How Online Casino Slots Work:
A Step-By-Step Guide For Beginners

how online casino slots work

Betting and winning on slots is becoming easier by the day, and Bitcoin casino slots are an exciting new way to gamble. Players worldwide have watched the casino industry evolve from brick-and-mortar to web 2.0 and recently to web 3.0, where online casinos use blockchain-based currencies (popularly known as cryptocurrency) to entertain internet-savvy work-from-home global citizens, travelers, and nine-to-fivers. This evolution of casinos has allowed small-to-medium casino companies to have an international reach and compete with large casinos with a network of entertainment centers and hotels. And this means that players don't have to leave home for entertainment anymore.

Gamblers worldwide walk around with casinos in their pockets to play slot games anytime and anywhere, with lower spending on bets. Bitcoin casinos have had to innovate and be forward-thinking in implementing more features to slot games to create more value in digital casinos: This meant casinos had to increase paylines and winning ways, and add bonuses and promotions. Thus, if you love slot games but have only played at a casino near you, but never on a mobile or desktop device, this step-by-step guide will teach you all you need to know about how online casino slots work.

1. Understanding Bet Values

Brick-and-mortar casino slots have a classist way of functioning: They use demographics and geographic segmentation to determine a slot machine’s lowest bet value. For example, in wealthy neighborhoods, casino slots charge as much as 5 USD/EUR to players, whereas middle to lower LSM groups get to play for pennies. While this does not look like a bad idea, it has an impact on how much one player can win on their lowest bet value, versus another, in the same game.

Online Casinos change this: While it is understood that players belong to different socioeconomic groups, Bitcoin casinos standardize how much players can win for their lowest bets, which equalizes how much players can win for the same game. Thus, the more players a Bitcoin casino has, the higher the payout value for the lowest bet. This is what players need to understand when they play slot games.

Playing with crypto in an online casino allows players to bet as little as 0.05 in USD (0.0000032 BTC) on a spin. For the same value, players get up to 200,000 winning ways across as many as 50 paylines on a grid: This means players have higher chances of winning than in a standard neighborhood casino.

2. Understanding Symbols

Generally, online casinos host more slot machines than the average physical casino. This allows them to play around with themes, graphics, symbols, sounds, design, and more. Bitcoin casinos thus have more symbols that include more bonuses and win multipliers.

These symbols can match across reels, rows, and paylines (to be explained later) to win games. Symbols, reels, rows, and paylines influence the number of winning ways in a slot game, and these winning ways can go up to 200 000. Winning ways are the number of combinations a slot game can produce by matching symbols for the player to win a slot. The symbols that produce wins in an online casino slot are:

Standard Symbols

Standard symbols don’t do much, they depend on a bet value and the symbol a player wins with to produce the size of a win. The number of symbols a player wins with, combined with the bet value and the type of symbol is essentially central to how much a player’s payout is: These symbols are the most common in the game compared to wilds, scatters, multipliers, and bonus symbols, and they are designed according to a game’s theme. Most of the time they use letters and numbers; however, other games use fruits, cartoons, and logos, to mention a few.


Wilds are used for providing players with more opportunities to win: These symbols are used to increase the number of symbols in a winning combination. For example, if a player matches three stand symbols across a slot, a wild can act as a fourth symbol to increase the payout size of the player’s win. Wilds come in different types. The two most popular are sticky wilds and stacked wilds. Sticky wilds, when landed on paylines, can remain locked on in the rows and reel to allow players to spin again for a potential win, while stacked wilds are the wild symbol that can cover an entire reel to increase a player’s payout.

Scatter Symbols

If you want to win rewards, free spins, payout bonuses, and more, scatter symbols give you that exact opportunity. These symbols, although minimal in their number - like wilds - compared to standard symbols, have to be matched across the grid to produce rewards. The number of matches has to be three and more for a player to win.


If you want to multiply your wins, you want a multiplier across a payline in a grid: These symbols increase a player’s payout value two-plus times and more (depending on the game). Multipliers can be attached to wilds and scatters, depending on the game. For example, if a scatter has a multiplier of 5x, the player could win five times the reward. If a multiplier appears more than once in a paylines, each multiplier can be added to others to increase the payout value.

