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The Types Of Slot Machine Games To Play Online & Their Differences

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With thousands of slots online available to play for real money or fun it’s worth knowing the types of slots machines there are and the differences between them.

Types of Slot Machines Online
Types of Slot Machines Online

That’s why we’ve put together a list of the different types and varieties of slot games that the casino software companies produce and what you typically will find, with examples.

If you’re new to slots online then it’s worth taking a minute to familiarise yourself and get to know in more detail what each one offers in terms of gameplay, payouts and of course entertainment.

Classic Slots

We start our journey through this list of slot types with the Classic Slots. When we think of classic slots we think of the games with three reels, full of fruits, BAR symbols, Bells and 7’s.

It’s like your land-based one armed bandit, but in easy to use online slot form.

Slots like Microgaming’s Couch Potato, and Pragmatic Play’s Triple Tigers spring to mind. These games can feature anywhere from just a single payline upwards, which gave them a different name for many in the name Penny Slots.

These penny slots meant that the minimum bet is essentially just 0.01 to spin making them affordable for all types of slots players and where beginners to slots often start.

One other thing you’ll notice about classic slots machines online is that the Paytable is visible on screen next to, below or above the reels.

It makes it easy to figure out what you win by lining up certain symbols and differs from video slots and grid slots who with more features have a dedicated paytable section.

Our top five classic slots:

Ok, some of these aren’t your ‘classic’ classic slot games, but still 3 reelers with simple spins and worth a look before you get to the video slots.

Video Slots

Probably the most popular slots variety in the industry, Video Slots have taken the world by storm.

With your standard video slot comprising of 5 reels and 4 rows this added the chance for companies to up the minimum bets players placed along with giving them more chances to create a winning payline.

Technological advances in the online casino world meant that they could start offering different kind of symbols that act in different ways like wilds and scatters.

Bonus games like free spins, re-spins, pick me games and more, made the games more exciting to play and have given players bigger paydays.

The introduction of jackpots like you’ll find in the world record breaking Mega Moolah slot have provided players with millions in wins over the years.

The biggest differences between classic slots and video slots are:

  • Number of reels and paylines
  • Graphics, sounds and animations
  • Starting minimum bet tends to be higher
  • More bonus features like free spins, wild reels, stacked wilds etc.
  • Bigger maximum win with video slots paying out over 5,000x your bet
  • Slower to load than classic games

Much like not all the classics are made equal neither are video slots. Yes there are similarities but each software provider likes to come up with new things to try and convince players to play their game over a competitors.

Features like expanding reels on a win where the number of rows a reel has will increase creating more ways to win, cascading reels like you’ll find in NetEntertainment’s Gonzo’s Quest where the symbols making up a win explode and more drop down from above giving you a second chance at a win.

You can take a look at all the different types of slot features in our detailed list.

On the other side of that, some slot creators do just copy features that work from other popular video slots online, but seldom do they get the right balance of features to gameplay and wins.

If you’re after great looking games, with lots of extra value entertainment then video slots are the games you’re going to want to spin.

Our top five video slots:

The classic slots that think their video slots

With the evolution of technology including mobile gambling and HTML5, came a new era of slot machines.

The slot providers had more to play with, could expand on their knowledge of how slots work and decided to combine classic 3 reeler slots with video slots to create a sort of hybrid that fills the gap for those looking for simplicity but with a few added extras.

This is where games like Elk Studios Route 777, and Ivanhoe slots come in, along with Play’n GO’s Fire Joker slot and Pragmatic Play’s Treasure Horse game.

These all took the smaller 3×3 reel layout, added extra paylines giving you more ways to win (but higher minimum bets), and a free spins bonus, wilds, multipliers and more.

Technically for us they are more like video slots than classic slots but still encompass the original feel you get from a simple three reeler.

Grid Slots

Look past video slots and in to 2018 and you’ve got a new type of video slot emerge. Play’n GO were probably the first developer to create grid slots with their Gemix game providing different kind of action to your standard 5×4 reels.

How? Well, a grid slot has equal number of rows to reels. If we take the Viking Runecraft slot, (another popular Play’n GO grid slot) as an example it comes with a 7×7 reel layout.

They also don’t come with your standard paylines or ways to win. A reinvention of how to win also came along introducing Cluster Pays. Instead of symbols paying left to right on a fixed payline, instead you get a win for finding five or more of the same symbols touching horizontally or vertically.

The great thing for many is that cluster pays create lost of fast-paced action with lots of winning combinations showing up.

The downside is that unless you get lots of high paying symbols in a cluster your wins tend to be less than your original bet.

That’s not to say that these are low variance slot games, in fact Viking Runecraft is high up on the volatility scale with up to 5000x your bet wins possible.

Grid slot games often come with features like cascading wins, multipliers, and other special bonuses that can help increase those smaller wins in to wins worthy of your time.

And as soon as the first grid slot was created can you guess what happened? Other providers like NetEnt, Push Gaming and Red Tiger Gaming have all created their own style of grid based slot games but Play’n GO by far have the most and in our opinion the best.

Top five grid slots:

What’s Next – Virtual Reality Slots and Beyond

So what’s next on the horizon for online slot machines?

Well, all of the different kinds of slot types we’ve discussed will no doubt be popular for years to come. There’s players who like the classics, players who just like to play on Microgaming slots and players who like bonus filled adventures which are more bonus game than original slots.

However, with the dawn of virtual reality, NetEntertainment have been trying their hand at creating an all encompassing, immersive experience that puts you in to one of their online casino slots.

This at the present is only really for those with some cash to splash, where as the great thing about playing classic slots, video slots and grid slots online is anyone above the legal gambling age can take them for a spin, with nothing more than a mobile phone or computer.

Are virtual reality slots the way forward? Only time will tell. For now why not play slot for free or real money and see which style of games you prefer to play.

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