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Compare Online Slot Machines

We realize that not all people eager to try online slot machines are familiar with the different variations, so this page will break down the different types of slot machine features briefly. If you're looking for specific slot reviews/comparisons - please check out our review/preview page.

Number of reels:
There's the ocassional exception to the rule, but generally online slot machines are either 3 reel or 5 reel machines.

Classic, 3 reel slots.
These are what's generally considered 'regular' slot machines - 3 reels with symbols spin around, stop one at a time, and winning combinations are paid to the player after each spin is complete.

5 Reel slots
These are simlpy slot machines with 5 reels instead of 3. Same concept as a 'regular' slot machine, except there are few if any 5-reel machines with only one payline, (see below) and there are generally winning combinations that pay off with less than 5 matches. (3 symbols on a payline might pay off a lower amount even though there's 4 and 5 symbol matches on the paytable as well for example).

Number of paylines:
A payline is a 'line' on slot machine reels on which symbols must line up on in order to win. Some slot machines have only 1 payline, some have 3, others have 5, 9 and even 15! Generally speaking, you must pay a coin to play each line on a machine, but have the option of not playing all available lines.

So, on a 3 line machine, you can play the center line for one coin - the center line and the line above it for two coins - or all 3 lines for 3 coins. If you don't play a specific line and a winning combination comes up on it - then you don't win.

Classic slot machines have 3 reels and only 1 line - a horizontal payline that goes through the middle of each reel. You may be able to wager more than one coin per spin on these games - but the amount will apply to wins on the same payline. (You win more by betting more, but your chances of winning stay the same)

Other 3 reel slots often have three paylines, one in the middle, one above it, and one below it.. Betting 1 coin activates the middle payline, betting 2 coins opens up 2 paylines, and 3 coins plays all 3 lines on a spin.

5 reel slot machines typically have quite a few paylines, from 5 to 15. These paylines aren't necessarily straight lines - there's diagonal matches and lines that actually bend. How the lines go differs from machine to machine, but the lines should be marked clearly on each game.

Progressive/Not Progressive?
A progressive jackpot means that the jackpot for a game continually climbs, usually a set amount for every game played. For example, a progressive slot machine might have a jackpot that starts at $10,000 and grows by a nickel for each spin until the jackpot is hit. A slight contribution with each spin might not sound like much, but with thousands of players these jackpots add up quickly.

Most slot machines are not progressive - they have a fixed jackpot as outlined on the paytable. Progressive games make up a large percentage of what people play however, because of the obvious appeal of a potential life-changing big win. (Progressive games have reached jackpots of over a million dollars!)

Payout Frequency
Some machines have higher paytables and less frequent wins - some machines have more frequent wins with lower payouts. Neither is necessarily 'better', it's a personal preference.

Bonus Games
Some slot machines offer bonus games within the slot games themselves. For example, Sizzling Scorpions has a scorpion race that opens when a bonus symbol appears on the third reel. If you enjoy the fun diversions you might enjoy these types of games.

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