How to Win at Slots? 10 Top Tips for Slot Machines

How to win at slots

Trying to figure out how to get better chances to win when playing real money online slots, but you still don't know how to improve your odds? You are not alone.

Instead of focusing on the generic tips and tricks you find on all online casino guides, our PokerNews top tips focus on proven ways to improve your odds when playing online slot games, including using a casino bonus, and playing progressive jackpots.

In other words, if you are trying to discover how do slot machines work, how to find the best slot machines to play online and how to win on slot machines, you'll love this guide.

Top 10 Tips for How to Win at Slots

There are no sure-fire ways of winning at slots at every time, but understanding how slot machines work and the fundamentals of which slots you should play and why, can really help to enhance your experience. If you’re ready, let’s dive straight in with our top 10 tips for how to win at slots.

HINT: Click or tap the links to read a fuller explanation.

  1. Play Slots with a High RTP - The Return to Player (RTP) figure of each slot effectively tells you what the odds are of winning on a particular game, theoretically, if you were to play over a long period of time. Playing slots with a high RTP figure is a good strategy, as it simply means the house edge is reduced compared to slots with a lower RTP.
  2. Understand the Volatility of Slots - The volatility of a slot machine game measures the risk involved in playing a particular slot for real money. Put simply, if you play Low Volatility Slots your odds of winning are higher, but your wins may be smaller, whereas with High Volatility Slots the odds of winning at these games are smaller, but the wins pay more.
  3. Check out Jackpot Slots - These types of slot games are often attractive as they feature a jackpot amount that builds progressively with each spin. Often multiple machines are pooled or linked together to form a larger progressive jackpot which grows more quickly because more non-winning plays can be counted toward it. This means potential wins could be huge.
  4. Find the Right Online Casino - This comes under the heading of ‘do your research’, both in terms of the online casinos available in your location, and whether real money slots are legal. Once you’ve identified the best casino(s), check out the slots on offer, including the minimum amount required per spin, and any bonus features.
  5. Take Advantage of Free Spins & Casino Bonuses - Once you have selected a casino to play slots on, find out whether they have free spins included in their welcome offer or other casino bonuses that allow for free play. This will enable you to work out which slots you like to play, before you risk any real money.
  6. Practice for Free in Demo Mode – Practice makes perfect! Well, that’s not strictly true, but it can certainly help. If you sign up to an online casino, you can try your favourite slots for free in demo mode. You can try multiple slots like this until you find one you like, with the right RTP, volatility and game play to suit your preferences. Only when you feel comfortable should you start to play for real money.
  7. Trust Other Players – Use the experiences of other players to help you make informed decisions. Study how they play, get advice in online groups and, of course, do your own research such as reading the in-depth articles and casino reviews right here on PokerNews.
  8. Learn Basic Slots Strategy – Once you understand which slots to play and why, combining RTP, Volatility, Jackpots and other factors, you can enhance your game play further by using a betting strategy when playing slots. There are many different betting strategies out there, each with its pros and cons, so make sure you do your research before adopting one.
  9. Explore different Type of Slots – There are a huge number of slots out there with different themes (e.g. Mexican, Animals, Space), varying RTPs, in-game features and levels of volatility. There is no one-size fits all with slots, so it’s important to try different types of slots before you decide which is best for you. And remember, as we mentioned, you can play for free in demo mode until you find what you like.
  10. Gamble Responsibly – Remember, playing online slots should be fun and entertaining. Never chase your losses, as this can lead to you losing an even bigger amount. There are a number of things that you can do to help you gamble responsibly, which are outlined on the PokerNews Safer Gambling page.

How To Win at Slots? – The Full Guide

Now you have seen our quick guide to the top tips to win at slots, let us break it down for you in more detail.

Play High RTP Online Slots

Knowing how to pick a slot machine is more than guessing when a slot machine will hit. The best real money online slots to play come with the right combination of volatility, Return to Player (RTP), limits, and casino bonus.

Each time you play real money slots, look at the RTP percentage and likely payout (use this link if you're outside the US).

What is Return to Player (RTP)?

The Return to Player (or RTP) is a percentage of all the wagered money that a slot pays back to its players. The RTP is calculated on a scale from 1 to 100. Most slots have an RTP between 92-97%.

The RTP is not the amount of money you'll get back when you wager on real money slots and it doesn't indicate whether you have fewer chances to hit a bonus round or not.

