slots have brought the slot experience to par with modern video games.

By leveraging more powerful computer and smart-device hardware, 3D slots have animated 3D backgrounds, characters and details which help to bring themed games to life. Designed to create a more immersive playing experience, 3D slots offer something different to the traditional slot experience. 
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