Cameron Murphy05.10.2021

Slot games are, without a doubt, the most popular casino games out there today. Aside from the fact that it has straightforward gameplay, one of the things contributing to the popularity of the slot game today is its adaptable nature, which has led to the availability of different types. It used to be simple. Back in the 1900s, slot enthusiasts only had the option of playing a handful of fruit machines in local café, pubs, or casinos. 

However, as technology progressed over the years, many changes occurred to the slot industry. A case in point is the extension of the gambling industry into the digital world, which made slots readily accessible to players anytime and anywhere, and the sheer choice available became staggering. Due to this, slots today come in a wide variety of modes and diversity, so it is not uncommon that you may not be familiar with the different types of slot games available. In this article, we will look at the 5 major slot types you will find online today. We will also have a look at some of the other ways slot enthusiasts classify this exciting game.


Classic Slots

Classic slots are the simplest online slots, which usually come with timeless designs that evoke nostalgia in players. Classic slots are the closest to the original slot machines introduced in brick-and-mortar casinos back in the early 1900s, which is why it is nicknamed ‘one-armed bandit’. This nickname originated from the nature of the traditional mechanical slot machines back then. With this machine, players would have to pull a level to make a spin.A typical classic slot game will contain three reels with a single payline running across a single row. Some 3-reel classic slot games have three, five, or sometimes more paylines, and as part of modern adaptations, there are also many five-reel classic slots, which come with exciting modern features. However, the overall theme and classic vibe of these games remain the same. Classic slots usually come with basic symbols, features, and rules that are simple and easy to understand. So, if you are a player who prefers to keep things simple and play with little to no excessive in-game features, then a classic slot is what you need. However, you should note that the variance of these slots is usually very high because the low number of paylines means a reduced number of possible winning combinations.

Video Slots

Video slots are the most popular and most played type of slots available online or offline today. They also usually have the largest number within the slot collection of most online casinos. The chances are that the very first slot most players come across when you want to play slots online is a video slot. Video slots were first introduced into the gambling industry around 1970, and unlike the traditional mechanical slot machines, players don't need to pull a lever to spin their reels. The video slot machines came with a button, which players have to press to spin. Video slots usually consist of five reels and three rows, which is why they were dubbed the nickname "5-reel slots". However, some of them usually come with more reels. Naturally, with more reels and rows, the number of potential paylines on video slots increases, with some reaching as high as 100 paylines. So, another impressive quality of these games is that players often have higher odds of landing winning combinations. The best quality of video slots is that they come with attractive, stunning, and engaging themes, graphics, animations, and soundtracks that create an immersive environment. They also usually come with more special bonus features than you would find on classic slots, including wilds, free spins, bonus games, and other exciting ones. However, you should note that bets are likely to get bigger with these slots because the higher the number of paylines, the bigger the bet size that has to cover the entire lines during any spin.

Fruit Machines

Fruit machines are often categorized under classic slots. This is because back when the first slot machines were introduced, the machines had limited options for themes. So, most machines back then often featured fruits like cherries, lemons, and oranges as symbols on their reels. This is why "fruit machine/fruity" is one of the nicknames of slot machines, especially in the UK. One of the unique things about these fruit machines, especially in the UK, is the "Hold and Nudge" features. After the reels have spun, the hold feature gives players the option of holding symbols in place while the rest spins. Doing this allows players to potentially complete winning combinations or trigger a special feature. On the other hand, the nudge feature will allow you to nudge down any reels in a downward direction by 1 to 5 positions to create winning combos or trigger features. When you go online today, you will find hundreds of fruit machines that you can enjoy. There are many of these slots that keep things simple and retain the retro vibes of classic slots. These slots will come with 3 or 5 reels, limited paylines, basic features like hold and nudge, and most importantly, the fruity theme. However, some have more paylines as well as modern features. These games come with better and improved symbols, graphics, animations, and features. Rather than providing the typical hold and nudge features, these games contain wilds, scatters, free spins, and bonus games.

3D Slots

Slot games today would be incomplete without mentioning 3D versions. 3D slots are the newest form of modern slot games. Many things about these games are the same as video slots, except that they come with three-dimensional elements and characters within the game. These slots are all about visual flair that gives you an immersive experience with prominent themes and graphics, cutting-edge 3D animations, and vibrant soundtracks and audio effects. The range of themes for these games is just as impressive as video slots, which caters to a wide range of players. They can be inspired by popular culture, movies, well-known comic series, etc.3D slots also have a narrative feel to them as they often feature a storyline, which is revealed to players as they progress through the game. This is often accompanied by some impressive voice-over or video footage that matches the theme of the games. Like video slots, 3D slots also usually have special features like free spins, wilds, multipliers, etc., designed to make their gaming experience more rewarding. You should note that due to their increased specifications, 3D slots often require a fully stable internet connection to enjoy an uninterrupted gaming experience.