Always choose an online slot machine game with an RTP of 96% or above. This is the best slots strategy to follow every time you play – since a high payback percentage indicates that you have a better chance to win a spin.

Important Notice: If real money gaming is not available in your location, we have applied special filters to some of the links on these pages to send you to a site with free-to-play alternatives. Always check your eligibility to play.

8 Highest RTP % Slots

Below is a table showing the 8 highest RTP slots that are available for you to play at online casinos right now, all of which are reviewed in our dedicated Best RTP Slots article.

Slot GameSlot DeveloperRTPPaylinesPlay Here
Mega JokerNetEnt99%5Play Here
Blood SuckersNetEnt98%25Play Here
StarmaniaNextgen Gaming97.87%10Play Here
White Rabbit MegawaysBig Time Gaming97.7%248,382Play Here
Medusa MegawaysNextgen Gaming97.63%117,649Play Here
Texas TeaIGT97.35%9Play Here
Secrets of AtlantisNetEnt97.07%40Play Here
Halloween FortunePlaytech97.06%20Play Here

Other best slot machines to play

Finding the best slot machine to play is the one secret all the most experienced players swear by.

That's because although you can't win at real money slots every time, picking an online slot game with a decent RTP, is a way to let the casino do the ‘hard work' for you.

Many online casino strategies tell you to stay away from popular slot games, as these have the worst payout percentage among all those on the casino floor but this isn’t true.

We looked at over 25 types of slot machines across all of the best online casinos that are included in our PokerNews Casino Reviews and found that, in fact, the best slots games to play are popular amongst real money slots players precisely because they are machine games that appear on gambling news websites many times.

How to Find the RTP of a Slot Machine

The quickest option is to search for it online. If you use Google, you can type the following command to see all the online gambling pages that mention the RTP of the type of slot machine you are about to play:


When you browse an online casino you'll usually be able to see the RTP listed with each slot game, or sometimes you'll need to click to read more details about a particular game before you can see it.

You’ll also find them on PokerNews, as well. Every online slot game review we publish includes the payout percentage, with easy-to-understand info about the games, frequent payouts, and whether one is a loose slot or not.

If this is your first time on our site, read this guide to picking a winning slot to improve your chances, and then these related articles which will help you playing real money slots online:

The Best Real Money Slots - US
The Best Real Money Slots - UK & Elsewhere
The Best Penny Slots
The Best Mobile Slots

How to Find 'Loose' Slots

A ‘loose slot’ is one that generally pays out more money to players on average, i.e. those with a higher RTP, not those that at some point are willing to give out more winnings than usual. Typically, loose slots have an RTP over 96%.
Everyone would like to play loose slots with the perspective to win every time the reels spins. While this might not be always possible with online casinos, there are a huge number of slots out there that have an above-average RTP that translates into higher-than-usual chances to win.

Here are some more online slots that you can play with an RTP of over 96%.

Need help in finding a good slot machine to play? Have a look at Himalayas: Roof of the World. This fun-to-play game by Barcrest is the perfect example of a great combination of sophisticated gameplay and good RTP.

We’re highlighting this slot due to a combination of volatility and RTP that plays in favor of the players and that come from underdog developers.

Also, Himalayas: Roof of the World offers good odds of winning on slots!. The game features an RTP of 97.75%, which is above average.

Play Himalayas: Roof of the World Slot Game

Himalayas: Roof of the World Slot


Determining and Understanding the Volatility of Slots

Another critical factor to consider when you want to pick a slot machine with better winning odds is the slot volatility.

Many games and gambling news sites refer to the games' volatility as their 'variance.' Here on PokerNews, we like to call it the ‘risk level'.

The volatility of a slot machine game measures the risk involved in playing a particular slot for real money. One of my favorite tips for playing slots is to consider it the 'risk factor' of the game you are about to play. That's because volatility determines how you win at slots.

  • Low Volatility Slots: Your odds of winning at these slots are high, and it's easier to strike winning combinations when you spin the reels, but your wins may be smaller.
  • High Volatility Slots: The odds of winning at these games are smaller, but the wins pay more. These games can be more rewarding, if you can invest the time and money to play for longer.

Pick the slot machine time that feels right for you. But keep this in mind:

To play high volatility slots, you need to be patient, have enough money to invest in a long online gaming session. If this isn’t you, low volatility slots may be a better option.

High volatility slots are a bit riskier, too. You never know how much time and money you need to invest to hit a lucky spin and celebrate yet another day of winning money on slots.

