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Slots, slot machines, pokies, fruit machines, one-arm bandits, no matter what the preferred name is in your part of the world, slots have been capturing imaginations and entertaining people for more than 120 years. Before we explore what modern video slots have to offer, let’s take a brief look at the history of these legendary entertainment and gambling machines.

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History of Slots

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The first variation and the grandfather of modern slots was developed by Sittman and Pitt from Brooklyn, New York in 1891. Their gambling machine had 5 rolling drums, with playing card images on them, and the aim was to form a poker hand with the various symbols when the drums stopped spinning. Player’s didn’t win money for a winning hand, but instead won prizes that the owner of the establishment would award the player, such as beers, cigarettes and cigars.

 

Then, in around 1895, the first true slot machine, with reels and automated coin payouts, came onto the scene. It was invented by Charles Fey from San Francisco. The slot had 3 reels with five symbols being diamonds, spades, hearts, horseshoes and a Liberty Bell. The slot became aptly known as the Liberty Bell machine. Within 10 years, the Liberty Bell was so popular that many other manufacturers popped onto the scene and copied the Liberty Bell to make their own variations.

Popularity of Online Slot Games

In the mid-1990s, the internet was starting to develop and to provide a platform for entertainment. It wasn’t long before casinos made their debut on the web, but initially, they offered web-based versions of traditional games like blackjack and roulette. But, no casino experience would be complete without slots and very quickly, game developers started producing online slots.

In no time at all, online slots, like their land-based cousins, became the most popular online gambling games. Over the course of the next two decades, online slots continued to evolve and went from being simple 3-reel games to immersive entertainment games packed with intriguing themes, features and bonus rounds.

Who Makes Slot Games?

In the early 2000s, there were a handful of slots development companies that were producing online slots and at the time, Microgaming was one of the market leaders. But it wasn’t long before this highly lucrative niche would attract other developers and the online slots revolution began. Today, there are more than 100 online slots software developers and literally thousands of titles to choose from. Some of the most popular and well-known slots providers including:

Online slots is a highly competitive space and so, game developers are constantly releasing new slots with unique features to distinguish themselves and capture more market share.

Types of Slots

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With so many slots to choose from, it’s only natural there would be plenty of different types of slots and slots categories. There are usually 3 distinctive characteristics to all slots; the number of reels, rows and paylines. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular slots’ formats:

?3-reel slots – Based on the original mechanical slot machines of the past, these slots have only 3 reels and between 1-3 rows. Typically, 3-reel slots are a lot simpler and have a smaller number of symbols and pay lines than their more complex siblings. Despite the simplicity of 3-reel slots, they still remain a firm favourite with many avid slots’ players.

 

?5-reel slots – As the name implies, these slots employ 5-reels and usually have 3 rows, but they can have 4, 5 or even more rows. Most modern slots use the 5-reel concept or variations of it and the number of pay lines is increased substantially and generally range between 15-30. In recent years, many 5-reel slots boast a certain number of “ways to win”. The ways to win are the various combinations and positions of the symbols that can produce a win, and these are not necessarily on the same lines. With this newer variation, some slots will advertise all the way up to 2,000+ ways to win. Another variation to this format that has become popular is the formation of clusters of adjacent symbols vertically or horizontally, to form winning combinations.

 

?7-reel slots – You guessed right, this slot has 7 reels, however, you will probably not come by this layout often as it is not a very popular format. Once again, the increase in reels generally means more pay lines.

 

?9-reel slots – These have 9 reels but like their 7 reel cousins, they are not common.

 

?Classic Slots – These slots games are based on or follow similar formats of the original mechanical slots. They generally have a very simple layout and limited numbers of symbols, plus in most cases, they do not offer bonus rounds or special features. Many 3-reel slots fall into the classic slot’s category.

 

?Video Slot – This is more of a general term for all modern slots because they all essentially utilize video and not mechanical reels, however, the term is often used to describe modern slots that have a story-based theme.

 

?Bonus Slots / Feature Slots – Again, this is a broad category. Bonus slots, also often referred to as feature slots, have additional mini-games, feature rounds or bonus features that are triggered during the base game by getting a certain combination of symbols or possibly, even awarded randomly. A typical bonus round could be selecting objects, like a treasure chest to reveal a hidden coin prize, multiplier or bonus spins. Other popular features are spinning a fortune wheel which has various prize options on it.

