rouletteAlthough slots games rely on chance rather than skill, it makes sense to familiarise yourself with a casino slot before playing it. See if you can practice on a free slots game at the casino you visit (most online casinos allow this) so that you can discover how the various features work before investing any money of your own. In a real casino, simply play the lowest number of coins and lines allowed until you know how the game works. Then, when you are happy that you know what you are doing, you can start playing 'for real'. Who knows – you might be the next jackpot winner!

How to Win at Slots

First, before you play, decide what your aims are. Do you want to win the jackpot, win your stake back or just to have a bit of fun? If you don't know what your aims are, you won't know when to quit playing!

Having defined your aim and selected a machine, you should spend some time getting to know that machine. Your knowledge of various slots will build up over time, and this can make you more successful if the bonus levels incorporate an element of skill.

It is important to note that not all skill features are equal. Some are True Skill features, the outcome of which really is determined by the player. Others are merely Pseudo Skill features, and in these cases the machine decides – according to a set algorithm – what will happen, regardless of your input.

There are two schools of thought concerning whether a player should bank a win or collect it as an immediate payout. Some people say that the machine is fooled if you bank the win, because it only computes actual payouts as wins. The opposing school of thought – and the one we belong to – says that whether you choose to bank or collect a win is irrelevant, because the machine counts both options as wins.

Most professional slots players keep a regular stock of £1 coins on them and make sure they have time enough to play a machine. Don't start playing in a pub as last orders are called, or when you've booked a taxi. If you've done your research and think the machine is ready to pay you need to have plenty of time to play, and have the coins ready in your hand.

Professionals know that it's often a good idea to watch out for other pros so that they can learn from the machines they choose to play. It's also worth watching out for players going to the bar for more coins, as this gives you an opportunity to step in and take over if you're that way inclined.

Last, but by no means least, be sure to buy the barman a drink if you win a jackpot in a pub. His knowledge may be invaluable the next time you visit. He may also tell you if a machine is about the be replaced so that you know your days are numbered as far as that particular game is concerned.

And that, in a rather large nutshell, is how to win at slots!

Loose Slots

Loose slots are something that plenty of slots players go looking for, but the term ‘loose' is by no means an absolute. Nothing in the slot world is black and white – or even a specific shade of grey – and there is a big difference between loose programming and actual performance.

 Generally speaking, loose machines can be defined as those that are programmed to pay back a greater percentage of the total monies played than similar machines elsewhere. But what is loose for one casino could be tight for another. For example, a loose machine in Casino A might be programmed to return 98% of money played, but in Casino B across the street a loose machine might be programmed to return just 92%. The term loose also has different meanings in different geographical locations. A return of 92% on £1 machine would be considered loose in London, but the same return would be considered tight in Reno.

Until slots start wearing name tags, players can do no better than insert their coins and take their chances. A player could easily have two Red-White-Blue machines sitting side-by-side, identical in appearance, one programmed for that 98% payback, the other for much less.

Many casinos advertise that they have "loose" machines with a 98% payback, but this statement, while narrowly true, can be misleading. Always examine that 98% manifesto with some suspicion. In small print, (make that microscopic lettering), is the expression "up to", meaning that in the casino there are some machines, out of the thousands waiting there, that pay "up to" 98%.

When a casino advertises that its slot machines return 98%, it means the machine is pre-programmed to return 98% of every pound or dollar played "over the long term" Do not expect that for each pound inserted you will hear 98p automatically trickling into the tray. The phrase to be mindful of here is "over the long term", which could be weeks, months, or even years on any given machine.

But let's assume that the machine you were playing was actually paying off 98p for every £1 bet. Using a liberal definition of "loose" we will allow the casino a measly 2% edge. Well, if you were to insert £60 per minute into a 98% payback slot machine (not difficult on a machine at £3 a whack using a credit button), you would lose about £72 an hour. Multiply that by eight hours of play and you will come up £576 short in the purse. So, even on those advertised high payback machines, the casino has a way of dissolving your gambling capital.