How to Find the Volatility of Slots

Online casinos don't make the variance of the games as accessible as the RTP numbers, partly because they don't want to help you improve your odds.

An easy way to choose games with the right variance is to use Google to do the hard work for you, like this:

  1. Open
  2. Type "Mega Moolah variance" in the search bar
  3. Analyse the search results

Alternatively, you can explore the games and figure out their variance yourself. If you play the same slot for long enough, you should be able to see how often the game pays out and what kind of winnings you get. Using a casino bonus to discover this is a good idea.

If successes are rare but significant, it’s a high-volatility game. If you win often, but the wins are small, it’s low-volatility.

King of Atlantis Slot


King of Atlantis is a high volatility slot by IGT. The game plays on five reels and 40 paylines. It doesn't have many features (even if you bet the maximum). The only 'special feature' you get, is a round of eight free spins that activates when a trident symbol lands next to Poseidon.

The symbols featured in this game include seashells, gold rings, gem-encrusted crowns, mermaids, dolphins, and the almighty god of the sea – Poseidon.

Hotline Slot


Hotline is one of NetEnt's most popular slots.

This game is based on the cult TV series Miami Vice and beating the slot means you'll have to help the two detectives catch a jewelry thief.

Hotline is a low volatility game where wins are frequent but small in size. If this is what you are looking for, pick this slot machine and enjoy the adventure!

Try Hotline at this online Casino.

Play Progressive Jackpot Slots

Another important aspect of playing slots is playing progressive jackpot slots. These are slot games where the jackpot prize builds over time and every spin that is wagered contributes to the total.

The big real money prizes on tap make jackpot slots almost appealing…at least on the surface. But on average, progressive slots feature the lowest RTPs in gambling so you don't have great winning odds. On top of that, you always need to bet the maximum to access the top jackpot prizes – meaning you might end up spending more money than you can afford to lose before you get even close to a win.

The list below shows you eight of the most popular slot machine games with a progressive jackpot. Compare their RTPs with those of the non-progressive games above, and you will see why playing for a jackpot is not always the best choice.

Find the Right Casino for Online Slots

No matter how impressive an online casino is, you need to do some research before you start to spin reels if you want to get any chance to win at slots.

All online casino sites (like all poker sites, want your money. They offer free spins or deposit bonus codes to get you onsite and then have you play as much as possible.

It’s great if you can afford to play real money on slots, but just make sure the site you choose is a legitimate and regulated online casino.

Regulators like the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) work hard to eliminate rogue operators from the online gambling industry. You should check that an online casino holds a license by a regulated body in your location. For the US, each state has a body dedicated to regulating online casinos, such as the New Jersey Gaming Commission.

These organizations are there to help you play online slots on sites that use audited Random Number Generators and have fair payouts.

You find a full list of all the online casinos allowed in your country on this page.

Look for the Best Free Spins & Casino Bonuses for Online Slots

If you're looking to start playing the best slots right now, then let us direct you to our list of the best real money casinos! This list will show you the best real money casinos to play online slots depending on your location. We also have detailed articles that tell you all about the best free spins and casino bonuses at top online casinos such as Fanduel Casino, PokerStars Casino and 888Casino.

Taking advantage of free spins and casino bonuses is a good way of playing your favorite games with less risk, but remember that bonuses usually come with wagering requirements.

Here are some of the best online casino bonuses on offer right now...

Best Free Spins Casino South Africa - Yeti Casino

Yeti Casino is well-known for its sign-up bonus that offers free spins, making it the perfect choice for players based in South Africa.

Offering 100 Free Spins on the classic slot game Book of Dead (as well as a juicy deposit match), if you're based in South Africa, make sure to sign up at Yeti Casino today!

Practice Online Slots for Free in Demo Mode

There are several reasons why choosing to play online slots for free in demo mode is a good idea.

Playing slots in demo mode allows you to practice and become familiar with the game, allowing new players who are not yet confident in their understanding of the rules and gameplay, to get to grips with things without risking real money.

Demo mode allows you to try out different games to see which ones you enjoy the most. As Slot games come in various themes and have different features, such as bonus rounds, free spins, and special symbols, it can take time to find the one that is right for you, so being able to try them out before you play for real money is an important consideration.

Some players like to develop betting strategies or systems for playing slots. Demo mode lets you test these strategies without risking your bankroll.