 

?Bonus Spins Slots – Probably one of the most common special features used by slots developers today is offering a bonus spins feature that gets triggered by a certain combination of symbols. The number of bonus spins awarded varies from game to game but usually ranges from 5-20 spins. When the bonus spins round is triggered, the reels will spin automatically without deducting any funds from the player’s balance. Many slots have additional features within the free spins rounds to spice things up even more. Some of these special features can be a multiplier that is applied to all winnings during the free spins; possibly sticky wilds, expanding reels or even a special bonus game.

? Pro tip: Note that some bonus spins slots give you the opportunity to win more spins or retrigger the bonus spins round while the bonus spins round is taking place.

 

?Jackpot Slots – These slots have a fixed jackpot amount that is paid when a specific combination of symbols is achieved. Most slots, in recent years, do not have a fixed jackpot amount. While certain symbol combinations have a maximum payout, there are often multipliers that may be applied, plus other line wins could be added to the amount won.

 

?Progressive Jackpot Slots – Progressive slots use a system whereby a percentage of all wagering by all players on the particular game is allocated to a jackpot prize pool. The jackpot pool may also be split into multiple jackpots of different sizes, such as minor, major and mega. When a player achieves the requirements to trigger a jackpot, they receive the relevant payout. Some of the biggest online progressive slots jackpots ever won have been in excess of £17 million.

 

? Mobile Slots – This category of slots refers to slot games that were specifically optimized to be played on mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets. In recent years, this category has become somewhat irrelevant as almost all developers have now optimized all their slots, including their legacy titles, to be compatible on all types of devices.

Slots Reviews

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Want to know what a slot is all about and the features it has to offer? Our slot reviews are designed to give you insights into each game, how it works and the features, bonuses and payouts of each. At SuperLenny, we love playing slots and checking out the latest and greatest titles, from the most basic 3-reel slots to the life-changing progressive jackpot slots. Our team takes each and every slot for a spin to give you the info you need.

All of our slot reviews cover the following:

  1. Theme – What the theme of the game is and who the slots software developer is.
  2. Game Features – Here we provide information on the general aim of the game, the look and feel of the slot, any characters that appear in the game and the basics of getting started playing. You will also find information about any key or special features that may take place during regular play in the base game. This could include for example, sticky wilds, expanding wilds, random multipliers and more.
  3. Symbols – We provide you with information on the various symbols you can expect while playing. We put special emphasis on the top paying symbols and the special payout symbols like Wilds, Scatters and Bonus symbols.
  4. BonusesBonus features or bonus rounds that can occur over and above the general basic game and what is required to trigger the bonus round. This could include a “pick a prize”, or spinning a wheel, etc.
  5. Extra Spins – If the slot offers a bonus spins feature or round, this information is provided, specifically what is required to activate the bonus spins. You will also find information on any extra features that may occur within bonus spins, such as a winning multiplier or retriggers, etc.
  6. Jackpots – Any dedicated or progressive jackpot information is detailed.
  7. Betting Lines – Often referred to as pay lines or ways to win. You will find relevant information on the number of pay lines or winning combinations, plus information on if they are fixed or adjustable i.e. you can control how many lines are active during gameplay.
  8. RTP – The return to player, or RTP for short, is how much money is returned to players over time. For example: if a slot has a 97% RTP, then it means for every $100 wagered as $1 bets (spins), the player can theoretically expect $97 will be returned through wins and the casino’s hold (house advantage) is $3. It important to note that RTP is measured over an extended period of time, so you could have 10 players all lose $100 each and then the 11th player wins $970 (10 x $100 x 97%). The example is very simplistic, and RTP simply gives you an indication of the potential payouts a slot may give. Most online slots today have an RTP between 95%-98%.
  9. Volatility – Sometimes referred to as variance or hit frequency. This gives an indication of how often a winning combination may come up. We express this in our reviews as low, medium or high. High volatility means fewer regular payouts, but they could be big higher in value. A low frequency means you will probably see lots of small wins regularly.
  10. Verdict – This is a final summary of the slot and our general view of the slot game.

The Best Online Slots

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As you can tell, the SuperLenny team dedicates a substantial amount of time and effort to evaluate and review slots to help you choose the best online slots to play. While our slot reviews will give you insights into each game, the best way to experience what a slot has to offer is to play it yourself. Who knows, you might just find the diamond in the rough that gives you life-changing payouts!

No matter what your preference or best slots are, we hope you have great fun and WIN BIG!