Overview – Online Slots

Jeez…where do I start? There are just so many slots at today’s online casinos it makes you wonder why they bother with other games! That said, where slots used to be largely boring affairs with 3 reels and a repetitive spin-clunk-spin, today’s video slots are way more entertaining and a speight of highly innovative “bonus rounds” have made them the most popular games in most casinos – even more so than video poker and the classic casino card games! Count me among the loyal subjects!

I think I’ll start with what I consider to be the most entertaining slots variant: the Free Spins slots. These are 5 reel bonus slots where a certain combination of symbols (normally two or three “scattered” symbols appearing anywhere in view) trigger a number of free spins where, invariably, all the wins are multiplied from anywhere between 2x and 25x depending on the slot. the grand-daddy of these was Thunderstruck which is still the single most popular online slot today. It cloned other slots like “Thor”, one of the new and very popular Marvel Slots that have taken some casinos by storm, and it also provided the template for slots with different themes, but the same basic paytable, notably Ladies Nite and Spring Break. The free spins are triggered by three brightly coloured “ram” symbols appearing anywhere in view and the player gets 15 free spins where all wins are tripled. Not only that but the free spins can trigger again wthin the free spins. On a good day, this all gets quite lucrative, but these slots are very addictive so be warned.

The “Free Spins” idea was so successful that almost every games release these days includes a new one trying to take the mantle from Thunderstruck (oh – there’s also a version called Thunderstruck High Limit if you’re wealthy!), but so far a few have come close, most notably the Isis video slot with up to 30 free spins at 6x multiplier, and the eerily similar offerings of the Kathmandu slot and Avalon, both of which have random multipliers between 2x and 7x on each of the 15 and 12 free spins respectively. I’ve lost count of the free spins slots out there now, but it’s worth digging them out if you are a slots fan – you won’t be disappointed. Unless you lose obviously! Here’s a couple more of my favourites with decent free spins, just to get you going before I move on: both Tomb Raider and Mermaid’s Millions are the same slot dressed up in different skins, both “15 line” slots with a free spins bonus offering 10 free spins, each with a 4x multiplier when you land 3 scatter symbols (Lara and her weapons!). One of the newer breed of video slot is Harvey’s video slot which is a 25 line slot (ouch!), with up to 30 free spins this time but each has a random multiplier of between 2x and a massive 25x!

Aside from free spins, there are plenty of other innovative bonus round slots on offer, ranging from the somewhat childlike bonus round of The Hamsteads (which nonetheless is quite popular), to the excellent “Beam ‘Em Up” bonus round found in the rather cool What On Earth slot. The latter is actually a favourite of mine because the wins are usually of a reasonable amount imbetween the bonus rounds appearing to give you a good run for your money, unlike some slots. A more recent innovaton was the Microgaming Golden Goose slots which have not just one, but four seperate bonuses offered at random. These include “Pick An Egg” and Free Spins with varying multipliers and are variations of existing games, pepping up the somewhat lacklustre Winning Wizards slot and breathing new life into the boring original of Totem Treasure. The latter, in “Golden Goose” format actually provided with my biggest ever slots win of $17,500. Even bigger than the Progressive Jackpot of $16,200 i won more recently on the Triple Olives slot, although the latter was for a measly $3 stake while the Totem win was from a rare $10 boom-or-bust bet!

Finally a note regarding he interfaces. Microgaming casinos, for me, have the sweetest slots interface and I tend to play most of my slots play at these casinos (there are plenty to choose from). Cryptologic’s slots (ie: the aforementioned Marvel slots) are improving and are also immensely playable by and large with some innovative additions like the Bejeweled game, a version of Connect4, but these are generally a little less exciting than Microgaming’s. Playtech slots, while less choice is available, are now very good and RTG slots, while plentiful, probably compare better to Cryptologic casino slots.

To continue reading, choose whether you want more information on Vegas style slots or if you prefer, then the good old Progressive Jackpot slots. If you know what you want, try typing the name of the slot into the “Casino Game Search” box to the right and it will return a list of online casinos who carry that slot – or one close!

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