There are other ways of playing slots for free, too. If you are unfortunate enough to be in a location where online slots for real money isn’t allowed, or you simply want to play for fun rather than real money, you can still have a great online slots experience by playing free online slots at Social Casinos or on the various free-play products on the market. For US based players, we recommend the likes of Chumba Casino, Pulsz Casino and Luckyland Slots, and if you are elsewhere you might want to try Slotomania or PokerStars Play.

Best online casino sites to play slots for free or in demo mode...

Trust Other Slots Players and Read Slot & Casino Reviews

Unlike a game like Poker, when it comes to playing slots at a live casino, you can trust your fellow slot players and look at how people play.

Use the information available on casino blogs and casino sites to your advantage. Browse through forums, join Facebook groups, and spend some time on Reddit to read what Las Vegas and Atlantic City players say about each game.

Also make sure you check out the in-depth Slots content and Casino Reviews right here on PokerNews.

Understand Basic Slot Machine Strategies & Slots Betting Systems

To be very clear, there is no way that you can guarantee that you will win at slots every time. But by combining your knowledge of which slots to play and why with basic slots strategies, you can enhance your game play.

Understanding the paylines, the min and max coins per line and the min/max coin values can help you to decide on what is the best strategy for playing online slots, so make sure you have read the rules of the specific slot machine that you are playing, as they can vary quite a lot.

By having a betting strategy that ties in with you bankroll management, such as levels betting, fixed percentage betting, or even using the Martingale betting system (with a limit), you can make the most of your online slots playing experience. But remember, playing slots is supposed to be fun, so never bet beyond your means.

Learn Basic Slots Strategies

Try Lots of Different Types of Slots

Online slots come in a variety of types and themes to cater for different player preferences.

As the name might suggest, Classic Slots, also known as 3-reel slots or fruit machines, are some of the most popular out there, as they are reminiscent of traditional mechanical slot machines, with 3 reels and classic symbols like fruits, bars, and lucky 7s.

However, Video slots are the most common type of online slot. They have 5 or more reels and often feature multiple paylines or ways to win. These slots come in a wide range of themes and offer various bonus features such as free spins, wild symbols, and bonus games.

As discussed above, Progressive jackpot slots offer a growing jackpot that increases with each bet placed by players until someone hits the jackpot. These prizes can be pooled across networks, meaning you could potentially win huge prizes, but obviously the jackpot is going to land only rarely and it’s worth noting that to be eligible for the jackpot, you will probably need to be betting at the maximum amount, so please consider you bankroll from a risk and reward perspective before deciding to play jackpot slots. Some of the most famous progressive slots include Mega Moolah and Mega Fortune.

Other popular lost types include 3D Slots, which are known for their advanced graphics, animations, and immersive storytelling, Megaways slots, which feature a dynamic reel structure where the number of symbols on each reel changes with each spin, and Branded slots that are based on popular movies, TV shows, video games, or other entertainment franchises. They feature characters, themes, and soundtracks from the branded source, making them attractive to fans.

There are many other variations, including Cluster Pays Slots (which require players to form clusters of matching symbols, typically adjacent to each other), Multi-Payline Slots (allow players to create winning combinations in various directions with anywhere from 10 to hundreds of paylines) and All-Ways Slots (also known as 243-ways or 1024-ways slots as they allow wins as long as matching symbols appear on adjacent reels).

As you can see, there are a huge variety of slots out there. Each type of online slot offers a different gaming experience, and players can choose the one that suits their preferences in terms of gameplay, themes, and features.

It's important to explore various types of slots to find the ones you enjoy the most and, remember, don’t play with real money until you are ready. Get those free spin bonuses when you sign up or try the games out in demo mode.

Play Slots Responsibly

Playing online slots responsibly is crucial to ensure that you have an enjoyable and safe gaming experience.

Determining how much money you can afford to spend on slot gaming without negatively impacting your financial well-being is important to do before you start playing. This budget or bankroll should be money that you are willing to lose, as there are no guarantees of winning.
Once you've set a budget, make sure to stick to it. You should never chase your losses.

Make sure you set a time limit for your gaming sessions, too. This helps prevent excessive gambling and ensures that you balance your leisure time with other activities. Taking regular breaks is another helpful way of managing your gaming, as it can help to clear your mind and allow you to make good decisions. Set win and loss limits for each gaming session. If you reach your win goal or hit your loss limit, it's a good time to stop playing.