The bottom line is that you can play a loose slot machine that returns 98% and realise a return of 1000% or just 30%. As we said at the outset, the term ‘loose' is by no means absolute.

Progressive Slots

rouletteProgressive slots are slot machines with jackpots that increase with every play until they are eventually won in their entirety by a lucky player. They offer the potential of enormous prizes (some progressives have paid out lottery-sized jackpots of several million) for relatively small stakes.

If you're the kind of person who likes to have an occasional gamble on one of these progressive slot machines, you would do well to look before you leap. Online casinos don't like to give money away for nothing, so before a progressive pays out a fortune it almost always takes in a fortune first. Before playing a progressive, have a scout around and see if you can find a machine which looks more "ripe" for the picking.

Given the choice between two progressive machines – say one with a jackpot of £1,000 and another with a jackpot of £10,000 – the latter may offer more value for your buck. Of course, the chances of you landing a progressive jackpot are remote, but by picking the progressive with the largest jackpot you ensure that if you do win you'll have something serious to shout about.

Many slot machines boast about their payout percentages. Some claim to pay out 90% of total takings and some claim to pay out 95%. In some casinos a payout claim of 97% can be found. Whilst these figures are, in the vast majority of circumstances, accurate, don't assume that they apply to every £100 invested. This is a mistake which many people make. They see a "95% payout" claim and assume that if they gamble £100, they'll finish up with at least £95 back in their pockets.

The truth is that a complete cycle of a slot machine can be as many as 8,000 or 10,000 individual spins, and it is on these complete cycles that percentages are most often based. Bear this in mind when deciding which of the progressive slots you want to play.

Mobile Slots

Mobile slots are the latest innovation in the world of online slots gaming, and allow anyone with a compatible mobile phone (and a suitable account with a mobile-friendly online casino) to play for real cash prizes whilst on the move. But how do mobile slots compare with their desktop ancestors, and are there any potential drawbacks to playing mobile slots? Read on and we'll tell you all you need to know...

As you might imagine, the differences between mobile slots games and their desktop versions are largely aesthetic. Although the screen sizes of modern mobile phones have increased quite a lot over the last few years, they are still very small when compared with desktop or even laptop displays. This doesn't mean that the quality of the images and animations in a mobiles slots game is necessarily worse, but it is of course a little harder for players to make out finer graphical details. To help make things easier in this respect, graphics are often reworked for mobile displays so that the overall impact is just as good for mobile slots players is it is for everyone else.

Audio in a mobile slots game is usually indistinguishable from that in desktop games, though you may need to use earphones to enjoy the complete stereo sound effect – especially if you are playing in a location where there is a lot of background noise.

Of course, the ability to win cash prizes is the thing that online slots players will be most interested in, and the good news is that mobile slots games offer just as much in the way of potential profits as the non-mobile versions. In fact, an increasing number of mobile slots games share the exact same jackpots as the games that are played via a regular internet connection. For example, if you download the mobile casino software from 32Red Casino you can play Mobile Mega Moolah and play for the same multi-million pound jackpots that non-mobile Mega Moolah players enjoy.

It is clear that mobile slots games compare very well with their desktop counterparts, so let's turn to the potential drawbacks – are there any?

The short answer is no, not really. The security protocols employed by mobile casinos make mobile slots gaming just as safe as desktop gaming. You also benefit from the same kind of loyalty schemes as you do when playing without your mobile. You can even make deposits to your gaming account via your mobile.

Perhaps the worst thing about mobile slots games is that if you lose mobile coverage then you will be disconnected and your gaming session will be interrupted. That said, you could just as easily lose your internet connection when playing a game on your desktop PC. And even if you were to lose your mobile coverage and get disconnected, your game status would be preserved so that you can pick up where you left off previously, so you wouldn't lose out financially in any way.

After evaluating all of this, our verdict is that mobile slots games are just as reliable, entertaining and potentially profitable as those played on a desktop or laptop computer. The big difference is that you can put your mobile phone in your pocket and play wherever you like (even in the bath!) as long as you can get the required network coverage.