If you are looking to play free slots, the internet is a great starting point. In fact, it’s probably the only starting point. You certainly won’t find free slots at brick ‘n mortar casinos. As for the internet, most online casinos offer both a real money software platform and a “fun money” or practice version of the software that can be played with no obligation to make a deposit. It always makes good sense to test out the fun money version before playing with real money.
It’s a great opportunity to become familiar with the payout table governing each particular slot machine, not to mention the nature of any bonus rounds or free spin features. Considering the high degree of entertainment factor that today’s online slots afford, playing free slots at an online casino is also a great diversion and fun time.
A Little Background
The first thing you need to understand about slots, both online and in land-based casinos, whether free slots or real money slots, is that the outcome of each spin is completely random. Many players swear they can find a “hot” machine or a machine that is “due” – based on the theory that slot outcomes follow a pattern. They do not.
Slot machines are controlled by a random number generator, which is a computer program that uses a complex algorithm to choose numbers. The random number generator chooses a set of numbers hundreds of times every second, even when the game is not being played, with each number corresponding to a certain symbol at a certain location on a certain reel. Due to this functioning of the RNG, each spin is independent of the next, meaning that a slot is never “due”.
The first slot machines had only three reels with one payline. If a player was to receive the same symbol in the middle of all three reels, the wager was deemed a winner. These days, most slots, especially online video slots, have multiple paylines, which equates to a large number of ways to win. Most multi-line slots have five reels, though some have more, and there is a wide range of playable paylines, depending on the game. In addition to the standard horizontal line denoting a payline, there are diagonal, vertical and even specially shaped paylines on today’s video slots.
Slot machines tapped with progressive jackpots tend to be the most popular at casinos, although this is irrelevant when playing free slots. Progressive jackpot slots take a percentage of each real money wager and contribute it to the progressive jackpot, which pays out large winnings on select symbol combinations.
Online Slots vs. Land-based Slots
Online slots are not much different from their land-based counterparts. The gameplay is exactly the same. The main difference between online slots and brick ‘n mortar casino slot machines is that online casinos often have free versions of their online slots available to play. By playing the free slots online, players have the opportunity to learn how to navigate and play each particular game before risking any real money. This is also a good litmus test to see whether the slot is any fun to play to begin with! Free slots operate in the same exact manner as real-money slots, except that players are wagering fun-money credits. Needless to say, at a land-based casino, there are no free slots available.
I’m Jason Rockwell. When I’m not winning playing online poker, I enjoy writing about my love of the game. Thanks for visiting!