Bonus Symbols

Perhaps self-explanatory, a bonus symbol triggers a bonus/promotion in the game, which can be cashed out or used for bettings. This symbol is the one that produces super and mega wins in a game, where players get more payouts than with standard symbols.

Understanding Reels, Rows, and Paylines

In any casino slot, players have to match symbols across paylines. These paylines combine symbols across reels and rows. In a standard casino, the paylines are a simple combination of three to five symbols in a row. When matched, players get to win a payout. Although standard casinos can have more paylines, the paylines are generally limited to less than nine (9), whereas web-based casinos have a standard of twenty-five (25) paylines.

In a slot game, the line on which players can match symbols on a slot machine’s grid is called a payline. Every slot has a different number of paylines. These paylines do not only depend on the same symbol but they also match standard symbols with wilds, multipliers, or bonus symbols to produce a payout. Whereas, the row describes the blocks going sideways on a grid, while reels describe vertical blocks.

Understanding Bonuses and Wagering Requirements

Bonuses and promotions are one-ups that online casinos have over brick-and-mortar casinos. While brick-and-mortar casinos give gamblers promotions, VIP club memberships, and promotions, their wagering requirements tend to be manually imposed. Online casinos, therefore, can easily automate wagering requirements because of their advanced technology that allows them to increase percentage bonuses, cashback, reloads, and the number of free spins.

For players who do not know what a wagering requirement is: this is a condition placed on deposits and bonuses to qualify players for withdrawals on their winnings. For example, if a player deposits 50 uBTC (United Bitcoin) and gets a 100% bonus, the player will have 100 uBTC to play slots. In this instance, the casino can then impose a 20x wagering requirement, which means a player has to make up to $2000 worth of bets before qualifying for withdrawals.

As it is apparent, therefore, a bonus/promotion is a reward that casinos give to players for their deposits, bets, and memberships with them. Although players don't need to claim these, most players do so because they can fulfill wagers using bonus rewards to win and re-bet in slots until they’ve fulfilled their playthrough.

How RTP (Return-to-Player) Works

RTP refers to the percentage return to the player in winnings. This means that if a game has an RTP of 96%, then for every $10 that a player bets with, they could win $9.60 and lose 40 cents. This applies to both online and offline casino games.

The Return-to-Player is one of the thresholds casinos use to calculate their profits versus a player’s wins. This way, while players stand to catch mega wins and gain profits, the casino will still make profits as well.

Slots You Can Play For Free with BetChain

Sometimes players want to enjoy slot games for the FUN of it. Bitcoin casinos like Betchain offer players a FUN currency - which is virtual money - for players to enjoy playing casino slots for free. This is great for players who want to test platforms, practice and familiarize themselves with casinos before depositing and standing a chance to win real money.

The following are some of the most popular online slot games you might be familiar with. Analyze the infographics to see if you understand the information we’ve discussed above. Then, use the Fun Crypto on BetChain to test your skills in these games the game you believe will produce more value for your bet.

chart showing slot details
chart showing slot details
chart showing slot details
chart showing slot details

Tips to win at an online slot

Before playing an online slot, it is essential to evaluate the wagering requirement on your deposit and bonus claims: This will give you an idea of what type of slots you should be playing, and what your chances of winning are. The wager gives players an idea of how much they should place in bets when playing Bitcoin slot games.

Once players have used the wagering requirement to determine their bet value, they can then look for games with a good RTP. The RTP helps many players calculate their potential loses and wins. In most instances, a higher RTP is good for the player. Second to the RTP would of course be paylines, the number of rows and reels, and types of symbols.

Most games will have the RTP and paylines details on their info page. This gives players an idea of the number of winning ways a game has, as this tends to not be listed in most games.

Lastly, remember to enjoy these slot games. While the technical aspects are interesting to some of us because we either work in the casino industry or have an interest in backend systems, other players simply want to PLAY AND ENJOY, and this is encouraged more than anything else.

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