Slots Guide For Beginners

Whether you’ve visited a casino before or not, you’re probably familiar with slots. You might have even played online slots before, even if they don’t compare to your undying love for bingo. But with the constant updates and advances in technology, you might not be very familiar with slots as they are now. Ever played a 3D slot game? Do you know what wild symbols are? Or the difference between jackpots and progressive jackpots?

Before you start panicking, take a deep breath—BingoPort has your back. We’ve put together a slots guide for beginners covering everything that you could possibly need to know about slots. Who knows, maybe you’ll start to love slots more than bingo (gasp)!

History of Slots

Believe it or not, slot machines have been around since the 1800s—the first one was created by Charles Fay between 1887-1891. It was called the Liberty Bell, and was rather basic in design with 3 reels and 5 symbols. These types of machines were called ‘one-armed bandits’, because you had to pull a lever to start the reels. Despite this simplicity, the machine was immensely popular in bars and restaurants, and it didn’t take long for mass-production to take place.

Image of old slot machinesBefore long, these slot machines were taking over and eventually evolved into the ‘fruit machines’ that you can find in most pubs and arcades across the UK. These machines underwent a huge change in the 1960’s—the game could now be started with a button rather than a lever, and players could hold or nudge reels to try to make winning combinations. This also brought about the introduction of video screens, as opposed to physical reels.

The next step for slot machines was the evolution of online casinos at the end of the 1990s. This particular development made slots accessible to people across the world. And as technology developed, so too did online slots—video slots and 3D slots started to become a new favourite amongst slot fans.

While slot machines might still be popular, it’s clear that online slots have an edge. The wide accessibility of online slots across mobiles, tablets and PCs have taken the popularity of these classic games to a whole new level. Not to mention, sites like BingoPort that offer free online slots!

Not sure how slots work? Read on to learn all about it.

How They Work

You start off a slot game by placing a wager. This wager can vary depending on the slot, as some slots require a higher minimum bet than others. The goal of slots is to spin the reels and line up rows that have the same matching symbols. All you need to do is place your bet, and click the spin button.

You win money if you match 3 or more symbols in a payline. Of course, the amount of money you win varies depending on which symbols have been matched, and how many points each one is worth. You can find information regarding these symbols and their worth in the paytable.

Reels and Paylines

Example of slot symbolsReels are essentially the columns that spin in a slot. Classic slots typically have 3 reels, whereas most slots nowadays have around 5 reels. While you might think that having more reels makes things more complicated for you, it actually increases the likelihood of you matching symbols and winning.

Paylines in comparison, are the rows in the slot. Older versions of slot machines used to only have one payline—you would have to match 3 symbols in this one line. Modern day slots however, calculate many more paylines. In fact, some slots offer from 1 to over 100 paylines. These paylines can be read horizontally, diagonally, or in a zigzag pattern. Of course, your winnings depend on how many paylines you’ve bet on, and how much you’ve bet on each. If you bet on 10 paylines but you only win on 1, your total win would be based only on the amount that you bet on that 1 payline.

Symbols and Features

Example of slot symbolsAs we’ve already said, the aim of slots is to match at least 3 symbols. But did you know that there are other symbols involved in slots

Wild Symbols are symbols which can substitute for any of the symbols in the slot game. This means that if you don’t have enough matching symbols in a payline, the wild symbol will fill in. Of course, wild symbols are limited throughout the game. In addition, the symbols themselves don’t hold value individually—they’re only valuable if they’re in a line with matching symbols.

Scatter Symbols activate a bonus round within a game. These rounds can vary from free spins, to the Wheel of Fortune, to mini-games. You typically have to get 3 scatter symbols in one spin to activate this bonus round. These rounds can be very worthwhile, boasting higher payouts than the actual slot.

Example Slot

The slot below is called Irish Luck. In the screenshot you can see its 5 reels and its paylines. If you look closely at the bottom, you’ll be able to see a link to the paytable where you can find the necessary information on symbols and bonuses.

