Evaluation of Online Slots

Published on: July 8, 2011 

It is not possible to calculate or determine the theoretical average returns to the player in the case of online slot games, as is the case in craps or blackjack games. Most software providers and online casinos do not report the expected average return to the player for individual slot games. Therefore the players have to make their choices based on their own evaluation of the slot games. This can be done in a systematic manner by studying each element of the slot game. This article outlines some of the key parameters players should look at.

The first aspect to check out is the betting parameters. The number of paylines is important. Most players wager with all paylines enabled and hence the number of paylines contributes to deciding the total bet per spin. Some slot games allow players to vary the number of coins per payline. Other slot games play with one coin fixed per payline. The former gives greater flexibility. The coin size range is an important parameter. The player should then work out the maximum line bet and maximum total bet. If the maximum total bet per spin is beyond the budget the player should reduce the coin size or number of coins but never the number of paylines.

Next the player should check out the payout table. This is usually accessed on a different screen through a button below or above the reels. The payout table determines how volatile the slot game is. This is the most critical factor in the decision of whether or not to play the game. In volatile slot games some symbols offer very high payouts and other symbols offer very low payouts. The player will either win large amounts or not at all. These slot games are more suitable for players who do not mind taking risks. In the less volatile slot games the symbols have payouts clubbed closely around a central value. Conservative players who would like to win, even if small amounts, should play the less volatile slots. In some slot games the payouts are enhanced in a variety of ways. Usually the wild symbol acts as a multiplier. In some slot games some of regular symbols may change to wilds after the reels stop spinning. All these features need to be factored in the evaluation of the slot game.

In contemporary video slots bonus rounds are very important. These result in payouts to the player without any additional bet being placed. Free spins is the most common form of bonus rounds. The relevant parameters are the number of free spins, the multiplier and whether the free spins can be retriggered. In some slot games the free spins bonus payouts are enhanced through additional wild symbols. The bonus games on the second screen are more difficult to evaluate because they do not follow a set pattern.

There are certain factors that do not influence the payouts but contribute to the enjoyment of the game. These include the theme and the styling of the graphics. Also included are the animations during winning combinations and the background music. One way to evaluate new online slot games is to play them for a while in the free play mode. The player will get an overall idea of the slot game. He can then take a call on whether to switch to real money mode or not play that slot game.

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