Online Slots – How Do They Really Work?

by Nav | May 19, 2020

Online Slots – How Do They Really Work?

There are so many articles available online regarding online slot games, but most of them are focused on promoting certain casinos instead of highlighting the all-important questions many online casino players ask.  How to win on online slots? how to play them? how do they work? or what really are the favourite slots to play? So we have answered all these questions for you and then some so you can get the best out of your gaming experience. 

How to win on online slots?


Let’s get right to it with the question on most peoples minds! The short answer is that there is no strategy that you can deploy to ensure that you win. All online slots are based on a maths model or formula as well as probability. Variance or volatility is then applied to the model to determine how often and what value the win sequences will be.  All online slots must publish the RTP or Return to Player Percentage. The higher that number the more the slot will return …. in the long run. In addition, you can look out for a chilli or volatility rating system.

Bonanza online slot game

In designing an online slot there are an astonishing number of other variables that go into making a game and even when combining all of the necessary technical, graphical and musical elements, the game may not play well; that “x-factor” that ultimately resonates with players, is completely unquantifiable. That is why there are lots of popular online slots and every player has their own favourite game.

It has been inferred that players who win the most on online slots are those who bet the biggest but if we follow the logic of that, you will see it can be perception.

For example

  • Player bets 10p per spin and wins £1.00. That represents a 10x win; but
  • Player bets £100 per spin and wins £1,000.00. That too represents a 10x win

What’s the difference?

Well, the difference is that the perceived value to the player is bigger if you win £1.00, there is little perceived value, after all, what can you buy with £1; a £1,000.00 win, on the other hand, has a higher perceived value but in turn, the risk or stake is also higher.

In land-based casinos, in the VIP slot areas, it has been known that slots therein have a higher RTP and that is to reflect/compensate, somewhat, for the fact that the minimum stakes are higher than elsewhere on the casino floor. In those scenarios, yes it is possible (theoretically), to win more, but that is because the RTP is higher.

So, in summary, our top tip would be to look for the RTP of a game and make sure that you are happy with the volatility on that game. 

Play lower stakes first to see how the game works and if you like it and enjoy the gameplay and experience, you can increase your stake. However, please note that simply increasing stakes is not a recipe for winning more and all online slots are based on a maths model which has had millions and millions of test runs to balance how it pays out and plays.


How to play online slots


How to play slots

A great way to start with online slots is to look out for game reviews and read up on the game before you play. There might be an online video or a demo version of the game that allows you to play for fun and to manage your expectations. If that’s possible that’s a great way to get familiar with it first. 

Once you have decided that a game is for you, then follow these simple steps:

  • Step 1: Join an online casino and deposit some money into your casino wallet. If you are in a live in a country that has a licensing framework or regulator, then make sure the online casino you are joining has the appropriate license and permission. This will ensure that your rights as a player are protected and more importantly, so is your money.
  • Step 2: Identify an online slot that you have researched, that you like the look of or one of the more popular slots.
  • Step 3: Read the game rules and instructions carefully.
  • Step 4: Before you press the spin button and play your first game, always check the stake value and or the number of lines that you are playing with. Some online slots set the entry stake for you and it’s not always on the lowest setting. This means that you can stake more than you intended to.
  • Step 5: After checking everything, press the spin icon/button. The reels win spin; the sound will play, and eventually, the reels will come to a stop. It is at that point you will find out if you have won something or triggered a bonus.
  • Step 6: just continue to tap the spin button after every cycle and follow any on-screen instructions if you trigger a bonus or feature game

If the game allows, you can use the auto spin button. This allows a set number of spins to happen without you tapping the screen.

And…that’s it. Online slots are the easiest and simplest games to play in any online casino.


What are Megaways slots?


Megaways online slot games

Megaways™ is an invention by Big Time Gaming, where you never know exactly how many ways to win your next spin will have. Each reel can have anywhere from two to eight symbols, creating loads of different combinations that can expand into hundreds of thousands of ways to win. Megaways slot games often offer over 117,600 different ways to win based on the combination of symbols and the number of reels available. Therefore, Megaways online slot games can offer massive winning combinations.

Megaways winning combinations payout from left to right and are based on matching symbols across the adjacent reels, no matter the size, placement on the reel or how many of the same symbol are on each reel.

To calculate the total number of ways to win, first you have to multiply the number of symbols on each reel with each other.

So, if we take a standard seven symbol reel and six reels’ setup for this, we will have to multiply each reel separately, against the others:


  • 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 = 117,649 ways to win

To break it down even further: You multiply the symbols on the first reel with the symbols on the second reel, multiply what you get from those with the next reel and so on. Using the same example as above it would break down like this:

  • 7 x 7 = 49
  • 49 x 7 = 343
  • 343 x 7 = 2,401
  • 2,401 x 7 = 16,807
  • 16,807 x 7 = 117,649 ways to win

Fear not! The slots do all of this for you and obviously, the above example is based on the maximum possible ways to win, and each spin differs! 

So now you understand the maths, lots of different online slot providers have licensed the game maths and then applied it to some of your favourite branded online slot games.

To play one of our Megaways online slots, simply create an account and go to the slots page where you will see all the latest Megaways slots such as:


What are the most popular slots?


Popular online slots - The Phone Casino

Every online casino will have their own list of popular online slots, unique to the customers that use that online casino.  No other online game (in fairness), offers you so much in terms of variety and winnings as online slots do.

This is why answering the question “what are the most popular slots?” may turn out to be a real head-scratcher. 

To give you a short non-technical answer we could say, it is generally an online slots game that you have won on and or are entertained by.

While some operators stick to the classics and offer only one slot provider or platform, others strive include slots from a range of online slots providers. 

At The Phone Casino, we have a section of online slots dedicated to the newest and most popular slots, according to our players.

In our blog posts, we also show you a list of the biggest payouts every month. So, the popular games can change monthly.  This should not be confused with what you see on other online casino sites, we only publish what the player has cashed out.

You can be easily misled by some online casino sites telling you their players have won millions and millions, but all they are doing is quoting the aggregate of all pay-outs and none of the associated stakes. We try and take an honest approach and inform you what some of our customers have cashed out, as we think that is the best measure of what people have really won.

Check out our Blogs on our monthly winners and the biggest payouts.

With The Phone Casino, all online slots listed on the site have been licensed by the UK Gambling Commission – the Random Number Generator (“RNG”)  software and the listed Return to Player Percentage (“RTP”) rates of all the slot games have been subject to strict audits and verified for UK players.

Here are some of the most popular online slots according to our players:


Online slots constitute over 70% of online casino games and this really is an indicator of their popularity. We have come a long way from the original design of slot machines, just like technology has revolutionized our mobile devices and how we can now play these games on them.

No matter where you choose to play slots remember the tips outlined in this blog, play safe but most importantly have fun with it! 


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