You can also see the option to change your bet; you can increase it or decrease it, or even bet the maximum amount. You also have the option to change lines, including an option to bet on the maximum number of lines, which is 25 in this particular slot.

As you can see, it couldn’t be simpler!

Irish Luck slot

Types of Slots

  • Classic slots: typically have 3 reels, and are based on the original 'fruit machine' games that you can find in arcades around the world. 
  • Video Slots: usually have 5 reels, and contain animations that occur when matching symbols are found on a payline. 
  • 3D slots: similar to video slots, except that there are 3D characters that interact with you during the game. They also come with a kind of narrative to make it more exciting. 

The payout from these slots can vary. Some slots offer a relatively low payout, whereas other slots offer a jackpot—essentially the ‘maximum prize’ in a slot. As you can imagine, jackpot slots are very popular. They also come with a minimum bet and a maximum bet.

Other slots offer a progressive jackpot, which is exactly the same as an ordinary jackpot except for the fact that their jackpot prize increases in size over time. This jackpot will be paid out eventually, at which point the progressive jackpot will start all over again.

Are Slots Fixed?

An issue that many people have with slots is the idea that they’re fixed in some way. Despite how popular this ‘myth’ is, it doesn’t hold any water. Every slot game online is powered by a Random Number Generator. This means that the slots are never predictable—they throw out random patterns each time. So, unlike games like poker, for example, there isn’t really a way to determine your chances of winning.


Why Play Online Slots Instead of Slot Machines?

Image of Vegas slot machines

Admittedly, slot machines do have a kind of allure surrounding them. When you spot them in an arcade or at a casino, you can’t help but try them out—even if it’s with just a few pennies. That being said however, there are many pros to playing online slots instead.

1. They’re Convenient

Online slots are easier for everyone involved. You don’t have to go outside, or get dressed up. All you have to do is get out your mobile or your laptop and spin to your heart’s content! You can play all day and all night, wearing your favourite PJs.

2. Online Slots are Always Available

You never have to worry about an online slot game being unavailable or out of order. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you're completely set. 

3. Broad Choice of Games

If you go into an arcade or a casino, you’re limited in the types of slots you can play. With online slots however, your choices are almost limitless—you’ll always be able to find something that catches your eye. If you don’t believe us, check out our guide to the 12 weirdest online slot games—proving that there really is something for everyone!

4. Bonuses and Rewards

Online slots come with extra bonuses and even more rewards. If you’re playing on a bingo or casino site that you’ve signed up to, you have the chance to earn yourself free spins and bonus money to spend on slots.

5. Flexible Stakes and Better Payouts

Most slot machines have the same type of stakes. Online slots, by comparison, are much more flexible. In fact, you can play free slots on many sites. The payout for online slots is also much better than land-based slots—at around 96-98%.

BingoPort Recommendations

If you’ve made it through our guide, you might be wondering which slot you should play on. As we’ve already mentioned, there are hundreds of slots out there for you to try out. To make things easier for you, we’ve put together a list of our favourite slots that you can find on some of our recommended sites.


Temple of Iris

Temple of Isis slot

It wouldn’t be a list of top slots if there wasn’t at least one Egyptian-themed slot! This 5-reel classic gives you the chance to win a fortune that would make a Pharaoh weep in envy.

Shopping Spree

Shopping Spree slot

If you love to shop ‘til you drop, you’ll love this 5-reel slot. The slot takes you through an imaginary shopping spree filled with luxurious lipsticks and designer shoes—but if you’re lucky, you might win a jackpot that could fund a real shopping spree!



Spin your way out of this world with galactic slot Starburst! This 5-reel slot is hugely popular, and its dazzling gems are certainly lovely to watch as they spin you to a sparkling win. Get a Wild Starburst Star and it’ll fill the whole reel with Wilds!


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