Many online casinos offer tools to help you control your gambling, such as deposit limits, session time limits, and self-exclusion options, and seek help if needed. If you believe you may have a gambling problem or addiction, seek help from support organizations, such as Gamblers Anonymous or a local counseling service. The PokerNews Safer Gambling page lists a number of organizations that could help.

How to Win at Slots FAQs

Can you guarantee a win in online slots?

No, there is no guaranteed way to win at online slots. These games are based on random number generators (RNGs), which ensure that each spin's outcome is unpredictable.

Are there any strategies to win at online slots?

While there are betting strategies for slots and tips to manage your bankroll and potentially increase your chances of winning, there is no strategy that can consistently beat the odds in the long run. Slots are games of chance, and outcomes are random.

How can I increase my chances of winning at Slots?

To increase your chances of winning, choose slots with higher Return to Player (RTP) percentages, play games with low volatility if you prefer more frequent wins, and make use of casino bonuses and promotions to extend your playtime.

Should I play max bet to increase my odds of winning?

Playing max bet can be a requirement for some progressive jackpot slots to be eligible for the jackpot. However, it does not increase your odds of winning on standard slots, and it can lead to higher losses.

Can I predict the outcome of a slot spin?

No, each spin is independent, and there is no way to predict or influence the outcome of a slot spin. Online slots are designed to be completely random.

Is there a best time to play online slots?

Online slots are available 24/7, and there is no specific time that guarantees better odds of winning. When you play has no impact on the game's outcome.

What is the role of the Random Number Generator (RNG)?

The RNG is a computer program that generates random numbers, determining the outcome of each spin. It ensures that online slots are fair and unpredictable.

Can I cheat or trick a slot machine to win?

Attempting to cheat, manipulate, or tamper with a slot machine is illegal and can lead to severe legal consequences, including criminal charges. Modern slot machines use advanced technology and security measures to prevent cheating.

Can I use devices or software to beat slot machines?

Using devices or software to manipulate slot machines is not only illegal but also highly unlikely to succeed. Casinos invest in security measures to prevent such activities.

Can certain patterns or rituals increase my chances of winning?

Superstitions and rituals, such as pressing buttons in a specific order or choosing a particular time to play, have no effect on the outcome of a slot spin. Slot results are entirely random.

Do some slots have a higher chance of winning than others?

Each slot game has its own Return to Player (RTP) percentage and volatility, which can affect the frequency and size of wins. However, no slot is designed to give a specific player an advantage over others.

Is there a trick to slot machines?

The best trick to get better odds to beat slots is to pick games with the highest theoretical Return to Player percentage.

Which slot machines pay the best?

With most slots featuring a Return to Player of 92-96%, any games with a Return to Player above 96% is a good choice. In terms of win-size, progressive slots are the slot machines that pay the best – but they are also the ones with the lowest winning odds.

Are slot machines rigged?

No, Slot machines are not rigged. All the slot machines on this list page are hosted on licensed platforms and are certified by third-party independent authorities. The games are not rigged.

Can you win real money on slot machines?

Of course. Just like any other casino game, slots offer a possibility to win real money, if you are in a location where real money gaing is allowed. No one can guarantee you wins because slots are a game of chance, but you can certainly get an upper hand if you use the winning slot tips from this article.

How do you win the jackpot on a slot machine?

When you're picking your winning slot machine, keep in mind that those with smaller jackpots usually pay out more frequently, so there is a slightly larger chance of landing that big win. Other than that, manage your bets well, understand the payable and hope that today is your lucky lay - after all, slots are completely random. Also, you want to make sure you play at a casino that has a huge selection of jackpot slots.

Which online slots machines have the best odds?

What you want to look at is RTP (Return to Player). That's basically the way in which the house edge gets displayed for slots. No matter how you look at it, in the long run, the casino will always come out on top. However, the short-term outcome of slots is random, so you have the best slot machine odds if you play a slot that has an RTP of 97% or higher.

How to pick a winning slot machine?

There is no way to guarantee that you will win on any slot machine, so it's impossible to pick a winning slot. What you can do, however, is follow the useful tips on this pages, such as picking slots with a high TRP %, to give you the best chance.

How can you tell when a slot machine is ready to hit?

There is no sure way of telling when a slot machine is about to hit. Slot machines are governed by Random Number Generators, which ensure a completely unpredictable outcome each time you spin the reels.

This article was first published on July 14, 2018, and has been updated since its publication. Last update: Nov 11, 2023

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