Jackpot Slots

The truth is that most players that play slots look forward to triggering winning combinations and, if possible, walking away with as much profit as possible. One of the ways a player can walk away with a life-changing amount is by landing a jackpot. When it comes to slot games, there are two general types of jackpot slots: fixed jackpot slots and progressive jackpot slots.

Fixed Jackpot Slots

Normally, each slot game will have a unique jackpot individual, which any lucky player can win. This is called a "fixed jackpot" or "flat-top" and is often won by matching a game's highest paying symbol across the entire reels while playing with the max bet. In this case, the potential jackpot that a player can win is fixed and does not change. It is not affected by the bet amount, the number of players, playing time, or any other factor. You should note that while the payout from fixed jackpots is smaller than that of progressive jackpots, the odds of winning it are much higher.

Progressive Jackpot Slots

For players that wish to become instant millionaires, a progressive jackpot slot is a way to go. A progressive jackpot slot is a game that has a growing jackpot attached to it. This jackpot has the potential to grow exponentially in real-time up to millions of Euros. Each time a player wagers on these machines, a certain percentage of their wagers will contribute to the prize pool, which will keep increasing until a lucky player wins it. Once the jackpot is won, the pot will reset and start accumulating again from a specific amount, called the seed.

Progressive jackpots are divided into three distinct types:

  • Standalone jackpot - This stands alone, and the progressive jackpot is linked to a single game. This means that the prize pool will only increase when players stake on it, and it can only be won while playing the game. Unlike the other progressive jackpot games, the winning chances here are higher.
  • Linked jackpot - This is the kind of jackpot linked to multiple games within a single casino. The shared progressive jackpot will increase each time money is wagered on any linked games, and naturally, a lucky player can trigger the pot while playing any of the games.
  • Network jackpot - This is the biggest jackpot any player can win online. The prize pool is linked to many slot machines from the same provider across different online casinos. Each time a player makes a wager on any linked games in any online casino, the prize pool increases. As you might have guessed, the odds of hitting this jackpot are pretty low, but the prize in the pot is often massive. Take, for example, Microgaming's progressive jackpot network, which is the largest in the world, is known to have paid out more than 1.45 Billion to date.

Other Classifications of Slots

Aside from the 5 major types of slot machines that we have looked at, there are other ways by which slot enthusiasts classify this exciting game. This categorization is based on different factors, so let us have a look at some of the most common ones:

By Paylines

Paylines are where players need to land slots’ symbols to trigger payouts.

  • Single Payline Slots - are slots that have a single payline
  • Multi-Payline Slots - are slots that have more than one payline across it reels
  • 100-Payline Slots - are the recently popular slots that feature 100 paylines
  • Megaways Slots - are slots that use hundreds to thousands of ways to win

By RTP

Return to player (RTP) determines the chances of players walking away with winnings from the reels of a slot machine.

  • High-RTP Slots - Slots that have an RTP equal to or more than 98%
  • Medium-RTP Slots - Slots with RTP of 95% to 97.99%
  • Low-RTP Slots - Slots with RTP less than 94.99%

By Volatility

The volatility of a slot game determines how frequently players will potentially trigger wins from the reels of a slot machine and how big the payouts will be.

  • High Variance Slots - are slots that offer less frequent payouts in massive amounts.
  • Medium Variance Slots - are slots with moderately frequent payouts in moderate amounts.
  • Low Variance Slots - are slots that offer frequent payouts in small amounts.

Closing Thoughts

Slots are one of the most exciting casino games that you can play. Unlike other casino games, it is quite simple to play as it doesn't involve any particular rules or require much strategy. And while you are free to play any slots available online, you should know that not all types of slots are for everybody. While some might enjoy classic slots, some might prefer video or 3D slots. It would help if you also considered other factors like paylines, volatility, RTP, and all the factors discussed. So, whenever you want to play a slot game online, choose one that best suits your gaming style and appeals most to you. If you are unsure which best suits you, you can try out different games to see which one works for you.

Cameron Murphy

Junior Copywriter

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